Skip to content

Goodbye to Summer


The nights are definitely drawing in and my winter woollies are now firmly back in my wardrobe. However, the climate has been noticeably warmer than usual for October, so this wistful image seems appropriate as we wave goodbye to summer.

Dress by Laura Ashley c.1971. Photograph by John Carter.

Image scanned from Petticoat magazine (click for a super-sized view)

Laura Ashley c.1971

Laura Ashley c.1971

FASHION 1968: Sculptured Lines


We see fashion as a special form of beauty. It’s the art of wearing what’s most flattering and at the same time making sense. Sculptured lines with additional cover-up make fashion sense right through to autumn. Since long before Caesar, women have had to be conquerors of fashion – it’s half the answer to enjoying life and being beautiful. Et tu, beauty?

Scanned from FASHION magazine, August 1968

‘Click’ the image twice for a super-sized view.

Coat by Bernard Russell

Coat by Bernard Russell 1968

ABOVE: Coat in treacle brown jersey over a sleeveless dress in orange, red and brown. By Bernard Russell, £27. Beige beret by Kangol, jewellery by Adrien Mann, gloves by Miloré, brown stockings, Mary Quant, and brown and black shoes, Kurt Geiger, 12 gns.

Suit by Sybil Selker for Polly Peck 1968

Suit by Sybil Selker for Polly Peck, 1968

ABOVE: Nonchalant suit with lean lengthy jacket in red, white and black with a black patent belt and a black skirt pleated at the front. Suit by Sybil Zelker for Polly Peck, £17 5s. White silk scarf by Richard Allen. Trilby (not shown) from 5½ gns, at Herbert Johnson. Glossy black shoes piped with white, 11 gns, from Gaby. Photograph: Val Pariser.

Suit and blouse by Salvador 1968

Suit and blouse by Salvador, 1968

ABOVE: Imaginative suit in black and white striped tweed, its long conclave jacket notched in at the front with a shiny black patent belt. The blouse to add: white, without sleeves and with a detachable tie. Suit and blouse by Salvador, 34½ gns. Ring by Adrien Mann. Photograph: Val Pariser.

This autumn, fashion goes shapely with coats and suit jackets moulded so that they cling to the rib-cage or with more defiant shaping in the form of a big bold belt. For waistlines that can’t take this amount of definition there’s this season’s other great suit look, the cardigan jacket, which tops a nice easy skirtful of wide flat pleats. But whichever look you make your own don’t stop there – for what gives the new line real fashion impact are a few simple additions – a blouse to give a suit real togetherness, a dress to underline precisely the simple cut of the coat which covers it – this kind of arithmetic makes this autumn’s look all add up.

Dress and coat by Andre Peters, 1968

Dress and coat by Andre Peters, 1968

ABOVE: Bloomy camel wool coat with petal shaped revers faced with black and a clingy belt with a round buckle. The dress that’s underneath is in the same camel wool with a rounded neckline and well defined seaming. Dress and coat by Andre Peters, 40 gns.

Suit and blouse by Salvador, 1968

Suit and blouse by Salvador, 1968

ABOVE: Autumnal cardigan suit in a mingling of brown and mustard yellow, with a blouse in fine brown wool. Suit and blouse both by Salvador, 49 gns, at Fortnum and Mason. Old England Pendant watch from Harvey Nichols. Soft beige shoes, 99 s. 11d. at Russell and Bromley.

Hairstyles by Michael at Michaeljohn.

A Touch of the Sun: FASHION August 1969


Images scanned from FASHION magazine, August 1969

Photography: Dean Pywell

‘Click’ on the images . . . and ‘click’ again, for a super-sized view . . .

Cream Courtelle trouser suit by Erica Budd 1969

Our Lorelei wears ribbed wool jersey by Erica Budd.

August is a month of many moods. Sun-filled for the out-of-towners and full of autumn promise for the planners. To reflect these moods FASHION finds last-minute holiday buys for the woman who refuses to commit herself ahead and, for her opposite number (the woman we most admire), a look into autumn at the best that’s new.  Get brown all over – even your clothes, for the brown spectrum is big news right now. Scatter your sultry evening looks with a shower of sequins, or slink into that silky second-skin look with fabrics that cling.

Fashion Magazine August 1969

Strolling in the surf in a long beige, cotton jersey vest-dress, dead simple, but, oh, so sinuous and suggestive, £2 9s. 6d. from Miss Selfridge.

