Etsy: Harriet’s Little Shop

I’ve been using Etsy, the best friend of vintage hunters and crafty creatives, for quite some time, and I’ve had a shop there for a while but I’ve never actually done anything with it. Recently I’ve decided to have another try at selling on Etsy and see how well it goes.

I’ve revitalised Harriet’s Little Shop, and plan on gradually stocking it with all manner of weird and wonderful vintage jewellery and accessories. I’m starting off small (and slow) as at the moment Etsy selling is more of a hobby for me rather than an attempt to make any serious money. But who knows, in the future that may change!

For now I’m aiming to upload a few items a week, as and when I come across any nice bits and bobs. I’m having a lot of fun thinking up interesting ways to photograph things!

I’m also offering free shipping on orders from the UK 🙂

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Rose Garden Locket | 1950s Vintage Locket Silver with Rose Design

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Dusk Chorus Brooch | 1940s/50s Vintage Brooch Silver Metal & Paste Stone Bird

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Pink Sky at Night Pendant | 1980s/90s Vintage Pendant Silver Metal & Rose Quartz

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Tutorial: How to put the fear of God into people (using only your lips)

I was walking into a station once when a huge crowd of people who had just got off the train surged towards me. However, rather than my having to fight through the throng, I quickly noticed that people were skittering out of my way like nervous rabbits.

Hmm, that’s strange, I thought. Useful, as my way is now clear to get on the train, but still strange. It didn’t take me long to figure out that it was something about my appearance that had caused this behaviour. The only thing I had done differently that evening was that I had bothered to out on some red lipstick.

It was at that point I realised; all those nonsensical magazine articles about the ‘power’ of the red lip had actually been true! It goes with absolutely anything, it can take any outfit from day into night, and when cranked up to its full capacity it can also terrify those douche-bag city boys into getting the hell out of your way when you need to catch the 18.34 to London Waterloo.

Anyway, here is a quick tutorial on how I do my most in-your-face (yet still classic and elegant) scarlet lip. The foundation of this look is the favourite lipstick of almost every vintagey person, Mac’s Ruby Woo (some people do swear by their Russian Red, though).

It’s the most period perfect bright matte red you can find these days, and the matte finish is really the crux of this look – you won’t put the fear of god into anyone with shiny lips, that’s for certain.

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The tools I use, from left to right: a simple lip brush (can’t remember where this one is from, but they’re all pretty much the same), Ruby Woo by Mac, and a Rimmel London lip liner called Red Diva. I’ve been thinking about investing in a Mac lip liner as well (apparently their Cherry one goes well with Ruby Woo) but this Rimmel one is working just fine for now.

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First, get the lip liner and line your lips with it. This step is so that you don’t have to faff around trying to get the edges of your lips perfect using the actual lipstick itself. You’ll never get a line as sharp using the lipstick, it’s too big and unwieldy. Try not to put too much on the corners of your mouth, or you’ll end up with the dreaded clown lips (at least that’s what happens to me when I overdo it on the corners).

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Next, take your lip brush and use it to blend the line inwards, being careful not to mess up the edge. This is so that there won’t be an obvious difference between the lipstick covered areas and the lip liner, which I have noticed can happen when I just leave the line as it is. It’s all about blending, basically.

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Now you get to pick up the actual lipstick! Put it on as you would normally (with Ruby Woo, as it’s so very matte, you’ll find that it won’t go on as smoothly as other shinier lipsticks – you’ll have to work a bit harder). Don’t go too close to the edges of your lips, or you’ll end up smudging the line you so carefully drew earlier. Don’t worry about covering all areas of your lip at this stage, as you’re going to do some more blending in a minute to take care of that.

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Looks pretty good at this stage, but we’re not quite finished yet. Take the lip brush again and blend away, making sure that the lipstick blends seamlessly with the lip liner, and that it smoothly and evenly covers all areas of your lips. You can also build up the colour to make your lips brighter by adding more lipstick from the tube, then blending again with the brush.

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Ta-da!

