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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Restoration Project Part 2

I seem to have some luck find really old stuff, my best find of the week-other than the beautiful 30s wedding dress in my last post, I found a dress for $5, I though it was very pretty, but didnt think much more than that as was distracted by vintage fairs util I came to try it on. I had already told my mum it felt like very old rayon, like pre 50s, you just dont find stuff like it anymore as they changed it slightly over time because it used to mark easily in rain etc but the real ive away was popper up the side to fasten, and such a simple but very effective cut and an intelligent use of fabric patterns. I am sure this is a 40s piece and in mint condition! Looks home made but even home sewers had a pretty high level of skill with access to patterns that would set you back a small fortune themselves these days!

40s Floral Rayon Dress and David Jones 60s Jackie O Dress and Jacket

Super colourful print on the 40s dress, I am so chuffed with this one, and although the dress suit is not my size, someone is going to love the simple Jackie O styling!

50s Scarlet Velvet Circle Skirt Dress and South American Alpaca Poncho

Gorgeous lush deep red velvet 50s party dress with super full circle skirt and a vintage real South American Alpaca wool poncho, It has the best collar and tassels to close with heaps of fringing ans a cute little alpaca on front and back. Front my fabric experience I am sure this is alpaca wool too, its very soft and lighter than wool but so warm (not fun modelling when over 30c)
How cute is this little guy!

Chic White Linen Blazer

So this is on the plain side compared to my normal psychedelic taste in clothes but I like plain things for when just racing to the shops of something, and with a t-shirt and denim shorts this has such a gorgeous cut to it. Just really smart, versatile and comfy too!

Restoration Project Part 2

So how am I doing with my 30s wedding dress from yesterday? Well have a look at the water after it had been in there a few hours! The stains are still showing but much lighter but very hard to judge when wet as they look so much worse.

So to drying (after a work out rinsing it so carefully!) using my fold up washing line placed flat over the bath I let most of the water drip off over night.
Following morning I transfer it to hanging and 24 hours later its getting there. Its important you move it around well so no damp areas left, pretty obvious that one, but my most difficult part is next. I always like to learn new things so this has become a good chance to check out run by a 'master dyer' so have contacted them to find out what colour is best, and if someone like me could get good results, having little experience dying fabric.

After removing the shoulder pads I am probably going to re stuff them as padding has bunched up unevenly. Although I think I would try and use something a little more old fashioned like folds of taffeta rather than 80s style puffy stuffing, so a good reason to properly research old shoulder pads too
Looking brighter already, and my careful washing cause no damage or weakening-Hooray!

Thanks so much for visiting and your comments, and for more fabulous finds check out Sophies site!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vintage Dress Restoration Project: Part 1

Well the reason to get up early today was the LOVE VINTAGE FAIR held at Byron High School, not only was it a chance to meet some wonderful vintage sellers, see some beautiful clothes and treat myself to a little something!

A few of the best stalls....
First off with a stunning 60s daisy maxi dress is Tracy ( who had a beautiful selection including some wonderful 50s pieces(I loved the Hawaiian one) and gorgeous bags,one of which I had to snap up as my treat of the day (see below). Then is the amazing vintage sewing shop run by Julia, I found the cutest little vintage smocking book for $3 which I will send to my mum who is currently learning about making 30s and 40s dresses! Then finally for the fans of everything colourful, 80s and very well priced was the loverly Rebeccka of Trunk Vintage, although I love everyone there you do get the odd seller who likes to be bossy and talk down to you like you have never heard of ebay, overall there is a fantastic friendly range of different sellers and they have a few antiques too for the boys.

This is my little prize! So pretty and colourful it is really heavy, I think there are layer of other fabrics incl leather inside the bag.