Summertime, and the shops are full of snow clothes. They reckon your summer holiday wardrobe must be complete by Easter, but FASHION thinks otherwise. What about those unpredictable, tantalising last-minute invitations? To a week’s camping in the Algarve . . . a few days’ boating down the Rhine . . . a weekend in the Highlands . . . For those you’ll want an extra something to spark off your holiday mood (like champagne). FASHION has scouted round for crisp, nifty last-minute numbers, to see you off in top form.

Etam swimsuits 1969

Two bathing beauties listening to whispers from a giant conch shell: in a red chenille stretch swimsuit, neatly outlined in navy, 49s. 11d. and a streamlining stretch nylon bikini, navy blue with thin white stripes, 49s. 11d. both from main branches of Etam.

Summer fashion 1969

TOP: Lorelei ’69, and every bid as deadly: lurking on steep rocks in a skinny white sweater, cable stitched over the front, 69s. 11d. from a selection of main branches of Etam. Navy pleated skirt, by Travers Tempos, 72s. White navy-striped knee socks, 22s. 6d. from Fortnum & Mason. Silver rings from a selection at Hooper Bolton. White leather schoolgirls shoes, 59s. 11d. from Dolcis. Her purposeful playmate scans the scene in a beige, ribbed sweater, its collar fastened with leather shoe strings, 69s. 11d. from Etam. Beige, front-pleated skirt by Pierre Elegante, 5 gns, from Bourne & Hollingsworth. Brown leather belt from Browns. Box-shaped canvas bag, 3 1/2 gns, from Elliott. Coarsely woven canvas hat, 4 1/2 gns, by Herbert Johnson. Lacy beige knee socks, by Sunarama. Cream leather shoes, 49s. 11d. from Lilley & Skinner.

Fashion Magazine August 1969

Before the action starts, a picnic on the rocks, feasting off prawns and scallop shells from Harrods. Muted, brownish-green knitted trouser suit by Playfair of London, top, £6 10s. trousers, £8 10s, from Bourne & Hollingsworth. Cream cotton jersey blouse with pockets on each side, by Mr Robert at Future Fashion Wear, 59s. 11d. Brown, buckle belt by Paco Rabanne, 6 gns. Her hair is hidden by a long, beige and brown Liberty printed scarf, 4 gns. Ivory beads at W. Barrett & Sons Ltd. Beige and green cord shoes, 29s 11d., from Russell & Bromley. Cream Courtelle trouser suit by Erica Budd, at Travers Tempos, £7 19s. 16d. Two-toned brown and cream shoes, 6 gns, from Ronald Keith.

Vintage Lounge Wear


One of my favourite purchases of late is this eye-grabbing house-dress dating c.1960s, early 1970s.  I love its boldness; bright orange ruffles running across the bodice, mirrored around the generously wide sleeves. Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but an interesting piece from an interesting fashion decade. It has the sort of loose, open shape, that makes it easy-to-wear around the house at the weekend . . . . . . maybe if you’re the glamorous, Liz Taylor type.

Navy-Blue Floral House Dress Size 12-16 c.1960s

Too glam for bedtime . . .

Had it not been for the short length, I’d have described this as a hostess gown. I suspect it may have been floor length at one time. Shortening a hemline would certainly make a garment less formal looking, so perhaps the previous owner made the alteration to keep up with fashion trends of the time.

Search online for images of ‘Vintage 1960s Lounge Wear‘ and you’ll be drowned in a sea of colourful prints and interesting designs. The Vintage Fashion Guild’s sparkly new website is the perfect place to visit. They’ve put together a lingerie guide, which will help identify your vintage treasures. Take a look at examples of antique and vintage lingerie from across the decades.

Orange ruffle decoration

In your face orange ruffles

Repair Project

Glass Bead Necklace 1930s/40s

Glass Bead Necklace 1930s/40s

Thank goodness for my friends at the Vintage Fashion Guild. Had it not been for their help and advice, I wouldn’t have attempted re-stringing this vintage necklace – a very simple project to those into jewellery making, but I’d never attempted anything like this before. I don’t mind getting the sewing machine out to repair vintage clothing, but when it comes to repairing vintage jewellery . . . . well, I’d have to be 100 per cent sure about what I was doing; especially with an older piece such as this one. It’s made from different shaped glass beads and dates circa late 1930s, early 1940s. I particularly love the yellow ruffle beads; so unusual. I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like them.

See how dirty these are? 'Click' for a closer view.

See how dirty these are? ‘Click’ for a closer view.

Initially, I just wanted advice on how best to clean the necklace. As you can image, a necklace this old has accumulated lots of grime and makeup over the years. I wonder who wore it originally? . . . . . or how many owners it’s had? . . . . . Well, time for a clean!

