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Miss Dress-Up

Hey, Internet! Happy Valentine’s Day! Sorry, I’m not grinch enough to say I don’t like any and all excuses to be celebratory and I’ve been happy to find dog-featuring valentines hidden all over the house today – some attached to chocolate, some to flowers, some to magazines.

Moving on – during Friday’s Art Crawl, I picked up a Colette Pattern from Needlework.

It says BEGINNER on the front and the instructions look straightforward enough so today I cut a tissue-paper Peony dress.

Over the weekend, I snapped up a few meters of fabric from Value Village to practice on (tip: if you lack faith in your sewing abilities, I strongly recommend this. Value V has tonnes of fabric and you can get 2-3 M for $3. Much cheaper, and less heart-breaking, than making your mistakes on the good stuff). If I can get that out of the way this weekend, I’m going to pick up an Ikat-esque fabric Needlework carries and start the real deal next week.

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Holiday Prep!

I spent yesterday working on a custom order. A National Parks wallet.

This shot was a little premature. By the end of the day, I had it stained and lined so all that’s left this afternoon is stitching.

I’ve also got a group of Christmas orders on the slab for next week – some belts and a mandolin strap – if you want to check back then for pictures of the progress on them.

Finally, I have to flash my new holiday dress. While getting ready for the Hamilton Arts Council auction on Tuesday, I realized I didn’t feel like wearing any of the dresses in my closet and stopped by White Elephant.

I’m not exactly flush with cash right now so I debated going out and buying anything new, but eventually decided to do it because maybe “auction dress” could double as “holidays 2011 dress.”

I’m sooooooo glad I went when I did because this sucker is made of magic and would not have hung around the store long. Can you believe three girls tried it on at the vintage sale in Ottawa and left without it?

I have owned two pieces of clothing in my life that were so beautiful, complete strangers would stop in their tracks (on a daily basis) to gush over them. One was a tie-dyed summer dress I got at Le Chateau when I was 16 and one was a fun fur/velvet purple princess coat I got in Kensington Market when I was 19.

Both seemed to float around under their own power – I was invisible, beside the point. Passers-by were helpless against them. They had to props me. Do you have any clothes like that? Where the wearer is incidental to the wearing because the worn is so incredible on its own?

This dress joins those other pieces – the sundress and the coat – in the closets of my past to form a trifecta of sartorial sorcery. Sooooo many people commented on it. So many. And, of course, no one was surprised to hear where it came from.

I’ll tell you what I told them – this little number was one of about a dozen I tried on at White Elephant and they were all awesome, so if you’re in need of a party dress this season and you head down to James Street NOW, you might get lucky.

PS – I could not get a full photo of this dress to save my life, but you get the picture. Pun intended.

PS Part II – Thanks to the Hamilton Arts Council for a great night on Tuesday!

 

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Ms. Dress-Up

I can’t even remember what I’ve posted on here lately and what I haven’t.

Here’s a new-ish cuff…

Here is a glorious dress I recently bought on Etsy.

When am I going to wear this thing? Oh you know, as soon as I get an invitation to…ummm…a party via fantasy time machine that’s dialled to The Great Gatsby? I have no idea, but just look at it! And it was soooooo well-priced. And just my size! It would have been a spit in the eye of fate NOT to buy it. A crime against the cosmos. Certainly unfair to super sweet seller, Nod to Mod Vintage, who wanted me to have it.

Maybe I’ll use it as a day dress. For around-the-house activities and dog walks and whatnot. Too much? Is it too late for me to try debutante-ism? I’d argue it isn’t as I don’t think I’ve technically “reached the age of maturity”, but I don’t think I’d be southern enough to try even if I wanted to.

Should I open a swinging piano/jazz bar? Learn to sing smoky ballads in a warbling tin-can radio voice?

Come on Internet – how can I restructure my life to work this outfit into daily rotation?

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Big Business

All right, so I didn’t wake up Monday morning intending to maybe kind-of-sort-of start another business-ish venture. But it happened.

Some back story…

I’ve been wearing second-hand stuff for as long as I’ve been around. It happens when you have boatloads of older siblings and cousins and it happens extra hard when you were a teenager in the 90s.

Point is I’ve known a lot of really amazing vintage clothing in my day. And I’ve had to say goodbye to my fair share of pieces as well – pieces that I:

– Loved, but no longer wore.

– Never wore though I thought I would.

– Bought despite the dress being 10 sizes too big or small because I thought I would learn to sew.

– Bought despite the pants being 10 sizes too big or small because I thought I would take them to a tailor.

– Bought despite the shirt being 10 sizes too big or small because I couldn’t handle the thought of walking away from such a sweet score even if I would never be able to use it for anything other than a tent.

And as much as it gladdens (If “sadden” can be a word I don’t see why “gladden” can’t) me to imagine that someone will snag my own former finds at Value Village, or Goodwill, or Sally Ann, and thrill to such a sweet kill in the second-hand clothing hunt, it’s hard to say goodbye. How does one say goodbye? Forever? To things one has had longer than some friends?

Goodbye dear outfits! It’s not that I don’t love you anymore. It’s just that, for whatever reason, I feel we’ve run our course. I can’t explain it. Don’t let me cheapen things with words. Let me just say thank you for the good times. To you, tight bellbottoms, for that St. Patrick’s Day when the paremedic hit on me. To you, repurposed skirt, for covering my rear as I trekked across Europe. To you, legions of baseball T’s, for being sporty and sexy through thick and thin. To you, printed polyester buttondowns, for making me feel that much closer to Siamese Dream-era Billy Corgan. And to you tie-dyed sundress…I…I think I’ll miss you most of all.

I wish I could be there with you when you go for good, to ensure that the thrifter who finds you loves you as well as I did. I wish I could adopt you out like a Cabbage Patch doll, with papers and promises and certificates, but alas! This is not the way of things and we must be brave…



Or must we?

Rare Bird Vintage. Strut my stuff.

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