Inspire A Style: Jacqueline’s Tea Room

Welcome to (almost) autumn!

I’m very excited that we’re now in September. As much as summer is a great opportunity to get out and about in the world, nothing beats the feeling of cool autumn weather and the chance to cosy up with a book (or sewing machine) and cup of tea. Autumn is absolutely my favourite time of year and I can’t wait for when it gets cold enough that pressing my fabric no longer gives me heat exhaustion.

Since I’m celebrating the on-coming autumn, I thought I would share one of my favourite places to wile away autumn afternoons and gather some inspiration for my next sewing project: Jacqueline’s Tea Room!

Who?

Those of you familiar with Colchester will know that it’s a pretty stereotypical English town: streets filled with shoppers and chain stores everywhere. Fortunately, its history (Colchester is the oldest recorded town in Britain) means that it’s a place full of hidden gems. There’s a great castle, fantastic park, and some beautiful buildings. But one of my favourite jewels at the heart of an otherwise pretty stereotypical British town is Jacqueline’s – a fabulous 1940s tea room with enough authenticity to make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time.

I actually stumbled on Jacqueline’s when I was out on a trek with my fiancé, shortly after we moved to Colchester. I was feeling pretty miserable after upping sticks from a gorgeous countryside village to be nearer to my university. I was missing the fields and the peace and quiet and, without a car to get around, we were pretty restricted to visiting places that were within walking distance. When we found Jacqueline’s, it felt a lot like coming home. It’s set up to give a truly authentic ’40s vibe, not to mention an incredible selection of teas and cakes. Beyond that, it has given me a huge amount of inspiration when it comes to my sewing expeditions.

Why?

As long-time readers of Sew for Victory will know, my Inspire A Style posts are usually restricted to people. But places can often be just as inspiring when it comes to thinking about sewing projects. Soaking up the ’40s ambiance always places me in a different headspace – listening to period music while surrounded by decor that gives off the era always gets my mind churning over fabrics and patterns.

I would highly suggest that if you find yourself stuck in a sewing rut, you get yourself out into some inspiring places. You’ll spot people, colours, and designs that trigger a lightbulb moment. Or you’ll find yourself reminded of films you’ve seen and books you’ve read that similarly inspire you.  Visiting Jacqueline’s has given me back my motivation on numerous occasions, so trust me and give it a go!

What?

So quite how has this perfect little tea room inspired my sewing? There are so many projects that have drawn their inspiration, in one way or another, from my trips for tea and cake. All my ‘home style’ 1940s creations feel as though they wouldn’t be out of place in this setting. Both my Great British Sewing Bee Vintage Blouse and my recent Big Vintage Sew-along make suggest the kind of atmosphere you find at Jacqueline’s. Jacqueline’s was also the direct inspiration for my version of Sew Over It’s Joan dress, which I made for a special Valentine’s High Tea with my gorgeous boy!

 

And there are so many patterns that I have rolling around my mind that draw on the war-time sitting room feel that I soak up every time I step through the doors. The B4790 Walkaway dress would be an easy way to achieve that ’40s style.

B4790a

Or what about the gorgeous V1019 suit dress? So perfect! I think I might have to add this one to my list of projects.

V1019

So much sewing, so little time! But what a good position to be in.

If you end up in Colchester, definitely make some time to stop at Jacqueline’s. And don’t forget to invite me because I’m always looking for an excuse to drink more tea and think about new sewing projects!

My Vintage Life: The Essex Secret Vintage Fair

Happy Saturday!

I hope that you’re all having a fab weekend so far! I’ve spent my Saturday morning at the amazing Secret Vintage Fair in Colchester. Only a 15 minute walk from where I live, I was obviously extremely excited to pay a visit and see what the fair had to offer. I wasn’t disappointed. There were a whole range of vintage and vintage-inspired items – clothes, books, Christmas decorations. Clearly, I was in heaven.

I also found just about the greatest coat of all time. I’ve been debating what to do about the whole coat situation for a while now. All of my coats are hand-my-downs, a bit rat-eared, and not really fitting with my vintage-inspired wardrobe. Now that I’m sewing my own clothes, I’ve been on the look out for a coat to match (I’m not yet brave enough to even think about tailoring my own coat). Pocket Watch and Petticoats is an amazing shop, based in Ipswich, that sells vintage reproduction clothing. I’d come across them before at a vintage market, where I lucked on a gorgeous leather jacket. Lucky as I am, I found them again this morning at the Secret Vintage Fair and purchased the new love of my life…

Coat

It is just beautiful. Plus, it has this amazing faux-fur and lace neck cuff.

Coat2

When I saw it, I melted. And fortunately, I have a very understanding fiancé!

Other key vintage purchases included some Homemaker magazines from the 1960s. I love love love trawling through these for insights into life ‘in them days’ and any tips on dressmaking (from the pre-digital sewing machine era).

Homemaker

We also found these cute-as-a-button miniature stockings, made from vintage fabric, by Laura Love (best name ever) of 13 Stitches (she also runs a teddy hospital, which is just the most adorable thing ever). The stockings will be going on the mantlepiece later today in celebration of the fact that it is ALMOST DECEMBER.

Stockings

A successful Saturday in anyone’s book. Now time for tea and a rummage through my magazines!

Have a fantastic day!