26 April 2012

A post full of zips: From 50's dresses to funky bags

Firstly, I'd like to apologise for the lack of blogging recently. I've been really busy with a needle and thread and decorating my fingers with food colouring, but I will reveal more in later posts. Plus the Asos sale was a tad of a distraction too.

The 24th (Tuesday) would have been the 132nd birthday of Gideon (what a name) Sundback. Don't know who he is? Well we have him to thank for every time we do our jeans, dresses, skirts etc up. We also have him to thank for when we break a nail on a zip that has decided to go on strike, oh and those endless hours trying to fit one into a garment, don't remind me.

 The zip was invented way back in the Victorian era as early as 1891 by W.Litcomb Judson, but it took many decades for it to be properly accepted as a useful item. His idea called 'The Clasp Locker' was different to what we know today and was a complicated hook and eye fastener with a lot less teeth ,four per inch. In 1913 Gideon designed the modern zipper and it had ten or eleven teeth per inch. It was first seen on a new type of rubber boots made by B.F. Goodrich Company and this is when the design became known as the zipper. Boots and tobacco pouches were then made with zippered closures, but it took twenty years to even start to be seen on clothes. Ladies had to fiddle with buttons for a little while longer.

It wasn't properly seen until in the 1930's on children's clothing and they were promoted to help children dress themselves. No more running around the house after your child trying to do their buttons up on their cardigan, any one that has children or babysat understands this dilemma.

It first became seen as a use on adult clothes when the John Galliano of her day, French designer Elsa Schiaparelli began to use plastic coloured zips in her designs, that were both decorative and functional. They were also seen in 1937 on men's trousers and were thought of as the newest tailoring idea for men. It was described as the solution to 'The possibility of Unintentional and Embarrassing Disarray' that's if you're not drunk and don't forget to do your flies up.
So having the pleasure of seeing the overweight 60 year old slimy man's flies undone on the train, is all down to him, thanks Gideon.
It wasn't until the 50's when improvements in zip manufacture were taken seriously and then thought of as a good idea to put into all clothing.

Now I'm going to give you some tips on how to help you find out whether an item is vintage or well horse poop, lets just hope it doesn't smell of it.
Before the 1950's zips were put in the side seams of dresses, skirts and trousers. In those days especially with the 'make do and mend' trend, people made their own clothes using sewing patterns. In these patterns the fasteners were finished with press studs (poppers) hook & eye fastenings or buttons.
Later zips were used in the centre back of dresses and skirts and centre fronts for trousers. Finally, someone realised that it is much easier to insert a zip in the back of a dress in the early stage of design, then on the side of a garment that is almost completed, believe me doing this can make you want to run to Sarah Burton for help.

Zips became popular in the back due to the 1960's garments being very fitted, you can blame Twiggy for this. Hiding all that cake you've eaten under a big skirt was no more.
They often had waist seams, so during construction bodices were almost completed and then the zip could easily be applied at the back. During the Utility Era (1940's) there were vast improvements in production, so it was faster to put a zip in the back of a garment. Well you're bound to find quicker ways, what with Clark Gable on the tv.

So when you go into a charity shop again next, remember these things:
-For true vintage pre late 70's you are looking for metal zippers with cotton twill tape.
- Pre 1960's: Look for zips in the side seam, it is very rare to find an authentic pre 60's dress with a centre zip.

There are also some other main clues to find a real vintage item, such as labels and fabric. But finding the correct zip and the correct positioning of it, you are well on your way to finding a real gem. Beat that Miss Marple.

Nowadays zips are seen on everything and not just in practical ways. From jewellery to shoes and clothes with zip accessories they are everywhere. Just think, what on earth would we do without zip-up sleeping bags, Gideon we salute you.

Second Hand Rose

16 April 2012

A tribute to the Titanic Tragedy

As I'm sure a lot of you know yesterday was a very special anniversary of the Titanic. I'm not talking about when the oh so delicious Leo DiCaprio and the delectable Kate Winslet were having the feeling of 'flying' on the boat. I'm talking about the tragic story that a lot of people have seem to have forgotten, due to it being overshadowed by the movie. 

 On the 15th of April 1912 1,517 disastrously lost their lives. That horrific number included 103 women and 53 children, which was half of the amount of children that were on board. 1,347 men were killed and out of 899 crew members, 685 of them died during the tragedy, that's over 75% of them. 

You may wonder why compared to men there weren't many women who died. Well in 1912 people religiously went by the saying 'women before children'. This was due to strength and you were classed not a gentlemen if you didn't abide by it. At the Titanic enquiry men were asked how come they survived when some women hadn't. Hundreds of men chose to die and let women and children live.  They had to go into extensive detail about how they managed to survive. 

Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon was on the boat in one of the most expensive 1st class cabins, for which him and his wife paid thousands of pounds for. They were regarded as a celebrity couple, due to him being a former Olympic athlete. There were no Kim Kardashian's in those days. After the iceberg struck many of the first passengers who got into lifeboats were from 1st class. Most of the men held back, but Sir Cosmo took a place next to his wife, which was thought of as a notorious and selfish act and the story made the front page of the newspapers.

The lifeboat he was in left the boat half full and Sir Cosmo was accused of ordering the crew that they mustn't go back and pick up the people who were drowning. His account was that the crew said if they went back, they would have all drowned. He was seen to have rewarded the crew a cheque for £5, this is around £500 in today's money. He was accused of giving the men a cheque not to go back and was scrutinised at the enquiry. The press gave any man that survived a hard time and reflected them as a coward. Some men resorted to desperate attempts to save their lives, such as covering their heads with shawls to pretend to be women.

A La Carte Restaurant3rd Class StaircaseI find this a slight hypocrisy when in 1912 women were still seen as 2nd class citizens. They did not have the vote and men thought that they 'owned' their women, their opinion did not matter nor did their feelings. So then when their is a crisis, suddenly women become 1st class citizens and their lives matter more then the men's. Either way it is a good example of gentlemanlyness that you can tell your man when he doesn't open the door for you. Some men, especially upper class men who survived were torn apart. At the time newspapers filled their pages about bravery and escapes, but they were looking for cowards and villains.

There have been many controversies about the Titanic. The boat could have held 64 lifeboats, but it only held 20. Therefore the lifeboats could only accommodate 33% of the passengers. 

1st class stairsAnother controversy was that 60% of 1st Class passengers survived, but only 25 % of 3rd class passengers did. Titanic was an immigrant ship as well as a luxury cruise liner. People in 3rd class paid around £7 (£600 today) to board the ship to go to New York, where they hoped to start a new life. Even though it was 3rd class they still had great accommodation, which was equal to 2nd class on other ships, with en-suite bathrooms and 3 square meals a day. 700 steerage passengers were on board the Titanic and were placed below the main deck of the sailing ship. Where the steerage passengers were held was a long way from the lifeboats and it is reported that it is where the crew tried to keep them closed in, which caused a huge chaos. The sailors then fastened down the hatchways, which meant all hope was lost for the steerage passengers. Some managed to escape by going through the maze of passageways up to the top of the boat. With a 3rd class ticket odds were stacked against them, especially the men. Some people think that the 3rd class passengers were deliberately trapped to prevent them entering the lifeboats and were discriminated against. 

Cafe ParisienTitanic was full of amazing luxuries from a gym to a kennel for 1st class dogs. It had a modern hospital and it was the first ocean liner to have a swimming pool and squash court. The price of your ticket really affected the value of your life. The wreck was found 70 years later and items are still being found including shoes and clothes. Yesterday in the North Atlantic there was a 100th Anniversary Voyage on the Balmoral, which has been retracing the root on a 12 night cruise.

Sadness: Passengers take part in the Titanic memorial service 100 years after it sank

This is one of the great tragedies in history and I only hope that in another 100 years when people are whizzing around in flying cars and I'm up in Louboutin heaven, the world will still honour everyone that lost their lives. I'm sure everyone will still be swooning over Leo too.

Second Hand Rose

13 April 2012

Blog Awards, a chance to pry and a huge big Thank you!!

Last Saturday morning I put my phone on and checked Blogger, like I seem to do at least four times an hour. After taking about ten minutes to zoom in on the screen, silly Smart phones I noticed I had 100 followers. Yes 1.0.0. I couldn't and still can't believe that I have over 100 people that actually read my ramblings about my love of Frank Sinatra, extreme shoe obsession and adventures of me and Mr.Boyfriend. I am eternally grateful that 104 of you and counting have clicked the 'Follow' button and subjected yourself to my sarcasm and charming wit, if I do say so myself.

The amazing and talented Kathy over at IAmKathyB gave me my first award the 'Tell Me About Yourself Award' back in September, where I had to give you all a nosey into my high heeled fuelled life. You can read the 7 wonderful facts here, including my Twister winning talent and my love of crazy golf.
I have also been awarded the Versatile blog Award by the gorgeous Elizabeth at Butterfly Boo, the Kreativ Award by the lovely Chitraa at Chitraa's Fashion Diary and the very fashionable Lucy at Lucy Locket, who will make me bankrupt one day with her Wednesday Wants.

I feel very honoured to be awarded these awards ladies, so thank you so much. But I do apologise for telling everyone and I mean EVERYone about them, sorry Mr Big Issue.
Recently I have been awarded the Sunshine Award from Neeno over at Sew Me Love, so a huge thank you, I'm glad you all continue to enjoy my posts, even if I do ramble on a bit too much about Christian Louboutin, well who can blame me.

So because a lot of you have read the seven facts from the 'Tell Me About Yourself Award',  I will indulge you in seven more quick facts about the Second Hand Rose, just call me Britannica Encyclopedia:

1. I have a huge craving for pickled onions and I was very happy when I received a huge 1kg jar of them for Christmas. I eat them mainly whilst in the bath listening to my 1940's music, you could say I'm one very strange child.

2. You all know I love heels, hell I talk about them enough but I also adore spats. I have gold glittery ones, blue leopard print ones and some traditional black and white ones, I adore them. I think my love of them comes from Walker in Dad's Army, my first eternal crush. I am determined to find some original men's spats lurking in a charity shop one day, but I doubt I'm going to find some in a size 5 though, unless the seven dwarfs have a pair lurking about.
If only my room was big enough

3. I have a verging on OCD obsession with the number 4, everything I do has to be done in 4's. I have no idea but it just does, especially the microwave beeps. Mr. Boyfriend desperately tries to get the beeps not divisible by 4 just to annoy me. This results in me holding down his arms, while he tries to press the microwave with his nose. Yes ladies, this is what happens after 16 months together when you really love someone, you start to try and do everything to piss each other off.

4. I am a compulsive knitter, I can't go a day, maybe an hour without doing some knitting much of the delight to my Grandma. I'm not talking about boring itchy jumpers that your Grandma gives you for Christmas, I mean 1940's Fairisle, 1940's turbans and striking patterns with an awful lot of colours.

5. Along with my love of cats, mainly my own I love Owl's and Butterflies. I'm also starting to get keen on Bird's, I'm not talking about boring old Pigeons and Magpies, I mean bright blue Kingfishers and the spotted Woodpecker,who is really working the monochrome trend. I like seeing them strutting their stuff in my garden, I'm getting more and more like my parents every day.

6. I adore listening to The Rat Pack. Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra are my go to thing after a bad day, that and a tub of Ben and Jerry's. I love Under the Bridges of Paris by Dean Martin and My Funny Valentine by Frank Sinatra. My favourite song ever is Moon River, I just find it so beautiful and it takes me right back to those era's I love. It's safe to say I'm not a P Diddy or Dappy kinda girl.

7. I adore murder mysteries, especially old ones. I love watching Murder She Wrote with the amazing Jessica Fletcher and Diagnosis Murder with Dr Sloan. I also like current crime TV like New Tricks, Body of Proof and Silent Witness. Although I can't watch Silent Witness alone and find myself running up the stairs at night for at least a week, okay a month after watching it.

So there are seven I hope interesting things about me. Now for the Sunshine Award questions, I don't know why I don't just make myself a Wikipedia page.

1. Favourite colour: I go through phases of colours, I really like Pastels at the moment and Berry, but I would say overall that it's Greeny Turquoise or Lavender, at least for now.
2. Favourite animal: I'm afraid Jasper will spit out a fur ball on my shoes if I don't say Cats, so Cats.
How could you not love him??
3.Favourite number: As I said earlier I'm obsessed with the number 4 so that, or 8 or 16 (4x4 makes me happy) or 44, I told you I was one strange cookie.
4. Favourite non-alcoholic drink: I'm a bit of a smoothie addict, it always makes me feel healthy and less guilty for having too many choccy biscuits!
5. Facebook or Twitter: A year ago I would have said Facebook, but now its Twitter. There are only so many drunk pictures of your friends that you can see.
6. My passion: Vintage life, everything about it I love. I adore the history of it all especially the wars and how people lived through it, truly inspirational. I'm not the sort of person that says they adore vintage clothes when they don't know the difference between the 40's and the 70's. I also adore making clothes and knitting.
7. Favourite pattern: What I'm making at the moment, Bestway Knitting no.82.
vintage fair isle knitting patterns for ladies8. Favourite day of the week: Like most people it's Friday, especially Friday night when you can snuggle up in your hoodie and watch some crappy TV, knowing you have two whole days of doing what you want.

9. Favourite flower: I like Blue Roses even though a lot are sprayed, but regarding natural flowers at the moment its either Turquoise Hydrangea's or brightly coloured Gerbera's. I love old English cottage country gardens too, I think its obvious I've watched too much Miss Marple and Gardener's World with my parents.
10. Favourite celebrity role model: I admire Dita Von Teese an awful lot, I love her style and her not being afraid to be who she is.

It would take me at least two hours to work out who I want to give these awards to and I always feel bad when I don't pick some people, it's like when your the last one picked for the rounders team at school. So I'm offering these awards out to all of my Followers with a big huge and I mean huge thanks to all of them. Thank you for all the 359 comments, thank you for the awards and thank you for continuing to read my chatter about my fascination with World War Two and my love of bubble baths, complete with pickled onions of course.

