It’s only Hilda the Pin-up but I like it…

Meet Hilda.

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This big, bountiful babe was created in 1957 for a pin up calendar. Her artist and maker, Duane Bryers, says he used models for some of the his Hilda drawings, but many of the best artworks were entirely from his head.

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She is definitely a plus size lady and it is so refreshing to see. I was so delighted to discover her fresh, healthy and lovely self. I think it would be fair to say that the ‘pin up’ tradition as a whole embraces curves, but I think Hilda is at the far end of that.

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It is a look I personally find very attractive. Not least because these pin up girls look *real*. Hilda looks like me. I have thighs, I have a large bum, I have dimples. And I believe I can be attractive. I believe people of any size and weight can be attractive. I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like if we celebrated Hilda’s unashamed extra layers and spent less time aspiring to the gamine figures we see on the catwalk. I don’t want to stray into what I have heard called ‘body snark’ – I genuinely believe whatever is happy and healthy for you is best. But I think an achievable, healthy figure is what we should be aiming for.

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Hilda always seems to be having fun or getting into a scrape! Her outfits are skimpy and she is totally at ease with her body. I’m jealous. It has taken me 30-odd years to even *begin* that journey.

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Check out The Militant Baker’s post about how to create some of Hilda’s looks!

http://www.themilitantbaker.com/2013/06/style-icon-hilda-plus-size-pin-up.html

i have definitely never spent an evening in bed eating Garibaldi biscuits. Ever. Ever. Oh ok, there was this one time…

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A gallery of Hilda images can be found here: http://www.toilgirls.com/hilda/gallery.html

It is with a crumb- laden bed I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only A style icon but I like it…

Style icon: Jean Shrimpton.

I have a link to Jean. A tiny link. In fact it’s not even my link but my Mum’s. Meet my Mum – Andy. She’s quite a babe these days and, as this photo from about 1969 shows, she was quite a babe in the 60s too!
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My Mum worked in a local bank in a very rural part of Mid Wales for a few years before she went to College. It so happened that Jean Shrimpton had a holiday cottage nearby and she came into the bank one day to open an account. My Mum happened to be free and so she helped out and took Jean through all the paperwork. Later, Mum’s colleagues wouldn’t believe her when she told them who’d just visited. Like I said, it is a very rural part of Wales and we don’t get many interesting visitors!

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A few weeks later Mum went to the cinema and saw Jean there, she remembered her and said hello and the next time she was in the bank she asked mum if she’d enjoyed the film. I love this story. It’s always pleasant when you meet a celeb and they take the time to make conversation with you.
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Jean Shrimpton is one of the key figures of ‘Swinging London’ and is often cited as one of the world’s first supermodels. She started modelling at 17 and was soon dubbed ‘The Face’, one of the highest paid models of the time and Glamour magazine named her ‘Model of the Year’ in 1963.
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She was involved In promoting the miniskirt and caused a stir when she stepped off a plane in Melbourne wearing a dress that stopped 10cm above her knees! No hat, no gloves and wearing a man’s watch too. I say!
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She dated photographer David Bailey for several years, in fact he left his first wife to be with Jean. They were engaged and she has stated that she owes her career to Bailey. It was a mutually beneficial working relationship as many of Bailey’s early photos of Jean were well received, helping further his career.
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So, why style icon? Well, she has pretty amazing eyes and it cannot be denied that the camera does love her. I must admit to being a sucker for the 60s styles she wears and the fact that she was definitely instrumental in the creation of the miniskirt is a pretty immense thing to have on your CV. I mean, seriously, what have you done with your life?! Also, those pins. I would kill for legs like that. Yes, she’s gamine (waiflike and boyish – I looked it up) and I guess she may have begun the fashion industries’ love of the boyish figure and subsequent media obsession with women’s weight. But that’s hardly her fault. And it’s changing. Ever so slowly, I believe it is changing.
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But most of all, she was nice to my Mum. I’d expect the same from any supermodel…

It is with an anecdote for the grandchildren I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Bespoke Dress but I like it…

Today I met up with the lovely Ali from Shake your Tush ( https://www.facebook.com/shakeyourtush ) to discuss my dress!

We met in Ikea and I was able to hand over the lovely 70s duvet cover I bought off eBay. It was an amazing find as it’s never been used and the colours are as bright as the day it was made!

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 Here’s a blurry photo of me wrapped up in it, in case you’d forgotten!

i also handed over my candy striped sheet. Again, fab condition and just £2.50. I’d love a dress in that material! So perfect.

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We discussed the style of dress and Ali had brought several patterns with her to show me her ideas. She sent me away with a list of measurements and we agreed on a date of completion. Now I just have to wait patiently! I am told I’m a patient person although I feel this will definitely test that opinion!

