Category Archives: vintage

Vintage Dresses and Christmas Markets

Vintage dress and HM mach

Glastonbury Festival is the last place I’d expect to find decent, work-friendly vintage, but this summer I did just that when my friend Ceri and I stumbled across a stall selling all their vintage dresses for a fiver. Needless to say it didn’t take much convincing for me to have a rummage and unearth this beauty.

This geometric print, three quarter length sleeve dress – complete with pockets – was made by Hardob, a now defunct German clothing brand, from what I gather, and is most probably from the 1970s. It was in great condition and after attempting to try it on over my clothes while not covering it in an obligatory layer of mud, I decided it had to be mine.

Vintage dress and HM mac

The trade-off for buying garments from this decade is that they’re often made from polyester, which isn’t the most pleasing fabric out there, but it does mean that dresses like this won’t object to being thrown into the washing machine instead of hand washed.

I wore this dress, along with an H&M trench coat and Zara studded boots, to Saturday’s Picton Street Christmas Fair. The road was heaving and while we were there we saw some fantastic circus acts, including a trapeze artist and fire poi.

I don’t know if it’s the mild weather or the looming responsibility of cooking Christmas dinner, but I’m still not feeling especially ‘Christmassy’ yet – I suspect the numerous Christmas jumper themed parties coming up this week will change all that though!

Are you buying any gifts from Christmas markets this year?

Vintage Hardob dress – a Glastonbury festival stall / Trench coat – H&M / Cable knit socks – M&S / Green quilted shoulder bag – River Island / Studded tan brown cowboy boots – Zara

Trapeze artist at Picton Street Christmas MarketVintage dress mac and red hairPicton Street Christmas marketRiver Island quilted shoulder bagMistletoe for saleCircus skills at Picton Street Christmas market

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Competition Alert: Creative Couture Fashion Designer of The Year

Creative Couture Fashion Deisnger of The Year competition

Something a little different on the blog today, I’m excited to announce the launch of Creative Couture Designer of The Year, a new fashion design competition launched by vintage boutique, Heartfelt.

The aim of this competition is to inspire and encourage creative fashion talent, and there are several categories including 16-18 year olds, 19-25 year olds and 26 years old and over, as well as an additional category for 11-15 year olds. Budding designers can either design a new vintage inspired outfit or rework an existing piece to give it a new lease of life.

The competition is in conjunction with Little Wings, a local organisation that supports children’s charities around the world, and designers will need to work the theme ‘little wings’ into their design.

Some of you might recall that I blogged about Heartfelt, based in Clifton, a few months ago, which combines beautiful vintage threads with tea rooms and even styling and photography projects. Ever one to keep busy, owner Mandy Hawkins is busy preparing for a Vintage Weekend Spectacular next summer, which is where the winning designer will be announced.

Creative Couture Designer of The Year 2014 launched earlier this month and to be in with a chance of winning, you need to register by 24th January 2014. For more information and to register, contact Mandy Hawkins on 07809 302626 or email

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A Pretty Nostalgic gathering at Kingsweston House

Vintage embroidery by Teresa Dunne Willapark

What do you get if you add a vintage magazine, a stately home and some of the South West’s best vintage emporiums? That would be Saturday’s A Pretty Nostalgic Magazine Gathering at the beautiful Kingsweston House. Situated on the outskirts of Bristol, near Avonmouth, Kingsweston House was built in the 1700s and its grand ball rooms and lush green gardens were the perfect location for the event, which combined shopping, wedding planning and lots of vintage inspired activities and outfits.

Organised by Pretty Nostalgic magazine, the day included various talks, demonstrations – from the Lindy Hop to Jane Austen inspired dancing – and a bloggers networking hour, to which I was invited. There were also several stalls selling vintage inspired clothes, toys and homewares, my favourite being Teresa Dunne Willapark’s designs, above. The Cornwall-based artist uses vintage fabric and hand stitching to create her intricate wall hangings and greetings cards.

