Trying to put my thoughts & ideas down somewhere and give another outlet to my creativity. It's all connected, so I can't say it's a blog about just this or just that. Dolls. Fashion. Art. A little bit on travel, whatever... let's take it wherever it goes...


Do you buy vintage sewing patterns?

Since I have decided to specialise my Etsy shop more into one thing - vintage sewing patterns - I would also like to know more about what my customers are interested in! I come across so many unusual or interesting things but don't know if they would sell at all, so I have decided to create a little survey to find out more. This shouldn't take you longer than 5 minutes to fill out, so I would really like all of you to participate! Please also forward it to other people if you know that they're interested in vintage patterns!



Vintage inspirations - August 2013

There's so much inspiration to be found in vintage, that I thought I would share this'n that on this blog every now and then.

If the 60s and 70s are your "thing", you might like the film "Cloclo" (or "My Way"). It's a biopic on French pop superstar Claude François. Though there are some mistakes here and there, but all in all I liked the costumes (yes, there are sequinned suits in there!), and the lead actor, Jéremie Regnier, is certainly worth watching - the likeness is uncanny, and his performance is just great. A word of warning though, it's a long one at two and a half hours, and it's not a a cinematographic master piece but a pretty conventional biopic.

If you struggle with cleaning vintage clothing, here's some great advice: 9 Must Have Products For Cleaning Vintage Clothing by Debutante Clothing.

Jewelry is your thing? I visited the Victoria & Albert Museum in London last winter and was blown away by their jewelry exhibit, which is nothing short of amazing. Even better, you can look at it online in detail! Speaking of the V&A, during my recent trip to Australia, I managed to see the wonderful exhibition about quilts from 1700 to 1945 at the Art Gallery of Queensland in Brisbane. Most of the exhibits are from the V&A. The work that went into these is just mind-blowing!

Of course I also looked at one or the other vintage or thrift shop in OZ, as far as time allowed. In Noosa I unexpectedly found vintage at Noosa Longboards, the premier surf shop in town. They have a nice selection of vintage Hawaiian shirts. The shop is run by hard-core surfers, and one of the guys told me all about vintage shirt sizing, obviously from personal experience. They also sell nice retro shirts and other surf related retro stuff. In the end, I bought this cute shirt which, although a man's, was a nice small size:
It's by Hukilau Fashions, cotton, and has nice metal buttons. It features typical polynesian themes like an outrigger boat, a drummer, a warrior figure - reminds me of French Polynesia!

If you ever head to the tropical city of Darwin, may I suggest that you have a look into the Vintage Twist clothing shop. This lovely little shop has both vintage and retro clothing, and is a little hidden away, but very appropriately in the Star Village Mall, the location that was once home to Darwin's Star Theatre. The courtyard is decorated with plaques and artifacts tracing the cinema's history. On the outer side of the courtyard, on Smith Street Mall, there's also a wonderful used book shop that's perfectly inviting to nose around. And if all that shopping has totally exhausted you, head for the Four Birds Café inside the courtyard, it's a beautiful tranquil spot for a cold drink and bite to eat:

If looking for vintage beyond clothing, may I also suggest some ideas from my shop? I have some great decorative items in my shop too like cute kitschy souvenir plates, some books - and this wonderful pierrot doll:

And if you the still hot summer weather is getting to you and you're looking for the solution to what to wear underneath that light suit, may I suggest the old-fashioned solution of a half blouse? There are some NOS available in my shop:

Vintage sewing patterns - looking for the more "exotic"?

I'm still trying to catch up after holidays and lots of other things have either kept me away or busy! As you may have noticed though, I have stocked up my Etsy shop on the sewing pattern side a great deal.

I have also created some new pattern categories to make your search a little easier. If you prefer the modern reissue patterns like Vintage Vogue, you'll now find them in a separate category as Retro sewing patterns. They're all uncut, but hurry, there's not a lot of those left, and the category will probably disappear from my shop.

For the vintage sewing patterns, there's not only a separate category, but also lots of "new" stock to check out! There's not only a lot of American patterns like Simplicity or McCall's, but you'll also find some rather "exotic" rare European ones like Burda, Brigitte/Ullstein, Herbillon, Jolymode or Switzerland's own Ringier. Some of them do come with more language option instructions than just German or the pattern pieces themselves have printed-on instructions in further languages. A personal fave of mine are the Jolymode patterns which have a great concept and show an early multi-size option for patterns, like this one:

As far as I know, these patterns were available through the Jolymode magazines - you bought the mag and then could order the patterns. This is, directions, measurement table and all, printed on pattern paper:

 It offers three different sizes, and basically you could cut the pattern out right in your size. Very nice! Even Burda at this time still sold their patterns in single sizes only, so I was quite surprised by this one.

What I also learned was that a log of European pattern companies provided with their patterns a sheet of generic sewing tips etc. that would be the same with every pattern, and a separate one specific to the actual pattern, which sometimes even appears to have been originally written by typewriter! The emphasis was clearly on production being inexpensive. An interesting example of this are the Brigitte/Ullstein sewing patterns of the 60s and 70s. Brigitte is an iconic German women's magazine. What I did not know whas that they also sold sewing patterns - I am guessing they must have been advertised in their magazines in some way. It isn't a sewing magazine per se though, but a classic women's magazine that of course also includes fashion. Ullstein is a publishing company, and they must have been responsible for producing the patterns.

Brigitte/Ullstein sewing pattern

This is a really cute little secretary dress that could be worn in so many ways! Looking at the back of the pattern, you can see how it was produced. This pink leaflet it seems was based on something like a template that was filled out with the necessary details of the pattern and then copied.

The actual pattern pieces were pre-cut, unprinted, and the numbers and basic instructions were actually stamped on!

If you're looking for inspiration for a wedding or evening gown, or any other kind of formal dress, I have also come upon this fabulous Burda bridal magazine from 1994:

And in a reverse of things, I have actually also stumbled on the sewing pattern in the Burda magazine of November 1966 that one of the dresses in my Etsy shop must have been made from - now how unusual is that! Of course, there's no nicer way of actually dating a home-made vintage dress.