Saturday, 12 April 2014

Novelty Prints: Old & New

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that I have an article featuring 1950s novelty prints in this month's Her Vintage Life Magazine. I really love the vibrant colours and designs that typify these textiles, and also their humour too. You can find some very quirky designs out there and this Horrockses Fashions dress has to be up there with the best when it comes to the unusual. I reckon it took a special sort of woman to proudly wear this dress with plates of foodstuffs printed on it:

I have a few novelty print skirts, which I wear out and about...

However, I've recently brought some fabric with a modern take on the novelty print: one featuring Our Lady of Guadalupe and the other liberally scattered with flamingos reminiscent of my childhood bathroom's wallpaper:

I'm going to use these to make myself some skirts using Sewaholic's popular Hollyburn skirt pattern, which looks pretty straightforward. Although I did read, after I brought the fabric, the notes on the back of the sewing pattern which state that one-way fabric designs aren't recommended for the skirts. Uh-oh.....

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Boot-iful Boot Sale

Monkeychild and I got up early today for our first boot sale of the year... can see that she's raring to go..or perhaps not!

Anyway, by now you'll probably have guessed that the above boots were the best buy of the day. I love boots and these two are smashers. The green boots are suede with leather and sheepskin trims; they've even got a lovely lacing detail at the back, Yet, one of the best things about them apart from how great they look is the Utility CC41 label inside each boot:

However, they don't fit my hooves, so I am gutted! But fortunately the black ones fit perfectly. Unlike the others these aren't CC41; although they're Clarks and even came with the original box minus the lid:

Its funny really as back in January this year Her Vintage Life Magazine printed an article of mine about CC41 clothes and in it I wrote some words that turned out to be rather prophetic..

...spooky eh?

And the boots aren't the only Utility that I brought today, as I also chanced upon this small Spode Utility teapot:

Its actually light green not blue!
These teapots are reputed to be excellent pourers, with their non-drip spouts and self-locking lids. I have yet to try this out for myself, but will do so later this afternoon whilst watching 'The Railway Children' DVD with Monkeychild.

Friday, 14 March 2014

H is for Horrockses

I was having a mooch last weekend on the lovely Vix's online emporium of gorgeous vintage delights aka: Kinky Melon's Retro Boutique when I saw this stunning Horrockses Fashions blouse, full of vibrant colours and flowery-ness. It didn't just say 'Buy Me' it damn well shouted it out! So without any hesitation dear reader, I brought it.

The floral design looked familiar to me and after a quick check in the Horrockses fashion lovers bible I realised that my hunch was right: the design was by Alastair Morton who contributed many textile designs to Horrockses from the late 1940s through until the mid 1950s. With its stylised botanical flowers and bright bands this blouse typifies Morton's early designs.

Funnily enough, I drove up to Preston in Lancashire late last year (home to both Horrockses Fashions and its parent company Horrockses Crewdson & Company Limited) to see family and also visit the city's Harris Museum. I wanted to do a bit of research for an article I was writing and knew that the museum has a permanent display about the company's history and also a collection of Horrockses Fashions garments. Coincidentally, the museum was holding an exhibition at the time showcasing some Horrockses dresses and also a very important discovery.

This discovery turned out to be a cache of Horrockses Fashion's textile and dress designs that had been hidden away for decades. It included many 'new' textile designs that even the museum's fashion curator wasn't aware of; all catalogued in a series of books that included for each design: a fabric swatch, a pencil sketch of the garment it was intended for and a studio photo of the dress sample. Something as rare as this has a commercial value so no doubt plenty of people would have been interested in it for the textile designs alone; however luckily for textile and fashion history fans and last but not least Preston's local history, this precious collection is now in the safe hands of the Harris Museum - where it belongs.

I found the exhibition fascinating and the detail in the pencil sketches was amazing, although my photos don't do them justice as it was a bit tricky trying to take them without the glare from the lighting obscuring the shot. However, enjoy the selection below and if you're ever in the area I can definitely recommend a visit to the Harris Museum.

(P.S. If you want another reason to visit Preston, it also has superb charity shops too as I found to my

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