Monday, December 23, 2013

Recent Finds

I haven't been op shopping much lately but I managed to get in a quick fix one lunchtime a couple of weeks ago.

I found this old necklace with glass chillies on it.. I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to eating chilli so maybe it's false advertising to wear them around my neck, but I don't care because I really like it.

I also picked up a few patterns. I will probably never make the pattern on the right, but I couldn't not buy it.  

I didn't op shop this one, but it's too awesome not to share. I bought this 1940's jacket on Trademe for $5.50. It was described as a linen/cotton blend but it's wool (I'm not sure how you get those two confused). It had a few of what looked like rust stains when I got it and was pretty scungy. I washed it three times. The water turned brown and then dark purple, but it came out clean in the end. The stains are gone and it looks way better. Of course, I won't be able to wear it for ages because it's too hot but, in the meantime, I'll just stare lovingly at it and hope for cold weather.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sixties Stripes

I'm not really into Christmas shopping or Christmas sales, but I did make a point to go to my favourite Salvation Army's Christmas Sale last Friday evening. A sale at an op shop is my kind of sale. For $9.50 I got the dress and bangle I'm wearing below and two tops.

 The dress is modern but it looks really 60's. I took the hem up about an inch because the proportions just looked slightly wrong with it longer.  


Dress: Op shopped
Bangle: Op shopped
Tights: Kmart
Shoes: Op shopped

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dizzy like a Daisy

Remember this top I made? Well, before I made it in the broderie anglaise fabric I did a muslin. Since I semi-drafted the pattern myself, I wanted to check that it would fit alright.

I used some flower printed cotton leftover from this dress. The fit was okay so I decided to finish it off and call it a wearable muslin. I bound the seams with bias tape and used some buttons from my stash. When I made the final version I did make some changes. I took in the neckline a bit and cut some excess fabric off the armholes. 

 I also bought some Freddies of Pinewood jeans. I was going to sew some more jeans because I wear the ones that I made quite a bit. I have the fabric and everything. I was going to make them with proper pockets and topstitching, but then I realised that it was so much easier just to buy a pair. I hate doing topstitching and jeans require an awful lot of it. I'm happy with my Freddies. They fit well and I like the way they look.

Top: I made it
Jeans: Freddies of Pinewood
Belt: Op shopped
Bangles: Etsy and ebay
Shoes: The Warehouse

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Vintage at the Office

This is what I wore to work today. When I first started I did try and tone it down a bit, but I don't feel like me unless I'm wearing multiple floral prints. I did wear a blazer over the top to make it marginally more corporate.

The pleating on the bodice is what made my buy this dress. I'm a sucker for drapey bits. It goes around the back and has a couple of hooks and eyes to close it over the zip.

Don't know what I'm giving the side eye to there
Vintage dress: Trademe
Tights: Kmart, maybe?
Shoes: Tony Bianco

Monday, November 18, 2013

Me and my Bobbie Brooks

I bought this late 50s/early 60s cropped jacket when I was in Nelson a couple of weeks ago. It was one of those things that I didn't know I'd been missing until I saw it. It's getting hotter here, but there are still days when you need something against the wind. It's perfect because it's light enough for the warmer weather and it's a good length to wear with full skirts.

The colour looks greyish here but it's an apple green
It isn't lined but all the seams are finished with bias binding. Bobbie Brooks is an American clothing manufacturer that started in 1939. The label in my jacket is similar to some of the ones on Vintage Fashion Guild that are from the 1950's and early 1960's. It came with a belt. I assume there was a matching dress at some point because the belt can't really be worn over the top of the jacket.

Jacket: Eclectic Antiques Centre, Nelson
Skirt: I made it
Bangles: Etsy and Ebay
Shoes: the Warehouse

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Last Chintz

Yesterday, I went out to Tai Tapu (a little village close to Christchurch) to visit Last Chintz. It's a new shop that sells "upcycled furniture" (quotes because I think the word 'upcycled' is stupid) and vintage fabrics. The furniture was gorgeous, but I was far more interested in the fabric, obviously. There was floor to ceiling shelving filled with lots of lovely, old material. I was pretty restrained and only bought two pieces.

This lovely, soft rayon is going to be turned into a 1940's style dress. It's nice and drape-y so something with gathers would be nice. The whole piece was $18 and there's about 4 metres there.

This one's a rayon too, but I think it's a crepe so it has a completely different texture. I'm not that great at dating fabrics, but it's probably quite old because it's not very wide. Fabric these days tends to be 45 inches or wider. Before the 1960's fabric usually came in widths of between 36 and 39 inches. This one's 39 inches.  
The print looks like the sort of novelty prints that were popular in the 1940's too. It has medieval-type coins on it. There's about 4 metres of it, and it was $6/metre. 

