New Hair Colour and MADE.com Furniture…

I’ve just got back from the hairdressers after a colour.  I normally do it myself, but I wanted something a little different and thought I’d try to take a photo whilst it still has that nice hairdresser bouffant thing they manage to do.DSC_0020Basically, whilst watching Harry Potter with the boys, I kind of fell in love with Narcissa Malfoy’s two tone hair.  Seriously, I was originally all for actually doing the blond/dark brown thing but I am a fake red head at heart so I stuck with that and despite leaving it as long as I could manage, they wouldn’t have been able to dye blond over my remaining red anyway.
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The basic idea is that as I wear my hair up most days (lazy really) you get to see both colours, it’s more contrasted in ‘real life’, I struggled to take photos.

DSC_0023As I have been growing out my hair from a very, very short crop, there are some nice long layers, so it also shows the two colours when down – bonus!

DSC_0029It’s a bit wind swept from school run (we have one of those playgrounds that is super flat, next to a big field so it’s always windy) and I had to snap quickly as F was waiting for me to cook his tea so the photos are a bit crappy but you get the idea. Also, sorry that it’s a bit self indulgent to post photos of my new hair colour, but it’s great for my own records and I am generally rubbish at taking photos (or having photos taken) of myself, I don’t really like cameras pointed at me, which you can probably tell, as you rarely get to see me in this blog.DSC_0019

I thought I’d also take this opportunity to photograph my dressing table.  It’s from MADE.com, a website I love.
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There is hardly any spare space in our bedroom as it’s under the eaves of the house (when we moved here, this level didn’t exist, it was a huge attic, without flooring, but that’s probably a post all of its own).  As you might be able to see, it’s still not decorated in here, we had the entire house sprayed white after it was plastered and we’ve never painted over that base coat…..or finished putting the skirting on actually in many rooms.

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When I saw this last summer on the MADE website, I figured I could shoe-horn it into the corner, under the skylight and I begged M to let me have it, he agreed.  He made me a very happy lady as I’ve always wanted a dressing table.  The red box under the mirror contains a necklace, it’s just there as I’ve not tightened the mirror screw enough to hold it at an angle.
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I love my vintage pots, I have to stop myself from buying Jubilee and Coronation things when I see them.

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dorig_storage_oak_white_product_pageWe also own the Bergman coffee table (used for the kids to build and play on) and the Dorig, which has my feet resting on it right now, in the living room.  I really recommend buying from MADE, just be aware of the lead times for delivery on some items, basically to cut out all the middle men and reduce costs, the pieces are only put into production every so often, when there are a number of orders, but everything we’ve ordered so far has been of a high quality and a fair price, so I feel it’s worth the wait.

Off to prep my tea now, salmon and salad for me 🙂

PS, there will be more sewing soon, I’ve just been distracted and haven’t done any for ages.

Not Such A Bag Lady…

Thanks for all your lovely comments and enthusiasm for the 1940’s suit.  I am quite excited to get making but I’m going to wait for that pivotal half-stone weight loss (around this point, I tend to lose quite a bit of my general figure, rather than just all that nice internal fat I’ve built up around my belly)

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In contrast to my bag lady dress confessions in the last post, I thought I’d share a bit more about how my brain works re clothing plus add some of my favourite shop links (they should all be clickable).

I am taking the boys away tomorrow, on my own, on a train.  Basically, I had put this school holiday into the calendar as a one week break and it was only when F pointed out that this one is a ‘longer one’ that I realised my mistake.  I really feel the need to get away, to breathe fresh(er) air, do some walking, see some green rolling hills and give the boys a change of scenery, so I checked out the train times and booked us some tickets.  M will join is with the car later in the week.  That means I have to take everything we need, including most of the food (as we will be car-less and there are no shops near by) in my medium-sized Orla K suitcase.

I am good at this, I am a planner and can pack well into small spaces, I like the challenge (I lead a simple life, you know).  M laughed at me once, when pre-kids I made him stop at the big supermarket next to Inverness airport so we could buy lots of food, we were on our way to a remote National Trust cottage.  He laughed less when he realised we had to drive for 40 mins over pretty scary roads just to buy a pint of milk.

