Time to plan a vintage wedding

It’s a while since I’ve posted anything here and in that time some very exciting things have happened. But the big one is that I GOT ENGAGED!

On 28th December, as we walked off the usual post-Christmas over indulgence in a very snowy Peak District… Ed asked me to be his wife, and I said YES! (and cried, a lot). I’d never really thought about how I wanted to be proposed to, but at the top of a hill in the snow was pretty darn magical.

He’d also chosen the best 1920s art deco ring. Again, I’d never even thought what my dream engagement ring would be… but this is it. It is even inscribed with a date from 1928 and some initials. As with all antiques and vintage, I love the idea that this ring had a life and a story before it came to us.

After the initial floating around like I was on a cloud kind of feeling we’ve been full on into planning mode since new year. We were pretty certain we wanted to get married this year if we could, while also appreciating that these things take time to plan. We also didn’t want a winter wedding, spring was too soon and summer too busy. So we settled on October with no idea whether that was even possible.

By some miracle, it didn’t take us very long to find and secure our ideal venue. I mean, honestly, we totally lucked out and I am still pinching myself that we got it on exactly the date we wanted. It was almost too simple. Though maybe there’s a reason no one wants a wedding in October in the north west of England, the rainiest month! (Though to be fair, ALL months are rainy up here).

Still, I am superstitious about it to the point where I can’t even bring myself to write the name of the place here or post any pictures in case I jinx it and it all falls through. Plus, I’d like to keep some things a surprise.

So, the venue is booked and the registrar too. Which means we get to move on to the fun bit… styling!

The venue is quite period in style, naturally, so a vintage-inspired wedding is on the cards. Obviously, I love vintage clothes and history, so I’m keen to incorporate that into the big day but without it becoming too much of a ‘theme’. And, as ever, I’d like to keep it as unnecessarily wasteful and as DIY as possible.

I plan to share bits that I can as I go along to keep a diary of sorts to be able to look back on – starting with dresses (of course… this blog ain’t called ‘frock’ for nothing!)

How to find a bargain at vintage kilo sales

Vintage kilo sales are a fairly new way to buy clothes, but they offer a chance to bag a bargain directly from vintage wholesalers; something usually only available to trade customers.

Kilo sales are now popping up all over the country, with the likes of The Vintage Clothing Kilo Sale and The Vintage Weigh and Pay having a regular presence in most major cities.

If you’re used to buying vintage in boutiques and charity shops, or not used to buying vintage at all, then buying used clothing by the weight can take a bit of getting used to.

My first visit to a kilo sale was at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, back in 2013. What follows is my write up from that event (previously published on another blog), but I’ve been to many since and I still stand by what I wrote. I hope you find it useful, and happy shopping…

How kilo sales work

You pay your entry fee (usually £1 or £2) and grab a plastic bag, provided by the organisers. They usually stamp your hand on entry so you can come and go throughout the day.

Then you fill your bag with whatever you like the look of. When you’re done, you take it to be weighed at the tills and pay based on the weight of your haul.

The going rate is £15/kilo. This works out on average at about four items, but obviously you’re going to be able to get a lot more light things for your money than say a heavy leather jacket or wooly jumper.

Pros and cons of shopping kilo sales

+ It’s ridiculously cheap! At roughly £4 a piece, you can get a piece of vintage without the boutique price tag. Meaning you can save money or get a lot more items for your budget.

+ All the usual vintage goodness. You’re bound to find something unique and a little bit special if you’re prepared to hunt for it.

– It’s (organised) chaos! For my first visit, I arrived at the very start of the public opening (registered traders were allowed in an hour before) and it was fairly busy, but within 20 minutes the queue was out the door and pieces of clothing were flying before my eyes. There is definitely no time for leisurely browsing. But hats off to the staff, who ran a very tight ship.

– Measure your expectations. If you’re looking for high grade vintage from the 1950s/1960s or anything not made largely from polyester, this probably isn’t the place for you. The stock is mainly deadstock and recycled clothing from the 1970s, 1980s and sometimes 1990s.

I spotted a lot of damaged stock and things that needed work, so expect at the least to need to give everything a good wash and iron, and maybe get your needle and thread out.

My top kilo sale tips

1. Arrive early (or late)
Stock is replenished throughout the day, so you’re always going to miss something but timing your visit to the quietest times will give you a fighting chance of uncovering some gems when there’s a bit less competition. You can usually come and go once you’ve paid your entry so technically you can go at different times of the day for the chance to see different stock.

2. Travel light
On my first visit I regretted taking my giant bag and duffle coat with me, things can get pretty hot in there!

3. Know what you want
As well as rails to rifle through there are huge buckets full of clothes. It helps to have an idea of what you’re looking for, e.g. woolies, floral dresses, shorts, or key colours. This makes it easier to spot things in the sea of fabric.

