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...


The VFG's Petition to Request Exemption of Vintage & Antique Goods from Paypal's Nov Update

Here's an important message from the Vintage Fashion Guild. I think it is important to anybody who deals with vintage or antique items, not just limited to fashion. Please read this through and sign the petition.
If you would like to learn more about the VFG, please visit


We, the undersigned, hereby petition PayPal to exempt sales of vintage and
antique goods from the upcoming November 18, 2014 policy update
( This impending policy update will increase the
time to file a merchandise dispute for "item not received" or "item not as
described" from the current 45 days to 180 days.

Vintage and antique goods are delicate and fragile and often require careful
handling and storage. It is important that purchases be opened, inspected, and
then properly stored within a reasonable time-frame to ensure they remain in the
condition they were sent. Not doing so can compromise the goods and even cause
them to deteriorate. This new policy removes the sense of urgency in taking care
of a vintage or antique item soon after its delivery and allows too long of a
time window for the item to sit in its packaging and potentially become damaged
by rough handling, extreme temperature changes, etc. Simply put, Paypal's new
policy will be overly burdensome and possibly disastrous to those who sell
vintage and antique goods online. To expect a seller to refund for claims for
vintage and antique goods that have been out of their possession for 180 days is

We believe that PayPal, when creating this new policy, may not have considered
the special situations that could occur with the sale of vintage and antique
goods and we formally request that these type of sales continue to be governed
by PayPal's current 45 day policy which is fair to both buyers and sellers.

We sincerely thank you for your consideration of this critical matter.

Please click here to get to to sign:

Thank you for your support!

Just a little smomething...

As I've been traveling again for work and my busiest time at the office is just starting, I have been rather silent here. For a little change and if you want to know a bit more about my work that so often takes me to the other side of the globe, please check out this this post on my company's blog:

Wineglass Bay Lookout, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania


Swiss Textile Collection - a great undertaking and wonderful things to see

Last year, I was alerted to a TV news program here in Switzerland about a unique couture collection that had all belonged to the same woman, that had been bought up in bulk by Rosmarie Amacher of à ma chère Haute Couture, Zurich's one and only couturière. Unfortunately, the program can't be viewed anymore online, but it was pretty spectacular. From what she said then, they were looking at housing this amazing collection in a historical building in Rorschach, and making it accessible to fashion students and professionals for study etc - and maybe even putting it on show for the general public.

Whilst poking around on Facebook recently, I came upon her page and actually found out what has been going on with this collection. First of all, I have unknowingly already posted a few photos of items from this collection on this blog - turns out that the couture items on show at the Textile Museum in St. Gallen last winter came from there - have a look at my original post: A new association has been founded to own the collection, called the Swiss Textile Collection, and if you click through their website, you will spot a close-up of the amazing sequinned accessories that I photographed then:
Their goal is still to make the whole thing accessible in some way to people to not just look at the things, but to touch them and see how they're constructed - which is a great idea. The collection offers a membership for CHF 150 a year which also includes interesting visits to textile producers and other acitivities - definitely worth a thought about joining!

What's still written in the stars though is if the collection will really ever be housed at the said building in Rorschach - apparently it's pending a local referendum what actually happens to the building. So the collection is currently housed somewhere very different, at the TMC in Zurich. The TMC is a wholesale center for the fashion industry - companies hire showrooms there to show their new collections to buyers a few times a year. Unless it's an "ordering day", it's closed to the public. As it happens, this month, Mondays are ordering days, and the collection is open for everybody to go and have a look!

Well, of course that's one thing I couldn't let go buy, so my mom and I paid a visit to the collection recently. There were a few items on mannequins that we were free to examine (yes, touch, turn up hems etc.). Most of it is safely stored though in big cardboard boxes, carefully numbered and with a photo of the contents on each box. Stuffed with tissue paper, some things are on hangers, some in boxes on shelves - very well cared for. There were two other visitors beside us, who arrived almost at the same time, and then the action got underway! The lady lookin after things that day pulled things out for us to look at - touch, examine, see how it's made. In short - it was amazing. I've never seen couture like that upclose like this, and I feel like I've learned a ton of things!

