Loving life, family, cooking, eating, knitting, sewing, lots of fabric and enjoying a few bottles of wine on the way...( not when changing the baby or operating the overlocker though!)....

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Vintage Snobbery......

I've always loved old things, be it houses, furniture, films,books or clothes. As a teenager I read countless historical novels and even when buying our first home, new builds did not do it for me. Apart from the fact that on our budget we got three times more space for our money, I just loved that the properties we viewed had character, a story to tell.
Our first home was decorated with a nod to the Victorian era of its construction, with dark wallpaper and the compulsory aspidistra. A piano in the dining room was decorated with pictures of our ancestors and, well, I have to admit it was all a bit gloomy!
In fact it wasn't until about 10 years ago that my tastes started to change and the beautiful distressed greys and creams of French interiors took my fancy. Much of my home today still reflects that style, comfy distressed but lighter and fresher looking.

Only my kitchen and sewing room show that in my heart I'm really a vintage girl. Fascinated by the social history of the 1940s and 1950s. I love to watch films and series based on the era and Housewife 49, Goodnight Mr Tom and the more recent Home Fires are among my favourites.
We've started to attend one or two festivals over the last few years and have been amazed at the enthusiasm and good nature of those who attend. Complete strangers have come up to us to comment on our 'costumes' and taken pictures, so I have felt that we must be doing something right!

However that isn't always the case. A couple of years ago before we really got into researching our look, we attended a local War Weekend. We went to the dance on the Saturday night, which was well attended and great fun and then we went on the Sunday to visit all the stalls and displays.
The morning started with a service, which was very moving, immediately followed by a fashion show. Something I was really looking forward to.
There were about 20 people in the line up the first of which was an elderly gentleman who had obviously based his look on one of the principle characters in WW11.
The compère smiled sweetly and asked this 'gentleman' to tell the audience how he had got into dressing up!
Well if looks could have killed, that compère would be no more. Pulling himself up, the man in question returned...
'We don't dress up, we are re-enactors! Every piece of our clothing and accessories is original and authentic. People who come to these events and dress up, in what they think is the style of the period let these events down. We have been used as extras in films and television and producers know that if they employ us we are the genuine article'
To be frank my reaction was to be dumbfounded! Surely without we common folk who just 'dress up' most of the vintage events in the country would not survive. Ok if sticking religiously to authentic clothes etc. is what you want to do, then great, and of course you are saving these things for another generation to enjoy.
For the rest of us, dressing up helps us be part of the whole scene. We do our research and where possible buy one or two original pieces, but what about the make do and mend ethos of the era. Surely we are being authentic by researching styles and altering more modern garments to the styles of the day. Clothes that may otherwise end up in landfill.

So I'm glad that I took no notice of said gentleman, and continued to 'do it my way', 'cos we have had some amazing outings and met some lovely people through the whole vintage scene.
As you can see from these pictures of our recent trip to Goodwood, we even enjoyed the racing and a bit of celeb spotting!
So I'm off now to prepare things for our next Vintage Fair as part of Bea's Vintage Extravaganza at Grantham College on Saturday 3rd October. If you are local it would be lovely to see you there, whether you dress up or not!

Jenny xx

Monday, 31 August 2015

Down came the rain!........

Twinwood 2015

Well it soon came round again and we set off eagerly on Saturday morning to our Hotel. (Not as brave nowadays as some who camp for the whole weekend, though if I had an Airstream I could probably 'rough' it lol!)

The weather was quite warm and we had high hopes for Sunday when we had tickets for the Festival, and though it was a little drizzly  it didn't look as though it would be much.

We managed to get around most of the vintage stalls and I was thrilled to find a fake fur stole to wear with my suit for Goodwood in a couple of weeks. That will be our first experience there so looking forward to it, though I know it will be much bigger and far more crowded. I think the men will enjoy the motoring aspect there though.

But back to Twinwood and that initial drizzle soon turned to steady rain, such a shame as the dance floors usually crowded were quite empty. My hat goes off to those stalwarts though who continued in raincoats and with umbrellas! It was quite a sight. The band even called for a brolly Mexican Wave. It was brilliant to see so many folk making a real effort to continue enjoying themselves despite our unpredictable (or should that be predictable) Bank Holiday weather. We Brits do sometimes get a reputation for doom and gloom, well there was no evidence of that at Twinwood, I have never seen so many smiles in the rain.

We stuck it out until we were really beginning to get rather wet and finally returned to our hotel, where we managed to book in for an evening meal. So we rounded off the day nicely and despite it all it hasn't dampened our spirits and we will most certainly be back.

The weather today returning home wasn't any better and I don't envy those packing up damp tents, but I have no doubt that like us many of them will be returning next year full of hopes for a dry weekend, but not really caring if it isn't. They'll still don their vintage and go determined to have a good time.

I know we did!

Have a good Week
Jenny xx

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

A bit of a do!!!

Hello lovely bloggers.
Yet again I have sadly neglected my blog, although I do keep up with a few of yours each morning and evening. My few minutes of relaxation in what has been a hectic few months.........