4. Act quick
If you think you want something, grab it. As long as you snap things up, you can always put them back later. But if you don’t hold on to something you like, there’s a high chance it won’t be there when you go back.

5. Be polite
It can get a little bit competitive at times as people jostle to find the best bargains, but it’s important not to lose your manners.

6. Check before you buy
As I said, stock can be damaged (though often not beyond repair) so make sure you know what you’re in for before you buy or you could end up disappointed once you get home.

7. One last look
Someone picked up something I liked right before my eyes, but she’d discarded it later and I managed to pick it up, so it’s always worth taking a second glance.

8. Only buy what you love
With clothes this cheap, it can be tempting to buy more than you usually would. However, you might find later that you only bought it because of the price. Ask yourself, do I really like this and will I actually wear it? If the answer to either of those is no, put it back.

The result

On this occasion, I managed to pick up seven pieces for £30, a couple of which are good to wear now and some for fixing up and reworking.

To be honest, kilo sales are not my favourite way to shop, but they definitely have their place in the vintage world… especially if you love a bargain. If you like finding unusual patterns and fabrics, and don’t mind doing a bit of DIY on your wardrobe, then it can be a great/cheap place to source clothes.

Have you ever been to a kilo sale? What did you think?

(P.S. Apologies for the blurry iPhone pictures. Turns out I can’t hunt for vintage, carry a huge bag and take decent photos at the same time!)

“The Joy of Vintage” video: How to Buy, Wear and Sell Vintage Clothing

You may have noticed but I love vintage fashion. A lot. I buy it, I wear it, I sew it, I sell it, I write about it.

So it was only a matter of time before I made a video about it.

I am really happy with how it’s turned out, and am excited to share it with you… now I’ve got over the initial shock of seeing and hearing myself on screen, that is.

I hope you enjoy it, and please let me know what you think in the comments.

Video produced, shot and edited by PixByEd.

A few things…

I realised afterwards that my definition of vintage may not fit with everyone else’s and also I didn’t explain it very succinctly. If you’re geeky about that kind of thing, which I am, you can read more about how I personally define antique/vintage/secondhand.

I also wanted to say a HUGE thank you to the staff and volunteers at Barnardo’s charity shop in Cheadle, who let us film there with zero notice. They were so helpful. I love that there are lots of locations from my hometown of Stockport in there, including the 20th Century Stores and the wonderful Vintage Village, which is on every month and is a must visit if you’re in the area.

And finally, I’m working hard to get my shop stocked for summer. So do please follow the shop on Etsy or at the usual social media channels to find out when new stock goes live:

Etsy: frockvintageshop
Instagram: @frockvintage
Twitter: @frockvintage
Facebook: FrockVintage

6 reasons to love vintage polyester

Polyester, that fabric so abundant in vintage shops but with such a bad reputation. Sure, it doesn’t let your skin breathe like a nice cotton or linen would and it can cause more static than a thunderstorm… but I must admit to having a soft spot for this synthetic textile in its vintage form.

Polyester use boomed in the late 60s through the 70s and 80s, as did clothes manufacturing in general, which is why you find it a lot in vintage shops nowadays.

On one level, of course polyester is BAD because it’s not biodegradable and its production pollutes the environment (though so does the production of many natural textiles, depressingly enough). I’m not saying “hey clothes producers, hit me up with some polyester clothes like nanna used to wear”, but I am saying that seen as the stuff that has already been produced is here, let’s not let it fester in charity shops or clutter up landfill. Let’s bloody well wear it!

Some vintage enthusiasts have purposely chosen to distance themselves from this type of clothing. And that’s fine, whatever floats your boat, I say. But I have a little soft spot for the shiny stuff, and here’s why…

  1. It doesn’t crease. I am not well acquainted with the iron so this is a win-win for me! They’re great to just chuck in an overnight bag and take out the other end perfectly crumple-free.

    80s does 50s polkadot vintage dress

  2. It’s soft and shiny, like silk. Ok, maybe not like silk. But it does have a nice flow to it that flatters many body types, and it’s actually really comfy.


  3. It comes in a rainbow of colours. Man did they like colour in the 70s and 80s! Their prints are bright and bold, and they don’t fade.

  4. It’s easy to work with. If you want to play around with modifying a vintage dress, I’d suggest starting with something (cheap) and polyester. If you go for the thicker stuff, it doesn’t fray when cut, so you can even turn up and stitch raw edges.

  5. It’s in plentiful supply. This is kind of a negative into a postive thing, but the fact that there is shed loads of polyester vintage out there (most deadstock flooding the market is from the 80s) makes it easy to find if you want to add a little touch of vintage into your wardrobe.

    Vintage polyester clothes on rail

  6. And finally, you don’t have to look like an old lady in it. Just because a dress is old, doesn’t mean you have to look old in it. With a few nips and tucks, most outdated clothes can be given a new lease of life.

