Vintage textiles are something of a passion of mine. There is something about the quality of the details and design of clothing from the past that really cannot be copied now. In particular any embroidery or beading would once have been completed by hand, wheras now any details can be replicated by machine, and anything done by hand puts a hefty premium on the price.
For me, the era from 1930 to the early 1950's captured everything in Britain, from pre-war growth to wartime thrift and then onto the continued post war rationing and the so-called 'New Look'. Designs were influenced by the economic state of the country so the lack of everything from buttons to fabric started 'the make do and mend' ideal of remaking your own clothes which became a valued skill. Of course vintage is now seen as a fun trend of wearing something unique and 'retro' is celebrated in exuberant style at Wayne Hemingway's Vintage Festival in July.
Looking through some of my collection reminded me of how beautiful textiles can be at one end of the design spectrum and at the other so functional. So whether it is a women's wartime naval overcoat or an early 1930's handpainted silk dressing gown, all of these things have their place in history. Oh, and I still wear all of mine, so here are a few favourites:
|Short green silk, hand-embroidered dressing gown|
from the 1940s.
It looks like the embelishment was added by the owner
as a way to make it more special.
|Early 1950's cotton lace blouse.|
This one has tiny seed buttons and bobbles all around the edge
|This is a more modern embroidered design but still worthy.|