Wednesday, 31 August 2011

How to be a Spiv


Wanna buy some nylons, lady?

Its easy, when someone asks you if you'd like to buy 'A suitcase full of nylon stockings' Say 'Yes, please'
These will be going up on the website very, very soon.

An added bonus was a trip to Lichfield, actually my first title for this blog was going to be How far will you go for nylons? (Ans 242 miles), which is my longest journey (driving) since i passed my test. It's a lovely small market and Cathedral town, the birthplace of Samuel Johnson of dictionary fame and has the only church in England with 3 spires.


the guildhall, it was a pretty grey day, but declined to rain while we were mooching about


Sam's house.


A small alley off Dam Street


West Front. dirty but that makes the details stand out


South door, as we passed the bell struck 3 o'clock, such a sweet sound.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Horrockses Dresses 1954

Two full page back to back adverts from Vogue Dec 1954. The first for Horrockses Fashions the second from the company who treated the fabric to make it so crease free.


Click for big.

Click for big.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Gas Mask Carrier & Handbag Patterns

Gas mask carrying in world war two was an intermittant occupation. In the early days everyone had their little cardboard box on a piece of string slung over their shoulder. The more fashionable had zipped leatherette cases bought for a few of shillings, or more expensive bags incorporating beauty sets or pockets for books, knitting etc.


Expensive bags suitable for Christmas presents.


This was produced by Elkes biscuits in 1938 when the first tranche of masks was issued to the public, presumably as a gift for those who had begun ARP work.

After a few weeks of the Phoney War many people began to leave them at home and not until the blitz began did they start to carry them again. When the blitz ended and raids became sporadic, many masks were put away and did not see the light of day until the flying bombs came.

Patterns to make your cases own are mainly of the type that have a lower compartment for the cardboard box and a small handbag on top

Pattern to send away for, Woman's Own June 1941.


Pattern for a gas mask case and handbag. Woman's Fair November 1939. Click for big.


Pattern for a gas mask case Ideal Home July 1941. Click for big.

Many people remembered the horrific effects of gas in the First World War and the fear was very great. In the end, thankfully, they weren't needed.


Mask, box and fabric case.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Some 1930s Oddments

Tidying up my archive folders and came across some adverts and pics which are
one-offs, but worthy of sharing.


Ann Sheridan gets ready for Autumn, Picturegoer Summer Annual 1939. Click for Big


Coronation 1937 Craven A advert, love the print and silly veil and the gents aren't bad either. Click for Big


Advert for Dawkins Dept Store 1935.


Cyclax Stockingless Cream. I was looking for this pic when I wrote Bare Leg Chic - better late than never.


Hollywood style coats from Marshall ward catalogue 1937. I love astrakhan trimming on coats hats and jackets. Click for Big


Informal (ahem - not much it isn't) gown from Marshall & Snelgrove 1937, for all those Coronation year galas and dinners.


Schiaparelli chooses Viyella fabrics for her designs, fab hat too.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Mary Quant eye candy

Some odd photos from the archive


Mary Quant in 1957, just married, just opened Bazaar.


Justine Lord in The Prisoner episode The Girl Who Was Death 1967


Early 60s dress with 1920s influence.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Bowes Museum

Last Tuesday armed with umbrellas, sunglasses, picnic and waterproofs we (ie me, the Mr and my Mum) headed up to County Durham to visit Bowes Museum as I had heard that there was a newly opened costume gallery there. In the event, umbrellas and waterproofs were irrelevant and we scoffed the picnic immediately upon arrival in
beautiful warm sunshine.



The museum houses the life-collections and of John & Josephine Bowes, 19th century serial collectors. The piece de resistance of the collection is the life-size silver swan automaton made in 1773 out of 30lbs of solid silver. It provides 34 seconds of total joy. more details here



The costume gallery is small but perfectly formed there are 5 cases covering 500 years, and also a lot of north country quilts. Other collections include European ceramics, musical instruments, paintings and toys. There are two very large and fabulous Canalettos.


The 20th century case, there was even a pair of Raynes on display. Click for Big


The Edwardian case. Click for Big


Beaded shoes by Fenwicks.


50s Undies. Click for Big



My outfit for the day - homemade dress from a pattern c1950, I made the skirt a bit longer than the original.


I got the original 50s fabric at the local charity shop for £1.50, buttons by Purplestevie at Specialist Auctions

And just to add to an already perfect day we discoverd some lovely ruins on the way back, which would have been the perfect picnic spot if we hadn't already scoffed the lot.


Egglestone Abbey in Teesdale


Homemade stiff petticoat made from vintage curtain lining £1 from charity shop as mentioned before.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Hollywood Eye Candy

Some favourite outfits from the 30s. this could also be titled Dresses I Have Nowhere To Go In.


Myrna Loy


Carole Lombard


Kay Francis


Joan Crawford


Ginger Rogers

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Bare Leg Chic

One of the great home front stories of world war 2 is that of using bisto gravy browning on your legs when stockings became hard to get. A good story but probably not a very satisfactory outcome, not being rainproof and possibly smelly too.

For fashion leaders going barelegged began as early as the 1920s and liquid makeup was available to cover pasty white legs when sunbathing wasn't an option. but for the middle classes going without stockings was almost as damning as not wearing a corset and it wasn't until the mid 30s that leg makeup adverts began appearing in the middle class magazines.

In Britain silk stocking production ceased at the end of 1941 and it was either rayon or wool stockings - often not fully fashioned, for the rest of the war or socks. So there were many editorials on leg beauty and the possibilities of leg makeup in 1941-1942, until this, in it's turn became unavailable.


Woman magazine May 1941. click for big.



Wednesday, 3 August 2011

How far will you go for the perfect cocktail cabinet or bar?

Impromptu tabletop conversion?

Ideal home magazine December 1951

A Woodmet trolley?

Woodmet factory c1960

A cupboard under the stairs?

Ideal home magazine December 1950

A corner of your living room?

Ideal home magazine December 1953. Click for Big

A loft conversion?

Ideal home magazine April 1955. Click for Big