And on Saturday 22 August 2015 all our planning and making and collecting all came together at Heidi and Steve's

Great British Seaside Wedding Fete

Heidi looked stunning in her dress, so all the panic over making it was worth it in the end and I know her dad was completely overwhelmed when he saw her walk down the stairs.

Their two gorgeous little boys were daddy's best men and  Alfie the oldest at 8 even made a speech. he was brilliant.

All the guests wowed us by sticking to the 1950s theme, and there were some stunning outfits.

Food came in the shape of a Fish and Chip Van and an Ice cream van......although a slight delay in proceedings meant many of the younger guests made a start on something else first.....

The guests were entertained with vintage songs by singer, Elaine Bishop,

 and played outside on the various games we had all designed and made over the past few months.

The amazing naked cake was made by Steve's lovely sister Jules...

 and the evening finished off with plenty of cheesy dancing!

I think a good time was had by all and we all breathed a sigh of relief that the Bride's vision had I think been accomplished.

So now its back to reality, washing and ironing, not only all those tablecloths but clothes ready for our visits to two vintage festivals over the next few weeks. So I hope I will be able to share things a bit more regularly now.

Hope you all have a fabulous week, 
Jenny xx

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Oh what a lovely Fair

Has it really been 3 months since I last posted on my poor blog?
It certainly doesn't seem like it!
My only excuse is that I have been happily engaged in other pursuits. A brief holiday in gorgeous Whitby, a busy half term week with the grandsons and a bit of time preparing for the lovely vintage fair which we attended today.

Organised by the equally lovely Debbie, Bea's Vintage Extravaganza held at Grantham College was an absolute delight!
Vintage stalls, Vintage clothing, Scrumptious Tea Room provided by Claire of Liberty Rose, Classic cars, vintage caravan, Ice cream van plus live music including a spot by the fabulous Elaine Bishop and dancers too, what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

We met some super people, really friendly and just an absolute delight, and we can't wait to meet up again hopefully in October in the same venue.
So come on Grantham, so many people complain that nothing happens here, and this was a day of real entertainment and great shopping as well! What more could you ask for. 
Well organised, well advertised and well if you weren't there you missed a gem!

So its back now to the wedding planning and the final push to get everything done in time. Only 3 months now...Eeeeeeeek! Yes it's scary, but exciting too. As each piece of the jigsaw puzzle drops into place, we can begin to see the overall picture and it's not looking bad! Of course I will breathe a little more easily when the bride (and her mother) has a dress, but of course you will have to wait until August to see how that turns out!

Have a great week, and I hope I can get back here again before the big event,
Jenny xx

PS   I may not post regularly at the moment but I do keep up with lots of your blogs so I don't feel totally out of touch : )

Thursday, 26 February 2015

I didnt see this coming...........

Do you sew?
If you've popped by here before you will know that it is quite a passion of mine. 
This week has sorely tested both my patience and had me questioning my own ability!

It all started quite innocently with this pattern

Vogue 2401, a Retro Vintage dress. I bought it some time ago intending to wear it to a Christmas do I think, but never got round to making it. And then suddenly this year is all about a vintage wedding, Twinwood vintage festival and now Goodwood Revival too. The perfect opportunity to give it a trial run.
What a stinker......... Whoever dreamed this up must have had the design skills of an aeronautical  engineer but failed to appreciate that unlike aircraft  we ladies don't like our undercarriage on show.

It took me ages to fit the bodice ,sleeves and especially the front ties neatly. Accurate marking of all those little dots was a must. The worse part by far though was the front skirt, which is little more than a flap fastened at the back with ties around which the back and side fronts overlap. The trouble is as you walk the side fronts lift and reveal your bare thighs in all their vintage glory. They are not anchored to the front panel in any way, so unless your fabric weighed a ton I really do fail to see how It could work and preserve your modesty.
Thank goodness for once I had decided to make a wearable toile as I had intended to use some rather expensive fabric to make it up for the wedding.
Needless to say I have changed my mind on that score!
I have saved the dress from the bin however by making a complete underskirt. I just had enough of the vintage fabric left to do so though I had to add a panel of a contrast colour to the hem to make it the right length, I also balanced this by making turn back cuffs in the same contrast and at least I like it enough to wear it at one if the vintage events now.

The sad thing is I still love the overall look especially the top and the stand up collar, but will I ever make it again...I very much doubt it and at £14 it was certainly not worth it.

As it is now intended for a festival and not this years main event, I even went as far as to make my own 1950s hat, using images on the Internet for inspiration and a 1940s pamphlet on how to create felt flowers. I am quite pleased with the overall look but cant decide if I should add a veil. What do you think?

I have now found what I think will be my alternative pattern Butterick 5880. and apparently there is a brilliant video tutorial by Professor Pincushion, so I hope my journey will be less traumatic. I am off to the NEC on 22 March so I may even find the right fabric, lets hope!

Have you had any dressmaking disasters lately or even found any vintage patterns (especially the retro ones which have been adjusted to fit our less than sylph like modern figures while retaining the original style) that you would recommend. I would be interested to hear about them.

Have a great week, I'm off to make a Peter Pan outfit now. Cant say I don't get variety in my sewing!

Jenny xx