Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Lizzie Longworth: Tips to buying treasures

Lizzie Longworth of Chic Unique UK is addicted to Treasure shopper. She has an impeccable eye and a handy knack to rejuvenating and making something old and battered look sparkly and new again. And more importantly her website finds these treasures new homes. On Thursday she guest blogged for us about her little addiction in "The addiction of Treasures". Today she shares with us her
 tips and hints to finding real treasures.

*Always check labels. If you 'think' something is vintage it may not be. You will know as soon as you see the label. Generally clothes pre 1970 where all made in the UK. There are generally no washing instructions and the garments are made from 100% cotton or wool. Not all prints stayed in the 70's.

*Check for damage! When buying crockery (including cups) check the bottom, the handle and round the lip. If there are any hair line cracks or chips don't buy them! Unless you want to display them on a wall or use them for making tea cup candles. And NEVER forgot, they are NOT dishwasher safe. These lovely pieces will need hand washing and they certainly deserve it! They have been around for more than 30 years and survived that long from being loved and cared for so don't ruin them by shoving them in the dishwasher.
*Never hope to match pieces you already own. And who cares that they don't match?! That only adds to the charm! If you have the luck 
of the Irish you may fall upon extra pieces for a set you already own 
but don't hold out in the hope to find them all. Some pieces inevitably didn't make it and even Father Christmas isn't magical enough to find the missing pieces from your tea service for you.
*Think out of the box. Seems odd when your shopping but if you see some gorgeous linens or hand crocheted blankets and you already have some don't pass them up. Think of what else these pieces can be refashioned into. You could sew smaller blankets together to make a larger throw for your bed or sofa, linens can be made into cushion covers or place mats and odd plates can be made into cake stands.

*If you love it but its the wrong size think about re-sizing it. Vintage fashion in good condition doesn't come up all that often in charity shops. The draw of eBay has taken them from the high street and turned them into money spinners on the web so grab that dress you see and worry not its a few sizes to big. Whip out your sewing machine or grab someone that knows how to use it and adjust it to fit! Its what women did back in the 1950's! If its too small, refashion it into something for a child, a dress into a skirt for example. Simple enough to do but creates something unique and fun and kids just love that. The pieces left over can be refashioned into modern inspired accessories or jewellery like collars or brooches. Remember waste not want not!

*Broken jewellery is a must buy. Its so simple to fix or refashion into something else and you are safe in the knowledge that on Saturday night you won't be red faced when your friend turns up in the same necklace.

*Curtains and duvet covers.  If you spy the perfect curtains but they aren't long enough don't panic, simply find a beautiful contrasting fabric or even another pair of vintage curtains and add the required amount of extra drop to the bottom, not only will they be unique but the best quality curtains you ever owned! Duvet covers can always be used as clothes. I often turn old duvet covers into skirts and pillowcases into dresses for the my girls.  The cotton is beautiful and the prints are always gorgeous. You can simply use the hem of the duvet cover and just add an elasticated waist.

*Failing all of that let your kids run wild with it all, 
tea sets for a tea party with dolly and clothes for fancy dress! Hours of good wholesome fun for a tiny outlay.

Lizzie Longworth, 
La Chic Unique

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