Monday, 20 July 2015

New old dresses, old old dresses

1970s-does-Edwardian. Gorgeous.
I took delivery of a new old dress at the weekend - a grey wool late 1950s jobbie with a slim skirt and 3/4 sleeves. This is an odd time of year to be buying wool dresses, I suppose, but I got it because it was on sale on Etsy and the price was too good to resist.. It'll be just as wearable in three or four months' time. With that and my new 1960s pink cutwork shift (swapped for a silk Trashydiva dress I'd outgrown) I'm doing quite well for frocks this month.

On the subject of cutwork, I spotted a moth in the bedroom and immediately went into full MOTH PANIC mode. (I am to moths as McCarthy was to Communists...) This meant checking all my Zensect balls were in place and still orange (they go white when they're no longer working), putting more Zensect balls and other moth killers around the place, and checking over things that don't get fully looked at too often, such as the trunk with some of my well-loved but far too small 1990s garments. Amid the crushed velvet and other relics of my gothspent youth was the dress I wore to a university ball in 1997. I think it's from the 1970s, but it's 70s-does-Edwardian, and it's got cutwork from hem to waist, and up the sleeves. The embroidery reminds me of zardosi and resham work, so I wonder if it was made in India. Every time I see this dress the workmanship astonishes me. There's a damaged area near the hem, and I keep meaning to get some organza or similar light fabric to support it. It's still lovely, though.
And when you're emptying things, you find all sorts of stuff that you'd put away and not really thought about, which in my case always means knitting patterns. I've mostly accepted that my personal style, clotheswise, leans very much towards the late 1950s and early 1960s, but the knitting patterns of that era aren't my favourites. By about 1962 everything's got quite boxy and plain, and I didn't learn to knit so I could spend my life in the equivalent of a school jumper! I do keep going back to this twinset pattern, though. Something about the shawl collar and bow on the cardigan sets it apart. They're quite dated details for 1962, when this magazine was published, but I get the feeling from looking at copies that Pins And Needles was quite fuddy-duddy for its era, and that its readers didn't want to look too up to date. Hence the slightly 1950s details.
I also found an ace pattern for a knitted dress. I know, I know, SLOW KNITTER, STEP AWAY FROM THE DRESS PATTERN! It'd probably take me five years to make one of the dresses. But I can just picture myself in it... and look at that beehive. Look at it! Can't you just imagine it knitted in a tweed yarn with one of my nice brooches on? I can. (We won't talk about the Fair Isle cardi that I still haven't finished sewing together, or the grey jumper I bought wool for and haven't even started.)

Finally, I have a little news on the burlesque front. I'm not going to be dancing in the troupe dance... because I'm going to do a solo dance! Yes, I'm actually going to be doing a proper performance, as long as I can develop a routine and polish it to Dulcie's satisfaction. (She won't let anyone on stage who's likely to embarrass themself and, by extension, her. She's serious about burlesque, hence has trained a number of people who now dance on stage regularly.) I am so excited about this. I'd hoped to be good enough for the troupe dance, but to be able to go it alone... the excitement! I will talk more about this as the time approaches. No spoilers for now.

18 comments :

  1. Yayyyyy for the solo dance!! That's incredibly exciting. I wish you the best of luck with it, but am sure you'll rise to the challenge. Will you make a costume or use stuff you already have? Best not try and knit a costume, you haven't got time for that ;)

    I buy winter stuff in summer, you certainly get some bargains on wool items when it's a 30 degree heat outside!!

    xx

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    1. Definitely not knitting a costume. I'm going to make one. It's only a student showcase, so doesn't need to be too elaborate, though I'm really keen to break out my hotfix gun and have fun.

      I have my name too: going to be Mai Caramba!

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  2. Ooh, how exciting! Good luck with your solo spot!

    There are so many moths around at the moment. I had a quick peek at some of my precious items and ended up swooning all over again at my pink velvet 50's coat ; I always forget how beautiful it is.

    I hope your dental woes have sorted themselves out and you're feeling better and are able to eat properly xxx

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    1. I'm eating semi-properly, ta for asking - I won't be able to bite into hard/crunchy things till I've had some more work, but at least I can chew things on my back teeth now.

      I really do not like moths. My husband commented on them yesterday, I was >< that close to flooding the house with insecticide.

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  3. Summer is always the best time for snaffling Winter stuff, some of my best fake furs were purchased off the £1 rail in mid-August.
    How exciting about the Burlesque! x

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    1. I do keep an eye out for decent winter skirts, though my local chazzas haven't put those out yet. All my coats were bought in the summer months.

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  4. Wow oh wow a solo dance go Mim!

    Ah go on start knitting it now that dress pattern is too fabulous not too.

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    1. You dirty enabler, you...

      Grey jumper next, because in winter I'm going to need it!

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  5. Hooray, a solo! Congratulations.

    I've been keeping an eye on the moths as well. I have sticky traps hidden around the house and (touch wood) so far nothing has shown up. It pays to be paranoid though-I've lost too many things over the years to the munchers.

    That lace is lovely, I;d hang onto it too.

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    1. I don't *think* I've had anything eaten by them, apart from a couple of tracklines in a hat (grrr!) but I'd rather take heaps of precautions now than discover I've lost things later. We seem to have had a sudden rush of them in the past couple of weeks, I think the summer heat has brought them out - and living in a woollen mill town, they're going to be a nuisance.

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  6. Will there be a DVD of your dance?

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    1. It's burlesque, Dad, so no! I don't think it's something you'd want to watch :-D I will get photos of my costume, though.

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  7. I always buy clothes out of season - get them while you see them, preferably at a discount! Love the photos on the knitting patterns, and your solo spot sounds very exciting - go Mim! xxx

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  8. Mim, dear!
    I'm so profoundly proud of you. To have a solo (in any art) is an amazing accomplishment, and I can't wait for you to shine. :)

    Marija

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  9. I smiled when I read this post as I've recently upped the protection on the moth front with Zensect. Luckily - fingers crossed - we've never had any problems, but I'm not being complacent as I've heard horror stories about moth damage from friends with vintage clothes.

    I love your Burlesque name, that's brilliant. Bet you're really chuffed about doing your own solo dance. Fair play - I wouldn't have the confidence to pull that off, so good on you!

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  10. Argh, dreaded moths! I found some happily eating a pure wool blanket a few months ago. Since then I've been armed with Lakeland's finest moth repellents and some sticky pheremone traps I've bought off eBay - the traps have only caught one, but that's still one less!

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  11. Oh my gosh, I know exactly what you mean about moth panic mood - I do that, too. I spotted two within the same week around the start of the summer and was darn near tempted to have the house fumigated (thankfully I was able to kill one and our cat took care of the other). I joke, but only slightly, given what a troubling critter they are. Hopefully you don't run into any more this year.

    Huge congratulations on the burlesque front. How wonderfully exciting!!!

    ♥ Jessica

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  12. That dress looks so beautiful. Chucking here about your "gothspent youth" . That's great that you are getting to do a solo routine. Hope it goes brilliantly! XX

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