Tuesday, 29 November 2011

{Beginners Guide} Buying Vintage versus Reproduction and modern

Original 1940s Hat!!

Right so now you have your invitations I'm presuming you'll be buying something to wear. Which way do you decide vintage or reproduction?

When I was 19, back in the 90's I bought myself a little 1967 mini cooper. A real classic I loved every inch of that mini!
Where am I going with this you ask? Bear with me.....

Well although I loved the cooper to pieces it wasn't exactly practical for everyday use, however beautiful or authentic it was. So after a year I sold it for a modern car.

Ten years later I found myself yearning for another mini, being a bit cash-strapped I bought an old beatup 850 "Bluey" I loved every minute of it, but it soon gave up on me *grr*
 No problem, my dad told me of a customer (80 years old lady driver!!) who was selling hers! A mini sky, ten years newer that Bluey and in perfect condition I bought it without a second thought! I regretted it ever since!!

It still looked like a mini but it had changed over the years, it felt sterile all of the fun gone out of it.

Compare these minis to the clothes available for you to choose when dressing vintage....

Original Vintage Clothing -The Cooper 

Original clothes dating from 1920s - 1980s can be sourced from various places, ebay, vintage clothes shops or vintage fairs. They are often very well made and have been loved and cared for and have visited many a grand occasion in their several decades of use!

Definitely the dream buy!
Its authentic you are wearing a piece of history
You're likely to turn heads of both those in the know and others alike
A lot are unique
Well made, better quality

Rare not always easy to find
Limited options (sizing / colours etc)
Precious (may easily tear, get moth-holes etc)

Reproduction Clothing - Bluey

There are several companies that offer clothing designs based on earlier patterns, the owners are often passionate about their eras and i have found the clothing to be very well made! These clothes are available in sizes to fit modern bodies and suit modern lifestyles.
There are lots of these companies out there, some of my favourites include

Rocket Originals
Puttting on the Ritz

Original styles or designs
Modern Sizings
Easier to care for (Often machine washable)

Often only availble on short runs
More likely someone will be wearing same dress

Modern Vintage Inspired Clothing - The mini Sky

{High street}

We are very lucky here in the UK at the moment that the 40s is 'in' so lots of 40s inspired clothes are in the shop. If you are able to spot them then these are great for bulking out your wardrobe, cashmere cardis anyone? They also are a great way to ease your way into wearing vintage, so you don't feel you are putting on a costume or standing out like a sore thumb.


Easier to find
Can be Cheaper
All Sizes


Watered down Versions

{Speciality companies}

 Trashy Diva

There are several  speciality shops in this area too  including

Pin Up Couture
Trashy Diva
Bernie Dexter and
Bettie Page Clothing

These offer a certain look I find, often PinUp inspired always glamourous! If you need a knock out dress then these should be your first port of call!
If you are lucky enough you'll have a  fabulous boutique locally  that will have a range all in the one place (don't worry - they do online too!)

Others  online include stoptrafficclothingPin Up Girl Clothing

I really do think there is a place for all of the above in your life , a good modern vintage wardrobe can take the best of all of these and blend them together.
I am ever so useless at looking after clothes and have alot of couldn't wear vintage activities, so alot of my dresses are reproduction or vintage inspired. Also I'd never fit in those teeny tiny waists of the 40s! I do buy alot of authentic vintage accessories though, bags,hats gloves.....

Which type of clothing do you buy most often?

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Tea Parties and Stocking Stuffers

I love Tea Parties, who doesn't?!! Cake, Tea, Dancing , Music and good company what isn't there to like?

I've been after a vintage tea set so I can recreate it at home for aaaaages, but have never found the one that's 'just right', until last week, when I became the new owner of this lovely set of trios (cup, saucer and plate) from Ebay.....

Of course, because I haven't bought a full set I'm still on the look out for the perfect TeaPot, SugarBowl and MilkJug!! But its a beginning and aren't they lovely!!!

So with all this lovely tea party-ness about the place I've come up with some fab tea party inspired christmas gift ideas for you all!

If you fancy making these yourself check out Betty Bee's Tutorial!

Wouldn't this make a fab activity!!

Go click over there not here - it won't work! I'm hoping to do a review of this book so keep watching!!

Hope these give you some inspiration, till next time my lovelies!!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Plaid Dresses and PanAm

Or how PanAm has inspired my wardrobe!!!

