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Entries in embroidery (67)


Candy Cane Girl

When it comes to red and white, the first thing I think of is peppermint candy canes, so of course this is a combination perfect for Christmas. That’s what the song says, after all: just a hint of peppermint and every single thing begins to feel like Christmas (Point of Grace). And then of course there’s Mr Claus’ traditional outfit.

White is my favourite non-colour. Since there are only two, that’s not saying much, but I love white in combination with other colours, my favourites being blue, hunter green, as well as scarlet. (I actually also like black more when it is paired with white.) Nor does the ratio of white to red matter – you can wear a lot of white with small accents of red, or the reverse. It always looks striking.

I also have a particular liking for red embroidery on white. Many years ago, I saw a beautiful white scarf, thickly embroidered with red, in the National Gallery of Victoria’s shop. It was very expensive, so I reluctantly put it down, but to this day it remains one of those purchases I regret not having made. I’ve searched high and low, on and offline since, but never seen anything remotely like it.

On one such search on Etsy, I came across this white silk peasant blouse with red embroidery around the yoke and on the cuffs. It is vintage 40s, and quite delicate, so I don’t wear it often. It’s also tiny – I have quite little wrists, but I can’t do up those cuffs!

Many of these other clothes are vintage too. The white wool jumper (sweater) beaded and sequinned all over is 50s. It has adorable beaded pompoms dangling from the hem, although a couple are missing; this was another Etsy purchase that I snapped up in a hurry (having learnt my lesson). Also 1950s: two different rabbit fur bandeaus, one of them with pompoms (irresistible!), while the red sailor hat is 1940s.

The other clothes are contemporary pieces: notably, the red cable knit dress is by Anthropologie, the white skirt by Witchery and the glittery red heels by Wittner.

I haven’t yet decided what to wear on Christmas Day, but I have worn white and red before. Perhaps this year I could reverse the proportions? It’s a delicious possibility.

Photos: July 2013


What I Actually Wore #105

Serial #: 0105
Date: 10/01/2013
Weather: 27°, balmy evening
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

The amusing thing about writing stories about outfits from so long ago is firstly, being startled by my hairstyles, and secondly, rediscovering clothes which have since passed out of my closet. In the case of the latter, the shoes, which I loved, wore out. All the other pieces are still there however.

I remember this evening, dressing quickly after hurrying home from work, only to rush back into the city to go out for dinner with a friend to celebrate her birthday. We ate Korean barbecue.

It was a warm and sticky evening, hence the lightness of the silk chiffon top – still festive with that delicate beading. It is a very pale pink, and with that cream micro-pleated cotton skirt, the overall effect is light and sugary, which is why I offset with the contrasting black accessories and the burst of strong colour on the feet.

Those yellow suede wedges were so soft and comfortable, and easy to walk in despite their height. I was sad when the tan leather around the platform wore out so badly, but I am ruthless about turfing shoes that have seen better days. All the other items are still in circulation however.

(Photo: January, 2013)


Top: Sportsgirl
Ricki Reed, vintage 80s
hand made
Bangle and ring:
Sole Society


Scarf Mania

The magic suitcase!Nearly a half-year has gone past! How have I done with my New Year’s resolutions? Well, I passed resolution one with flying colours: I did not get sunburned. My second resolution had all to do with wearing scarves.

I know this sounds extremely frivolous and ridiculous, but the fact is I love scarves and shawls and have such an enormous collection. Many of them are vintage – and I so rarely wear them. Though I already own more than enough for three of me, I keep buying more whenever I stumble across one I find irresistible – especially when it’s some lovely scrap of coloured silk, or a square of cashmere, or Scottish angora plaid. I’m a moth to a flame.

My problem is twofold: I am always in a hurry in the morning to get ready for work. When I think accessories, they are not the first items that come to mind – they are a non-essential extra. Choosing a scarf and knotting it properly always takes extra time that I can’t spare.

These vintage square silk scarves both feature square motifs.The other problem lies in that old adage, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. I do have a scarf rack – one of those nifty contraptions bought in Ikea: a vertical hanging rack of circles that are crocheted together. You thread the scarves through the loops. It hangs on a wall in my closet, a convenient display, but the trouble is that the circles are too large to thread small square scarves onto them (they would slip out), and so all these are stored away in a vintage suitcase, along with a number of large shawls that I would simply not thread on the scarf rack at all.