The inside looks spotless! With its old label too! I dont think I have ever seen a bag quite like this. I just like unusual things so kept getting drawn back to this one (along with most people there so had to be quick!)
and finally, the good weather and promise of a vintage fair got everyone garage sale-ing! The first sign I saw I followed and found this stunning piece. A 1930s? silk satin wedding dress (the lady thought it was pre 1900,I would be interested to hear what you think as I think its 30s ish)! Okay it did set me back $40 but I'm a sucker for anything cut like this. It has only 2 small repairable holes in the huge train and is quite discoloured but here the restoration starts!
You cant really see it well, which is good, its just a light aging colour all over, a few tiny spot marks but nothing major. I have had a dress in much worse condition, much more fragile silk with seriously bad dark stains on it so thought I maybe able to revive this back to its former glory.... I am no expect, its been trial and error, and I never enter into it without fully expecting the worst case a)I will not be able to do anything with it. Its why pieces like the ones I have tried are good, a 40s majorette costume or old wedding dress would make the most amazing Halloween costume at worst, and people spend more than $40 on a new outfit for a partyand the b) If I totally destroy the fabric, say it shatters ( but I learned quickly with that one) then my mum would love to deconstruct it to copy the pattern. However I hope for more so step one:

Fill a bath with hot water and heaps of Martha Gardiner Wool Mix detergent. I laid the dress in the bath carefully, and although fabric and construction are solid, I would rather be careful and press it down into the water every hour or so. I pour some of the detergent into my hands and press it on to the more dirty spots. The hardest things about stain removal is not this part, its rinsing and drying.

Be very careful doing this, old fabrics do not have colour fast fabrics which is why best with pieces like this which are one solid colour. If it has a mix of different coloured fabric try and test a small area with a slightly soapy cottom bud (inside hem) and if colour comes away maybe leave it to your dry cleaners. It could easily run and stain other parts when drying.

Rinsing has to be done with as much care as possible, working down the dress gradually, I have a bucket ready to put fully rinsed sections in. Be sure to remove all traces of detergent else the fabric will not be as nice. As there is so much fabric it holds lots of water so will be very heavy, its best to let items dry hanging but when something like this its often best dried flat, at least until it looses some of the water. If a dress has shoulder pads be really careful especially pre 50s when you dont know what is stuffed in there and dirt can gather over time. If you have shoulder pads turn the dress inside out, dry flat over a line with pads hanging away from the dress so no water can run down and mark the shoulders. Dab as much water as you can out with a cloth too. Remove if possible.

Here is my dress getting a bubble bath...
Keep posted to see how I go (fingers crossed) and check back tomorrow for my finds of the week!
Thanks again for stopping by its always so nice to I'm not doing too bad, not for an ego boost,more of a business one seeing as I want to have my own vintage shop, as an ecologist its a bit of a career leap and when things are not going so well it stops me from giving it up and makes me work harder so thank you!!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dresses and Vintage Buttons (the best kind)

This week have been hard at work travelling around near and far and got heaps of colourful finds to share, the vintage fair is on next week but dont think my budget will stretch to buying anything there so I had to stack myself up with some bargain goodies to keep me happy...
50s 'Jonathan Logan' Blue Dress and 'B. Altman Paisley Dress

I love this blue dress, such a pretty shelf style bust and made of polished cotton, so shiny and soft! I am also chuffed with the B. Altman dress-they where a big department store in New York and they had a huge fabric department where you could pick out what fabric you wanted your dress made in-back when it was all bespoke! The second one of these in my collection. How I get stuff like this for $15 I do not know.

60s Cream Scallop Shift Dress and 70s Liquorice Stripe Ruffle Dress

I think both of these are fantastic, the first one is so girlie, and reminds me of Audrey Hepburn or Bridgette Bardot. Very fitted with thick textured wool, metal back zipper, its just the perfect winter dress! The next one is a rather dramatic collared dress, I just quite like quirky things like this, need to research labels but as normal finding anything on Australian vintage brands before the 80s is near impossible.

1930s/40s Wool Crepe Lace Trim Dress

Okay, one missing button (I have got heaps to replace it) slight fading around collar, and discolouration to lace (which is easy to retouch) and only slight remains of a label to show it once had one, my 5th pre 50s piece to be found for less than $5. When people tell me they want $3 for something like this you swear in your head, then want to head off quickly before they realise what they have done, even though that sounds stupid. Its always good getting home and looking at it all properly!