You’re done. If you like, you can blot your lips on a piece of tissue, or pop a finger in your mouth, close your lips around it, and slowly draw it out – this gets rid of all traces of lipstick on your inner lips, and reduces the chance of you getting any of it on your teeth.

Lots of people complain that because Ruby Woo is such a matte lipstick, it’s really drying on the lips. While it is much drier than most other lipsticks, I don’t find it to be terribly drying myself – more velvety smooth. And the up side of this is it literally stays on your lips until you decide to take it off. I’ve kept this lipstick on all day at work without having to reapply it, and I’ve worn it out for dinner and drinks with absolutely no problems. Usually, it doesn’t even leave marks on straws/glasses.

I recommend taking a look through the #RubyWoo hashtag on instagram to see how this lipstick looks on different skin colours – it works really well whatever skin colour you have, in my opinion. It can also work with any style, or any time period, as is evidenced by the selfies below 🙂

Ruby Woo is a little bit expensive for a lipstick at about £15, but it’s worth it for just how good it is. I’ve never found another lipstick that will actually stay on my lips for more than half an hour, let alone a whole night out. Let me know how you get on if you decide to try this look out, whether using Ruby Woo or another red lipstick.

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Review: What Katie Did Cuban Heel Fully Fashioned Stockings (and Satine High Waisted Knickers)

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Just after Christmas, I put together a sort of wish list detailing what I would splurge on if I had a thousand pounds going spare. On that list was a pair of What Katie Did’s Cuban Heel Fully Fashioned Stockings (actually I think I was planning on buying five pairs!). Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I took the plunge and ordered a single pair, hoping to find out whether these modern day fully fashioned stockings are really as luxurious as everyone says they are.

Apparently there are only three machines left in the world that can make these authentic fully fashioned stockings (two in the UK, and one in France). These stockings were made on a clanking old machine that churns out about thirty pairs of stockings an hour, but also has about a 30/40% wastage rate.

Easiest way to learn more about how WKD make their fully fashioned stockings is to watch this little video, where Katie herself will explain the process to you.

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Overall Quality – When I first opened these I was a little worried to see that they already seemed to have several teeny tiny holes, and a few small black horizontal lines running across them that looked as though they could very quickly turn into ladders. However, I decided to put them on anyway and see what they looked like. I put them on while wearing gloves, as is recommended, to avoid snagging them straight away on my long nails. As soon as I was wearing them, these little flaws seemed a lot less noticeable – I wonder if they are just normal side effects of the manufacturing process? No pair of fully fashioned stockings can be completely perfect, I guess.

Feel/Look of the Stockings – I was quite surprised by how soft and stretchy these stockings are. Having worn several pairs of original 1950s nylon fully fashioned stockings, I was expecting these to feel quite similar – not really stretchy at all, quite thick and very tight to the leg. I’ve found these to be quite stretchy indeed, which is nice, especially for those of us with bigger thighs. I guess WKD weren’t really attempting to make a truly authentic midcentury stocking (probably close to impossible) but more of a period accurate version that would be acceptable to modern day wearers – i.e. a little bit more comfortable to wear, and longer in the leg. The look of the stockings is unarguably amazing – perfect seams and picot lines, a lovely graduated welt, and a classic Cuban heel (I love that the Cuban heel comes up quite high on the ankle, making it pretty noticeable).

Sizing – In retrospect, I might have been able to get away with buying a smaller size than I did. WKD size their stockings by height, and these ones come in small (4’11”-5’3″), medium (5’4″-5’8″), large (5’9″-6.0′), and extra large (6.0′ plus). Although I’m 5’8″, I decided to go for the large size to make sure they would fit nicely around my thighs, as I’m usually about a size 16/18. Given how stretchy these stockings are, I probably could have gone for a medium and they would still have fit me well. As it is, the large stockings are a little bit too long for my suspender belts, even with the straps shortened all the way. I think next time I buy a pair of these, I’ll size down and see if that makes much of a difference.

