Thursday, 16 February 2012

If they don't make 'em like they used to - make 'em yourself!

It's no secret to those who know me that as well as superheroes and skulls, I'm also a big fan of all things vintage.

The vintage scene is huge at the moment and there are a lot of fabulous bloggers out there who are much better and more knowledgeable about it than me*, so don't worry, I'm not going to start writing fashion columns or telling you how to achieve perfect Victory rolls while plucking your eyebrows into a sublime arch and rocking your latest peplum (although I'd love to be able to tell you how to do all those things. In fact, if you guys find out, can you tell me, please? I'm rubbish at all of that). In fact I am very much a beginner, until recently more of an admirer from afar, but I have found myself with more and more 'vintage inspired' pieces in my wardrobe.

Being a sensibly-sized person, and with some experience of trying costumes on for stage productions, I find it tricky to find genuine vintage pieces that fit. They'll often fit my waist and hips, but get up to the shoulders and I've no chance. Seriously, did women prior to 1970 have no shoulders at all? It's a pet theory of mine that women of yesteryear never had any need to raise their arms above waist height and therefore it didn't matter that it was impossible to move out of the penguin position at any time.

But, oh, it's those 1930's and 40's outfits, with their slim sleeves, exquisite tailoring and glorious silhouettes that I am drawn to again and again. A 50's circle dress, such as the wonderful repro versions available from Vivien of Holloway, is great for a party (or, indeed, a team of piratical bridesmaids), but it's so much harder to find - and wear - that Golden Age look from a few decades earlier, especially if you don't have the money to a) buy genuine pieces and b) hire minions to hail taxis for you and do all the other things that might require you to lift your arms to an unladylike angle.

So it was with great joy and jubilation that I came across a wonderful US pattern site the other day. offer a drool-worthy collection of clothing patterns from yesteryear, all re-drafted in order to cater for multiple modern sizes. Everything from achingly beautiful evening gowns to dapper gents trousers (don't forget your pipe), and this frankly batshit-awesome 1887 halloween costume.

My wings are a shield of steel. And crinoline.
It's a costume-lover's candy store and I want to buy and make everything. In the end, I have settled on this beautiful trouser ensemble from 1936. I'm planning on making the view on the left from some sort of smashing tweedy sort of material.

I shall also endeavour to perfect the  Sideways Look of Disdain

The pattern arrived in the post yesterday and I have only had time to glance at it briefly. Like all patterns, upon first glance it feels a little like stumbling across an ancient manuscript covered in complex diagrams and symbols from a language that time forgot, but I'm sure it will come into focus once I look more closely. Otherwise I'll just nip to the British Museum and see if they'll lend me the Rosetta Stone.

It's likely to be a slow project, as I'm simultaneously launching the made-to-order-clothing side of the Emporium (follow me on Facebook for more news on that!), but I shall pop back with updates and let you know how I get on.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who's used an Evadress pattern. How did it work out for you?

*Check out the gorgeous ladies who make up the Vintage Mafia, for starters. The marvellous Fleur de Guerre's Diary of a Vintage Girl is one of my particular favourites. 

Monday, 6 February 2012

And the winner is....

Thanks to everyone who entered my '500 people like me enough to say so on Facebook' giveaway.

Your comments made me, variously, smile, laugh, and snort wine through my nose. I think we have conclusively proved that if we all got to be what we wanted to be, the world would be a happier place. Happier, but very badly organised, with nobody in any service jobs. Also the rubbish would pile up horribly and there would be no-one to work in the banks. Perhaps there wouldn't be any banks? We would all barter services and chocolate. Although all the chocolate factories would probably close down due to a lack of people to maintain the machinery and we'd end up in some sort of weird apocalyptic situation where the world was full of human-octopus hybrids and Disney princesses. So maybe it's a good job we don't all get what we wish for.

For those that have asked, I still don't know what I would like to be when I grow up. I have narrowed it down to:

Zookeeper (lemur enclosure, obviously)
Fantastically well-paid seamstress, but one who gets to keep out of the public eye and works from her own sewing room made of iron in Dorset, with a transporter beam to enable her to travel to London in an instant.
Cocktail taster - but one who magically doesn't get a hangover or liver damage.
Librarian or Post Office clerk. Because I just love stamping things.

Before I get too distracted and start looking for zookeeping courses, I'd better tell you who has won the giveaway.

This is not what it looked like. Shame.
I was going to get Doug to choose the winner, but he showed very little interest in the whole thing and I didn't want to put a dampener on proceedings by using a noncommital cat as an assistant. So instead, I allocated each commenter a number and fed it into a Random Number Generator. Which, in my head, should really be a big machine much like Bertha. (Come to think of it, add 'worker in Bertha's factory' to my list).

Despite a disappointing lack of beeps and whirrs and flashing lights, the RNG came up with (drumroll please), number 6.

It actually looked like this. Rubbish.
And according to my list, that means that Hannah Miller is the winner! Congratulations, Hannah, you may not get to be an archaeologist, but you can at least realise your dream of owning a free Lemur Lady phone pouch or fabric wallet of your choice. I'll be in touch on Facebook.

See you after the next 500!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Free Stuff! Get your free stuff here!

You too could win a purse like this. For no monies.
It's exciting times here at Lemur Towers (I don't live in a tower. Although that would be cool. But 'Lemur Terraced Flat' doesn't have the same ring to it). A whole FIVE HUNDRED people have been impressed/dazzled/confused/button happy enough to click 'like' on my Lemur Lady Facebook page.

That's half a thousand. And they can't all have been mistakes. I'm grateful and humbled and, if I'm honest, a bit overwhelmed.

To celebrate, as promised, I would like to give all my lovely Facebook stalkers  fans the chance to win a free bit of Lemur Lady magic for their very own. Oh yeah.

The winner gets a padded phone case or fabric wallet of their choice. Either from my stock (which will be refilled over the weekend), or a custom one made up with the fabric of your choice.*

The competition is inspired by a conversation the Significant Otter and I had earlier this week:

SO: Look! A blacksmith course. You know I've always wanted to be a blacksmith.
LL: Yeah. Although if you were a blacksmith we'd have to move to the country. You can't have a forge in a South London flat. Especially on the first floor.
SO: I could forge gateposts and sculptures for the rich people in Dulwich.
LL: No. We're moving to the country. You're going to be a blacksmith and I'm going to sew things all day in the sewing room that you will make me. Out of iron.
SO: I'm not sure you can build a room out of....
LL: Also, you will build me a library. Bitches love libraries.
SO: ............

So. To be in with a chance of winning both a handy phone case or wallet and the eternal admiration and respect of your friends and peers, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post answering the following question: 'What do you want to be when you grow up?'. Entries will close at 10am on Monday 6th Feb, at which time I will put all your names in a hat and let Doug the cat choose one to eat. Or maybe just use a random number generator. I haven't worked that out yet. But it will be fair.

*Terms and conditions apply: Fabric of choice restricted to quilting cottons that I can actually source - no platinum thread, linen woven on the thighs of virgins in the Tibetan foothills, or spider silk.