KingsWeston House, Bristol

After a rocky start trying to find a place to park, I arrived in time for a little browsing (and mandatory photograph taking) before the networking hour began at midday. Eli, Emily, Lily, Angela, LouisaLucy, Helen, Jo, Catherine and I settled down into the yurt opposite Kingsweston House and, after a slightly awkward AA style introduction where we went around in a circle introducing ourselves and our blogs, we settled in for a natter.

I was initially skeptical of an organised networking hour but it was refreshing to be able to chat about the kinds of things that friends without blogs don’t always understand, such as the merits of blog networks, which hosting company to go with (yep, that was my question) and Pinterest photography tips.

I didn’t get any photos of us networking but that’s not a problem since there were so many beautiful vintage-inspired treats for the eyes that are far better looking than us bloggers! Here are some photos from the day – big thank you to Pretty Nostalgic for inviting me.

Bristol Vintage crockery companyJane Austen dancers at Kingsweston HouseKingsWeston House chandelierOrnate mirror selfie at Pretty Nostalgic magazine eventVintage bikes decorated in flowersLK Bespoke Bridal corsetPretty Nostalgic blogger networking event


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What I Found at Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale

Mint green spotty dress

A few weeks ago I popped along to Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale at Bristol’s Paintworks, so I figured it was about time I shared what I got my hands on.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the vintage stock dated from the 1970s through to the 1990s. I had my eye on 70s printed dresses and although most of the rails contained seasonally appropriate jumpers, jackets and coats, I wasn’t disappointed.

First up is the mint green spotty dress, above, which is a very simple shape and will be perfect for spring. There are a couple of tiny holes along the elasticated waist which will need seeing too, but other than that it’s in pretty good condition.

Blue pleated St Bernard dress

I’ve taken to calling this blue pleated dress my Margaret Thatcher dress – imagine it with a box clutch and some leather court shoes – though I doubt Maggie would have worn a dress by St. Bernard. After a quick Google of the label, I found that it’s parent retail brand is Dunnes, an Irish chain that was founded in the 40s and lists M&S, Debenhams and Penneys as its rivals. It’s a little on the big side so will need styling with heels and waist-cinching belt, or possibly taking in, to have a hope of demonstrating that I actually have a waist.

Pale yellow bouquet dress collage

Next up is this beautiful pale yellow pleated dress. The downside of the kilo sale was a distinct lack of changing rooms, so I picked this up and hoped for the best. Unfortunately it’s a little too tight at the moment but I’m hoping to wriggle into it in time for my friend Laura’s wedding next summer, if not sooner.

Cream butterfly top and tartan pleated skirt

This pleated tartan skirt fits like a glove and was the first thing I was drawn to when I arrived at the sale, hosted at The Paintworks. I paired it with this sporty cream knitted tank, which I also found there – I think I’d prefer it without the pair of cornflower blue butterflies, but it’s so unique I couldn’t walk away from it.

Blue floral dress with Zara cowboy boots

As soon as I clapped eyes on this blue and pink floral dress I was in love. I’m normally put off by dresses that have a baggy top half (does anyone know what this style is called?) as they typically don’t suit anyone over a B cup, but I was pleasantly surprised when I tried this on. I think I like it because it reminds me of the vintage dress I found in Motel last year – I’m such a sucker for florals!

Red collarless box jacket with paisley detailing

Finally,  just when I thought I’d seen everything Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale had to offer, I spotted this red collarless box jacket, complete with shoulder pads and silk paisley trim. I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it scrubs up pretty well when teamed with black skinny jeans and a simple white t-shirt, honest!

Not bad for £40, eh? I also found a winter jumper (currently at the dry cleaners) and a claret and navy dress, not pictured, which I’m looking forward to wearing this winter. To find your local Judy’s Kilo Sale, visit their events page. Judy’s are coming back to Bristol in November – see you there?

P.S. If the age or, er, aroma has ever put you off buying second hand or vintage clothing, check out my guide to washing vintage clothes for Oxfam – it’s a doddle and will have your vintage finds smelling as good as new!