I had wanted a plaid dress for a while now, I'd kinda imagined when I found it , it would a 50s one, possibly  the form of a shirt dress.....

I didn't realise just how much my viewing habits had influenced me...


For the past few weeks I've been totally addicted to Pan Am (set in the early 60s), posts about it have run right through the vintage blogs and I've loved every one.  However it has never, ever entered my head to include any 60s style dresses in my wardrobe, the thought had never even entered my head!

Until I spotted this dress on the redressing website and suddenly I came out of the 40s and into the 60s for the night!!

Whoops a bit dark!
 This one shows it better!

 Love the colour of the stripe (thought it was blue online but its a gorgeous turquoise!)

I was quite pleased with my hair too - even if my friend did ask " is that your real hair?" 
me - what? course it blooming is!!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

{Beginners Guide to } Getting "into" the Vintage Scene

The Vintage Mafia girls - Never short of an invite!

By no means do I declare I am "there" yet but for someone at the very beginning of their vintage journey there may be a few hints and tips I can share.

When I began this journey, we had the passion and a bit of the look but nowhere to go!  It always seemed to me like everything vintage that I lusted after was happening far far away, possibly London or Norwich or even in the good ole US of A and Australia! What was lil vintage me going to do stuck in Somerset?

1. Look at what events there are in your area? Do they have a website or facebook page? 

Use facebook to connect with people who enjoy your era, search 'vintage tea party' or '1940s' in the search bar and see what comes up, are any in your area look at the larger area groups such as northern forties or sw re enactments, then see if anyone is from your town.

2. If there is something on in your area - go to it!!!

Be it a vintage fair a ww2 show or a tea party, go along and give it a go! You'll soon find out which bits you enjoy and which you don't!

3. Don't commit to just one era (at least not straight away!)

Although I'm very much part of the1940s family when we attend events, everything from 1920s - 1950s appeals to me and thanks very much to PanAm I've just bought my first early 60s inspired dress!! Go to lots of things, let all the styles wash over you and see where you settle!

4. What did they used to do in your favourite era?

Dancing, Tea Parties, Burlesque, Make do and Mend? Each of these areas gives you scope to find more like minded people. Like knitting or want to learn? Get along to a knitting cafe or group, chances are you'll find more like minded souls there. Our first "vintage event" in our area was a burlesque night. Just being in a venue with so many other people that enjoyed dressing up made me feel more confident in my attire! Events very often have flyers and posters for other things you might enjoy hanging about on the day - pick them up!!!

5. Vintage Shops

Chat to the assistants or owner, they probably work there because they are hopefully passionate about vintage, do they know of anything coming up? check out the flyers on the counter or posters in the windows

6. Read magazines

Even back copies will have events in them, check online if they are on again. Some great magazines we've fouind so far include milkcow, vintage life and best of british

7. Use Blogs

Read and subscribe to as many vintage blogs as you can and clickity click on all the blog lists down the side , chances are they are vintage too!! Don't be afraid to leave a comment asking a direct question about something!

8. Join Forums

There are plenty of great forums out there, try the FedoraLounge, 1940s social network, Worldwide Vintage Network

7. Talk to EVERYBODY!

Stall holders at fairs (ask them where they will be next?) The performers at shows (where else can you see them? do they run classes?) Shop owners (have they heard of any good events coming up?) The lady sitting next to you in the knitting cafe / sewing class (have you done any other classes? - maybe theres another great place in the next town?)

I hope that gets you started branching out and finding other kindred souls and events? Ad when you have that great once in a million invitation - don't forget to invite me!!!

Don't for get to comment and leave any tips you have too!!!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Winter Woolies

Theres no denying it, foogy mornings, seeing your breath in front of you, and the dropping temperatures, winter is definitely trying to arrive!! A that signals for me, it's time to pull out the kniwear!!! Jumpers and Cardis for me have always been the ultimate comfortwear. However in the past that has sometimes meant big baggy and shapeless!?
This year I'll be looking for something more refined for snuggling up in, and that for me means browsing those vintage (and vintage inspired) knits!

Heres my latest buy to kick us off, I love the flower detail - and yes yet again I've taken the boring route and bought grey!!!