60s Floral Shift and 70s Apron Skirt

The purple dress is made of a very thick, almost linen like cotton with metal zip in back, the skirt is pleated so flairs a little, but my $2 apron is one of my top finds, just so cute! Cut longer in the back with ruffled edge and embroidered top, just wish my partner deserved cookies so could bake but still on strike.

60s Blue Pocket Dress and 70s Sherbet Block Mini Dress

Photos do not do justice to the little blue dress, its edged with white stitching and has pretty buttons on the pockets, the matching belt has no buckle just a tie so looks much better as a head band. The Sherbet dress is funny, looks quite old with a metal zipper in the back, I didnt think we got colours like this till the 80s but rethinking that with this one-it must be earlier.

80s 'Botties' Hawaiian Shirts

The lady told me that Botties back in the day was where all the celebs and rockstars headed for a loud shirt, and I picked up 3 for $10! This first one is my favourite, just as cut really long in the back. Just like I could see the pucci signature on my scarf across the room, I can do a similar thing with old Hawaiian shirts, and can spot the good from the naff a mile off.

70s Terry Towel Bikini and 50s Blue Pinup Bathing Suit

I have always wanted one of these fantastic old swimsuits (who hasnt?) but even 'cheap ones' tend to be over $50, so was very chuffed to come across this in mint condition! Summer is nearly over but got to give this a trial run before the hot weather goes.

..and the rest- Heaps of Colourful Finds!

A heap of fun colourful finds at a $2 garage sale, best ones are rainbow stripy cardi and the 'onion and pepper' print dress both in the center.

Spanish Leather Bag, Bambi and Brooches

The big leather backpack was bought by a lady in Spain about 30-40 years ago, its really solid and well made, with stud feet on the bottom and cute carry handle, I think its something to do with bullfighting but it will make a quirky handbag! Next my very own Bambi with some cute brooches I found. It belonged to someones Grandma-thats always the best stuff-and has such a nice face!

The BEST Chocolate Buttons EVER!

Okay these are so much better than glass buttons I got last week-a pressie from my mum, she told me she found them and didnt believe her! The prefect gift for a vintage/chocolate fan!
Blog done and racing to Byron Markets to get the AMAZING pizza Loca before they close. Hope everyone had a great week! Cant wait to check out the other finds at Sophies! Be there or be square as they say...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Vintage Store

I was chuffed to bits this week to find that someone had voted me on their blog at number 3 in their top 10 online vintage stores in Australia.

Top 10 online vintage stores in AU-

Thinking about the 'competition' out there (although we have a tendency to be very friendly because we all like vintage!) I was very impressed I made the list at all, I don't live in a city, I am very anti social and hate networking so have no 'contacts' and the only thing I have help with is my partner taking photos for me. All my friends are male so don't even think they know what I do!

I do want to have a beautiful little boutique store to display all my treasures but as you can see from my stock I am not really a minimalist. Not including the cupboard there are 7 huge rails (I have also taken over every wardrobe in the other spare rooms for my winter coats) so have plenty to go through when have slower weeks at the op shops.

The Stock Room

my little corner full of hat boxes bags belts and shoes....
Some of my best dresses in the cupboard arranged in date order. The 30s and 40s are my favourites!
1940s and earlier above, 50s-80s below

I can only hope that I make up for in my lack of chic styling and logos I compensate for with a really passion for not just vintage, but making someone really happy when they wear something. Beautiful presentation requires space and time so therefore money. I try to put all my efforts in to sourcing the most beautiful things. Finding the perfect dress that makes you feel a million dollars is rather empowering when your lacking in confidence (which happens to the best of us), I am trying to improve all the time and wrap all my store purchases in matching coloured tissue paper with matching bow. I remember all the ebay sellers who give that extra effort and always loved it. When I own a store, I want to give Chanel level service. I think we are all pretty special in our own ways so should be treated as such without spending 100s.

I know I will never be as cool and slick as some of the other sellers but I just cant be something I am not. I pick up animal s**t all day, dress in mens clothes and not sure if there are many zoo keepers who would even bother having a shower before work (it gets your hopes up of being clean too much) let alone have painted nails etc. Editing out all my bruises and scratches from my pictures is annoying enough! I know there wont be any fashion magazines interested until I get my act together but its a very slow process, starting with a $4 dress 18 months ago and going from there.

