Fresh as a Daisy in Retrolicious Vintage Repro

retrolicious nostalgia dress fresh as a daisy the artyologist

At first, brown, mustard yellow and cream do not seem to be a summer colour palette, but then I looked out into my garden and saw a patch of daisies blooming. It turns out that it is a summer palette after all! ūüôā

This is the new dress that I mentioned last week, and it is my first vintage reproduction dress! Living in Alberta, which isn’t exactly a major centre for vintage style boutiques, I had never come across a shop that sold vintage reproduction. I have never had much luck shopping online either, and for things like dresses, which need to fit well, it was always just too much of a gamble. Then, a few weeks ago, while shopping on Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue, I discovered this little shop called Rowena. Rowena is a “clothing, accessory & household item store specializing in pinup, rockabilly, psychobilly, tattoo and alternative cultures.” As soon as I walked in the door, I was in heaven. Seriously, my mom and sister who were with me, can attest that I was like a kid in a candy store. Never have I ever seen such a large and fabulous selection of vintage reproduction in one place. All of the items they have in store, are available in their amazing online store Retro Glam, if you would like to check it out. Anyways. I did find a few lovely items, and actually it is amazing that I came home with my bank account intact! I’ll be back for sure, though.

retrolicious dress daisy the artyologist

I was so excited to wear this dress; I wore it the very next Sunday. It is the Nostalgia dress by Retrolicious. I had never heard of Retrolicious before: it is a sub brand of Folter clothing “made in the USA”.

I can’t really attest to the quality of the dress, as I have only had it for a couple of weeks, and I haven’t washed it yet or anything, but I love it so far. When we were in a different shop that same day, the salesperson told me that the dresses they were selling were “couture dressmaker’s fabrics, not just regular old cottons”. When I looked at the tag, they were 57% polyester/ 43% cotton blends. I’ll take the cotton please. ¬†Thus, I love that this dress is 100% cotton, and cut on the bias, which gives it a comfortable amount of stretch without containing any spandex/polyester/nylon. ¬†I don’t know about you, but I just hate synthetic fabrics. I mean, sometimes they are fine¬†for certain garments, and I do own some myself, but I just hate the fact that there is such an abundance of synthetics in every piece of clothing you find, it seems. Maybe this is just an irrational fear I have of synthetics, tracing back to the time when I was a child and my mother told me that nylon melts. I was scared to wear my nylon pants for years. Anyways, that was a bit of an aside. . . where were we. . .

The dress! It is lovely, comfortable and breathable (it was a hot day, when I wore it) and it has pockets too; I never think to put pockets in my dresses, but really they are the best! Basically this dress is a winner, it is my new favourite, and now that I know where Rowena is, and I know what size I am in several other repro brands, I may never have any money ever again. . .

(PS: After I had finished¬†dressing, I realized that the accessories in this outfit are¬†exactly what I paired with my outfit for Easter Sunday- the straw purse, brown sandals, and cream coloured hat. Even the pearls are the same. What can I say? If you’ve got a good thing going. . .¬†)

(PPS: Another quick note: I do know that cotton, unless it is organic, contains a whole host of other environmental problems, ūüôĀ but as it is difficult to find organic cotton material and clothing, when faced with a choice, I will choose cotton, as it is still a natural and biodegradable fibre, rather than¬†a man made fibre.)

Edited a couple of years later to add a review on how this dress held up:

I wore this dress quite a few times, but one thing I did notice is that the circle skirt ended up stretching out of shape. This happens when a bias-cut skirt hasn’t been hung for long enough before being hemmed. Often modern garments aren’t hung at all, but are hemmed right as the garment is being assembled, without allowing for drooping. I had hoped that, for the price tag of this one, that wouldn’t be the case but sadly it did end up a bit out of shape. Since the dress was on the short side for me (I’m 5′ 6″ and it hit at the knee, and I prefer below the knee) I decided against re-hemming it, and ended up selling it at a discount. In case you are interested in purchasing from Retrolicious, keep this in mind if the style you are looking for is a circle skirt. Other than that, the dress was very well made and held up well in the wash (I washed on cold, and hung to dry).¬†

Outfit Details:

Dress- Retrolicious, Nostalgia Dress (not available any more it seems, but they have many others!)

Purse: Vintage from a thrift store

Hat: Vintage from an antique sale

Shoes: Franco Sarto from a few years ago

Earrings: Joe Fresh from a few years ago

Necklace: Pearls; a gift from my parents!

retrolicious dress the artyologist

daisies the artyologist

retrolicious by folter nostalgia dress the artyologist

retrolicious nostalgia dress by folter fresh as a daisy the artyologist

retrolicious dress folter clothing the artyologist

Photographic Memory: Doors of England

Doors of England the artyologist

Happy Canada Day!

