This hand stitiched embroidery is a real treat. The fine detail on the face – from cushiony pink cheeks to luscious lashes – really showcases the embroiderers skill. This exapample comes from a pillowslip and though the date of creation is unknown I’m guessing around 1950-60.


Take me to the ball!

July 14, 2008

I love to imagine how many ritzy occasions these kid gloves must have attended. Though they look a little worse for wear now, they still retain their old-world charm. Like a lot of vintage gloves they are just too small for the modern hand, so unfortunately they won’t be going out much any more. I just adore the pearl button closure at the wrist and the teeny tiny handstitiched buttonhole. Charming!!

A designer at work…..

July 11, 2008

A great discovery here at a local market – the sketchings of an amateur dressmaker dating from about the 1950’s. These little bodice and sleeve patterns show how the dressmaker would have changed the positions of darts and seams to create different styles. They’re all in “fifth scale” – that is one fifth of actual size, a great way to test out design ideas without having to draft full size pieces. I believe that the designer was probably copying ideas she’d seen in a dressmaker’s instruction manuals and practicing her technique.

1940’s Glamour

July 2, 2008

Check out this delightful pair of size 5 high heels! A mini-masterpiece in finely cut suede, these 1940’s shoes are in perfect condition. They are lined and soled with leather too, with the label ‘Gold Cross’ stamped onto the inner. They have been beautifully cared for, and except for a little bit of marking on the soles, look like they’ve never been worn.

Pretty Lady

July 1, 2008

Isn’t she lovely? I picked up this oh-so-fine stitchin’ machine at an op-shop in Wonthaggi Victoria. The ‘Princess’ came with all her attachments and sews like she was born yesterday. I love her Cadillac good looks and chrome features. 

Hairy Hairnets!!!

June 27, 2008

What a fabulous find these real hair hairnets are! Delicately packaged in paper envelopes, each hairnet is a beautifully inticate pattern of hand-tied knots. I managed to pick up about half a dozen of these from a market and they date from between 20’s to the 30’s. I just love the illustration below showing the vision of ideal beauty at that time – the hooded eyes and finger waved hair is just gorgeous.

What lass doesn’t love a mop cap n’ apron combo? This extraordinary vintage pattern is a real treat, showing sewers how they too can look all First Lady circa 1700. I’m doing a little research to see when this pattern dates from, but at the measly price of .45 cents I’m thinking it was a long long time ago!



Happiness IS pants!

June 18, 2008

Isn’t she divine?! I absolutely love this Simplicity sewing manual that I picked up from a local market. Each section of the manual is tabbed a different colour and introduced with a call to sewing action – “Slim slacks belong in your life” is but one example.  

Dior’s ‘New Look’ – 1947

This amazing exhibition needs to get marked in your diary now! Though it’s not due to land at the Bendigo Art Gallery until the 7th December this year (running until March 22nd ’09), ‘The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957’ you must be forewarned – this is the best fashion exhibition you will ever see! I was lucky enough to catch it in it’s home gallery the V&A in London in November 2007 and I’ll never forget it. So much sparkle, so much razzle so much dazzle!

Focusing on the period of fashion that started with the introduction of Dior’s ‘New Look’, this exhibition gives an insight into the couturiers art. Never has fashion looked so very very good!

For More information check out the link below

‘Fashion in the Age of Queen Victoria’ is a fashion devotee’s must see exhibition. Running from 17th May -20th July at the Bendigo Art Gallery, this exhibition is full to bursting with exquisite examples of Victorian Era fashion. The pieces come courtesy of Charlotte Smith, the custodian of her Godmother Doris Darnell’s extensive clothing collection. To find out more about the exhibition and Doris Darnell follow the link below.

Unknown, France

Evening Gown c1881

Silk, velvet, lace

The Darnell Collection at ESMOD

Photograph by Ian Hill