I'm probably going to make another dress with this because, let's face it, I pretty much only make dresses. That is, if I ever get around to sewing. I'm still getting used to fitting sewing in with working full time. I used to sew pretty much every day when I was at uni, but I'm lucky if I manage to sew once a week since I started working. 

Monday, November 4, 2013


I bought this blossom patterned quilting cotton on sale a couple of weeks ago. I'm trying to stop buying new fabric, but I couldn't resist the print. I knew I wanted to make a slim skirted dress that I could wear to work but also just wear generally.

I've made both these patterns before so I knew they fitted reasonably well. I used the bodice from the pattern on the right and the skirt from the pattern on the left. 

I cut the bodice out on Thursday and then didn't do anything else until about 3 in the afternoon yesterday. It was quick and easy to sew up and I finished it in time to wear it to work today. 

This was my attempt to take a picture of the zip. I used an op shopped vintage metal zipper. I have a huge stash of op shopped zips. They're mostly still in their original packaging. I hardly ever use them though because I never have the right colour or size. I was excited to finally use one.  

This is what happens when I take pictures after work/around sunset

Dress: Butterick 8459 skirt and Vogue 4260 bodice
 Belt: Op shopped
Tights: Kmart
Shoes: Tony Bianco

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Flour Power

When I went out for dinner last week the menu said cauliflour instead of cauliflower (New Zealanders tend to pronounce flower like flour anyway). This led to a discussion about the correct spelling of cauliflower and of course everyone pulled out their phones to check. I love old clothes, but new technology is pretty great too. Speaking of old clothes, this 1950's dress is new (to me, at least).  

It was hot and windy, and I was really tired so the pictures aren't that great.  
Thanks for all your comments about my new job. I bought the dress with my first paycheck. It was there when I got home from work today so I had to try it on. 

So hot I'm not even wearing tights

Dress: Trademe
Shoes: Golden Ponies 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Beware of the Leopard

I started a full time job this week and the dress code requires 'corporate' wear. I've been at uni for the last five years where I could wear whatever weird and wonderful things I liked. Somehow I don't think full skirted 50's dresses in novelty and floral prints would be considered appropriately corporate at my new job. This pretty much cuts out my whole wardrobe. I thought I better make some work clothes, still vintage style, of course. 

For my first piece of corporate attire, I used Simplicity 4987 from the early 60s. I made a full skirted version of this pattern pretty recently in a lemon print. I wanted to use a black stretch cotton that's been in my stash for ages but it seemed a bit boring by itself.  

Leopard print makes everything more exciting (in my opinion, at least) so I used it for the neckline trim. The leopard print fabric is the tiny scraps left over from this jacket. There wasn't much there but I'd always planned to make some cuffs or something out of it so I kept it.

I added a couple of patch pockets with leopard print trim to the front of the skirt too. 

I've seen vintage dresses with angled pocket welt pocket flaps and wanted to create a similar effect with the patch pockets by placing them on at an angle. 

I'm pleased with the way it turned out. It's appropriate for work but still fits in with my usual vintage style.

Dress: Simplicity 4987
Belt: Op shopped
Shoes (which you can't see): Mischief Shoes

Friday, October 11, 2013

Back in black, button back blouse

It's not really a blouse, but it sounded better than top. 

I've had this pattern for quite a while but had procrastinated about making it because it was a couple of inches too big for me. I don't mind grading patterns up, but grading them down is always painful.  In the end I cheated and didn't really use the pattern. I wanted to make the button back top on the right at the back. Rather than bothering to grade the pattern, I just redrafted one that already fitted me. I added the square neckline by laying the pattern pieces from this pattern over my other pattern and redrawing it. This is definitely not the mathematically correct way of doing things, but whatever, I'm lazy. Adding the button closure at the back was simple. I just added a few of inches to the pattern pieces for the placket and a self-facing.   

I'm not a massive fan of the heart print, but it was the only black 100% cotton broderie anglaise I could find. Weirdly, cut on the straight grain the hearts are sideways which is better for me I guess because they look less heart-like. 

 I used some vintage buttons I bought from a market for the back. They are really pretty and faceted, but it was hard to get a good picture. I got them on the original piece of card. Half the fun of buying old notions is the funny packaging.  Apparently, the buttons were plant-tested and approved by the Research Institute of Launderers, Dry Cleaners and Dyers of NZ. I wonder how they tested them. Put them through the wash loads of times, maybe? Hopefully this means they will withstand the spin cycle.  

I could probably do with making a couple more of these tops in different colours. I'm a bit lacking in plain(ish) tops to go with my patterned skirts. 

Yeah, the colours are weird in this one. I tried to edit it but probably just made it worse.

Skirt: Op shopped
Belt: Op shopped
Scarf: Op shopped by my mum
Top: Simplicity 3937
Shoes: The Warehouse
Sunglasses: The Yellow Brick Road

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Grey Days

When I bought this fabric from Arthur Toye over a year ago I imagined making a shirtdress (I was obsessed with them at the time). I don't know what I was thinking. It's a thin, sheer cotton. Luckily, I came to my senses.    

Instead of a shirtdress, I decided to make Eva Dress D 40 5087. I've made it before so it was pretty easy to construct. 

I really like all the gathers this pattern has. They are perfect for the weight of the fabric.

Sorry it's blurry. It was dark. 

I didn't have a grey zip in my stash (I always buy zips from op shops but never seem to have the right colour/length when I need it), so I did a combination of hooks and eyes and snaps. I regret it. They require me to perform acrobatic contortions to get them done up. I don't think I can be bothered taking them out and putting a zip in though.  

Apart from the closure problem, I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Scarf: Op shopped
Belt: Op shopped
Tights: A shop in the mall, I think
Shoes: Golden Ponies
Dress: Eva Dress D 40 5087

I started a facebook page for the blog. I'll probably post stuff that doesn't warrant a blog post like what I'm going to be sewing next.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


When I've sewn something I usually have scraps of fabric left. I tend to throw all the little scraps out but chucking away bigger pieces seems like a waste. These pieces just sit in my fabric stash because I have no idea what to do with them. I don't want to make little purses or rag rugs or any of the other cutesy things all the lists I've seen online suggest. When one of the pairs of pajama shorts my mum had made me for Christmas (not to wear for Christmas, but as a Christmas present) years ago started to fall apart I realised what I could use all those fabric leftovers for. I used an old pair of pajamas as a pattern and then whipped up three pairs in a couple of hours. They were really easy and quick to sew.  

 I managed to get two pleated skirts (I sold one) and a pair of pjs out of this vege print fabric. I used french seams because, as previously discussed, I am lazy and they look good. The elastic was all stuff I had in my stash. I'm not quite sure why I have a stash of elastic given I hardly ever make anything with that type of elastic. Forethought, maybe?

I used this sheer cotton to make a dress (which I will do a post on shortly), and made these with the leftovers. This is a view of the back. As you can see, it's very similar to the shape of the front.

My mum used this fabric to make a dress and I stole the leftovers to make these. I wish I had a dress made out of it because the print is awesome, but pajamas will have to do. I didn't make any tops to go with these because I usually just sleep in singlets.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Is she pretty on the inside?

I bought this pattern with a bunch of other early 60's ones. I liked the bow-type thing on the neckline, but didn't find either of the skirt styles very appealing. I decided to do a box pleated skirt instead of the a-line or straight skirts from the pattern.   

Most of the seams are french ones because I'm lazy. You see, the overlocker is in a different room to my sewing machine. This means I have to go all the way to the other room if I want to overlock anything. It just seems easier to stay at my machine and sew an extra seam. As an added bonus, the finish you get with french seams makes the inside pretty.

This is the detail on the neckline.The background colour is weird. It looks white next to cream things and cream next to white things. I topstitched it in white which looks alright, but doesn't match perfectly.

There was a picture of me smiling in this pose, but the dress didn't look good so bored face it is

I love this dress. Yellow and cream/white are not normally colours I would go for, but I love lemons, both real ones and prints.

Sunglasses: Vintage shop in England
Dress: Simplicity 4987
Belt: Op shopped
Shoes: The Warehouse

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Op Shopping Finds

I haven't posted in ages because sometimes life just gets in the way. Anyway, here are some things I've bought at the op shop in the last couple of months.

This dress (which my mum actually bought me), was handed to me by someone in an op shop because they thought I looked like someone who was into 'retro stuff'. I certainly am, kind stranger.

I think it's from the 1940's or early 1950's, but the hem has probably been shortened at some point. It doesn't look much here but it fits perfectly.

As an added bonus, the wool that it's made of was from Salt's Mill which I visited when I was in England. It's cool to think that this dress that I found in an op shop in Christchurch was made 60-70 years ago with wool from a mill on the other side of the world that I visited this year.

My mum also found this. She actually showed it to me because she thought I would laugh at how ridiculous it is, but um...I thought it was cute. I got the last laugh, though. When I got home I looked it up online. It originally sold for $285. I paid $6.  

I bought this (probably) '70s makeup case because I use them to store things like gloves, scarves and hats in. I don't love the colour but the shape is nice.

This wool coat was from an op shop in Petone. I have a similar red one, but the green one fits much better. Since I took this photo I've taken off the fur collar and put another one on because the original collar did not feel nice at all.