Wednesday 16 February 2011

Welcome to the world of Ginger...

Gotcha!..Ok, so it's only my new suit. And I rather got myself. There's a whole saga with this one - in my head, that is. The  initiation into the art of  correct dating of vintage?... That sounds rather precious. Anyway, here are the facts.

 I spotted this suit on Etsy: delicious rust color, check; velvet, my fabric of choice, check; spot on measurements, check; affordable price, check; nice details, and a skirt that seemed cut on the bias as it hanged on the hanger (what was in my head?!), check. Advertised as 1930's, check...???...

I know, I know, I should have been suspicious about the collar, the scalloped edge of the jacket, the three quarter sleeve...! It all seems so clear now, yet at the time, the blood rushed to my head and I couldn't think. All I could see what what I wanted to see in those rather poor photographs...And when it arrived my beautiful 30's bias cut skirt proved to be one of these:

 And the whole thing not a whole world different from these:

 ...Yeah,  I got it wrong again.  I contacted the seller , who otherwise offered a very friendly and lovely service, to see how confident she was about her 1930's dating. She was very nice, but ended up saying that really this couldn't have been made any later than late 40's early 50's. Now to me, that's exactly how this suit looks like:  a1947, New Look, perhaps early 50s made. A quick check with the ladies at the Fedora Lounge confirmed my fears.

So you see, this is not really a Ginger story at all.
Shall we call it: "The Carrot and The Stick" perhaps?

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Knit fashions - Part III

I know most of you dream sweet dreams of summer fashions by now. But it's a wet, nasty day here that didn't allow me to take the beautiful pictures this dress deserves and certainly prevented me from any summer-indulging thoughts. Anyway, I have a rule about that: never before the 1st of March! Otherwise all the yearning is just too difficult to cope with.
Having said that, the pictures I'm using are from another dreary day, a May one nonetheless, 2 years ago in Oxford (a place of unfriendly swans, among other things). It just goes to show how summer in Britain begs to differ. 
This year I am hoping to wear something other than a heavy knitted dress and winter boots when summer comes. Up until then I am pretty decided to bore you with my knitted stuff the and the like.

The first project done at my requirements by my mother - rather then what she wanted to do - dates a little more than 15 years back. It was born from sheer envy, as I had a friend of better means who had bought herself a knitted dress from a so called boutique, which we thought to be wonderful. Needless to say us teenagers were in a rather power flower mood those days- one of those revival things that happen every so often.

But revival or not, I couldn't afford the dress, so shamelessly I've asked, and asked, and asked my mother to copy the shape and knit me something "just like that" and in the end she cracked and said she'd make it, and prettier. And pretty it came out!...Out of reworked lengths of wool unraveled from older knits, a thing of beauty was born.

So let me introduce to you the most beautiful 90's meets hippie dress that ever was! 
All these years later, I am still wearing it, with a pleasure and joy never curbed, for it is one of the first things in my wardrobe to be "me". And a proof that a luxury could be found in an existence otherwise marked by the lack of financial means - the luxury, and priceless experience, of having things made for myself by my mother.
My friend's dress shattered after a season and a few washes. Mine still looks brand spanking new. I love it dearly.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Knit fashions - Part II

It was a sunny, beautiful day here today, and warm enough not to have to wear a coat on top of my dress.
I'll blame the silly posing on the euphoria caused by the nice, spring-like weather, after many a windy, gray and dreary day. 
So brace yourself for another picture heavy post (let's be honest, all of mine are) under the pretext of showing you further into my knitted wardrobe.

(Here I am actually clawing the bark as I'm sliding off this tree trunk)

Another of my mother's long distance creations, this dress was actually conceived by her with very little input from my part. It dates about 4 years back and the design wasn't based on anything in particular, I was simply inspired by corals, pinks and purples and wanted the color scheme to be like a sudden spring burst, something to make me smile. 
I also wanted a figure hugging, but not skin tight dress, with a simple line and finishing at knee length. 
Based on the above specifications, my mother knitted this.

I remember it was March when I received the dress in the post, and wore it straight away the very same day. It's been well loved ever since, and I tend to accessorize it with black since mother decided to finish the edges in black and also introduced the black midriff section.
The neck scarf is improvised by me and fixed in place with a little glass flower clip; the actual necklace of the dress is a simple v neck finished in black edging.
Somebody was saying the other day that the dress looks very 60's. Don't know about that, it was not made with any specific fashions in mind, but I can be blind when it comes to very personal items in my wardrobe, like this one. And while I am not very keen on the 60's, perhaps my mother was influenced by fashions from her youth. Is there anything MOD-ish about this at all? Or perhaps a slight hint of  Faye Dunaway in "Bonnie and Clyde", a film which looks more 60's than intended?...

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Knit fashions

It's fair to say I'm partial to knits: I grew up in them, lucky to have a mother who's been knitting tirelessly for me all my life. I wore knits as a baby, as a toddler, I had knitted trousers, jackets, blouses and skirts in primary school, secondary school and so on. To a certain extent it was due to how poor we were. There was very little money around, but my grand parents had sheep, so wool was plentiful. My grandmother could, and still can, process the wool through all stages, from the raw material to the finished garment. She did just that, and my mum knitted away...And she still does, bless her soul, and makes the most wonderful things for me. 
It goes to show you are never really poor when you have a skill. What fantastic women they are, I have for them the humblest admiration, and I wish to I reach a stage in my life when I shall be worthy of their generous gifts to me.

Mother knitted this green ensemble based on the the catalog pic shown above - no pattern, no nothing, just my measurements to go by - and at long distance! I tried it on when it was all done and ready to wear.
Thank you mum!

I have been wearing it today with my Poetic Licence faux snakeskin shoes (I love this brand for vintage inspired cute footwear) and a 30's knitted bag. I was wondering about this style bag - were they meant for summer rather than being an all season thing? In which case, oops, I got it wrong again.
Also, I am not very confident about the purple touch. First of all, I am not quite sure the color suits me (although I must have thought so when I bought the beret and the scarf).
Secondly, the green and purple combination has an 80's vibe to it, so I guess my question is:  was this at all done in the 30's?
This is where some color catalogs would come in handy. I know I keep saying this, but I have made the first step, I've finally acquired a copy of the 30's Everyday Fashions,  so I'm not that bad. Eventually I will squeeze enough money for a catalog too. Perhaps they come with a crash course on grace, it surely won't go amiss when posing.

The jacket needs some proper buttons, as the ones I've put on, although vintage, are more of the 60's or later kind, and don't really do that much for the outfit. What I need is a buckle and buttons set, and I have spent ages on line and at fairs trying to find some pretty ones, but it's quite hard as I need a set of 10 large to keep in with the photo. But for now I've sewn on the ones I had, otherwise it will be spring by the time I get to wear this at all. 
And when you have such loveliness, spring can actually wait. Or, at the very least, what's left of winter is so much more bearable, when one is cocooned in the warm embrace of a thing made with love.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

By the river

One day, I promise you, I will take some beautiful photos here. There is a part of the river where the scenery is almost seaside-ish and reminds me of a scene in Poirot. Alas, that day hasn't come yet. In spite of beautiful light, the pics from that section were all terrible. I'm vain enough not to show you those, but believe me when I say I have more than enough material to put together a huge portfolio of ugly, weird, demented, or many a retarded faces - perhaps it could strike some luck in Hollywood, given how impressive my range is.
Either way, Poirot will have to wait. Perhaps I should concentrate on acquiring the proper envelope clutch in the meantime...