A Vintage Affair Isabel Wolff (2009)
**** 4/5 stars Check out GoodReads for more reviews of this novel.
While not strictly about needlework, this novel's emphasis on vintage clothing and its cut, repair and meaning makes for a satisfying read for any needleworker. When her best friend dies, Phoebe is thrown into a tailspin. She quits her job at Sotheby's to open a vintage clothing store in London. As she builds her business, she simultaneously rebuilds her life with a web of new friends. Curiosity about a blue coat and its meaning for a dying client leads Phoebe to reexamine her own life and learn to embrace the good with the bad. It is a story as beautiful as the clothing Phoebe so lovingly refurbishes.
Resources about places and things featured in the novel
The Fashion Historian blog has a short biography and lovely photos of dresses designed by Madame Gres--a courageous and groundbreaking fashion designer whose dresses have a special place in this novel.
The Vintage Fashion Guild has a great article on how to buy vintage clothing, but more than that, it provides a fashion timeline, a photographic index of fashion house labels, biographies of select designers, a list of clothing shops and more. It is a great resource for people wanting to collect vintage clothing.
The Mad Stitchers Blog or Adventures in Restoring Vintage Clothing provides wonderful tips and tricks on working with vintage clothes and Fashion Era provides in depth information on cleaning vintage clothing.
Looking to see what is out there? Vintage Textile is a high style online vintage store with stunning clothes. This is what Phoebe would have sold in her shop.
Finally, for images of "cupcake" type dresses, which also figure prominently in the novel, see this wonderful Pintrest board. They truly are "happy" dresses as one customer calls them.