The main part of the collection is made up of the collection I mentioned above, but they are also buying other items to add to it. The initial collection was a rich industrialist's wife's wardrobe, ranging in styles ca. from the 1950s to the 1980s from what I could see, and she had them all made at the same couture salon in Zurich, often after designs from Paris coturiers. There's obviously a fair amount of evening wear, but day wear too. She really must have had something made for every special occasion. And there aren't just dresses, she also had matching accessories made - hats, bags, gloves and more.

I couldn't take photos - and wouldn't have anyway, we were much too busy oohing and ahhing and examining things! The lengths they went to! There was a suit of a loosely woven bouclé-type fabric of fairly thick threads. To make a matching vest, they actually unravelled some of this fabric to the threads, and someone knitted the vest from them! Similarly, from another ca. 60s item, they had created a contrasting effect for the top of a dress by taking threads out of a similar kind of fabric and thus creating a kind of lattice-work effect (it was lined of course). Incredible work!

Of the things we were show, there was one utterly amazing item, that had also been on show in St. Gallen, and it was definitely the "star piece" of what we got to see:
The white evening dress and coat where the first things the lady drew out of a storage box for us. The dress is a simple, slim column (and it's owner must have been a tall, slim lady!), a deceptively simple design with slim straps, but... it is completely ebroidered with iridescent pearls and sequins! Yes, completely - the whole dress is covered and incredibly heavy. And this was all done only once the dress had been constructed, this was not an embroidered fabric! The coat is made from the same fabric as the dress and closes with two big round buttons at the front. And of course it shows the dress off to great effect! There was a matching clutch bag as well, that was also embroidered all over. Wow!

It really was a great experience, and we wholly enjoyed it. I will be following this what happens further and hopefully there will be more great stuff to report on!


Exhibition report - Les Années 50 at Palais Galliera

And here comes the next one! This was the exhibition that made me want to go to Paris in the first (as if I needed much of a reason anyway...): Les Années 50 at Palais Galliera.
Though the title says "50s", it's actually about the the years from 1947 to 1957, from when Dior created the New Look and with it the silhouette of the 50s. The exhibits are not arranged in a chronological fashion, but like a fashion magazine, by theme. The great thing is, nothing is behind glass, and you can get really up close to a lot of the exhibits, and of some things like the evening dresses, you can also see the back of the dress - which is often just as interesting!
So it starts with the iconic design that today is seen as what started the New Look - Dior's "Bar" suit, together with two other late 40s designs that already show the typical line. One is a delicious redingote coat dress by Jacques Fath, that once belonged to none other than Lily Daché. Wow. After that follows a big line-up of day wear - suits, dresses and coats for all seasons. Some are accompanied by photos of models wearing them, one was worn in a French film... All this is accompanied by old fashion magazine covers that also set the scene, small displays of matchin accessories like hats, gloves, shoes and handbags and there's also a nice display of French sewing patterns of the time. The other rooms show cocktail dresses, grand evening gowns (what a joy - the embroidery work on some of them is just crazy, like the "Palmyre" dress by Dior!), a few items of lingerie (a guepière of course!) and stockings, and casual / beach fashion / swimwear. Most items are Haute Couture, but there are a few mass produced items as well as early Prêt-à-Porter, which also started at the time. So there's plenty to see - give it two hours, even though it isn't big by way of rooms. I am also totally in love now with Fath's designs - they were among my favourites in the exhibition. Also, the wonderfully draped, timeless evening and cocktail dresses by Dessès - just breathtaking.

If you want to get a bit of a look, this little film gives you a good glimpse at the exhibition. There are also some great images on this page, just click on the photo on the right at the bottom.

There is also an excellent book to go with the exibition that is well worth the price. One of the two dresses on the book's cover is shown in Vogue of October 1954, the issue of which I have:
Here it's just shown without the shoulder straps. Gorgeous silver embroidery!

If you go, I recommend to buy the ticket online, you can print it at home. It's set to a specific entry time. That way the can make sure that not too many people get in a the same time. As everything stands free and is mostly not behind glass, it is understandable that they don't want too many people go in at once. And the nice thing is, as high-profile exhibitions go, this is not expensive at all - the admission is only 8 Euros!