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To travel, I shall be wearing some fabulous Toast wide leg wool trouser that I bought for next to nothing in the archive sale (I have just noticed, they are having an archive sale RIGHT NOW, so go grab a bargain), a Brora silk blouse that I’ve owned for years, my very favourite wardrobe staple (again, only ever bought in the sale) cashmere t-shirt from Pure…looking a bobbly there under the arms, on which note Brora verses Pure, I have ‘T-shirt’ style sweaters from both, Brora wins as the cashmere seems to wear a lot better and all of mine goes in the machine on a wool wash, I am too lazy to hand wash, oh and the trousers were bought extra long then also wool washed to shrink them before taking them up to the final length, as I can’t cope with dry cleaning costs.  Finally a pair of Chie Mihara shoes.  I’ve spared you to site of my suck-em-in knickers.  When I am slimmer, I plan to buy myself the Glamour Underbust Panty Girdle from What Katie Did, I stalk this site regularly drooling over the lovely vintage style undies.

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I am packing a tweed kick-pleat skirt, some wool tights, this cute vintage sweater (another favourite, came from Etsy seller Frida Larsen, which I do hand wash, very carefully, incidentally), some tops to wear under the sweaters and all the obvious stuff like knickers and a nightie.  I’ve also made room for my walking shoes and a waterproof jacket.  Yes, yes, it would be a lot simpler if I just wore the shoes and waterproof to travel in but a lot less fun and yes I do also often just wear jeans etc, but I am feeling all wool and tweedy at the moment, I think it’s this dismal weather.

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I plan to wear a watch, not something I do much these days but carrying a car booster seat, a suitcase and bag, plus trying to get the boys up and down all the stairs will be enough without trying to fish out my phone to check the time, and I do have the worlds largest collection of vintage watches.  Seriously, take a look.  The fob watches are all courtesy of Grandad, via Mum.  Long story and perhaps too boring for you really so I’ll skip it.

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The 1950’s boys military watch was a recent buy.  The boys and M took me to a vintage fair in London for Mother’s Day and gave me some spending money.  There were some lovely clothes there, but in all honestly, there is a wider selection available on-line these days, so I opted for the watch, which I fell in love with.  I would wear it for this journey but it ticks SO LOUDLY that I fear my fellow passengers might not be pleased, so I’m going for the mens one just next to it instead.

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I did buy this cheap and cheerful bracelet whilst we were at the fair as well.  The trip was a surprise, but the boys are so rubbish at surprises, they kept asking me if I liked, “old stuff, like clothes and things” and “would I enjoy a fashion show, of old things?” so they kind of gave the game away.  Lovely idea though.

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Charlie has packed.  All he has to fit in are toys (I’m taking the rest of their stuff) and I’m making them use the messenger bags I made instead of their usual Trunkis.  I meant to say, these bags have been brilliant, especially with the laminate lining, we use them for swimming each week.

So wish me luck, I’ve never travelled on my own with the boys but it will be fine.  Oh and we are travelling first class for the main bit, there were Advance tickets left that cost a tiny bit more than economy but there is free food, drink, wi-fi and plug sockets (for the boys, I plan to plug them into laptops and movies and put then in headphones) and more importantly, free wine for me, should be fun 🙂

1940’s Suit: The Pattern…

I think that most people who read my blog, know that I have a bit of a thing about vintage.  I used to wear lots of vintage clothing when I was quite young and much of my normal wardrobe is vintage inspired, with quite a few original pieces thrown in.  On a daily basis I have become very lazy with my appearance, which is something I’d like to rectify.  I think I keep waiting to lose the weight I put on when I had the boys, and in doing so, to be able to wear the 80% of my wardrobe that I currently can’t fit into.  Although I am working on this (the weight loss), I have been making an effort to increase that 20% that I can wear by adding some new pretty pieces, ie. not just Chie Mihara shoes, but actual clothes.

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On of my recent buys is this vintage suit.  I love it, but it does have a few problems.  Although it fits me on the skirt and waist, the shoulders are HUGE.  Basically, it has already been messed about with, the skirt has been taken in and there have been changes to the jacket, although these alterations are also ‘original’ I can’t wear it well as it is.  I plan to do some alterations of my own, if it was ‘pure’ vintage and had never been touched I would probably feel very guilty about this, but as is, I am happy to do so.

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In the meantime, it got me thinking that I might like to make myself a nice 40’s suit that fits me perfectly.  I have a quite specific idea of the fabric and shape of my ideal version, this, of course, has lead to many hours of trawling the internet, trying to find a good original pattern and the perfect tweed.

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I’m in love with this pattern (Advance 5399), how fabulous is that collar, the turned cuff and the scallop hem on the jacket?   Sadly, it is not meant to be as none exist even remotely near my size.