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Filed under vintage, vintage fair

Vintage Kilo Sale at Bristol’s Paintworks

Inside Judy's Bristol Vintage Kilo Sale

Last Saturday a couple of our friends came to stay and when one of them mentioned a vintage kilo sale taking place at Bristol’s Paintworks complex the very same weekend, I felt duty bound to check it out. Purely for blog research, of course…

After a night of sweet potato curry, homemade damson gin and an intense game of Monopoly, we got up early on Sunday morning to head to Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale. I’d heard of Judy’s Vintage Fairs – a popular sight in Bristol and across the country, but their kilo sales were new to me. The difference is at a a kilo sale, instead of paying for each garment individually, you pay by weight. In this instance the cost was £15 per kilo which the Judy’s website reckons will get you around 4-5 items.

Judy's Vintage Kilo Sale at Bristol Paintworks

We arrived just after the event kicked off at 10am and I’m so pleased we did, as within half an hour the room was heaving with bargain hunters and traders. The large hall was decorated with fairy lights and purple balloons and filled to the brim with rails and containers full of clothes. Classed as vintage, the kilo sales have stock from the 70s through to the 90s, so if 40s rose print tea dresses or 50s circle skirts are what you’re after, you won’t find them at one of these events.

I was surprised by the amount of 90s stock (personally I don’t consider something from George at Asda circa 1998 to be vintage) and the stock felt very seasonal, with lots of jackets and chunky knitwear, but after rummaging the rails I managed to find a few brightly patterned summer dresses, hurrah! I bought just over 2.5 kilos, which cost around £40, but for that I walked away with two jumpers, five dresses, one skirt and a blazer – that’s practically half a wardrobe full of unique clothes for the price of a couple of nights out.

I’ll write another post about the bargains I found in more detail, but if you’re interested in Judy’s Kilo Sales then take a look at their events page to find your local sale. This is definitely a different way to shop for vintage – have you been to an event like this before, or does the rummage factor put you off?

Vintage Kilo Sale balloonsVintage jumpers at the Vintage Kilo SaleBargain hunters at the Vintage Kilo SaleVintage kilo sale clothes

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Local Love: Heartfelt Bristol

Vintage camisoles and cotton nightdresses

Bristol constantly surprises me with the vintage shopping opportunities that lie within. Heartfelt is one such destination, a true vintage gem which I only had the pleasure of discovering a few weeks ago. Located on Clifton’s Alma Vale Road, a stone’s throw from Whiteladies Road, Heartfelt is a vintage boutique-cum-tea room where the focus is the overall experience of shopping for vintage clothing, which owner Mandy Hawkins is keen to create with an afternoon tea service and 50s music playing in the background.

I first heard of Heartfelt when I got chatting to a couple of bargain hunters in the queue for the recent Bristol Vintage Fair near Temple Meads, but it wasn’t until a friend told me about a one day flash sale in June that I finally discovered Heartfelt for myself. I fell in love with a 1950s circle skirt with white and blue stripes and a fruit print around the hem (trust me, it’s amazing!) and Mandy was kind enough to put it by for me.

Once the shop was back to normal – beautiful rails of colour-coded clothes and a cluster of art deco chairs and tables at the front of the shop – I popped back to pay for my skirt and chat to Mandy over a glass of elderflower fizz.

“I grew up with a mother and grandmother who constantly went to auctions and jumble sales so wherever I go, I’m always looking for new stock”

The key to Heartfelt working so well is that the customer really does come first – Mandy has dressed débutantes and actresses on the red carpet and her customers are loyal to her, following her from Somerset to Bristol where she set up shop two years ago. With over twenty years of experience in the rag trade, Mandy knows her stuff and is warm and friendly but not afraid to give her opinion if she thinks a garment you’re trying on could be improved somehow.