I named my store Je T'aime Vintage as my name Aimee comes from the French word 'aime' 'to love', so it just made sense! Plus I love Paris, I have been there lots but will never forget sneaking off from a school trip with my best friend and going for shopping and cocktails down the Champs Elysees before turning up a little worse for wear after hitchhiking back to the bus but totally getting away with it -Disneyland carried on the same when we cracked the child safety locks and sneaked out the window when the door was blocked by teachers (sorry mum if you didn't know about that).

There was also the 3-4 day INTENSE 9 HOUR DAYS shopping trip with my mum. It was during Gay Pride week and we walked past this French Cafe. They often have tables all lined up and facing outwards so can look at the street....
It was full of men in white vests, tight leather and denim shorts, all getting pretty friendly but in the front center row a very stuffy English looking couple totally oblivious (as had backs turned) sipping tea sat upright, I just wish I had taken a photo.

So thats a little bit of me, and I hope that what ever your thinking of doing, don't doubt yourself if you really love it because you may do better than you thought :)

Huge thanks to anyone who has supported me in sales, store plugs and telling your friends you have all helped my little underground business shine. Its really changed my life for the better!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ossie, Ossie, Ossie....

I have been having fun this week repairing some precious items and finding treasures forgotten (sort of). After buying a '1950s' dress off ebay for 21.50 at a bit of a punt as was badly marked and my heart sank when arrived covered in bright red ink marks and heaps of grubby black marks. After a bit of spot treatment with various stuff on cotton buds and a good soak its come out gleaming new! As a bonus it is a beautiful 40s piece with full set of buttons and totally original with full circle skirt (took me hours to hand sew the hem last night to secure it).

I also came across a little jacket I had forgotten about which reminded me how far I have come. I knew nothing other than the obvious when I first started out, it was my eye for quality alone that made me discover pieces before I knew of the label. I would always be surprised when I came across a piece I thought was special to find it truly was and it would often lead me onto finding out more about other connected labels too.

Anyway I had to list my these 2 special dresses-unfortunately not found at a flea market or charity shop (still dreaming one day....) before I list my finds.

Happy Birthday to me... well a little late but this is what I got from my mum! She has become a vintage hunter now, and a rather impressive one at that. Needless to say these are 2 of my most prized dresses, Ossie Clarke is one of my favourite all time designers if not the top one so I hope these will grown in number over time-dont think I could ever have too many Ossie Dresses!
OSSIE CLARK For Radley Moss Crepe Red Dress

OSSIE CLARK Moss Crepe Brown Maxi Dress apart from my 21.50 ebay dress these are my flea market finds this week....

GORDON KING 50s Style 70s Novelty Greek Pots Dress

Super cute 50s 'PIN UP' style top this is very unusual print, but very nice cut with nice cut to skirt in what I sure is rayon as hangs really nicely.

Vintage 80s KAMIKAZE 'Southern Comfort' Novelty Print Dress

This is such a cute little dress for only $2!!! You cant see the print on this picture well but its covered in abstract mermaids, guitars, music notes, fish on plates and flying pelicans. Really nice cut with a full skirt too-cant go wrong at that price but was chuffed with this!

ADELE Vintage 50s SEASHELL Bag with Lucite Handle

It may have a slightly chipped shell but this bag is just fantastic, 50s kitsch at its best. Otherwise this looks unused!!!

Vintage 80s/90s? Rod Alexander BLACK LACE Suit with Beads

Not heard of this name before, could find very little out but this suit is amazing. The skirt is super full and goes with so many other things too! A bargain find at Vinnies yesterday!

Vintage MALCOLM STARR Velvet FLOWER Applique Bolero Jacket

So when I found this little jacket for $4 on the childrens fancy dress rail I had no idea what this label was but I thought it certainly needed saving from certain death just because it was so cool, and it wasn't a kids size, but old ladies put my dresses through as 'tops' or 'skirts' all the time in charity shops so pays to be on the look out everywhere. I was pretty surprised to find out its actually a rather high end piece and in mint condition. The colours are so bright and velvet so soft, I want it to get colder so I can wear it! Always check fancy dress!!!

