More than material - what Martlets means to me I love a spot of vintage, whether curtain material, a handmade frock or simply pre-loved. They all have their own style and story. My love of the Martlets shop runs deeper than just the stitching. As a regular at the Martlets Church St shop for the last three years I’ve bought eight vintage dresses along with shoes, handbags and even an ‘Opera coat’. I’ve also found several sets of vintage curtains and my friend who runs ‘Dig for Victory’ Boutique makes them into dresses for me. It’s encouraged me to learn to sew and I’ve altered a few of the dresses I’ve bought – making them strapless or letting them out where needed! I get a lot of pleasure from giving more life to pre-treasured, often hand-made vintage clothes. I feel like it’s making the most of the clothes, that their makers and original owners might well have approved of! Time, love and personal style go into making clothes and I like that I’m not letting that go to waste. When I go out swing dancing to local jazz bands or The Ragroof Players tea dances, I like to think I’m extending the story of the dresses. Other benefits I like about it are the up-cycling and environment-saving aspects – along with sewing and creativity fun you can have. All while supporting life changing hospice care. Like so many of us I’ve helped undertake end-of-life care a couple of times for people close to me. Local hospice care has made a lasting, positive and huge impact on me. It means a great deal to me to help support Martlets in providing that care. I also quietly enjoy the often unsaid but mutually understood camaraderie of visiting the shop run by volunteers, who are there because they support Martlets too. As I wear the clothes I buy day-to-day adapting them to fit my daily cycle commute needs, I will often go in wearing something I recently bought. The volunteers will say how nice it is to see the dress or the curtain that has been turned into a dress being worn and loved. I appreciate the care they take of the donated goods, left by someone else who wanted to support Martlets. It’s my way of saying thanks. This guest post is written by Elly Hargreave and photos were kindly taken by VERVATE. If you'd like to learn how to add your personal touch to everyday items you can buys in our shops why not come along to our event with Wendy Ward?