Vintage Inspiration: Beverly Goldberg’s 80s Sweaters

Sweaters. Jumpers. They have different names depending on which side of the pond you fall. But whatever you want to call them, when the cold month’s start to bite (and oh do they bite in the north of England!) I like nothing more than wrapping myself up in lots of layers of wool and acrylic.

As we head into the festive season, well, the brighter and shinier the better as far as I’m concerned! And if there is one era that knew how to do bright, shiny jumpers better than anyone else, it is definitely the 1980s.

One of my (not so) guilty pleasures is the TV series The Goldbergs, which follows a hapless family trying to navigate their way through aforementioned decade. The matriarch, Beverly Goldberg has some of the finest examples of 80s novelty knits known to man. Behold…

Beverly’s sweaters, and entire wardrobe in fact, is so magnificent that there is a Tumblr account dedicated to it!

I can only imagine how much fun it must be to be a costume designer or researcher on that show. This article on Glamour gives some idea of the sheer amount of eighties fashions they have to play with.

Want to recreate the look? Fortunately the internet is not short of vintage from this period. Here’s a few pieces I found on Etsy that wouldn’t look out of place on Bev. You can also check out the Frock Vintage Etsy shop for more fabulous 80s knits.

Vintage 80's Sweater - Beverly Goldberg -Purple and Black -Abstract - Saved By the Bell - Oversized - Plus Size - 3X

Vintage knit top, surfing waves sweater, retro 80s fashion

Pink 80s Cardigan, Vintage 80s Printed Pink and Grey Oversized Coatigan, Oversized Cardigan, 80s Striped Cardigan, Pink 80s Wool Cardigan

Vintage Beaded Jumper, Evening Jumper, Oversized Sweater, Floral Jumper, 80s Jumper, New Years, Party, Womens, UK, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16

Guest blog: The-Thrift.co.uk

upcycling-before-after

Just a quick note to let you know I’ve got a guest post up on Barnardo’s ethical shopping blog The Thrift, giving you some upcycling inspiration to take a vintage dress from drab to fab!

Giving old clothes a new lease of life is one of my favourite things and so simple to do, even if you don’t own a sewing machine. Let me know if you give it a go.

Barnardo’s Vintage Birthday Party

Last Friday, I was delighted to be invited to an after hours party at one my favourite vintage shops (and favourite charity shops), Banardo’s Vintage.

It’s an absolute goldmine of vintage everything – clothes, toys, books, records, homewares, haberdashery – hidden away in the sleepy town of Cheadle, just south of Manchester. It’s also my worst kept vintage shopping secret as I can’t help but tell everyone about it at every given opportunity (including you!)

The party was in celebration of the charity’s 150 year anniversary of helping children and young people in need, something definitely worth celebrating. The fact that it was basically a vintage lock-in only sweetened the deal.

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There were strawberry and passionfruit mocktails courtesy of the lovely mixologist miss Suzie Wong and the perfect vintage soundtrack on the decks (including plenty of Prince!)

If you’re ever in the area, I can well recommend a visit to the shop (look out for the shop manager Gemma’s incredible window displays). And if you can’t get there, they are well worth a follow on Instagram @barnardos_vintage for total vintage inspiration and eye candy.

Outfit details: Dress, vintage of course, from HOV on ASOS Marketplace

Vintage Knitwear Instagram Sale

Just a quick note to say I’m having a little sale over on my main Instagram account (@fiandme) tomorrow (Monday, 30th November) at 7pm GMT.

My vintage knitwear collection is out of control and with an upcoming move I just don’t have space for it anymore. And with winter weather creeping in, I thought it was only fair to share some of these lovely warm woolies.

vintage-knits

The rules

All prices will include UK P&P. First person to comment with a valid Paypal email wins and will be invoiced within 12 hours. Invoices will need to be paid within 48 hours of being sent or an offer will go to any other bidders on that item.

See you there! And if you have any questions just let me know.

MATE collection: When You’re Strange

When it comes to music I like it how I like my clothes; vintage.

So I was very excited when I saw the latest collection from MATE, an independent and ethical clothing label designing, knitting, cutting, printing and making tees all in downtown LA.

The When You’re Strange collection is inspired by the lyrics of The Doors, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, as well as some low-key, easy wearing pieces that fit very much into Mate’s laid back aesthetic. Styles include tees, low cut tanks and baseball shirts.

Twinned with lace, velvet, leather and layered necklaces for a distinctly bohemian seventies vibe, the styling is on point. What’s not to love?

Valentines Fashion DIY: How To Make a Heart Pocket

heart-pocket-DIY

Happy love day friends. Whether you’re partnered up or not (who cares!) I wanted to share a bit of sewing love with my first ever DIY fashion tutorial on this here blog.

I’m planning on doing more, so watch this space, but I thought I’d start with something simple… and heart-shaped of course.

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