That’s a New Year’s Resolution FAIL!

So exactly how many times during the summer did I wear a scarf? Exactly once. Uh-huh. And I made a special effort to achieve that! That’s a New Year’s Resolution FAIL!

A silk shawl I have actually worn – victory! This is a vintage 1920s navy piano shawl (bought on Etsy a couple of years ago), thickly embroidered in white and featuring a deep knotted fringe. It's so huge it would trail on the ground if I draped it around me like a cloak. I saw a 1920s film a while back (the name of which I can't recall) and the lead actress flung her shawl around her shoulders exactly like that.I am doing better during the winter, because scarves of course are a necessary extra layer of warmth on a chilly day, and these long winter scarves are too fat for complicated knots – I usually wrap them across my chest under my coat, or loop them around my neck over the top of my outerwear.

So what is the answer to this sartorial dilemma? I know what it is: I have simply got to get up earlier. I ought to have made that my first New Year’s Resolution!


India Inspires

India Inspires :: Tinto // Pistil // Laser Lemon GelWhenever I see something shiny in a store, you can guarantee, like a magpie, my eyes will go big and round, and my lips purse as I breathe, ‘Ooooooo! Shiny!’ My hands involuntarily reach out to caress these pretty objects and admire. Sometimes I buy them.

India is a wonderful source for all things golden and tinkly – anyone at all familiar with Bollywood fare will know that. I remember staring into a shop in one of the souqs in Dubai displaying a myriad of Indian trim – soutache and braids, ribbons embroidered in gold and silver metallic thread, bejewelled and bedazzling. I was like a kid in a candy store. But, overwhelmed by choice, I didn’t buy anything (tragic).

India Inspires :: Tinto // Pistil // Laser Lemon GelIn celebration of that childish wonder, here is a little collection of Indian-inspired jewels, slippers and scarves. Some of them actually are Indian, bought in Melbourne boutiques or foraged for in charity stores, and some of them are my own souvenirs from faraway lands (ironically not India though). Be dazzled.

India Inspires :: Tinto // Pistil // Laser Lemon GelIndia Inspires :: Tinto // Pistil // Laser Lemon GelIndia Inspires :: Tinto // Pistil // Laser Lemon GelIndia Inspires :: Tinto // Pistil // Laser Lemon GelIndia Inspires :: Tinto // Pistil // Laser Lemon GelIndia Inspires :: Tinto // Pistil // Laser Lemon GelIndia Inspires :: Tinto // Pistil // Laser Lemon GelIndia Inspires :: Tinto // Pistil // Laser Lemon Gel


The Perfect Shade of Blue

Some time ago I came across this Indian kameez (tunic, normally worn with trousers called shalwar) in a charity store, and was immediately attracted to it because it resembled Wedgwood jasperware in traditional blue. I adore lace – particularly guipure and Battenberg – and it is delicious in combination with this particular shade of blue. The kameez is in fact embroidered in white on blue. 

It was in 1759 that Joseph Wedgwood opened his own pottery business, but it was not until 1765 that his new earthenware style became popular throughout Europe, and was dubbed ‘Queen’s Ware’ with permission of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the British Queen consort. 

Wedgwood experimented with more than 3000 samples [to achieve this shade of blue] …

Jasperware was inspired by the Portland Vase, a Roman cameo glass vase that is dated between AD 1–25, in a time when the mythologies depicted in artifacts of the ancient world was inspiring artisans all over Europe. This particular shade of Portland blue was the first jasperware colour, and to achieve it Wedgwood experimented with more than 3000 samples. Somewhat of a perfectionist, Joseph Wedgwood.

His legacy of lovely dishware lives on centuries later and continues to inspire designers of all kinds. Scroll down for a few more examples and references. 


1930s shoes from Road Less Travelled 2
Broken pottery earrings from V Belle Jewelry
Wedgwood jug (out of stock) from Oxfam
Hazel Atlas glasses from Old Cape Cod Vintage
Embroidered trim from A C Afterglow
1950s cocktail dress from Maeven On Etsy
1950s gloves from Karen Elmquist Vintage
Wedding cake seen on Style Unveiled
Wedgwood bud vase from Lilpicker

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