It is with an impatient sideways glance I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Bespoke Dress but I like it…

I have a dream people.

I’ve had it for some time. In fact ever since I saw this on Pinterest:

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A little bit of detective work took me to http://www.naughtyshorts.blogspot.co.uk. But Naughty Shorts hasn’t blogged in a couple of years so I’ve no idea if she’s still making her amazing dresses from old sheets!

I love these old sheet patterns, they remind me of the kind of bedding my Grandad had when I was little. I love the idea of having a bespoke dress made for me – especially one made from 70s bedding!

Now, somewhere along the line I have discovered a seamstress in my area. I’ve been following her for sometime on Facebook and I am confident she is the lady to realise my dream.

After a little bit of eBay searching I discovered a brand new, old, duvet cover in this amazing pink pattern. It cost me just 20 British Pounds and I cannot wait to have it transformed into some super chic summer wear! I was so excited when it arrived I may have stripped down to my undies and wrapped it around me. Please look away if you are of a nervous disposition!

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I promise selfies in my scanties will not be a regular feature on my blog, but I felt it illustrated just how excited I am about this project! I will keep you updated – I hope to meet mystery dress maker lady and handover the fabric soon. I will be documenting the process on here.

It is with an excited squeal I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Amy Laws but I like it…

I’m going to enjoy writing this post because it’s a chance to write in depth about a British dressmaker who I’ve mentioned before and I really believe in.

I discovered Amy Laws on folksy (https://folksy.com/shops/Onlyoneamylaws) , which as I’ve previously discussed is a great place to find independent makers of all kinds of amazing things. I noticed Amy’s Rockabilly Robin dress a couple of Autumns ago and immediately knew I had found my ‘Christmas Day Dress’! At £45 it was reasonable and after a few emails with Amy to query measurements I definitely felt like I wanted to take the gamble. I loved the style and shape and even more those chubby screen printed robins, settled snugly along the hem.

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I wore it that year for dinner with Dr P and again on Christmas Day with my family. I accessorised it with black tights and little black shrug.

Fast forward a year and my Mum announced a Christmas themed wedding on the 27th of December. I wondered if it was another chance to give Robin an outing. As part of the service I was singing with my favourite duet partner, my little cousin Molly. Normally we coordinate outfits when we sing together and when I described my dress she loved it and wondered whether it would be too cheesy to wear the same one? Amy was very helpful when I contacted her about making me a Rockabilly Robin for Molly. She asked for measurements, checked sleeve lengths and styles and shipped it off to Molly when it was done.

These are some photos from the day. I’ll be honest, I’m not one hundred percent happy with the way I put this outfit together. The length of the dress is a little shorter than I’d normally wear and I wish I’d worn thicker tights – I’m not a fan of how my legs look and a Welsh churchyard on the 27th of December is less than balmy! I’m wearing some black spotty Irregular Choice shoes but I’m not sure how well they come across either! I love the vintage fur stole and the vintage handbag – both bought at the Yellow Vintage Fair I went to just before Christmas. I think I match well with my sister MrsJMP which was more luck than judgement.

Mum, Bill, Me

I’m very happy with my hair which was styled by Phillippa Torrance (https://www.facebook.com/pages/PJ-2-CUT-mobile-hairdressing/177453405635996?fref=ts). If you’re in the Mid Wales area she is definitely the person to go to for cuts or styling. She’s winning awards left, right and centre, and I can see why. She had done her homework and knew what I wanted better than I did! I only wish I had some better photos of it!

Me singing

In terms of make up Mrs JMP helped me with foundation and eyeshadow and then I applied my favourite Besame Cherry lipstick. I find it the perfect shade for me.

MrsJMP and Me

I thought, seeing as we were going all out on this Christmas theme, this might be the perfect moment for my Tatty Devine Holly necklace(www.tattydevine.com). I think it set off the whole ensemble quite nicely!

I think Amy did a great job and cousin Mol and I were very happy with our outfits. We sang Ho Hey by the Lumineers (in the style of Lennon and Maisy – check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkBJu5lUCuA.

Molly Polly

Amy has a whole range of dresses for adults and children in some beautiful designs. I am definitely thinking of treating myself to some more of her dresses for the spring. Can’t wait to see what she’s got planned to take us into the summer!

Pineapple DressFlamingo DressRainy Day

Something for every season and every mood I think you’ll agree. Go and check her out and let me know if you make any purchases – I don’t about you, but I need those flamingos in my life!

It is with dress envy I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Lindy Bop (Megan) but I like it…

At risk of being a bore, I’m going to talk Lindy Bop again! Although I don’t find pretty dresses remotely boring and I suspect you don’t if you’re reading this!

