Saturday trip: the RSC costume sale

On Saturday, several of the girls and I got up relatively early to visit Stratford for the RSC costume sale. We were to meet Dapper and Aysu there, and when we arrived they had already been in the queue about half an hour. The queue was frankly enormous, and many of the girls, most sensibly, decided against joining it… Not so yours stubbornly here, who joined the others for a near three-hour wait…

The first to leave were seen wearing marvelous dresses and frock coats and carrying bin bags of swag. Unfortunately, by the time we got in, little was left to rifle through. I got a couple of £1 full length underskirts with frilled hems, and a pair of Victorian ladies spats, whilst Dapper found some briches suitable for teaching sword-fighting in for £3.50, and Aysu bought some lovely fabric in a full-length skirt, a pair of shoes and a blouse.

Full-length underskirts, £1 each

After the disappointment of the morning, we hit the charity shops with a vengeance.  We were luckier here, and in some ways pleased, therefore, that our pennies hadn’t been spent in the costume sale. I found a lovely vintage 70s burgundy velvet skirt in a charity shop for £6.99 – something I have been searching for over several months. I also bought some curtains for conversion to dresses. Having failed to find either a Regency or Tudor gown in the sale I decided I should attempt to make my own, and so purchased suitable fabrics, albethey currently in curtain form:

Dapper bought me a Lupercalia present (the precursor to St Valentine’s Day), a book about ancient spells and remedies, inspired by my interest in foraging.

And then we found Oxfam books, and I found my star bargain of the day:

This book is so beautiful! It’s a 1909 First Edition collection of magazines. I picked it up thinking it would be about the woman’s role at home, a piece of anti-suffragette propaganda from this fascinating period of women’s liberation. Imagine my surprise when the very first feature was one about “Unusual Women”, including Mrs Garrett Anderson, the woman who successfully petitioned parliament to allow women to practice medicine in the 1870s.

It’s an inspiring collection of features combining suffragette information with fashion spreads, articles about inspiring women with stories and crafts “for the children”, and my favourite series of articles, those comparing “types” of women.

On Saturday night I could barely put it down, and I’m really looking forward to reading my way through the whole tome… and perhaps looking for the following volumes, seeing as this is only volume 1!


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