Thursday, May 27, 2010

Work in progress...

Have I mentioned this jumper before? Probably. This is the 'Big Sack Sweater' from Stitch n Bitch - The Knitters Handbook - The Knitters Handbook. I started this at Christmas and naively imagined wearing it before the weather turned warmer. All the pieces are finally knit up and blocked flat so I have begun sewing up the seams. Luckily the weather forecast for this weekend is freezing rain so it will see plenty of use!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hot town summer in the city

The sun was shining this weekend and nothing was achieved. Except a sun burnt nose. I'm so excited to have the whole summer ahead of me to cycle along the canals, drink beer in the park and BBQ on my rooftop.

I expect things will wind down slightly on the crafts front as the only portable craft I do is knitting and I just can't get excited about big jumpers when its 79F outside. In fact most of the things I do lend themselves to Autumn / Winter - Even jam and chutney making need to be done in early Autumn to make the most of the harvest. The summer is a good time for dressmaking though as its warm enough to wear all the lovely fabrics I want to use.

I'm looking forward to my one and only festival this year: The Secret Garden Party. My friends and I are having fun thinking of costume ideas. I'm planning on visiting a few markets / charity shops over the next month looking to enhance my wardrobe so am looking forward to sharing my finds here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Old Mags Part 3: PAY / Cinema Noir

I wish I could be black and white and wear pink lipstick. It reminds me of when you're a kid and you try to colour in the black and white drawings in your books to make them nicer? I remember when I was a kid I had a little hand puppet of a teddy bear which had a sad looking down turned mouth so I crossed it out and drew a smile on.

The sun is dazzling and the temperature is warm! I hope this weekend finds me at the London Fields Lido, failing that on a blanked in Victoria Park, failing that in a swimsuit sunbathing on the roof.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Classical Education

Second in the 'Old Mags' series of posts is this spread from Nova 197....3? I love that the clothes aren't really shown off that much, the photographs are more about the overall mood and story.

iphone + desk lamp + shiny magazine paper = not brilliant photos but you get the drift?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Breakfast at Liberty's

Another rainy Sunday so I took a trip into town to get some fabric inspiration for the 1950's style dress I'm making. My favourite London fabric shop is The Cloth House on Berwick Street in Soho. They sell the most gorgeous plain and simple fabrics - I love their selection of ticking and seersucker but they also have a huge selection vintage ribbons and crocheted lace trimmings. They have some printed cottons too - some floral but mostly with an Indian / Moroccan influence (I think?).

                                                  (Picture from

                                      (Picture from

                         (Picture from

For my 1950's dress though I knew I wanted something with a pattern.

My favourite place for patterns (and maybe my favourite place in general?) Is Liberty. Seeing all the bolts of printed fabrics in one place can be a little overwhelming and makes it difficult to choose just one. I've been popping in on my lunch breaks a bit over the last couple of weeks and gradually got some criteria for my pattern.

I decided my print had to be floral and I liked the idea of using shades of blue. I wanted something with a vintage feel but not too 'Stepford Wives'. Also the size of the print is important - most of the Tana lawn Liberty prints are tiny so tend to work better on smaller items. Because the skirt of my dress is quite full I wanted a slightly bigger print so it could be seen more clearly. If you're not familiar with Liberty prints, go to the fabric section of their website and scroll through the designs - you'll see why it's hard to choose just one!.

In the end I chose 'Betsy A' - The one in the top right.

Clearly this picture doesn't do it justice but I'll post some proper pictures once I've bought the fabric (payday). Another thing, I had assumed that they would all be dry clean only / hand wash because they feel so delicate and silky but no, the sales assistant told me that they are all washable at 30 degrees and wear really nicely. This makes it completely practical in my opinion.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The brothers gonna work it out

Once upon a time, many years ago, I had an idea. This idea.

I know. I'm a genius.

It's a shame it's died out, I really thought it would make me millions. I just haven't seen too many faces around lately. This is probably a good thing.

Newsflash: I'm thinking of taking up some kind of extra curricular activity. Something exercise orientated. I used to do ballet classes at Pineapple but I want something fresh. Yoga? Pilate's? Yogalates? Not the gym, can't afford it. Running? Nah. I'll keep this one on the back burner for a while.

Just a thought.

Hey when I was looking for dance related pics I stumbled across this blog: The Thinking Tank.

This is what I mean when I talk about 'aspirational style' - clean, muted and sophisticated. Such a nice eye for detail, check out the photos. Oh speaking of photos I got new batteries for my camera today - real photos will be back in my life once more!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reading Rolling Stone, reading Vogue.

I've got to get me some new threads. The situation here is critical. Yesterday I set aside all my tights and socks for darning (they all have holes) which makes sense - they're good tights and socks, they're the only ones I've got and I can't afford any more. I couldn't do it though? Too depressing. You know when you run your wardrobe into the ground to the point where you go to the shops and despair because one screen printed t-shirt from Urban Outfitters isn't going to lift the whole quality of your 'drobe and suddenly provide a myriad of options?

Anyway this month I've got to lie low (moving house last month hit me hard) but come pay day, you better believe you better believe! I'm going to get some black leggings, a big denim shirt, a boater hat, hopefully a shirt dress? A bra that doesn't rub and leave a permanent mark under my arm, socks without holes and pants that don't show through my leggings. New.Woman. Oh and if I carry on leaving off the cakes I might get some acid wash jeggins? I have a vision.