The old silk cord looked pretty grimy and weak so my colleagues at the VFG suggested re-stringing the necklace. First I took a photograph showing the bead pattern, then cut the silk cord and removed the beads and fastening. I carefully washed each bead individually; first soaking them in a small bowl of warm soapy water and then using a narrow toothbrush to remove any stubborn grime. Before attempting this with your own jewellery, make sure you know what the beads are made from. Glass is perfectly okay to wash, however some types of lucite and definitely bakelite, does not like water at all. Best to use a dry bristle brush and soft polishing cloth to remove dirt.

for cleaning stubborn grime

Perfect for removing stubborn grime.

I purchased some white silk cord (0.50 mm) by Griffin, from Semi Precious Beads.  This cord was perfect since it came with a wire needle attached, making the whole process much easier. I also purchased some antique plated bead tips (calottes) from eBay. They’re very similar in colour to the original spring-ring fastener which I managed to save.

The glass beads cleaned up a treat! I doubled the silk cord for extra strength and attached the bead tips and spring-ring fastener; quite easy if you have some good quality pliers. Now the necklace is good for another 70 years . . . .

Glass bead necklace 1930s 1940s

Mmmmm, SHINY!

Glass bead necklace 1930s 1940s


Bead tips and spring-ring fastener

Antiqued bead tips with the original spring-ring fastener.

It took me about an hour to re-string this necklace, doubling the silk cord and attaching the bead tips and fastener. Well worth the time and a very satisfying project. If you have a vintage necklace with unusual shaped beads like this one, I’d really love to see.

Keep the Faith


I apologise for this lengthy post. However, I really want to go into some detail with this so please bear with me. It’s not often that I feel the need to talk about the habits of the online buying public. Mainly because my customers, on the whole, are very appreciative and happy with their purchases. This hasn’t been achieved by sheer luck on my part. No, the reason is because I go to great lengths to make sure that my customers know exactly what they are buying. For example, I describe the merchandise in detail; I take lots of high-quality, high-resolution photographs; and I prepare my vintage stock before listing – that means cleaning it, pressing it, and repairing it where necessary. I also check carefully for any flaws and imperfections (usually highlighted when I’m going through the cleaning process), and I always, always, always, include a full condition report and measurements.

All of these things take up a considerable amount of time. However it’s really important (to me), that when I sell something online, my customer is fully aware of what they are buying in order to make an informed decision. Sounds fair? I think so.

Anyway, as mentioned, the majority of my customers are really, truly, fabulous. I’ve received some amazing feedback comments over the years, both on my website and from my eBay shop too; 100% with over 16oo comments received. Etsy have recently changed their feedback policy so it’s more difficult to work-out percentages. However, I’ve still managed to achieve a five-star record, both for my clothing shop and my vintage homeware shop, Home Bird Vintage.

However, there are times, and I know many small online business owners will appreciate this, that a customer comes along that simply beggars belief. This has been one of those weeks! And it’s not been just one customer, it’s been two. Perhaps you’re reading this and you’re unlucky enough to get even more ‘odd-ball’ customers per week . . . . . if so, I really am very sorry for you!

Before I go any further, I’d like to point out that I am fully aware that as a business owner, I must take the rough with the smooth . . . . . . okay, point taken. I am also fully aware that some customers simply do not read the information that is put in front of them, nor can I make them do so . . . . . . . okay, point taken. So what is niggling me then? Well, for one thing, it’s the total lack of respect and rudeness that I have to deal with on occasions. Perhaps these customers have had lots of negative buying experiences in the past? If that is the case, then I am sorry for them too. However, before jumping to conclusions about me and my business, it really wouldn’t go amiss to show a little bit of decorum and dare I say, just an incy-wincy bit of good manners. These things usually go a long way in-so-far as getting the results you require.

Jim Thompson Thai Silk Cushion Covers

Jim Thompson Thai Silk Cushion Covers

My first problem came from selling this set of two pretty silk cushion covers by Jim Thompson dating c.1980s. Sold for £10.oo and priced accordingly. Oh, and just to mention that I had also refunded the buyer £1.70 for overpayment of postage and packing. A mere trifle, but just so you know that I am always fair and honest to my customers – and something this customer failed to acknowledge but hey ho . . . . . like I say, a mere trifle . . . . . . click here to review my description.

So yesterday, I received this message from the customer who will of course, remain nameless:

Hello Louise.
Thank you for the parcel which has just arrived. However, on opening the parcel, I found that the Lotus flower cover has a couple of spillage marks on it. I was expecting an undamaged cover – the swan is fine. I am happy to keep the damaged one and get it washed but wanted to let you know about it. May I suggest you check your other stock to see whether they are O.K.

