Monday, 24 September 2012

Wimpole At War

Well, we're home, and what a brilliant weekend we had.  We spent it under (rather wet!) canvas at Wimpole Hall for their "Wimpole at War" event. 

Wimpole Hall is a beautiful National Trust property which is worth a visit at any time.  It was taken over by the National Trust in 1976 after the owner, Elsie Bambridge, daughter of Jungle Book writer, Rudyard Kipling, died.  The house is vast and beautiful and the gardens are impressive.  This is a picture of the house first thing on Saturday morning.  The blue sky is deceptive because it was a lot colder than it looks!!

Once a year, they turn the clock back 70 years and the grounds are "invaded" by re-enactors for a thoroughly enjoyable weekend of wartime fun. 

To be fair, the house was a bit of a disappointment from a 1940's perspective.  There were a few "rations" on the breakfast table, a couple of gramophones, a few period knitting patterns and some USAAF boots and a jacket but there was so much more they could have done and it was a shame they didn't embrace the era. 

However, outside was a very different affair.  There was 1940's music, the Suffolk Home Guard, the NFS, the Ministry of Food, a pair of Spitfires, a good helping of Woolton pie and so much more!  All enjoyed with friends old and new :o) 

Love those giant containers!
There was a dinner and dance on the Saturday night and, to celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary, my parents went along.  They enjoyed a welcome warming meal of sausage, mash and red onion gravy (Woolton pie for Mum), followed by fruit crumble!  Too cold to dress in their best, so overcoats were the order of the day.

Slightly "rabbit in headlight" look going on!  Think it was the camera flash :o)
On the purchasing front, there were more stalls this year and I came away with a green Tala biscuit tin (never can resist green!), some tasty National Trust biscuits to go in it (not sure they'll last that long!!), a Kangol CC41 beret bought by my Dad for C, some more knitting patterns (you can never have enough!) and "The Kitchen Front" cookery book from 1942 which was only 50p because it didn't have the front cover! 

The weather let us down on Sunday big time.  It rained so hard that our tent leaked and we had to pack up early!  There is now a van to unload and a tent to dry out.  Wimpole is our last 1940's event of 2012 - I'm already looking forward to next year! :o)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

1940's Hollywood dress pattern in Clydella fabric

Well, I've only been and gone and made another dress!! 

This one has been weeks in the making and to finally get the last stitches done and it photographed on "Doris" is a huge relief. 

Two years ago (time flies!) I bought a piece of fabric which was labelled up as Viyella.  Having worked with Viyella before and really liking the finish, I picked up the 3 meters for a reasonable £17.50.  It's a soft yellow colour with a small design of 1cm which is cream and brown.  The fabric had sat in my stash for months until June (told you it had been months in the making) when I finally found a pattern to go with it. 

1943 Hollywood pattern.
When I came to unwrap the fabric, I found that there was an original label on it that I'd not seen before (teach me to look properly at what I buy won't it?!) and instead of Viyella, I actually had a piece of Clydella.  If you look it up online, you might think that Clydella is Viyella's poorer quality relative.  Viyella has a 55% merino, 45% cotton content whereas Clydella is 81% cotton, thus making it cheaper and less "cosy".  The fabric was actually lovely to work with.  It didn't fray too badly or slip about, is strong and durable yet is soft and hangs really nicely so Clydella gets a thumbs up from me! 

The dress wasn't the easiest.  The instructions weren't exactly detailed and in two places just simply didn't make sense!! 

The dress has 7 buttons running down the back.  Where the buttons end and the two pieces of fabric get sewn together for form the skirt just didn't fit.  If I put the buttons where the tacks were then there simply wasn't enough fabric to cover ones modesty!  I stitched it as per the pattern, unpicked it and hand stitched it again, unpicked that and then, in desperation, decided to ignore the pattern and make the thing fit the only way it would which meant adjusting the seams.  I got there in the end and am very happy with the way it turned out.

Fitting of the pockets was also not easy as I kept getting the ric rac caught!  In fairness, I think it was far more to do with my inexperience at such things than the pattern itself. 

I loved the ric rac.  I bought the giant size stuff at my local fabric shop.  Having never before had a reason to look at ric rac, I didn't realise what a wonderful array of colours and sizes there are - I'm well and truly hooked and have already picked the next dress I want to attach some to! 

Trimming was time consuming, lots of tacking and pining and very careful placing.  There are two places where the two lines or trim aren't exactly symmetrical, and that bugs me a little but for a first attempt, I'm pretty pleased with it.

Enough waffling though, here is what you really want to see, some photographs!!

The belt isn't too big really, the dummy is just smaller than the dress - just realised it needs a belt loop so not "quite" finished after all!!! :o(
 I'm off to the North Norfolk railway this weekend for their 1940's event where I hope this dress will find a new owner. 

Autumn is very definitely here.  The evenings are drawing in and there's a definite chill in the air when Mr Y heads out at 7am.  Darker evenings mean more knitting time and I'm nearly half way through a cardigan which is being knitted in the most beautiful petrol blue colour by King Cole.  Should be finished in a couple of weeks, perfect for the colder months ahead :o)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Vintage suitcase finds + more corsages!

This is a long post with a lot of photographs but please stick with it because I hope you'll think it's worth it :o)

As many of you vintage wearing followers will know, sourcing original 1940's clothing is not an easy task.  We are always on the look out, scouring vintage fairs and buying from re-enactors etc.  Normally we have to "find" the items but, a chance meeting at a 1940's re-enactment, not one that we were trading at, a lady who had discovered some beautiful items while clearing a house, brought them to our attention and we were lucky to acquire them.