These are the vibes I want to give out:

These are the vibes I actually give out:

I don't want to stop acting like a dick though. Thinking about my old attempts at diary keeping this morning made me think about all my school day re-incarnations. Every term would bring a fresh look (usually inspired by whatever film we had last watched - Clueless mainly) but by the end of term I would turn around and be like 'damn, still me'. At the time I would think that no one could see what I was up to but I'm sure these attempts to re-invent myself were totally transparent, just like now!. Actually probably no one cared? Everyone was awkward. There was also a huge transformation which swept through the school overnight in year 11; all my friends who were into grunge and wearing boys boxers and glittery bracelets all the way up to their elbows turned up one day with braids, tracksuits, gold hoops and lip gloss and that was that. They were into hip hop from then on, no looking back.

I think maybe if you're not a super fashion person like me, but you have a strong idea of the style you would like to portray and how you would like to be interpreted, you can never tell when you're in the moment because you're too close to it? Like when I look at photos of my mum at my age, she looks so badass but when I tell her she's like, 'it ain't no thing, just a kids cricket jumper and a neck tie, they were the only clothes I had in my 20's'. Maybe when I look back on my youth I'll be like 'nice'. Hope so!

The images above were robbed from a variety of websites - my favourite are the second to last two of the girl in 'If'. Sick film.

Send the heat up!

Last night we watched Beaches. Somehow I hadn't heard about this film until now? This is the story of two best buds who are totally opposite - one loudmouth (Bette Midler) and one prissy snob (Barbara Hershey). Just like me and Kirsty! (JK) (kind of). My favourite bits are when they are just chillin' round the house and have to bang on the radiator with a sauce pan and shout 'send the heat up!'. And when they have little bedrooms with a window between them and sing Christmas songs.

Towards the end it gets sadder and sadder as they deal with the highs and lows of adult friendships (and death).

At the moment I'm reading a book about adolescent friendships: Dear Diary by Lesley Arfin. This woman brings the lols. It makes me want to dig out all my old diary's but at the same time also not? They're so embarrassing I can't look at them. Can't even think about them. There's a huge chunk missing from my main diary because I spent about 18 months chronicling day by day my progress with a boy I liked. So a 'good' day might be if we walked past each other in the corridor or stood near each other at lunchtime but a 'bad' day would be I didn't see him. Then one day I read back through all I had written and died of embarrassment. I think I ripped the pages out and burned them in the garden.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bigger than cigarettes

This is the first chance I've had to blog this weekend, the Internet peaced out on Friday night and has only just come home. So, the weekend in pictures..

So what we've got here is champagne and espresso martinis on the roof of Shoreditch House courtesy of a kind benefactor. Breakfast and the papers at the Hackney Pearl (again). Cumberland sausage, rocket and onion jam rolls at Columbia Road flower market. Coffee and more cake at Hackney City Farm.

I can't believe I went to a flower market and only took photos of food. So broke now, better start making my own coffees and eggs.

Oh one other exciting thing that happend this weekend, I bought my dress pattern and spent a hungover Saturday night cutting out the pieces and ironing them flat. I will make up for my lack of money the rest of this month by oogling fabrics in fabric stores on my lunchbreak.

If you want to get yourself some of this action you can do so here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Old Mags Part 1 - Today & John Bull

I'm still registered to vote back home at my mums so went round last night for dinner (Fondue and Rice Pudding). Same deal as always - arrive with an empty rucksack, leave with a full one. This time I also remembered to snap some quick pictures of the old magazines she's got lying around. I only planned to get the old Nova fashion spreads (coming later) but these old Today & John Bull front covers also caught my eye.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Girls keep swinging

My Mum just sent me this photo of her knitting.

Seriously how cute is this? She's knocked up a couple of these little 1940's jumpers from A Stitch in Time. Heavy recommendations for this knitting book. She's big into the swing dance scene and travels around the suburbs to find these little jumping parties in scout huts and village halls. I wish I could do this. I went to a swing dance class at the 100 Club (historical venue) earlier in the year. It was super crowded but good fun. The beginners class is quite awkward as there are never enough men to go round so the women have to form a circle and rotate round the room swapping partners, then every so often you find yourself on your own. After the lesson though a swing band took to the stage and everyone starts free-styling all over the place. It was sick. I got asked to dance a couple of times too.

All in all though I will add swing dancing to my list of 'things I assumed I would be brilliant at but actually require patience and practice.' Also on this list? Musical instruments, tennis and singing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nice going Monday

Yesterday was like being wrapped in a giant ball of cotton wool. It felt good today to get out in the cold and go for a walk down Brick Lane. Most of the market was closed but I haven't got any money anyway. Having said that I am going to pick up my dress pattern tomorrow and spend this week browsing and re-browsing fabric shops. I like having a sewing project and a knitting project on the go at once - sewing or dressmaking always feels like an industrious day time activity but knitting is a cosy evening thing to do.

Tonight I finished knitting the last piece of my jumper. I'll have to do some more work on it because one arm is way longer than the other but then can sew up the seams and rock out.

Back to work with a bang tomorrow -

On Thursday this week I'm going to visit me Mam because I'm still registered to vote back home (the polling station is at my old infant school in fact). She's making fondue after. Remind me to take photos of (or just take) her old Nova magazines from the 1970's.