Friday, December 18, 2009

Op-shopping kismet

Another day, another dollar (or ten) spent. I go op-shopping way too much but I justify it to myself by only spending about ten dollars each time I go. This week I spent my money on 2 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs of stockings and also some cardigans.

I was wearing the seamed stockings above while my friend and I were shopping and one of the ladies at the Sallies told me she hadn't seen anyone wearing stockings like that for years. She also said that during the war they used to get so excited when they got a new pair of silk stockings. I love having these kinds of conversations. Quite often my stockings elicit comments from sweet old ladies like this.
As we were about to leave I looked in a drawer and found the bag below. I thought they were just odd stockings rather than pairs because they were all different colours but I got them anyway (for $1).

When I got home I discovered that there were 4 pairs of fully fashioned seamed stockings. I was so excited to find vintage seamed stockings and for only $1 as well.

Another Dress

Here is another dress I bought recently on my dress buying spree. Contrary to the expression on my face I am not the least bit miserable about my new vintage purchase. It has the cutest bow under the bust and covered buttons on the bodice. There's also a built-in crinoline made of stiff cotton to make the skirt look fuller. I think it will be perfect to wear on Christmas day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two for one

After my exams finished I went on a bit of a dress buying binge. When I got home today this blue, lace 60's dress was waiting for me. I'm so glad it fits. I'm not usually into 60's clothes but I love this dress.

I also got this black wiggle style dress. It has a little bow under the bust and the fabric has a faint rose print. It only cost $5.50. I wish the weather was cooler so I could wear it all the time. Now I'm going to go eat some chocolate macarons and watch the rest of Cabaret.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nautical Fashion

I love vintage sailor style clothing so I thought a sailor collar would be ideal for summer. There's lots of tutorials on the internet on how to make them (for costumes) but after looking at a few I figured I could draft my own pattern. I used some fabric I had left over from something else and some bias binding that my Mum had given me.

It didn't take long to make and was really simple. I first tried it on with a full skirted dress but I felt a bit too much like Sailor Moon so instead paired it with some men's trousers and a white shirt. I think I will be wearing it lots with t-shirts this summer.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Treasures

My Mum came to stay with me for a few days and as usual we went to our favourite op-shops. I managed to find a few new (old) things to take home.
This dress is new but it looks vintage inspired and is made out of lovely, soft cotton.

Two more aprons. I already have lots of aprons but I work part time in a cafe and I like to wear pretty aprons at work rather than the plain black ones they have there.

A pair of old, white nylons still in their (rather tattered) packet and mens braces.

I like putting my jewellery in these cute, glass containers (I'm not sure what they're called).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The $1 Dress

I made this dress loosely based on Simplicity 1157. I changed it quite a bit and added things like the bow and sash. The fabric I used was a sheet from the op-shop which cost $1, the zip I already had and the straps are made of bias binding that I found in my Mum's sewing stash hence the $1 dress.

The bow on the front of the bodice.

The purple roses make me think of Spring garden parties. Perfect for the lovely spring weather we've been having lately, now if only I had a garden party to attend.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Zipper Rosette

After seeing jewellery made out of zippers all over the internet I decided to try making a brooch out of some 50 cent zips I got from the fabric store. It was surprisingly easy. I just cut the zipper pull off and separated the two sides. Then I folded the end over, wrapped it around and sewed it with a needle and thread as I went. I then put a safety pin and the back so I could put it on cardigans.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I took a friend op-shopping the other day because he needed a costume for a 50's party. We didn't have much luck with the costume but I did manage to find some things for myself.

I have a weakness for vintage housecoats and robes. I like lounging around the house in them, far more stylish than trackpants.

A frame bag has been on my mental wishlist for ages. This one is prefect and is in really good condition. The key to lock it is still inside it. The best part is it was only $4. It's nice to tick something off my wishlist for once rather than just adding more things I want to it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stash reHash

On Sunday I went to Stash reHash, a one-off fabric and craft supplies market. I got there before it opened and there was already a huge line. It was a bit scary as there were so many people and everyone was trying to look around all the stalls in a tiny hall. I got pushed and shoved quite a few times (obviously some sewers and crafters can be quite ruthless when they spot something they want). It was well worth a bit of rough and tumble though as I managed to score some good stuff.

This is a beautiful thick cotton floral. There's over two metres and it cost me $1.

I love this old fashioned print. It's another thick cotton.

Belt buckles!

Lace to add to my fast growing collection.

Faux fur collar that someone has made. The picture's not that great, it's actually darker and looks much better than in the photo.

I also got a wool blanket and some paisley fabric for my Mum. All together I spent less than $20 and was only in there for about 15 minutes. I can't wait to get sewing again, I haven't done any for a couple of months because uni's been so busy.

Tete a tete

Finally my exams are over and the weather is warming up. This means at last I can wear the dress I bought about a month ago from the best vintage store in my city, Tete a Tete. It's made of lovely soft cotton and will be prefect for summer. The label is Horrockses. Apparently they were famous in the 50s for their floral print, cotton day dresses (I love looking up the labels of my vintage clothes to see what I can find out). It's in almost perfect condition. The darts in the bodice were coming away a bit so I resewed them and they're good as new. I'm sure this dress will get lots of wear over the next few months.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Longline Bras

On my birthday op-shopping trip with my Mum I found three lovely old longline bras. I think Mum paid $1 each for them. I'm not sure what period they're from but they seem quite old. They have metal hardware on them so they must be vintage.

