Category Archives: vintage

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

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.

Happy 2015!

Hello pretty. Well it’s been a while since I updated this here blog hasn’t it? Halloween in fact, crikey! I hope you had an awesome Christmas and new year. Mine was fairly quiet and chilled, with lots of good food and drink, and plenty of quality time with family and friends, which is really what Christmas is about for me.

It also gave me a chance to sit down and take stock of what I really want to do with my life (serious stuff, huh?)

Now it’s the start of the new year. I have a bucket load of good intentions, lots of ideas and something resembling a plan. What more does a girl need?

My focus this year is on living honestly, independently and creatively – basically doing more of what I LOVE. One area where I plan to channel that is through my business and blogs.

My plan behind this blog, as well as having a place to write about what I love (one of my aims is definitely making more time for that), has always been to start up my own vintage and fashion business. That’s a big thing to put out there; I don’t have much ‘arts’ or fashion training, I’ve not even worked in fashion retail… but I know vintage, I’ve spent years learning sewing and dressmaking skills, I’ve been selling handmade for a few years, and boy can I style an outfit! (I also have a whole heap of business skills from my day job in marketing for a business organisation, so I’m not exactly going into this blindly). So that’s my main focus of this year – getting this here thing off the ground.

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What you can expect from the blog…

Frock has always been more than just about selling clothes for me. I really want to share the love for secondhand and vintage clothing, promote their benefits as a sustainable option, and teach others how to rework their wardrobes.

This year you can expect more inspiration posts and DIY tutorials (maybe even videos?), a peek at what I’m making, and dispatches from the best vintage shops and fairs I visit (I visit a LOT!)

Plus, you’ll be the first to know when the online shop is open.

You can check back here or follow on Twitter or Instagram for updates.

Can I ask a small favour?

In order to make this idea a reality, I’d really love to know what you think. Are you a vintage expert or does it intrigue and terrify you in equal measure? Do you sew your own clothes or would you love to learn?

If you could spare five minutes to answer a few questions that might help shape my business and this blog I’d be ever so grateful!

Thanks, and happy 2015!

Vintage Shopping in Amsterdam

This summer I went on a little birthday holiday to Amsterdam and I absolutely loved it. One of my main motivations for going there, other than it being beautiful, cultural, laidback and easy to find my way around, was that it has an infamous vintage scene (ok, maybe not as infamous as that other scene, but still pretty prolific).

That’s me in the kitchen of my gorgeous AirBnB apartment, hallo!

brouwersgracht-kitchen

I wanted to round up some of the best vintage places I visited, so if you’re visiting soon you know where to start looking to get your vintage fix. I’ve tried grouping them by ones that are near to each other so if you’re there and you see one, you know to look out for the others.

It’s pretty image heavy, so read more under the cut… Continue reading

What I Wore: Reworked Watercolour Dress

One of my favourite things about reworking and updating vintage clothes is hunting for the perfect new project to work on. There are a few things that make me pick a dress over all the others. A unique detail or an unusual pattern are the key things, but if you find a piece of clothing that is well-constructed it is all the better.

I picked up this frock from St Ann’s Hospice in Stockport for a whole £8. I just loved the abstract watercolour like floral print, but also it is really well made, with a bit of structure in the corset and a nicely gathered waist.

watercolour-dress-before2

Somebody had already shortened it at some point, saving me a job, but there was still some work to do. Those big puffy sleeves were a bit too 1980s prom/bridesmaid dress for me.

I had two choices here, to reduce the sleeves or remove them completely. I went for the latter as I wanted to make the dress as simple as possible and let that lovely fabric take centre stage.

Removing sleeves is one of the simplest things you can do to transform a dress, but it’s not always quite as straightforward as just unpicking a sleeve and creating a hem. You often need to reduce the armholes and, because this dress was a little too big for me on top I needed to reduce the amount of fabric in the top half.

watercolour-dress-modification

I also chose to create a facing, rather than a visible hem, but fortunately there was more than enough fabric in those sleeves to create one.

The result is a rather nice little summery dress which I wore for my birthday meal.

watercolour-dress-after

What I wore: Reworked Lanz Originals vintage dress / Gold bow necklace, Ladybird Likes / ASOS sandals (last year)

What do you think? Do you modify your own clothes or would like to learn? I’m thinking of sharing some tips on the blog of simple alterations you can do. Let me know in the comments below if there’s anything you’d like to see.

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