Velvet Layered 'CUPCAKE' Skirt

This has nothing to do with cupcakes, other than when I wear it I feel like one, I like dresses and skirts that do that. Not a cheap Barbie cupcake mind you but the sort you get in really expensive bakery's in the top streets in town when even the casing is decorated with ribbons. Although is verging on a gothic cupcake-probably with blackberry in it or something, getting off the subject now-but its a gorgeous piece-maybe modern but I dont care heaps of layers trimmed with ribbon that fades between pinks and purply blues and very nice full shape.

Vintage 40s IVAN FREDERICK Lemon Shirtwaist Dress
Formally trashed and now sparkly new, this beautiful dress is so simple but classic. Made out of a heavy fabric of what I believe to be Rayon its got a full skirt with gorgeous turn up point cuffs. Photos do not go this justice but it really is stunning. Yay for ebay and soap!

FASHION 2001 Book-1982

This is so funny, written in 1982 its the view on every top top top designer of the time on what fashion will be like in 2001. Interview each have an outfit from the designer to illustrate what they think it will be like. Needless to say-very 80s.

Vintage Box 'O' Pins

I needed some new pins, couldn't say no to these shiny beauties for $1.
Last but not least, after being instructed by mum to 'keep my eye out for nice buttons' I have found these sets, all glass, I especially love the yellow lattice ones with B.G.E Orig written on the back!

Thanks for visiting, and to everyone who leaves comments so thank you so much for your time!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A 40s top for $3.50!

I was never a fan of the cold back home, but the less you have of it, the more I miss it. There is something so nice about being rugged up big coats and scarfs. Taking a walk round a chilly park and watching your breath condense and getting rosy cheeks. Unfortunately the endless heat and humidity gave me rosy cheeks for a different reason and after getting re hydrated via drip at the hospital this morning from a dose of heat stroke I was not up to ironing this weeks finds (and I had a great shopping week) so will have to do with some of my favourites from last week and a few pieces from my collection, however it does include one of my oldest finds!
Lame Leaf FROU FROU Party Dress

Well this is my first 'refashioned' vintage piece. Not usually a fan of this, I would only undertake refashioning a garment if its badly damaged or just so ugly the no one would/should wear it as is and if that the case-it must be home made. I found this piece stupidly cheap on ebay and had been bought at a vintage store in New York. The top was just so unusual with a really textured lame leaf fabric but the skirt was seriously ugly. I chopped it in half, binded the hem and attached by hanging threads. I think its such a pretty piece now and very pleased with it.

50s Floral Embroidered RAYON 2pc Dress

Next this little 2pc outfit made in rayon and covered in floral embroidery. It had repairs done in black thread which I re repaired with a matching one and darned up 2 little holes and after a good soak it looks so bright and new! I love bring things back to life which I am part way through doing with this piece....

40s Embroidered Bow Collar Jacket

Found this in a charity shop, for $3.50!!!!!!!! However in order to score something this special-you know some ****wit had their hands on it first. The one who previously owned this beautiful little jacket had decided it would look much better with big plastic yellow zips shoved crudely into the sides-I really would like to meet them to ask what the hell they thought they where doing. I removed said ugly zips and stitched up the holes neatly and at double the price of the jacket, I have some matching original 1940s buttons on their way to me which I will embroider to match (4 are missing). The shape of this is so pretty, delicate shaping around the shoulders and the beautiful collar. Just to show how old treasures can still be found for bargain prices-just look past plastic zips!

RAZOOKS 80s Huge ROSE Button Silk Dress

This is one of my favourite pieces in my collection-A stunning and very dramatic dress from Razooks-a very high end dress maker in New York (now closed) This piece is made of thick and luscious ribbed silk with heavy hem to give it a very couture look . The buttons are huge-over 1.5" and with a perfectly fitted bodice. It is just so simple, but 'out there' at the same time. Its thick long sleeved dresses like this which just make me crave winter to come back!

Hope you have been having a great week and thank you to everyone for popping by!

For more great flea market finds visit (and even add yours) to Sophies page!