New Friends and Old Dresses

Horrockses Fashions

On Sunday I took a stroll past the heaving London Dungeons, with queues of tourists being daubed in stage make-up to look as though they’d just had their throats slit! I wandered towards Bermondsey Street and London’s Fashion and Textile Museum for their exhibit on Horrockses Fashions – off the peg style in the 40s and 50s. I passed beneath this railway bridge and met the girls from Tilly and the Buttons, Fehr Trade and Cargo Cult Craft for an afternoon of ‘ooh’s and ‘ah’s over dresses we could only dream of wearing. I wore my dress with the kamikaze butterflies to ensure that Tilly (the organiser of this gathering) would be able to recognise me. This was my first ever meet-up with fellow bloggers and I was very excited!

Here’s the museum itself:

Bright pink and orange!

And here are my fellow Sewists with Tilly, our lovely leader, on the far left:

Tilly in her Beignet skirt

I think it says a lot about the sewing community that, within five minutes of meeting Tilly, I was stroking the hem of her skirt! (Having asked her permission first, I hasten to add.) I’ve just bought some denim myself and was keen to know how it had been to work with. I can confirm that Tilly’s take on the Beignet is even more charming in real life than it is on her blog. The mustard buttons, belt and pocket details work so well with the denim – and check out that mustard yellow satchel. Let’s just say that Tilly has a lot of taste! Melissa was also wearing her own handmade dress and Susannah was sporting a really cute bracelet made out of a tape measure and a button. I tell you, we were rocking the handmade!

The exhibition is small but perfectly formed. I can’t get the colours out of my mind. They’re the type that you just don’t see today, unless it’s from a fashion line that’s self-consciously retro. Those burnt oranges, moss greens, yolk golden yellows… There’s almost something – I want to say ceramic – about the colours. Does anyone know why we just don’t see these colour tones any more?

When I arrived back home, I decided to do an Ebay search on Horrockses. After all, many of these dresses most likely are still in lofts and attics around the world. I found several dresses, some cheap, others expensive. Including this one. I’m really interested to see what it eventually goes for.

Whilst we’re casting our minds back, I thought I’d share this photo of an old tailor’s iron that I’ve owned for years and years:

You can imagine how heavy it is, can’t you?

I bought it from a local trader for a couple of quid, not long after moving to Walthamstow. It weighs a ton. Thank goodness for power sockets, I say! This comes from the Whitechapel area, and is embossed with the lettering: ‘Levine & Son, 35 Greenfield Street, London E1’. This website has a fascinating run down of the street from 1921. Lots and lots of dressmakers and tailors but Levine & Son are listed as … shopfitters. Go figure.

Thanks for a lovely afternoon, Tilly!

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4 Responses to New Friends and Old Dresses

  1. Sherry says:

    I agree – the colours are amazing in these dresses! Lucky you to live nearby!

  2. Tilly says:

    Awww… it was so lovely to meet you! Here’s to plenty more blogger meet-ups in the future!

  3. Pingback: Get Out Of Bed And You’re Dressed! | Did You Make That?

  4. tony says:

    I was trying to find out who Levine & son were I assumed them to be taylers or dress makers , as I have just acquired a very large No 12 iron marked – Levine and son . 35 greenfield street London , very similar to yours. Most interesting . Tony

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