The vintage that has become a common sight on the high street isn’t what you’ll find at Heartfelt. 80s sportswear and batwing jumpers have no place here – the decade du jour is strictly 50s or earlier, with some ball gowns dating back 70 years and costing upwards of £300. But the boutique and tearoom are just the tip of the iceberg – Heartfelt is in fact a collective made up of milliners,  make-up artists, florists, photographers and stylists. If you want a button moved or adress taken in, a seamstress is just a phone call away, and vintage tea parties for adults (and children) can be arranged without a fuss.

“I like making people feel special”

Any items that are too precious to sell can be hired out – while I was at Heartfelt a couple of young women came in enquiring about floral headdresses to take to Glastonbury – and if you just want to capture a vintage moment then Mandy and her team can put together a photo shoot for you.

The atmosphere of the shop is relaxed and friendly, not a vibe I always get from vintage boutiques, making it a delight to shop in, as if you’re not in a shop at all but in the dressing room of a glamorous Hollywood actress, or a child playing dress-up in your Grandmother’s wardrobe. While ballgowns may be out of reach for most budgets, there is affordable vintage to be found for around £30-£100, each piece with a distinct tale to tell.

Have you been to Heartfelt yet? What other vintage gems have you discovered in your neck of the woods recently?

Heartfelt, 32 Alma Vale Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2HY. Open 9.30am – 5.30pm Tuesday to Saturday.

Vintage children's straw rabbit handbagHeartfelt Alma Vale Road, BristolVintage stockings at Hearlfet1920s vintage at Heartfelt BristolTaking photos in Heartfelt on Alma Vale RoadHand-painted vintage dress from HeartfeltHeartfelt's resident pup


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H&M Lace T-Shirt and Vintage Skirt

H&M lace t-shirt and vintage skirt

Two sunny Bank Holiday weekends in a row!? Oh Britain, if you’re not careful you’ll give us cause to think we might actually get a summer this year…

The long weekend was blissful and pretty relaxed for me, and the gorgeous weather gave me the opportunity to bust out this new lace t-shirt from H&M. I picked it up in Bath a few weeks ago when it was on sale. The dusty blue colour isn’t one that I normally gravitate towards but I just loved the simplicity of t-shirt shape combined with the floral lace fabric.

These photographs were taken during a wander around the allotments set on a hill between St Andrews and St Werburghs. A thin pedestrian pathway winds down the hill, snaking around the allotments to St Werburghs City Farm – one of my favourite spots in Bristol and an excellent canvas for outfit shoots.

The skirt comes straight from Grandma Ship-Shape’s wardrobe and the cloudy palette of peaches, mint green and lilac is the perfect springtime combination to wear in the sun. I picked the sunglasses up on holiday last year and I’m pleased to say that they’re finally making an (almost) daily appearance in my outfits! How did you spend your Bank Holiday weekend? I hope you were able to soak up some sun, too!

Lace t-shirt – H&M / Floral printed midi skirt – Grandma Ship-Shape / Belt – clothes swap / Cream ankle boots – Primark / Green quilted bag – River Island / Sunglasses – Italian mall

H&M blue lace t-shirt and vintage skirtAt the St Werburgh allotmentsLace t-shirt vintage skirt and clothes swap beltVintage skirt with H&M t-shirt and Primark boots and H&M lace t-shirt


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The Nest: Magpies & I Pop-Up Shop at Room 212 on Gloucester Road

Magpies & I pop-up shop jewellery

The pop-up concept is alive and well on Gloucester Road as The Nest opened at Room 212 today. Tucked away under a colourful stripy canape, Room 212 occupies the same part of the road as Billie Jean, Fig and the Golden Lion pub and is Bristol’s smallest art gallery.

The gallery has been transformed into a magpie’s nest, and for the next two weeks will be full of vintage clothes, handmade jewellery and tasty looking cupcakes.

Sian is the woman behind The Nest, which is an extension of her popular market Magpies & I. Split between Bristol and Altrincham, the vintage markets are a passion that Sian juggles alongside her full time job. As a result, the pop-up shop will open at 12pm during the week, trading until 7pm.

