For years I have been squirreling away vintage in the attic. Clothes I wore at sixth form and art college, disintegrating garments cast aside by others with no regard for their potential, and wonderful old garments saved from house clearers when elderly friends and family have died. Although I am aware of value in everything squeezed into boxes, laundry bags and drawers up here, I am also aware that most of it is not for me. Too small (as ever was the case with vintage on a foodie), wrong colour or just too glam for the reality of my life. So it has been left untouched for a rainy day, with occasional trips into the dark corners for fabric scraps and to add another box of treasure to the collection.
Last year I met Bella at Rag & Magpie and it was clear she had the drive, enthusiasm and knowledge to relocate some of my treasures into the right hands for them to have a new life. With her technical know-how and beautifully run site, not to mention an eye for what Rag and Magpie fans want, we decided to liberate the stash in the attic together.
Together we went through boxes, laundry bags and old wardrobes together casting our beady eyes over somewhat neglected garments in the search for charm, character and style from bygone eras. Notes were made of ripped seams, missing buttons, collars that had disappeared and seized zips, and these under-loved pieces were moved to the workroom for some overdue attention.
Whilst going through the garments I made sure to match buttons from Granny’s button box, use zips of the correct era which had been snapped up in charity shops, and even to use the correct thread for the era. There is a fine balance between giving an item a new lease of life and compromising its integrity whilst bringing it back from obscurity.
Working on a variety of garments made me long for the wools and silks of the past, and be very grateful for the developments in synthetic fabrics since the early ones used in the 50s and 60s. And I have to confess, there may have been a few garments which have gone back into my current wardrobe, as it was just too hard to pass them on.
The garments having been thoroughly checked and found in a good state of repair were boxed up, ready for dispatch to Rag & Magpie HQ where they will be lovingly freshened, pressed and photographed, ready for your perusal in due course. Batch 1 has just been delivered, so watch this space.
We’ve penciled in another couple of days in the attic to continue hunting for treasure, so do keep a look out for lingerie that verges on the antique, and an extensive selection of homeware which we haven’t even unearthed yet. In the meantime, I have a little mending to get back to.