On this most momentous Canadian holiday, I am marking the day by posting. . . nothing to do with Canada. Whoops! Oh well, I’ll be celebrating the day in some patriotic way I suppose (though I will NOT be dressed in Red and White- as the colour red makes me look ill!) Last week I realized that exactly one year ago, I was in England on summer holidays with my family. And, I actually spent Canada Day last year in Stratford-Upon-Avon, doing nothing patriotic either. As much as I love Canada, I guess I am just not a patriotic celebration kind of person.

Anyways, time does really seem to fly by, as it really doesn’t seem like a year ago, and yet the calendar says so . . . Sigh, at least I have these pictures to remember the trip by.

I was looking through all the pictures again, and I thought- why not share some of them here on the blog? I didn’t before, because I wasn’t blogging last year! I have these and tons of other photographs that I’ve never shared or done anything with, so I’ve decided that I’m going to start a little column here called “photographic memory” where I’ll periodically share old photographs of mine. (get it. . . ¬†photographic memory? hahaha. . . ) They might not necessarily be related to anything, but it’ll be nice to do something with them ¬†ūüôā

So today, in anniversary of that trip one year ago- I present¬†to¬†you “The Doors of England”. Obviously this is not an exhaustive directory, it’s more like “The Doors of Stow-on-the-Wold”, the village where we stayed for 10 days in¬†a little cottage. It was a lovely area, in the Cotswold region of England, and the¬†loveliest¬†thing about it is that because it is an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” (so classified by the British government) it attracts a lot of tourists, and so¬†everything in the area is quite historic and photogenic ūüôā The majority of the buildings are made of “Cotswold limestone” and even the new construction is built to¬†suit¬†the same style. Pretty much everywhere you look there is another beautiful photo opportunity! As a lover of history, I absolutely adored Stow, and the whole Cheltenham area, and I would definitely recommend it to everyone.¬†Coming from western Canada, where we are lucky to find a building that is 100 years old and not fallen to the ground, it was so fantastic to see all of these ancient buildings that are still in use, and still being lived in. The front doors were such a fabulous part of the town as each one was so different and unique.

Can you imagine walking out your front door each day if it looked like these?

I loved the one above, which was the front door to the cottage across the road from where we stayed. It reminded me of a face, and it was so short that the man who lived there had to stoop to walk through it! I also love the ones covered in vines, but really I couldn’t choose . . .

Which one is your favourite?

green doors of england the artyologist

collage of doors of england the artyologist

two doors of england the artyologist

doorknob england the artyologist

white doors of england the artyologist

blue door of england the artyologist

two doors, with vines the artyologist

doors of england the artyologistpriory studio england the artyologist

doors with windows england the artyologist

door with vines, the artyologist

An Almost Vintage Skirt of Recycled Fabric

an almost recycled skirt of vintage fabric the artyologist

This¬†could also be titled¬†as “The World’s Easiest Skirt Pattern”. ūüôā¬†When I sewed up my dutch wax print skirt, and refashioned my black floral, I realized just how much I love pleated skirts. After completing Me Made May, I decided that I needed more of these skirts in my life as they are so easy to wear, and are comfortable and practical for everyday. When I was deciding what fabric to use, I remembered¬†this vintage sheet I picked up a a flea market a couple of months¬†ago, so I decided to recycle the fabric into a skirt. I absolutely love the pattern on the fabric- is it just me or were vintage linens so much nicer than today’s?

skirt construction the artyologist

I used the same easy method as the other skirts, which pretty much involves creating a curved waistband to fit your waist measurement, plus seam allowances. I have found that a slightly curved band is better than a straight rectangle, as bodies are typically not straight,¬†so¬†if it is curved in, the waistband will not gape on you. I didn’t use a pattern for this, I seriously just “eyeballed” the curve for this band and traced to create a mirror image for both sides. To this, I cut a front and back rectangle, and pleated it into the waist circumference (no real math at play, just pleating and fiddling until it fit!)¬†To create something different, so all of the garments in my wardrobe are not exactly the same, I decided to add ties to the waistband this time. I think they give a bit of a fun twist. I sewed the two ties separately, and then inserted them between the zipper (which I had saved¬†off another garment, hence the title of this post) and the waistband when sewing them together. Thus, the raw edges were encased, and the ties wrap around to the front. The skirt took me only about 4 hours start to finish. Well, not including the time that it took to cut the material, I guess. When I went to lay out the fabric, I discovered that somewhere along the way someone had used this sheet as a dropcloth or something, and there was orange paint splattered across¬†it! I had to do some strategic measuring and cutting to avoid all the splatters- but it was successful, as none of the paint shows on the final garment! The joys of vintage material I guess. ūüėČ I actually love projects like this as they recycle something¬†that would otherwise be discarded. The skirt turned out nicely and qualifies as a Make do and Mend garment, I think, as well as almost being vintage, as the materials to make it were. . .