First up, a suitcase.  I've riffled through many a vintage suitcase.  Sometimes they are full of treasures, other times the contents are so disgustingly dirty that I have I worry what I might have inhaled!  This unassuming leather suitcase, somewhat battered and tired.......

was full of treasure. 

Please excuse the chapel pew that the case is sitting on.  We have 2 in the garden that came from Perranporth Methodist Chapel where my daughters were christened and they are somewhat of a project!  Back to the case though!
It contained;

A half finished dress.  The sleeves are sewn in and the skirt attached to the bodice.  All it needs is buttons and button holes (argh!!), a collar and then a hem.  Why wasn't it finished?  I wish I knew.  It's been beautifully made, neatly finished seams and the like so should be easy enough to follow on and finish it off.  The instructions are in the pattern envelope but sadly no pattern pieces.

A collection of vintage cottons and a rather complicated looking knitting stitch/pattern counter thingy - think I'll stick to paper and pencil to mark off my rows.

Some instruments of torture!  Well, in truth, some 1920's crimping irons but I didn't know that until I asked my Mum.  They are complete with singe marks from when they were heated in the fire before being used on someones hair.  The damage they must have done and the smell - it must have been terrible.

Two rather lovely knits!  The tank top has been feasted on a little by some hungry moths - thankfully it's repairable though.  The cardigan is beautiful with just a tiny moth hole on the front rib and a missing button - better raid my button stash then.  Someone has boiled it and shrunk it which is a shame for us adults but a plus for C as it fits her perfectly.  However, as it's pure wool, she is reluctant to wear it - I shall persevere because I shan't be knitting anything as intricate for her!

More knitting patterns!!!!  I couldn't believe it.  They are in lovely condition and I had been after an original copy of the Bestway "Gifts in Knitting and Crochet" for a while.

Apart from some seriously sharp sewing needles and some random 1960's buttons, the last thing in the case was a little clear bag stuffed full of the most amazing.........

Corsages!!  Just look at them, so very beautiful and each one different.  They are mostly done in perle cotton (thank you Ginny for help on that one :o)!) and each one has a thick green felt back with 2, sometimes 3 safety pins on - no fear of them falling off.  Some require a little stitch here and there and the backs aren't the neatest but, who's going to see that once it's on a jacket?? 

This very talented lady must have spent hours making them and for what purpose?  An artisan with a shop perhaps or simply crocheting for pleasure, we'll never know.  

I would love to keep them all, they were a real once in a lifetime purchase, but I'm being realistic and have only kept 2.  I figure that they have been stored long enough and clearly haven't seen the light of day for many a year.  I'm hoping they will end up with people who will love and cherish them as much as the lady who kept hold of them for all these years did.

When looking through them, I noticed that the Bestway "Gifts in Knitting and Crochet" pattern had been put to good use to make 2 of the corsages.

Along with the suitcase, I bought 2 dresses.  I don't normally "show off" the clothing that I buy but these 2 dresses, both made of moygashel, a linen feel fabric, are so beautiful that I thought you might like to see them.

Patriotic red, white and blue number with it's original belt!

Cute hey?!

This recent lot of purchases really got to me and it's because there was an actual person associated with the items.  I know that that might sound odd, but a dress brought to us by a re-enactor or purchased at a fair is a stand alone garment with no reference as to the original owner.
This lady, whoever she was, couldn't part with her things.  She obviously deemed them important enough to want to hold on to them for many a year.  Worn on a first date perhaps or for a special occasion or maybe, like me, she was just a serious hoarder!!  Whatever the reason, I know that I'm incredibly lucky to have them and will be a willing custodian of them until someone else comes along to love them! 

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Oh I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside.....

Well we've returned from our time away in Cornwall, and what a jolly time we had.  

Mr Y was born and bred in Cornwall, in a little village called Probus, to be precise.  I've always loved the county and had family holidays there long before I met my other half.  So many beautiful places to visit and such freedom and space for the little Y's to run around in.   

Sundays at home in Cornwall are my favourite.  Invariably, we head down to the beach to have a long walk before people start arriving to stake their claim on a patch of sand for the day. 

Last Sunday was no different and, up bright and early, we set foot on the sand at 7.15, the lovelies taking off at lightning speed to dip their toes in the ice cold Atlantic!  When the tide is fully out, Perranporth offers miles of beautiful golden sands, nothing like the stones and shingle offered up at our nearest coastal resort.  Mr Y, being raised so close to the sea, is a great lover of the crashing waves and so took the girls right into the surf – he could have done with being a little more suitably dressed, shirt and suit trousers not being typical paddling attire!

I’m not a sea lover and my shoes stayed firmly on my feet, nice and dry, thank you very much :o)  I have a great aversion to the seaweed that floats around your legs when paddling – even the thought of it as I type makes me shudder, daft I know, but a fact none the less! 

After the beach, it was time to head back home for a warm bath to “de-sand” before a beautiful roast turkey dinner and an afternoon of peace and quite.

Here are a few snaps of the day.....Blogger has done something funny to the size and order and I'm too tired to correct it :o)

We spent bank holiday Monday in Penzance where the weather let us down and we got well and truly soaked.  I bought myself a new umbrella, my other one having done that highly annoying turning inside out trick!  When I got back to the car, I some how managed to shut said new brolly in the closure of the boot – not happy!  I was quite chuffed though to see the post box that had been painted gold in celebration of the gold medal won by Helen Glover in the rowing.

I loved our time away.  I didn’t take any knitting with me so had an entire week off – a real rarity and a treat for my tired hands. 

As I'm sure everyone does, I've come back to Suffolk with a right bump and have certainly hit the ground running and have an ironing mountain to climb - I HATE ironing :o)