Month: July 2013

Vintage Land: where people wear hats & tip them appropriately

I’m going to be up front: my personal style has been missing in action for many years. As a teenage Goth, I thought nothing of staying up all night to get my hair upright & black as jet, or spending an hour on make up.

Marriage, my conversion to Orthodox Christianity (with a good dose of modesty) and gaining weight – and being a busy mother – did nothing to encourage a return to looking nice.

Cardigans, jeans (at home only), full length linen smocks & pinafores… Not exactly setting the world on fire. Or inspiring my daughter to think its possible to take care of our appearance, have a sense of modesty & still be Christian. It’s a tricky one for me: but enough is enough.

I had a good look around the ‘fashion’ magazines and was completely uninspired. The style just isn’t flattering for a middle-sized pear shape mum: I can’t wear heels, I don’t show my legs or arms (mainly because I’m self conscious) and I like to keep my cleavage to myself.

All very nice but not at all ‘me’.

The images I found myself pinning and being drawn to were all ‘vintage’: maybe not the smartest ones of the 50s but even so, they were so much more feminine, flattering to my shape and… charming, I suppose.

I began to do a little digging around and found the adorable Land Girl blog and was inspired to call Edinburgh’s very own Miss Dixiebelle to arrange a hair makeover. Everyone knows if your hair isn’t right, nothing is right, right? And my hair was, to be honest, very very dull.

Of course, now I look at it & wish I was a hippy again… It will grow.

Now onwards to vintage land, where chaps tip their hats & ladies can wear gloves even in summer.

A Proper Party Dress. Part 4 – and dolly came too.

On the morning of her 5th birthday, Wee Bear woke to sun & clouds, as usual for June in Scotland. The party dress looked amazing – for the ten minutes it stayed on!


Alas, some little girls arrived & announced they weren’t wearing party dresses – after her big entrance. Peer pressure starts early, so the party dress came off & another, normal frock went on. I tried not to want to throttle anyone too much… even though my eyes were still bleary from the late nights of sewing. I’m happy it fits her so well.


Apart from a frantic time tracking down a bouncy castle (ordering the first one for July wasn’t a great move!) it all went as well as I had expected. Too many girls in a state of high emotion and after the same fancy dress and balloon caused a bit of friction. Who knew that being five was so stressful?

The big presents came on her actual birthday, including her doll: Lily Sugar, as she was immediately renamed.

I had spent a while the night before making a little party frock for her doll – I used a plain lined bodice pattern from the All Dolled Up book, then gathered scraps of tulle and net all together – using them as one layer was much faster and made the skirt a lot neater at the waist. Finally, I attached the soft Velcro strips – a normal width strip cut in half. It is only made from the soft loops but seems to stick together nicely and doesn’t scratch.


I’ve never seen her so happy to get a present: she hugged her close, decided she had a new little sister but – best of all – immediately wanted to wear their matching clothes. I can see many happy hours of play in our future (and sewing in mine!).