This one's made of cotton rather than stretch fabric.

They're in pretty good condition considering their age but I'll probably only wear the top one because the others seem rather delicate. I've seen lots of reproduction longline bras but they seem to be quite expensive so I'm glad I found some in an op-shop.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


It's meant to be Spring down here in the Southern Hemisphere but the weather has been miserable for the last week. I have been looking forward to warmer weather so I can wear all the pretty Spring dresses, like the one above, I have acquired throughout the Winter. Sadly it looks like I will have to wait a while longer but in the meantime I will be on the lookout for more pretty dresses so when the warmer weather eventually comes I'll be prepared for it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Un nouveau chapeau

I got this lovely new hat at the op-shop for $1 a few days ago. Initially I was attracted to it because of the big bow on the front. After I showed it to my Mum she said that she thought that this was actually the back of the hat and this was the front:

I've decided that I don't care which way it's meant to go, I'm going to wear it with the giant bow at the front. It definitely looks better that way and besides I don't think anyone at uni will know that my hat is on backwards (it seems all the cool kids wear their baseball caps that way anyway).

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Medical Corsets

These two medical corsets used to belong to my 86 year old grandmother. She wore them in her younger days because she had a bad back but now they belong to me. I'm guessing they are probably about 50 to 60 years old. They are beautifully made even though they were purely for medical reasons. Unfortunately they are both far too big for me so mostly they sit in my room like this worn by Dorothea.

Today at my favourite secret op-shop I found another one very similar to the white one above and for $2 of course I had to get it. I feel the start of a collection coming on.
(By secret op-shop I mean one that the vintage clothing and antique dealers don't seem to have discovered yet, they always have really good stuff which would usually be snapped up by dealers).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bri Nylon

Today I got the cutest bri nylon baby doll top for $3 at the op-shop.
I'm guessing it would have once been part of a set with some matching bloomers. I think I'm going to make some to go with it. Possibly some like these from Etsy seller empressjade. I'll probably make them out of cotton and just try and find a similar shade of pink. Perfect summer pyjamas.

New (Old) Nylons!

I love these nylons I recently got that are unworn and still in their original box. I got them on Trademe for about the same as I pay for a pair of new stockings now. They are fully fashioned sheer seamed stockings with a cuban heel. I'm guessing they are from around the 1950's as that is when this style was popular before seam-free stockings took over in the mid 60's.

I don't know if I can bring myself to wear them though just in case I put a hole in them. I will probably just keep them in their little box and bring them out from time to time to stare lovingly at them.

I adore the vintage look of seams so I usually wear the black pantihose from Columbine that have a faux seam up the back. These, generally, only get a few wears and then I manage to put a run in them. I remember reading somewhere that during rationing women were allowed two pairs of nylons a year. I don't think I would fare very well with that.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cardigan DIY

The sleeves of my favourite black cardigan had started to fray so instead of throwing it away I figured there must be something I could do to repair it. I remembered that I had parts of a stripey mens shirt left that I had used for another project, so I folded up the frayed bit and hand sewed the cuffs of the shirt sleeves onto the sleeves of the cardigan. Of course not content with just doing that, I made a bow with the leftover fabric and sewed it onto the back.

I quite like it because it looks like I'm wearing a shirt and the sleeves are poking out of the bottom of my cardigan sleeves.

Friday, September 18, 2009

New patterns!

I finally conquered my fear of using Etsy and I'm so glad I did. I got three vintage patterns from sugardale, Simplicity 1192 and 3911 and Butterick 9826. All three patterns plus the cost of shipping and conversion into New Zealand dollars still cost me less than what I usually pay for one pattern here. Now I must go and decide on fabrics. I can't wait to start sewing

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Simplicity 3542

I recently made Simplicty 3542. This was my first attempt at a vintage pattern and it actually wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I didn't follow the pattern instructions (but then I very rarely do) and I also left some of the pattern out. There are two different dickey (false shirt front) options for the pattern but I decided not to do either because I like having the option of wearing different t-shirts or blouses underneath the dress.

The result:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Welcome to my blog.

This is my first post even though I've had this address for a while. I finally became motivated to post after I won a competition over at PuglyFeet for a blog banner created by Katrina. Thanks again Katrina for the lovely banner. Check out her blog if you want to win you own blog banner because she is holding another competition for one.
Now I have no excuse not to post since I have this wonderful and aptly vintage themed banner.
So, a little about myself...This is me in my favourite vintage dress

I adore vintage clothes, as well as almost anything old. I have a fairly large collection of clothes, shoes and handbags mostly bought from second hand shops in New Zealand where I live. My love of second hand shopping comes from my Mum. She has been doing it since she was a teenager and growing up our house was always filled with Mum's many op-shop finds.

My favourite dress in the photo above was actually bought for me by my Mum. My parents live in a tiny place of about 300 people in the country where there is only a dairy/cafe, a hotel, a gas station and a second hand shop. My Mum found this dress in the second hand shop there for $10. It is beautifully hand made, hardly faded at all and fits me perfectly. I would guess it was made sometime in the fifties. I have bought various gorgeous vintage items from this shop and they all fit perfectly. I think they must all be from the same person, being all the same size and roughly the same era.
One of the reasons I love vintage is thinking about the woman who wore the clothing before me. I think it is wonderful that there was/is some stylish woman living in this tiny, mostly dairy farming community, who was the same size as me. It may be strange but I like to imagine whoever she was, she would be happy that someone out there is wearing and loving her old clothes.