And this gorgeous mustard cardi of Solanah's is my ultimate 'must have' but I havent found one yet!! It has inspired several mustard colour buys though this season!!!

Sometimes original knitwear from the 40s  can be difficult to source so  retro inspired or reproductions can be really useful here, and luckily the shops are full of them at the moment...

If you are lucky you'll be able to knit ( not I!) or know someone that can, then you can pick up a vintage pattern from etsy or ebay and recreate to your hearts contents! In case you don't then there are companys where you can chose from vintage desins to be knitted. Try Cissie's Vintage Knitwear

This ones my favourite ....

So whats your favourite piece of knitwear in your vintage wardrobe, the piece that goes with everything or is stunningly beautiful? Or whats the piece that you are lusting after and yet to find this winter??

If I've whetted your appritite for knitwear head over to michelesvintageknitwear for more lovely inspiration!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

{Ministry of Food} - Friendship Cake

Another misty grey day today so I decided to stay tucked up in bed turned on the radio for some christmas tunes and headed to the kitchen with Herman!

Herman is a German Friendship cake ( a sourdough cake that is handed out in starter form to your friends when you split the mix). Now I reckon Herman counts as a vintage recipe as I remember passing on tupperwares of Herman starters for my mum in the playground at school 25years ago when I was at Juniors.

I've been wondering about this for a while recipe and  was ever so pleased to see a friend handing out small tupperwares of something in the playground - yay! Herman was back!!!

I've lovingly looked after him for the passed 10 days , feeding and stirring as directed then today it was time to bake him!!

For those of you who are lucky enough to be given a Herman and maybe spill him all over the instructions your friend lovingly wrote out for you (Yes! that can happen, sorry Fran) here they are, if you don't have a friend to give you a Herman Starter then scroll down to the bottom of this post for a rather cheekily named Billy No Mates Cake and you can start one yourself!!

Herman Instructions

Hello, my name is Herman.
I am a sourdough cake. I'm supposed to sit on your worktop for 10 days without a lid on.
You CANNOT put me in the fridge or I will die. If I stop bubbling, I am dead.

Day (number listed below)

1.You get Herman and put him in a large mixing bowl and cover loosely with a tea towel.
2 & 3 Stir well
4Herman is hungry. Add 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well.
5-8 Stir well
9.Hungry again. Add the same as day 4 and stir well. Divide into 4 equal portions and give away to friends with a copy of these instructions. Keep the 4th one.
10. Using the 4th portion.
Stir well and add the following:

1 cup sugar
half tsp (teaspoon) salt
2 cups plain flour
2/3 (two thirds) cup of cooking oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cooking apples cut into chunks
1 cup raisins
2 heaped tsp cinnamon
2 heaped tsp baking powder

Mix everything together and put into a large greased baking tin. Sprinkle with a quarter of a cup of brown sugar and a quarter of a cup of melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes at 170-180C. When cold cut into finger pieces. Cake freezes well and is also delicious warm with cream or ice-cream.

"Billy No Mates Cake"


  • 1 Cup plain flour
  • 1 Cup caster sugar
  • 1 Cup plain natural (live) yoghurt
  • Half Cup milk
  • 1 small sachet fast-action dried yeast (breadmaker yeast)

Put all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
IMake sure you use a natural live yoghurt, as this  contains what you need for the sourdough culture being created.

Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until fully combined to a smooth batter-like consistency.
If the mixture is too thick to run off the spoon, add a little more milk and mix again.

After being left alone for 24 hours, the mixture will turn frothy and should make your daughter ask "mummy has that cake mix got alcy-hol in it, as she walks past and smells it! So we're looking for aslightly alcholic smell here, fermenting apples etc.
Give it a good stir - the froth will collapse, but the mixture will remain fairly bubbly.

You now have a starter for your Herman Cake. Measure out 1/2 pt and go straight to day 10 on the instructions....

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Poppy inspiration

This weekend is Rememberance Sunday, Poppy Day as the children like to call it. A poppy is such a beautiful flower. So in honour of that day here are some of my favourite poppy inspired finds ....

 A simple alternative to the paper poppy pin...

Beautiful earrings....

Wishing I'd ordered this fascinator..........

A modern design for everyday....

I couldn't resist this super cute picture....

So there we are, get creative with your poppy wearing this year!!

To donate to this years Poppy Appeal click here for the Appeal Site.

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