Granny's Wardrobe pt. I: The Jacket



It's been some time since I've last written a post strictly about clothes that I did not sew by myself. That does not mean that I now only wear self made garments, mind you. There's still not enough of them to fulfill my desire for different outfits. I do, however, keep my belief that it's good to wear thrifted and vintage clothes. And today's post is going to be a very special one, opening a series of posts on going truly vintage, all thanks to my awesome Grandma.








Ok, so what you probably need to know is: I adore my Gran. And I mean it from the very bottom of my heart. She's the best human being and the most incredible woman I've ever mete. I wrote a few words about her some time ago, mostly covering the topic of clothes my family used to wear in the post-war Poland. What I didn't tell you back then is what kind of a person my Grandma is. And she's, well, the coolest.

She's gonna turn 88 this year and she's thriving. Her hobby is cross stitching and she's been rendering hundreds of works of art this way. For years she's been working from home as a knitter, creating beautiful goods for other people to wear. She also used to create rugs by hand (a hobby very popular in the 1960s), she crocheted, drew and painted. Fairly recently I've learned that she also attended a course for home seamstresses and used to sew clothes --which wasn't a big surprise to me, after all she's a handicraft worker par excellence. After she heard I'm making my own clothes, she waited a few months to make sure my enthusiasm doesn't wane, which was very wise of her, and then she gave me her old sewing machine (Lada T 132, I'll talk about it next time). She's the person who taught me to crochet when I was a kid and tried to teach me knitting (but everyone seems to fail at that for some reason). She's a happy, creative person, deeply devoted to her family and especially to my Grandpa who is very ill now. She once told me that what let her live her life as a happy person was cherishing small things. I try to go by that rule, too.


When we take our regular walks, she still can't get used to the fact her body is not fifty years younger, so her pace is strong and fast (well, until she loses her breath). She laughs with me, tells me fascinating stories from her youth (like when she was 18 and convinced a guy to think she wanted to marry him, made plans to run away with him and then, on the day of their supposed wedding, hidden behind a pillar of the Register Office, she laughed her head off while he was waiting for her, all awkward, flowers in hand --and she never showed up) and from time to time, she invites me to search through her wardrobe.

Well then. I've been scavenging her wardrobe and so far have found loads of crocheting/knitting magazines, skirts and dresses from 1960s onwards, lovely purses and handbags, some beautiful fabrics and a small collection of cute vintage curios including one nylon stocking, lipstick called "Pink T.N.T." and a train ticket from 1954, among others. As more shelves await me, I'm going to have a blast finding new stuff that she had hidden away for years.

Today I present to you The Jacket. I'll keep this brief. It's made of sturdy, thick wool and lined with polyester, it was most probably bought in Vienna in 1960s and it's good as new today. Look at that sweet detail of cotton/wool tape around the edges (Ette, that's that coat-thing, isn't it?). It came as a suit together with a skirt but the skirt was too large for me so I turned it into one of my hoods. It has to be the best piece of clothing that I have that works with our current weird weather of non-winter. It's keeping me warm and allows for a lot more to be put underneath than just the shirt and a lightweight cardi that I wore for the photos. But --it's that warm that I don't really need to wear anything else.

When looking at clothes like this, I feel like I'm being lied to when I go downtown to buy stuff --I mean, I know so many modern clothes will fall apart after two washes. I know that majority of clothes won't last a year. I know that if I take the best possible care, I will be able to wear something through three seasons, rarely more. And here I am, looking at --and wearing! --a jacket that's around 50 years old, was worn a lot in its time and still holds shape, colour and the only thing that shows a little wear are the cuffs --there's slight chafing at the folds if you know what you're looking for. This raises so many questions in my head, questions about capitalism and its rules and about the consciousness of our customer choices and about our awareness of the situation that we've been put in or have been putting ourselves in. It also makes me want to sew more, and learn more about constructing garments that last for a lifetime. Because they can, contrary to what we are being told.





Jacket: vintage, from my Grandma, bought in the 1960s 
Shirt: thrifted 
Cardi: thrifted at Holy Rags 
Skirt: thrifted, turned into pencil shape by me 
Flats: Nord 
Necklace: ? I always forget where I bought my cheap jewellery 
Bag: ?
Scarf: thrifted, a gift from my boyfriend's mum
Belt: vintage, a gift from my mum
Bowtie: made it myself
Photos: my boyfriend, The Fish and me

9 comments:

  1. wspaniała kolorystyka. szczególnie spódnica ma piękny kolor i krój :)

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  2. What a lovely grandma you have (though I can't help and feel a little sorry for the guy who wanted to marry her). And how clever to wait until she sees that you are really interested in something before she gives you your treasures. I have been sewing for ten years now and mine still refuses to give me her sewing machine, although I would guess the last time she sewed is more than 20 years ago.
    And yes, that is the coat-binding I meant. This jacket is really lovely and looks like new. I think if you want to you can buy comparable quality still today but it will have its price. And it already had back in the 60ies. The main difference is, that there were fewer items of low quality and the people were use to spent a large amount of money for a good winter jacket, simply because they planned to wear it for more that one year, as we do today to keep up with fashion trends.
    All in all, a quite sad story because as you say, garments can last so long if we only want to.

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    1. Hey, you're totally right, Ette. There's just too much junk around us and it's hard to afford something that is of good quality. Also the fashions are changing very fast and if you can buy, say, an expensive and good quality coat one year, and you're even a little reasonable, you won't want to buy another one for a few years. But you'll want to, because the fashion has already changed. Sigh. That's why I like vintage clothes, at least with them, there's not changing anymore ;).

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  3. Jestem na tak takim wpisom :) Cieszę się, że masz tak inspirujacą i radsną osobę koło siebie, babcie są cudowne. Mam nadzieję, że my również będziemy wspominane przez nasze wnuki z takim entuzjazmem i ciepłymi słowami..
    Marynarka jest piękna, uwielbiam vintage ubrania, poniewaz maja duszę, a nosząc je daje im kawałek mojej.

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    Replies
    1. No właśnie, właśnie, muszę więcej takich wpisów dodawać, ostatnio się trochę zapuściłam pod względem pisania.

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  4. ślicznie wyglądasz :) i super zdjęcia !

    http://lamodalena.blogspot.com/

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  5. Your grandmother seems to be a special woman. So creative and talented, I guess now there's no mystery in who you take after:) Reading about your grandmother reminded me of mine, God rest her soul, and I realized how much I miss her. Spend as much time with your grandmother as you can. And ask her to teach you things cause she sounds very wise. I'm sure she has a lot of tips and tricks to share with you.:)

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    1. Oh, Alina, I can't bare the thought of the world without my beloved Granny. I cherish every second I spend with her. I had to really grow up to appreciate her companionship but better late than never.

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