Now then, clearly this customer did not read my condition report . . . . . at all. Had she done so, she would have known that I had already washed both covers, and in addition, not one, but both covers included marks. And also, just to add insult to injury, I was told to check my other stock to see whether they are ‘O.K’. How rude!

So how did I respond to this? Well, I replied in a very professional manner of course. Here is my reply:

Dear . . . . . .

I’m pleased to hear the parcel arrived safely. I did include full condition notes on the listing and mentioned that both cushions had marks, the floral one with three marks on one side. They were also washed and pressed prior to listing

The condition notes were stated as follows:

CONDITION: Both cushions are in very good order and have been washed and pressed (machine wash cool). The floral cushion has three faint marks on one side and the swan cushion has a very small mark on the border along with a pin hole. Nothing immediately noticeable. Please view the last image. Priced accordingly.

If you’re not happy with the cushions you can return them for a refund less postage.

Please let me know how you wish to proceed.

Thank you.

And the customer’s reply:

Hello Louise.

I have to admit that I neither saw nor read the condition note. So I am happy to keep both covers without causing any problem.


Okay, so not an out-and-out apology, and lucky for me, she does not wish to cause ‘any problem’. So generous!

Biba dress

My Biba dress BEFORE dispatch.

My second issue this week came from a customer that bid on one of my own dresses. The bidding started at £7.99 and I received 5 bids, the winning bid £28.77 plus postage. I had worn this dress only once for my cousin’s wedding last year. I had paid £80.00 for it. I then had it dry cleaned and decided to sell it in order to make more space in my wardrobe. Sadly, it is not vintage BIBA. I wouldn’t have sold it otherwise!! However, a very pretty dress and in perfect condition too. Again, full measurements, including the length were included in the listing.

The dress was sold and paid for on the 29th June and dispatched on 30th June. The buyer received the dress on Wednesday 2nd July. Seven days later, on Wednesday 9th July I received this message via eBay:

Sorry but I have had to return this beautiful dress. So upset but it does not fit.

Apparently it was too short . . . . . .  and my reply:

Sorry to hear the dress doesn’t fit you. I did include full measurements but as long as it’s not been worn or damaged, please return it immediately to:

L Sleigh

Once the dress is received safely back, I will cancel the transaction in order that I can recoup all my fees. Please respond to eBay’s cancellation request as soon as you hear from them.

I have now received the dress back. The parcel did not include my name, simply my address. I have no way of proving this dress hasn’t already been worn. I am not cynical by nature but the buyer did have a full 7 days (including a weekend) in order to party in it! Sadly, I have to comply with UK Consumer Contracts Regulations, which replaced the previous Distance Selling Regulations 2000. This entitles the consumer to cancel their order within 14 days for whatever reason. Fair enough, but to say I was disappointed and upset to receive the dress back in this condition, is an understatement! I have lightened the image in order that you can see clearly how badly creased it is. Please ‘click’ for a closer view.

Biba dress

My BIBA dress after receiving back from the customer.

I have yet to reply to this buyer. They did not have the courtesy of including my name on the returned parcel as I had asked; and they did not ensure the dress was returned in exactly the same condition that it was posted out to them. I appreciate that clothing can get a little creased in the post. However, this is more than a few light creases. A quick pressing would have done the trick! This looks like it’s been thrown to the bottom of the washing basket or stamped on! One thing I can be sure of is that the dress definitely would not have arrived with the customer looking in such a state!

How would you respond to this customer?

I’ve not had an entirely unhappy week though. I did receive a wonderful e-mail from a very happy customer. This lady took the trouble of contacting me prior to making her purchase (from my website), as she wanted advice on getting the right fit. I was more than happy to oblige. Not only did she buy a dress, but she also bought a vintage top. Here is her message, and again, she will remain nameless:

Dear Louise

Just wanted to let you know my parcel arrived today. The dress fits perfectly! Beautiful quality and condition. The top is great too but I was so excited about the dress. I love it; thank you so much.

I’ll be using your website again soon. I am so impressed with your descriptions, the clothes you have sourced and, very importantly, your amazing service.

Many thanks and kind regards

Keep the faith . . . . . my work is done!

Woman’s Pictorial: August 1928


This charming image was taken from a picture exhibited in the Paris Salon by RONDENAY (Marcelle), for the cover of Woman’s Pictorial, August 25th 1928.

Womans Pictorial August 1928‘Click’ for a closer view . . .