The Megan dress (http://www.lindybop.co.uk/swing-jive-dresses-c3/megan-flirtatiously-fun-50s-vintage-inspired-pleated-bust-polka-party-dress-p633) in green is the third and final of my Christmas dresses from Dr P. It’s possibly the least dressy of the three – I can see myself wearing this to wander into town for instance, which I may not whilst wearing the other two. We had a little jaunt out to the park to take the photos for this one and I think you’ll agree that Dr P excelled himself.

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I love the shaping on the bodice of this dress. It’s a nice snug fit with a bit of stretch to the fabric. The shaping over the bust is lovely and it did sit where it was meant to even though I’m on the busty side!

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The dress is not lined and I’m going to try it next time with a fluffy petticoat. Who doesn’t love polka dots if we’re honest? The skirt is nice and full and hangs beautifully.

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I teamed it up with a red stretchy belt and my Irregular Choice Green Trinkletina shoes. Low heel of course!

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These have a clear blue acrylic heel and contrasting fabric with a big green bow. I love them!

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I was also wearing a red perspex ring. It’s in the style of Tatty Devine but I think it was from Dorothy Perkins.

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As usual, I applied a slick of Besame Cherry red lipstick and my tortoiseshell Peggy specs from Retro Peepers. These catch the light and look stunning! The dress doesn’t reveal much cleavage so I went sans necklace, although I can see a nice string of pearls at the neck might be perfect.

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I like this dress a lot and it’s an easy one to wear. I can see me getting a lot of use out of it – hopefully when the weather’s a bit warmer! I think the green is a good match with my hair colour and I like the bodice detailing combined with the patterned skirt.

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All in all, it’s three thumbs up from me Lindy Bop!

*All views expressed are my own and I paid for these items!*

It is with a sepia smile I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Lindy Bop (Lana) but I like it…

As I may have mentioned, it was my birthday on Sunday. I had requested a visit to Grand Cafe (http://www.grand-cafe.co.uk/home) in Southampton. It’s just over the road from where we live and I have been angling to get inside for months now! I walk past it all the time and I am a sucker for an old building. Southampton was pretty decimated in World War Two and it’s lovely old buildings are few and far between, often flanked by some nasty 70s concrete flats. Peeking through the (rather high) windows I could see lovely fabrics, nice hanging lamps and the odd bit of cutlery, but could never get a proper look. This had to be rectified!

Grand Cafe

We decided to go there for Afternoon Tea. Mostly because of cake. And tea. And cake. Did I mention cake? I love the fact that we Brits invented a meal around those two glorious things. I thought I might use it as an excuse to wear one of my new Lindy Bop (http://www.lindybop.co.uk/swing-jive-dresses-c3/lana-playful-polka-dot-50s-style-dress-with-cinch-waist-bel-p858) dresses.

It was served on vintage china, which was a lovely first impression. I ordered a big pot of Assam and Dr P got a coffee pot.

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It was beautifully decorated for Christmas, everything seemed to sparkle, including the crooning gentleman that entertained us for the first hour or so.

GC afternoon tea

When the Dr made the reservation he told the staff I was a pescatarian so they had kindly given us lots of cheese, egg and salmon sandwiches and just a few Italian ham sandwiches for Dr P. I did sample all of the sandwiches, but left the lion’s share for the Dr as I was impatient to get on to the sweet delights. We had 2 scones (with clotted cream and strawberry jam of course) each plus cakes, tartlets and nougat. I must admit I was defeated and only managed half of my cupcake even though it was deliciously light and bouncy. Everything was very tasty and the service was great. And of course it’s not like I had just spent two weeks filling my face with mince pies, Quality Street and Toblerone. Oh no!

I insisted on a few snaps of my Lindy Bop ‘Lana’ dress as we left:

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I loved the weight of the dress – it’s a really nice thick cotton mix, perfect for this time of year (It was quite chilly!) and the skirt is a good length, with a full lining. It was a great fit on my bust, torso and waist and my only criticism would be that the belt doesn’t quite work. I didn’t feel secure that it would stay in one place as the little elasticated bands were quite big for the buttons they looped round, plus it bunched and creased a little when I sat down – but that may be to do with my oddly shaped tummy! It’s easily fixed by using one of my many stretchy belts…

I accessorised this divine dotty creation with a little roll and a dark red hairband in my hair, my beloved Retro Peepers (http://www.retropeepers.com/#!peggy/ciaa) specs, a slick of Besame (http://besamecosmetics.eu) Dark Cherry lipstick, a little black shrug and of course, some Irregular Choice (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HpYgqcWpL._SX395_.jpg) shoes! The piece de resistance was my necklace – a birthday gift from Dr P – a tiny silver custard cream from Lily Charmed (http://www.lilycharmed.com):

custard cream charm

All in all, it was a lovely day, a lovely dress and a lovely meal.

It is with an ever expanding waistline I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…