waistband detail the recycled skirt the artyologist

So, onto the outfit! The skirts debut, the very next day, was for an afternoon of shopping on Edmonton’s Whyte Ave. My best friend came for a visit (as I already mentioned before), so we took the opportunity to go shopping, and Whyte Ave is a pretty fun place filled with lots of lovely little shops and restaurants.¬†(I also found the best little store called Rowena, which carries a whole host of vintage reproduction brands I’ve never been able to find in a brick-and-mortar store! I was like a kid in a candy shop- and I have an outfit post with the¬†dress I bought, next week!)

the entirely recycled fabric skirt the artyologist

the entirely recycled skirt the artyologist

We had a lovely time shopping, but I didn’t get any outfit photos while we were there, which is too bad as there are so many historical brick buildings that would’ve served as¬†a nice backdrop. I was too busy catching up with my friend, though, to stop for pictures, so we got these pictures later. I paired the skirt with a modern ruffled blouse, and my lovely vintage straw boater I got at an antique sale a few years ago. The lining in this hat is so shredded I can barely pick out any of the label, the only words left¬†read “Knox New York”. I did a google search and came up with this article about the Knox hat company, but as it appears they made men’s hats, I’m not sure of the history of this piece. ¬†It is lovely though, and in very good shape too, despite the label being in disrepair. I would’ve liked to have paired this outfit with my cognac kiltie loafers, but as they are not broken in yet, I thought an afternoon spent walking would be better suited to my tried and true brown flats. Sometimes style must be sacrificed for comfort, as much as I hate to admit it¬†ūüôĀ

Anyways, I’ve already worn this skirt several times since I made it, and it is quickly becoming a favourite in my wardrobe. Do you ever¬†find yourself gravitating towards sewing or wearing¬†the same things over and over again?

Outfit details:

Hat- vintage from an antique sale

Shirt- secondhand

Skirt- made by me out of a sheet from a flea market

Earrings- Joe Fresh from a year ago

Shoes- Josef Seibel

Purse- bought in England

vintage knox straw boater the artyologist

the entirely recycled fabric skirt the artyologist

an almost recycled skirt of vintage fabric the artyologist

vintage straw boater the artyologist

vintage knox boater the artyologist

The Ladies Garden Tea, Part 2

Ladies Garden Tea Party, Part 2 The Artyologist

So continuing with the second instalment of the Ladies Garden Afternoon Tea party.

I’ve always loved pretty dishes, and silverware and fine china teacups. I’m pretty sure I get¬†this from my mom, who I’m sure learned it from her mother. When my Grandma was a young lady, living in a farm¬†community, once a month the ladies would get together for a tea party. ¬†It was a way for the farmwives, some of whom were probably fairly isolated, to get out and see each other. Each month was hosted at a different farm,¬†and each lady would bring her own teacup.

A few years ago, my Grandma downsized, and passed¬†on her teacups to us- and a collection was born! With that humble start, I’ve started picking up pretty teacups at thrift stores, or antique sales, and I’ve been able to form quite a collection. I love to throw parties, and as my¬†collection of fancy dishes has grown, I have tried to come up with ways to use them, rather than relegating them to the china cabinet.¬†A¬†few years ago, continuing in the tradition of my Grandma, the Ladies Afternoon Tea was born. It gives us a chance to use all the fancy dishes, and is a way for the ladies in my church to get together for an afternoon treat.

teacups the artyologist

As I mentioned on Tuesday, we¬†got rained out and we were forced to bring the party indoors this year. It was too bad that the party couldn’t be outside, as there is something so lovely about enjoying tea and sweets out of doors, but at least we do have a large living room, where we were able to spread out several tables and chairs for everyone to sit at.

When we were planning for this party, we counted up my cups, my moms, and my sisters and came up with 29 teacups! Needless to say, the ladies didn’t need to bring their own to this party! We did end up borrowing some cups from another lady, just in case we ran short, but¬†fortunately we didn’t.

invite and teacups the artyologist

Every good party starts with an invitation.¬†There is something so personal about an physical paper invitation, even if it isn’t handwritten, and I think it reminds people of the party more than a verbal invitation or email, which can be easily lost or overlooked. Also it is a great place to write the address or location of the party, because unless everyone is very familiar with the area, they might get lost en route!