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In the end, I bought a Hollywood pattern (1145) in a size 18 and a Mc Call in a size 40.  I would like to point out, just in case you don’t know this, that vintage pattern sizing is teeny tiny in comparison to modern dress sizes.  I am a 14.  I was a size 8 when I got married  – boo hoo!  I had assumed I’d return to nearer that size after kids (which is when I gained most of the weight), now I hope to land near a neat 12 if I keep up my current, very slow, weight loss up, maybe even a 10 if I’m lucky.  Oh and dress size is relative to each person, I am in no way suggesting that a 14 is large, it isn’t, but for me and my personal frame, I’d prefer to be a bit smaller.

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Anyhow, if you want to know more about vintage patterns and sizing, plus learn some great sewing techniques I would suggest Gertie’s book ‘New Book For Better Sewing‘ it’s brilliant and also contains some great patterns.  I hesitated about buying this, as I tend to think I know quite a lot about sewing but in reality, I know about drafting patterns and historical design and construction, but reading this I realised there is so much I don’t know, especially about the kind of sewing I’m about to do.  A perfect example is Gertie’s (I write this like she’s my new BF – ha ha!) way to work out your vintage size.  She suggests you actually measure your upper bust measurement (directly under your arms) and use this for old pattern sizing, as the actual bust measurement (ie around the widest point) is all about  how busty you are and not about your actual frame size.  This way, the shoulders and arm of the pattern will fit and you should only need to make a simple bust adjustment, if needed.  So I’m between a vintage 18 and 20.  Whichever pattern I choose to use I’ll have to adjust it up or down, but this I am comfortable with.
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Next came the trawl for fabric.  My initial choice being the dog-tooth check above, but it’s too heavy and a much bigger design than I’d realised.  I am not disheartened as it’s lovely fabric and will be fabulous for bags and purses, but that’ll teach me to get samples in future.  Oh and the other small check is for a skirt.  No idea why the new Donna Wilson catalogue is there, I think I just took the photo as, at the time, it made a neat little pile on my desk.

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I decided on the Hollywood pattern, against my better judgement, the McCall was much easier to follow and the pieces were fully marked, but I fell in love with the peplum on the Hollywood one, so the Ginny Simms suit it is.  Also, my second order of fabric, this beautiful green/grey/blue/brown tweed is perfect for the job….and looks surprisingly like the image on the packet cover, I hadn’t noticed that until now.

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I had ordered 4 meters of fabric, as the width is wider than those given on the pattern back (which I didn’t actually have at the point of ordering the fabric as it was coming back from the US with my husband), so the first thing I did was carefully lay out the pieces to make sure I had enough.  I did and actually 3 meters would have been perfect.  When I was at college, we used to lay our patterns pieces on the large cutting table so see how much fabric to order.  Always a good trick.

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Next, I very carefully ironed the pattern pieces and copied them onto brown paper which I buy in long rolls (another old habit, I always use it for pattern cutting, even for my Linen Cat work).

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I then spent the rest of yesterday obsessively marking up the brown paper versions so they made easy sense to me, marking in grain lines, darts etc and even the stitch lines – I pretty much only ever work from patterns that are drafted without seams included so I’m bound to forget if I re-visit this in the future.

I’ve stopped there, as I need to make a few decisions.  Do I wait to lose more weight before altering the pattern and making it up?  Or do I make it to fit me now.  I’m going to wait a while at least.  There is no hurry and I want this to be a keeper, after all 4 meters of tweed, lining and a vintage pattern don’t come cheap.

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And now for a little eye candy.  I wanted to show you this fabulous purse I bought last Autumn from Sarah Culleton.  I’m sorry if I’ve shown it before, but don’t think I have and the image has been sitting on my laptop waiting to be mentioned.  It has had so many lovely compliments, I’m always a good girl and point out it isn’t one of mine.  The detail of adding a vintage brooch (which comes with the purse) is one I particularly like.

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I couldn’t resist this as well.

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Finally, as I just mentioned vintage jewellery, the brooch in the tweed shot above and this cute earring/brooch set (which I bought because I owned a similar one for dressing up with when I was a child) are from the UK Etsy shop Pearls Scarlet Vintage.  I’m really enjoying vintage brooches at the moment, it’s quite a nice and affordable way to cheer up an outfit. Our kitchen table needs some TLC doesn’t it!

Right, back to housework and refereeing the kids.