Thursday, February 23, 2012

Vintage tv

I have become completely addicted to two 1940s television series: Bomb girls (a Canadian drama set in a munitions factory) and Land Girls (BBC nostalgia exercise). Both make the work look a little like a picnic but the costumes are dreamy and I’m awfully fond of the characters. My own vintage soap operas! Yesterday we picked out some new glasses for me. As I can’t live without them we thought it was time I got some in a more vintage style. We were going to SpecSavers but after spending an hour and a half there, getting my eyes tested and being fitted with faulty then incorrect contact lenses, we went to a much nicer optometrist in Elwood. Two weeks until we pick them up! No sneak peeks. We also collected Kim’s new reading glasses – in a late 1940s / 1950s style. And he looks gorgeous in them. Wedding dress Plan C arrived. It’s my grandmother’s ball gown from the 1930s. Burgundy embossed velvet in immaculate condition. Wedding dress Plan A still hasn’t been sorted. Nor has Plan B. But it wouldn’t be a war wedding if things weren’t done in a rush. In other scary news – the bank ate our money. They assure us we’ll get it back in two days. In the meantime things are a little scary. Good thing we’ve stocked up on cat food! - Toodle Pip!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The girdle - yay or nay?

Well my pretty What Katie Did girdle arrived and I took it out for a test run. I'm not sure if it's a success or not. I couldn't find any reviews of it online so in the interests of sisterly support I thought I'd let you know how I found it. You can ride a bike in it. This is a must for me. Sure there are comfier things to ride in but it's not that bad. My wide legged jeans are certainly a whole lot worse. No drama in the girdle at all. Unless it's 40 degrees. It's quite comfy. Once on, I didn't really notice it too much. It's a bit like having a hug. Nice and snug but not restricting at all. You can certainly move around in it. The fit. I bought a size 16. I'm exactly the measurements they suggest for this size. BUT, I suspect it would be better if I were a bit fatter. I expected it to give me a smooth line under a dress and, to be honest, I think it bulges out a little when there's not enough of me to stretch it tight. Ha! A reason to put on more weight! Sitting down. This looks bad. I think the problem is the boning. It's gotta curve somehow when you sit down, and with my girdle it curves outwards not inwards, if you get my drift. Makes me look lumpy where there ain't no lumps. Sure, under a slip and a cotton dress who's to notice. But I got this to wear under crepe and I'm not sure that's going to work. The evidence. Well I never thought I'd be posting an image of me in my underpinnings online but it's helpful to see what things look like on a real girl - not a burlesque star!

Some of those lumps are my French knickers. Girdle plus French knickers = fail. Oh and then there's the issue of going to the toilet. I haven't got that one quite sussed yet!. So I spent the day dying for a cup of tea but too scared to have one! It can be done, it just takes time! Toodle Pip!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February 19 1942

My grandad (mum's dad) Keble Stephens spent his war laying telegraph lines and setting up signals stations from Fremantle to Darwin. Most of the time being spent in the middle of nowhere in Western Australia. During this time he - most illegally - kept a diary. While he was away his new bride, Connie, moved back in with her parents, spending only the weekends at her new home. She regularly sent him long letters and parcels of food. He and his crew were given 12 months rations then set off in trucks into central WA and headed north, sleeping in cinemas and shearing sheds on the way. They passed plains of 6 foot termite hills, deserts of spinifex before the river gum plains and billabongs of the Kimberley. They got about in shorts and not much else (41 degrees!) Spent their time shooting bush turkeys or roos for dinner or prawning in the billabong. They used their grenades to catch fish. Made cakes with crocodile eggs. Learnt how to throw a boomerang from the 'boongs' and 'nigs'. (In later years he annotates his diary to apologize for the terms, but that was how they spoke then.) They caught a Joey and kept him as their mascot. Came down with 'dingy' - dengue fever. Got up early and had siestas after lunch. Endured the wet season - no mail, no rations got through by donkey - but waterlillies cover the billabongs. Planted a veggie garden. Played bridge with the station owners. Were wakened by Japanese planes flying 'reckies' ( 'Tojo's hear! Wacko. No damage. 13 bombs') Battled the flies ('the flies are beyond belief. There are literally millions of them. They crawl into your nostrils, on your lips and into your ears. The moment a morsel of food is exposed it turns black with flies. What a joint.') Played basketball with American medic units. Drank beer in Darwin (pub sign: ' no beer served after 4 bombs'.) Eventually they moved on to Melbourne, spending time at the Dugout Allied Services Club - which I believe was downstairs at the Capitol Theatre in Swanston Street. War's end and he marched rough the streets of Melbourne in the Victory parade before finally, after weeks of waiting, caught a train home to Perth. - Toodle Pip!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day

Because it's not all about the wedding! We don't really do Valentine's day - though I did get a special bunch of flowers. But lately I've been thinking that I really need a love heart in my life. Look at Tuppence H'appeny, who made herself a special V day dress based on one worn by Ginger Rogers. I've been oohing and aahing over these.

I'm pretty sure I need something like this! - Toodle Pip!


I popped into the local florist on my way home from work. They're always lovely and when I popped in last year they were really relaxed and said they could get me what ever I wanted for the wedding. And what I wanted were water lilies because that's what my nanna had. Turns out I can't have whatever I want. I can have roses, gerberas, lilies or orchids. To which I say meh! But that's ok because mum suggested her old Fitzroy florist, Vasette.

They were super professional and will send me an email photos next week. I'm supposed to send them pictures of the kind of thing I like. Which is now giving me a headache because all bunches of flowers look beautiful! I'm a fan of the picked from my garden / shoved in a jar look. And kim doesn't care what flowers i get (apparently it's a girl thing) so now i have to make a decision all on my own... And you know how well that's worked for me so far. Expect a poll soon. Toodle Pip!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

1930s dress

Made from a late 30s pattern but cut to a more 1940s length. 30s dresses are really long! I took over 7 inches off the hem to make it just below the knees. I hand finished this with invisible stitching which I have to say is my best ever. Buttons are vintage from l'Uccello. Made while I was on my holidays. Very proud. Kim continues to organize his part of the wedding most efficiently. I'm still waiting for fabric samples before I can order my dress. Bit nervous making! And I'm pretty sure Kim is going to look more glamourous than me. Wedding registry is sorted. Must go to florist soon!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Just home from a crafternoon tea at the library. It was BYO and the ladies brought some amazing projects. So much talent and such a willingness to share and admire. I love the handcrafting community. I know that I wouldn't be sewing now if it weren't for the online community that shares their skills. It was awesome fun and all they could talk about was doing it again. Yay! Now so tired I could cry. - Toodle Pip!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nowhere near organized

My young man has been super busy with wedding plans. Busy researching, busy shopping and, really, because I've had a sneak peek, busy looking pretty damn natty. I've done nothing. I did just get around to ordering this:

Not the bra bit (much as i'd like a What Katie Did vintage style bra, the thought of shopping online for a bra before a wedding just fills me with fear and dread and I just don't think I'm up for that kind of stress and palaver). But I do need a girdle that isn't black. I'll be wearing a slip and all but just in case, I must still be ladylike and I'd hate for anyone to see my black garter belt. Plus, a girdle pushes you in and out in all the right places! Because we're busy busy saving for the wedding we're not shopping for anything else. But I think these 1930s style dance shoes are part of my future. Aren't they gorgeous! How Ginger Rogers are they?!

Toodle Pip!

Saturday, February 4, 2012