The Nest stocks a range of local designers, including Priormade who create hand-finished geometric jewellery, and Faith & Betty, who make delicious smelling organic bath bombs and soaps. Another brand that caught my eye was Re Be, a Bath based clothing company specialising in transforming pre-loved clothes into child and baby clothes, including adorable playsuits and dungarees from old shirts.

I went to the opening yesterday evening (I’m still kicking myself that I forgot to try one of the delicious looking Pearly King Cake cupcakes) and discovered not only some wonderful accessories and homewares, but also that The Nest is hosting a swap shop this Friday evening. If you have any handmade or vintage pieces you’d like to part with, you can trade them with a piece from one of the traders. I love a good bit of swapping so I’m tempted to pop along – see you there?

The Nest is open 12-7pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am-6pm Saturday to Sunday until 25th May. The Swap Shop takes place this Friday (19th May) from 6-8pm, and for more information you can visit the Magpies & I website.

Room 212 Gloucester Rd BristolPearly King Cake cupcakesMagpies and I swap shopVintage clothes at Magpies & IHandmade toys at Magpies & I pop-up shop


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Vintage dresses and wedding vows

Vintage wedding outfit | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

On Thursday I had the best Valentine’s Day EVER. Is that becuase of bunches of flowers, boxes of chocolates and cuddly toys? Hell no! It’s becuase I watched two of my friends marry one another in a perfect winter wedding ceremony. The church, on the outskirts of Bristol, where the bride’s parents had married, was freezing but the sun shone high, and the vows were beautiful.

I haven’t been to a church ceremony since I was a child and I was surprised at how magical the event felt. After the ceremony we headed to the Avon Gorge Hotel in Clifton to celebrate until the wee hours. The hotel overlooks the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the stunning views were the perfect backdrop for the shot above, as well as plenty of the bride and groom.

For the occasion I wore the white and navy vintage dress that I found last year at Bath’s Vintage Sunday, paired with a tan belt, frilly H&M ankle socks and a pair of Grandma Ship-Shape‘s dainty peep toe shoes. I did attempt styling my hair into victory rolls but by the time these photos were taken they’d kind of fallen out! Not long afterwards I also switched my shoes for a beautiful pair of glittery boots, but more on those later.

Here are a few more snaps from the day, including the bride’s gorgeous bouquet…

Wedding confetti | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionThe wedding party | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionWedding outfit | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionThe bride's bouquet | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion


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Vintage Blues at St Werburghs Farm

Blue vintage dress | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

Despite living in Bristol for eight years, St Werburghs City Farm is somewhere I’ve only ever jogged past when running through the neighbourhood  That’s a massive error on my part as there are so many adorable animals there, which I found out when Mr Ship-Shape and I went for a wander with our cameras on Saturday.

The farm backs on to a set of allotments and is a really relaxing space to visit, except for when you see a duck being sexually harassed by three other ducks, which I did. Then it can become quite stressful, as you shout at the male duck to stop standing on a very disgruntled looking female duck, “that is not the way to get her to like you!” I digress…

Ducks aside, the farm is charming addition to the already laidback St Werburghs, and I thought it would be a great place to road-test the new lomography film I bought a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, as it was still rather cold, most of the animals were tucked up in their pens so I’ll have to wait until the roll is developed to see if I managed to capture any pigs or rabbits on film.

The blue dress is a vintage number I found at a market near Brick Lane on my recent trip to London, and was a bargain at £5! The bird necklace is from The Cutworks, a new Bristol-based brand that have a soft spot for, as it’s run by the lovely S from Beautiful Plumage. The necklace reminds me of the plump little birds in Snow White and I love wearing it against the busy backdrop of the royal blue dress. It also comes in white and black, too, so take a look at the Facebook page to see the whole collection.

Dress – Vintage market, London / Necklace – c/o The Cutworks / Belt – vintage / Cable knit cardigan – Tesco / Ankle boots – Primark

St Weburghs City Farm graffiti | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionThe Cutworks bird necklace | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionSt Werburghs | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionVintage blue dress and Diana F+ | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion


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