The Cape on the Coat

The CAPE on the COAT

It is always just the little thing which shows the breeding of a dress. Whether it is old or new, French or English, definitely you, or just your dressmaker! This little coat-frock above (left) started off quite simply, but seeking the individual note, it put a silk plaid kerchief at the neck, and then, not content, tied smaller editions of the same round each wrist. And there lay the charm! The skirt is also attractive with its flaring box-pleats and central strapping.

Then comes a little jumper (part of a cardigan suit) which won quick distinction by making itself of bordered Bonsheen, and lining the coat to match, and look how effective is the result!

While for grace and good style commend me to a caped coat – one just like this design. It makes the ideal travelling coat, looks just right for mid-season wear, can be worn solo or over a cardigan suit, or what you will. In fact, the coat of the season, and deservedly so!

Flare in the skirt 1928


Advise me, please,” writes a reader. “I want something quite simple” for morning, for afternoon, or for evening – as the case may be – and so here we are with solutions. “Something quite simple” for morning is this coat-frock made of a fine tweed suiting (and there are such delightful ones on sale now), a tight sleeve, and a skirt addressing the bodice pointedly! It is exceedingly easy to make, and would look nice with a contrasting belt and hat to match.

Something quite simple” for sports and tailor-made wear comes in the tuck-in shirt blouse (made like a man’s shirt below the belt) with an Eton collar, patch pockets, and an armhole build for freedom.

While something both quite simple and quite charming is the afternoon dress of bordered artificial silk. The border lends the charm, and the design the simplicity, since it has just a skirt and pleats joined in a pretty line to the plain square-necked bodice.

Images scanned from Woman’s Pictorial, August 25th 1928


  • Choose Vintage!

  • Follow me on Twitter

  • Join me on Facebook

  • Kitty Wink Vintage

  • Alison McMath Beauty

  • Press Release

  • Visitors to Catwalk Threads

    free counters
  • The Vintage List

  • Blog Frog

    Visit My BlogFrog Community!
  • Blogs I Follow

    1. Kitty Wink Vintage
    2. Farewell Hackney Hipsters
    3. Kate Beavis Home
    4. The Imaginarium
    5. Ali Vintage Fabric
    6. Home Bird Vintage
    7. Aspidistra Vintage
    10. Second Hand Shopper
    11. We Heart Vintage blog: retro fashion, cinema and photography
    12. The Puffin Diaries
    13. TheBigForest
    14. Get Some Vintage-a-Peel
    15. Oh, for the Love of Vintage!
    16. History of Costume
    17. A Nudibranch
    18. Business Boom Bolton
    19. Bettes Bargains Vintage
    20. The Vintage Traveler
    21. Your Vintage Blog
    22. Catwalk Threads Vintage
  • I’m an Independent Fashion Blogger

  • Kitty Wink Vintage

    Unique makeovers

    Farewell Hackney Hipsters

    Chris, Libi and Rasputin the cat say goodbye to Hackney and set up life in Brockley

    Kate Beavis Home

    The Vintage Design & Lifestyle Blog from Your Vintage Life

    The Imaginarium

    sewing, knitting, creativity

    Ali Vintage Fabric

    Vintage Fabric

    Home Bird Vintage

    Vintage homeware and kitsch collectables for modern living

    Aspidistra Vintage

    Vintage homeware, fashion, jewellery and more

    Written and edited by Louise Sleigh of Catwalk Creative Vintage

    Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle with a Vintage Twist

    Second Hand Shopper

    Life in the bargain basement...

    We Heart Vintage blog: retro fashion, cinema and photography

    Vintage fashion, photography and cinema from the 1920s through to the 1970s and beyond

    The Puffin Diaries

    The story of a family, the highs, the lows, the ins ,the outs, the loves, the hates and so much more...just don't mention the puffin.


    Fire your creativity with news and inspiration from the TheBigForest

    Oh, for the Love of Vintage!

    Your guide to all things vintage - and more

    History of Costume

    European Fashion Through the Ages

    A Nudibranch

    A Sea Slug's Notes on Portland, OR

    Business Boom Bolton

    Arts and media, commercial space, business news and creative events in Bolton and the North West.

    Bettes Bargains Vintage

    Vintage for every budget. Prices you will love!

    The Vintage Traveler

    Fuzzylizzie's Fashion & Travel: Vintage Style

    Your Vintage Blog

    Just another site

    Catwalk Threads Vintage

    Written and edited by Louise Sleigh of Catwalk Creative Vintage


    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 3,290 other followers

    %d bloggers like this: