On Sunday I went to The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. It’s advertised as ‘The definitive event for anyone with a love of textile based crafts’, so I though, ‘Yep, that’s right up my street!’ and booked tickets. I’d never been before but was really excited about going and I have to say it was jam packed full of women (and a very small number of men!) who were in the same boat.
The event was based within four sections of Ally Pally, with the main hall hosting the majority of stalls selling their wares. In the other sections it was a mixture of stall holders, craft workshops and exhibitions. When we arrived, after quickly scanning the floor plan, we headed straight for the main hall because there was one stall I was determined not to miss. And that was ‘Til the Sun Goes Down. If you’ve never heard of them before they’re a UK based company who sell a mixture of vintage inspired and genuine vintage fabrics, as well as a selection of vintage patterns and their very own vintage inspired range.
Their stall was gorgeous and an absolute treasure trove of vintagey goodness, however, I only ended up buying this beautiful 1940s pattern from them. I was so overwhelmed by the number of stalls available and the huge array of goods on this stall that I just couldn’t decide on anything else. I really, really wish I’d gone back later on and had another look around when it wasn’t so busy.
The fabric behind the pattern, which I’m going to make it in, is a vintage fabric I bought a while ago from a lady who had a humungous stash of fabric and wool she was selling off cheap. You can see just how extraordinarily huge the pile was on my Instagram.
The fabric feels like a cotton crepe, if that’s such a thing, and is black with large brightly coloured tulips all over it. There’s a few areas where the fabric has weakened and ripped but, as there’s about 4 metres of it, I’m sure I’ll get this stunning dress out of it. And if you like this dress pattern why not have a look at Anthea’s newly completed McCall’s 1940s dress that’s very similar?
The only piece of fabric I bought (yes, you read that right, only piece!) was this pretty blue Toile de Jouy in blue and white cotton from Higgs & Higgs. I’d actually ordered a sample of this from their website a little while ago but was a little unsure of its weight and drape due to the sample being so small. I spotted it straight away on their absolutely beautiful stall (I think theirs was defintiely the best presented) and had a good feel of it. It was pretty much what I was after so bought 1.5 metres of it.
And this is the sort of thing I have in mind to make with it! I spotted this oh-so-pretty lingerie set on Etsy by Lucky Sew and Sew a couple of months ago and absolutely fell in love with it. However, it’s not quite my style so I wanted to make my own version rather than buy this. What I’m going to do is a camisole and bloomers that sit more on the high hip and use them for nightwear. I want lots of lace and pink ribbons to create an equally beautiful Marie Antoinette style set.
I bought these 3 unusual shaped bag handles with the intention of crocheting some vintage handbags. I have no idea if they’ll work with any of the 1930s bag patterns I currently have, but I just couldn’t resist them. The stall they were on was Aarti J and they had absolutely loads of haberdashery bits and pieces I’d never seen before. Again, I was so overwhelmed with the amount of stock on offer that I only ended up buying these!
The cute little scissors brooch was from the wonderful scissor manufacturer Ernest Wright. I was gushing over their stall and wanted to buy their huge tailoring scissors, but at £125 I decided to give them a miss and go for the £5 brooch instead!
My favourite buy though has to be these two fabulous books that feature pages from Sears Catalogues in the 1930s and 1940s. They are really amazing and the 1930s one has very rapidly become my favourite 1930s fashion book on my bookshelf. I may have to make myself a few pieces from it! Both of them run through the entire decade and you can instantly see the enormous change in style from 1930 to 1939 and from 1940 to 1949. It’s actually quite astounding how different they were at the beginning to the end. Fashion just doesn’t seem to move that quickly anymore.
I bought both of these books from The Old Bookshop, which is based in Enfield, North London, and I could’ve spent an absolute fortune on their stall. I’m an absolute sucker for secondhand books (I never buy new ones!) and they had everything from costume and vintage fashion to dressmaking, knitting, embroidery, photography and much more. If you can’t get to their shop (like me!) then they have a really good selection online, so be sure to check them out.
Here’s just a few of the lovely garments on offer from Sears in the 1930s, aren’t they spectacular? Look at those cape dresses, just $2.98! I’ll take 20 please!! The main image on the coat page is just stunning, that collar is so incredible. And I want those shoes!! I’m desperately looking for a pair of chocolate brown 1930s Oxfords very much like the one at the bottom of the page, but without much success. I love the Claremont ones from Royal Vintage Shoes but they ran out of my size long ago. 🙁
I really enjoyed the Knitting & Stitching Show, however, the stalls weren’t exactly what I had expected. The majority of the fabric stalls were targeted at quilters, not dressmakers and the majority of the yarn stalls sold either DK or chunky wools, it was very hard to find 4plys. I was on the hunt for a bright mustard yellow 4 ply to crochet a long sleeve jumper but, of what was on offer, nothing was quite right. I think I may have found some online now but it would’ve been good to have seen it in person.
Before we rushed off to catch the coach home, we made sure we swung by the Lutterloh System stall. We’d been told by the lady who sat with us at lunch that they were doing a presentation about how it worked and I was really interested to see how it differed from the French version that’s used by Mrs Depew patterns.
I think the guy doing the presentation, who was the original inventor’s grandson, took a bit of a shine to me! He asked me to be his model during the presentation and created a waistcoat pattern to my size. It was highly embarrassing but afterwards he told me I was the best dressed lady at the whole event, so I went home with a big smile on my face!
And if you do use the Lutterloh System, then you may be interested to know that they are planning to re-release some of the original patterns from the 1930s and onwards. I’m definitely going to keep my eye out for those, all I’d need is the measuring tape that goes with it.