teacups and chocolate the artyologist

silverware tea party, the artyologist

plates and tea service the artyologist

For the party, the¬†food was set up on the kitchen table, and the tea was set up on the kitchen counter, which was dressed up with a lace edged tablecloth, so it wouldn’t look so “kitcheny”. The peonies were blooming in full force the day of the party, so we¬†had a gorgeous bouquet on the dessert table, and a weedy little bouquet of daisies and alfalfa collected from an “obliging field” for the tea table.

chocolate muffins the artyologist

menu and silver service for ladies tea party the artyologist

desserts at the tea party the artyologist

For food, we served a variety of desserts: Coconut Macaroons, Ganache Topped Chocolate Cakes, Lemon Drizzle Loaf, Coconut Cream and Dark Chocolate Squares, Pineapple and Pecan Cheesecake Tarts, and Toasted Almonds and Pecans. We chose such a large variety of desserts, including chocolate and non-chocolate, as we wanted to make sure there was¬†something everyone would enjoy. (I mean, l love chocolate, and the entire menu could’ve consisted of different varieties of chocolate, but something I find hard to comprehend is that some people don’t like it ūüôĀ so we wanted to make sure everyone enjoyed the desserts!) Also, it was very fortunate that my best friend was visiting that week, so the day before the tea party, when we were baking, baking, baking, she was there to lend a hand ūüôā

party preparation the artyologist

lemon loaf the artyologist

Overall, the party was quite the success- even though hours and days¬†of work was consumed and destroyed in the space of an hour ūüėČ Ah that’s the best thing about parties right? It was a lovely time, spent with some very lovely ladies! As people were leaving, we¬†had a lot of requests to do it again. Don’t worry I’ve already started planning for next year’s tea party!

macaroons and desserts the artyologist

teacups for ladies tea party the artyologist

The Ladies Garden Tea, Part 1

ladies tea party the artyologist

Well, that title “The Ladies Garden Tea” is a bit of a misnomer. You see, it was sunny every day up until the party, and it’s been sunny a fair amount of days after the party, but when last Saturday dawned, it was rainy. And this was not a showers and clouds¬†kind¬†of rain. Not a “maybe it will clear off just in time” sort of rain. It was a “I’m-here-and-I’m-cold-and-I’m-gonna-stay” kind of rain. So, the “Ladies Garden Tea” was forced to become¬†simply the “Ladies Afternoon Tea”, which is OK because fun was had by all despite the lack of sunshine. And, having it indoors simply meant we¬†didn’t have to deal with bugs flying around getting stuck in the cake¬†and lemonade, right?

ladies tea party, cup the artyologist

It’s become a bit of an annual tradition for us, to host a ladies tea party. The first time I ever hosted one, was the Valentine’s Party I posted about, and since then, it’s just been a great excuse to pull out all the fancy tea cups and dress up and have a lovely time with the ladies of our church. I’ll have more about¬†the food and the decorating and such on Friday, as I have so many photos, I wanted to split them into two posts, so you wouldn’t be bombarded!

Today, I’ll focus on what I wore. Originally I was planning on wearing a large straw sunhat, and my “garden party” dress (I have named it that, as it just seems the sort of thing one wears to a garden party). The dress¬†is too fancy for everyday, as it requires many layers of petticoats, so I hardly ever wear it. I’ll post it here one of these years…¬†However, as the dress is so pouffy, when the party got moved indoors, I didn’t want to be running¬†into people and knocking over lamps with my skirt (the struggles only vintage lovers know!), so the plan changed to this dress, which I also think suits a tea party quite well.

tea party dress the artyologist

tea party vintage dress the artyologist

It is a vintage 1970’s dress I got from a thrift store, and it fits so perfectly it could’ve been made for me. I’m pretty sure it was either a grad dress or a bridesmaid dress, and it is made of a coral coloured lining, with an overlay¬†of tan flowered chiffon. It is basically the 1970’s epitomized in¬†dress form ūüôā I’ve never worn it before, as it is pretty dressy¬†and floor length, so it was so nice to be able to wear it for the party. I paired it with my opera length pearls I got from my parents a few years ago as a birthday gift, and as it was an indoor party, my sister lent me some sparkly clips as we didn’t require hats anymore.

My dear friend Chantelle was visiting for the week of the party, so we had some fun taking silly photos of us drinking our tea after the party. (There were a lot more ladies at the party- 23¬†of us.) Of course, as soon as the party wrapped up, the sun burst through the clouds and we had a lovely sunny evening. Oh well ūüôĀ

Have you ever hosted a fancy party for your friends? Do you like to pull out the fine china every chance you get?

chantelle and tea party the artyologist

This is a¬†“Victorian Parlour Card” pose, don’t you think?

nicole and the group party the artyologist

sarah and tea party the artyologist

vintage tea party dress the artyologist