Steaming mad!

Yet again, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew 😉  I’ve signed up to do not one, but two stalls at a major festival this summer. All I can say in my defence is that it seemed like a good idea at the time, and I know it will be huge fun. But I really hadn’t thought it through; I need five days worth of stock! And the thing about properly vintage stuff is, they’re not making any more of it.

So, although I’ve had a couple of major haberdashery “finds” lately, I’ve also had to start buying stuff in, sight unseen. And the results have been very variable! The first “job lot”, a sack full of maxi dresses from the 60s & 70s, was utterly delightful; virtually all clothes that I would have loved to have been able to wear back then, if I could have a) afforded them, or b) had the skills to make them (which I’ve painstakingly acquired since) c) had anything to wear them to or d) fitted into them – Twiggy has a lot to answer for! Just one dress made me blench, a salmon-pink nylon extravangza with white lace & ruffles. But maybe someone out there will love it…

The job lot of lurex clothing was a bit hit & miss; I won’t lose out for having bought it, because there are over a hundred items & the vast majority are saleable. Some are absolute treasures, but quite a few don’t really qualify as vintage, as they have holographic sequins, which I’m fairly sure didn’t come into common use until the mid 90s. And two items were not just dubious, but wrecked; a pair of glittery trousers which smelt strongly of smoke also had extensive mouse damage, and a top had been badly hacked off above the waist in an abandoned attempt to make it into a bolero.

But another delight has been the velvet jackets. We lived in velvet jackets from about ’76 to about ’82; I’m pretty sure I had at least three at any given time. All bought in charity shops, needless to say. But they are a bit of a nightmare to clean, so a sack full of crumpled velvet is going to be a bit of a challenge… Luckily I have a steam cleaner, which came to me for free a couple of years ago. I’m still investigating what it can do; I’ve been a bit reluctant to use however many kilowatts it gobbles up, given our ever-escalating fuel prices, but I’m even more reluctant to slosh chemicals around or pay dry-cleaning prices. And I’m thrilled with the results of a few minutes steam on the velvet; it took about two minutes to go from this:


to this:


There’s still work to do, not to mention about 20 more jackets to steam, but I’m beginning to believe it’s do-able now. And come to think of it, it might even give me an excuse to hang onto, at least temporarily, the beautiful Lloyd Loom ottoman that came my way last week; the fabric on the top is original & very lovely, but quite badly stained, yet I can’t bear to rip it off & replace it with something more to modern tastes. But it’d be a very good thing to store half a ton of semi-vintage lurex in & sell it from…

2 thoughts on “Steaming mad!

  1. Jill Noades May 12, 2013 / 3:25 pm

    Which festival are you going to Angie? Need any help?

    • thriftwizard May 12, 2013 / 3:56 pm

      Larmer Tree, Jill, and much though I’d value your help & experience, I seem to have a plethora of teenage girls suddenly feeling very helpful!

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