Price – These stockings cost £20 a pair (a little bit less if you open up an account with What Katie Did). That might seem pretty damn expensive considering it’s just a pair of stockings which are inevitably going to get snagged and eventually have to be chucked, but remember all the info we learned from the video above. Almost nobody is making these stockings any more, because almost nobody is capable of doing it. It takes an hour to make 30 of them, and about 10 pairs of those will be flawed and have to be thrown away immediately. It’s a slow and costly business, making authentic fully fashioned stockings, and to be honest we’re very lucky that we’re not being charged far more for the privilege of wearing them! Who knows how long it’ll be cost effective for a small business like WKD to keep on investing in their manufacture, so take my advice and buy them while you still can (that way maybe we’ll get to keep them for a little bit longer).

The best thing about these stockings, in my view, is the period authentic detail. Because they are actually made the old fashioned way, none of this detail needs to be added in later (like the fake seams on retro stockings). All of the design features are inherent in the construction of the stocking itself.

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The seam, which actually holds the stocking together (if you unpick the seam, you can lay the whole stocking out flat).

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The welt (and shadow welt), which fit around your thigh and have the suspender clips attached to them.

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The keyhole, which is a by-product of the process of sewing the stocking together.

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The Picot lines, also known as compression stitching, which show up either side of the seam and happen while the stocking is being sewn together to fit the shape of a leg.

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And of course, my favourite bit of any stocking, the heel. This is where a bit of decorative choice comes into the process, as fully fashioned stockings can be made with various different types of heel.

I found this rather useful info-graphic online which shows some different types of stocking heel:

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The retro seamed nylons that I have always bought from WKD before all have a point heel, similar to the one on the far left. However, I’ve started to get a little bit bored with the pointy style, as there are quite a few horrible types of ‘fancy dress’ seamed stockings that have this sort of heel. In my humble opinion, the squared off Cuban, the triangular Manhattan, or the extra thick Havana are much more aesthetically pleasing.

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BONUS REVIEW! What Katie Did Satine High Waisted Knickers £27.50

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In the same order as my stockings, I also bought a pair of WKD’s satine high waisted knickers, which I think are quite a new addition to their line. I had high hopes for these, but unfortunately they failed to live up to my expectations.

I’ve only had one other pair of knickers from WKD (the Maitresse knickers), which I also didn’t like very much as the material used was very thick and without much give, so I felt very ‘aware’ of them when wearing, which wasn’t good. I thought I’d take a chance on the these new satine knickers, as they looked a bit more up my street, and at first I had no complaints at all – the material is lovely, silky and quite stretchy. They also fit me very well and I found them comfortable immediately.

However, after about 3/4 hours of actually wearing the knickers, this happened:

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Pic 2As you can see, the seam at the back has frayed completely away! And this was after only a few hours of lazing around on Christmas morning – I wasn’t doing lunges at the gym, or anything like that.

Having checked the WKD website for reviews of these knickers, I saw that another lady had exactly the same problem, which leads me to believe this might be a side effect of the lovely silky material, which is used all over the knickers. Such a shame!

Anyway, I e-mailed WKD with the above photos, and received a very quick reply (despite it being Christmas time) apologising and assuring me that I’d be refunded for the knickers.

I also noticed that the knickers themselves appeared to have been removed from the WKD website soon after, and a few days after that I received this e-mail from WKD:

Dear Harriet

We’re starting the new year, not as we mean to go on, with a little quality issue.

Two of our customers found their Satine knickers came apart at the seam at the back of the gusset. On closer inspection (by my 10 year old daughter who had great fun trying to rip knickers apart over Christmas) there is an issue with some of them, but not all. And we don’t know if yours are okay or not so we’re playing it safe!

We’ve now fixed the problem with a nifty French seam and we’ll be sending you a replacement pair in the next couple of weeks.

If, however, you would like a refund, please contact Hannah at mailorder@whatkatiedid.com and she’ll issue one.

We’ll be back with happier news soon!

Good to hear that the kinks have been worked out of the design! I’ve already received my refund, but who knows, I may buy another pair in the near future and see how I get on.

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