Second Hand Rose

06 April 2012

Buddy Holly: A Legend Reborn- Full of geeky glasses, cool guitars and boiled sweets

Buddy Holly - A Legend RebornLast Saturday I dragged Mr.Boyfriend out. No we didn't go clubbing or go down to the pub, we went to a concert. And no not a gig as in a crowd surfing type of gig, I'm talking a concert as in the type that your grandparents used to go and sway along to. Yes ladies and gentleman we are officially an old married couple.

We went to a Buddy Holly: A Legend Reborn concert. We both love old music from the 50s'/60's, although he is more of a Rolling Stones and The Beatles type of boy and I am a more of a Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran kinda girl. However, I knew he would still enjoy it and not put me dragging him along to these things as a massive con against my name, well I hope not anyway.
So once again we went along, me in a carefully planned outift (ie. a 2 hour rummage around my room) and some in his own words 'stupidly high heels' on, with him decked out in his waistcoat that I made him for his birthday, which you can see here. By the way I am still telling him how oh so lucky he is to have an amazing girlfriend, who is so handy with a ball of wool and some needles.

Well let's just say we brought the age range down just a teensy weensy bit. When we walked in we were certainly stared at, I didn't know whether that was because we were probably the only people there that were born after the war, or because I had one hell of a groovy colour co-ordination outfit going on, I like to think the latter.

After politely declining a programme for £7, (seriously who pays that for 10 pieces of glossy paper?) we took to our seats. The show started with a peformance from 'The Big Bopper', done by the fabulous John-Simon Rawlings. The Big Bopper was an American DJ, singer and songwriter in the late 50's. He was best known for classic hits such as 'Chantilly Lace' and 'White Lightning'. He came on stage and in Big Bopper style joked and interacted with the crowd, which all the 80 year old ladies at the front thoroughly enjoyed. Both Mr.Boyfriend and I did agree that he resembled Del Boy, wearing a long Leopard print jacket. He did have some bright red brothel creepers on that were pretty nifty too.

The first half featured songs from Connie Francis and The Everly Brothers, who had everyone boogying in their seats along to hits such as 'Bye Bye Love' and one of my favourites, 'Wake Up Little Susie'. There was then an interval, which is when everyone apart from me and my man seemed to rush to the loos, so Mr.Boyfriend was very happy when he was first in the queue for the ice cream lady buying me a tub of ice cream, what can I say ladies he is a true gentleman. He subtly hinted that he wished he got my flavour, so we went halves and halves, we are all about compromises. Although he did have a pretty yummy flavour too.

After the interval we were all treated to some great hits from a very convincing Buddy Holly. Buddy was played by Marc Robinson, who is recognised as the UK's No.1 Buddy Holly act. Buddy is Marc's idol, which can easily be seen with his tremendous accent, thick rimmed glasses and seriously cool Fender Stratocaster guitar.

Marc has been in lots of theatre shows, appeared at Glastonbury as Buddy and has even performed for Sir Paul McCartney, so we felt privileged that we've seen him. He was great performing hits such as 'Peggy Sue' and 'That'll Be The Day. With the band he also performed some famous songs by Elvis and some by The Rolling Stones, which Mr.Boyfriend was very pleased about. The backing band which brilliantly mirrored Buddy's band The Cricketers were great and helped make the show what it was. Mr. Boyfriend and I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed all the songs, watching all the old dears cheering, whooping and wolf whistling was pretty entertaining too.

This stage show was a real tribute to those legends. Sadly The Big Bopper aged 28 and Buddy Holly aged 22 died in a plane crash on the 3rd February 1959 know as 'The Day The Music Died', along with  Ritchie Valens a singer and songwriter aged just 17. When I found this out, I was pretty shocked at how young these three legends were and how many hearts they captured in their small time on this earth. I'm sure all three of them are up there with their guitars having a jam as we speak.

The night was very enjoyable, full of laughs and the smell of Yardley. Afterwards Mr.Boyfriend and I fancied some chips, so he offered to take me to Maccy D's, what with the ice cream earlier in the evening, you can tell I am one thoroughly spoilt lady. Next on the list is a Glenn Miller tribute orchestra, it's safe to say that we are getting more old fashioned by the minute.

My Outfit:

Green Lace Dress: New Look
Metallic Shell Top: Asos: £14 which you can find here
Patterned Diamond Tights
Bow Ring
Black Jewel Ring
Black Lace Gloves: eBay: £2.99 which you can find here
Asos Tribal Wedges
Authentic 1940's handbag a.k.a my Margaret Thatcher bag!
Authentic Army Jacket: £20 bought from The Haslemere Wardrobe
                                      They have a great eBay shop here

Second Hand Rose