Exhibition report: Dries Van Noten - Inspirations at Les Arts Decoratifs

I spent the last weekend in Paris, just for the purpose of seeing two great exhibitions (and yes, to eat some great food as well... :-) ), so it's time to report a bit!

First off: Dries Van Noten - Inspirations at Les Arts Decoratifs. No photos were allowed, as usual, so I can't show you any, but check out this link, there's a quite a few images! I must admit, though I knew the name, I did not have an idea at all about Van Noten's work. But it looked interesting, and after a fellow VFG member had already posted her comments, I decided that it mus be worth it - oh, and how it was! The exhibition shows in themed groups, by what he was inspired for his designs. It was created by him, and he basically went through the museum's collections (just imagine... I think if they'd let me loose in there, they wouldn't get me out again!) to choose what he wanted - it's a similar concept to the excellent Christian Lacroix exhibition of a few years ago, and I think it's a great idea. It let's you see what makes a designer tick, what inspires him. And of course, you get to see so much eye candy. A lot of his own designs, but also the work of other designers, historical fashion, folk fashion, art, paintings, films - all kinds of things. The inspirations were as diverse as they get - Dior's New Look (yes, with the Bar suit), the film "The Piano", a garden of flowers, oriental traditional fashions, Bollywood films, dandies of the 19th century... What stood out for me, that throughout the exhibition, the other designer of whom there were the most fashions shown was Elsa Schiaparelli. Her amazing designs cropped up in many different inspiration themes. The one after her was probably Dior, who featured with classic designs too. There were displays in muted colors and there were true riots of color, like with the garden theme (imagine a display chock full of haute couture evening gowns, with flower embroideries etc. and in all colors you can imagine!). What also struck me, there was a suit that had once belonged to the Duke of Windsor on display. I can only say - boy, he was small - and slender. It would probably fit me...
And what do I think about Dries Van Noten? I may not like all of his designs, but there's a lot to like, and I love how he uses color, and isn't afraid to use bright colors and mix them wildly. It's just a joy to see that. And it's wonderful to see a designer who takes his inspirations from such a variety of things. Be it another designer, a piece of art, a feeling, a film - and in that way, he is an artist as well. 
The exhibition has just been prolonged until November 2nd, so if you get a chance, go see it!

And of course a visit to Paris wouldn't be a visit to Paris if we didn't to a lot of walking around and exploring bits we hadn't seen before. What always amazes me about Paris is the fact, that just by taking a little side lane, you get away from all the tourist hubbub in a minute and end up in a completely quiet, authentic part of the city! This time, we found our way to the "other" side of the Marais - basically between the Rue Saint Antoine and the Seine. It's old, historic, looks like what we think of as a cliché of Paris - but it is just authentically like that! There is also a set of four quiet courtyards, the entrances to which one could easily miss, that have all sorts of little antique shops, art galleries, cafés and more. It's called Le Village Saint Paul.

Just a few images from the other side of the Marais...
 The Bibliothèque Fornay - housed in a former bishop's palace from the 15th century.

 Walls of houses leaning in all directions, little lanes...
And a remnant of a 12th century city wall and tower.


Vintage travels

I know - long time no post. Well, I've been away on business quite a bit and occasionally I take holidays too - and the shop wants to be "fed" as well. But anyway, if you're looking for exciting vintage patterns, the good news is, I have recently been listing a load!

I have just listed all of the 60s patterns currently in my stock, which is reflected in my shop's main page. My long business trip took me to wonderful Tasmania for the first time, which I really loved. So much great scenery - and of course, cute critters too!
Wineglass Bay Lookout - Freycinet National Park
Hungry Tassie Devil

But Tasmania is also a great hunting ground for vintage and antiques! And thanks to my wonderful escort, Rosemary, who likes to do a bit of antique hunting herself, we stopped by a few Vinnies, Red Cross and other stores along the way in Swansea and Launceston (and I swear, every bigger town has at least one thrift shop!). In historic Campbell Town we happily trawled a lovely antique shop and the local church's thrift. The result of all of this? Some glorious 60s patterns, all of which are listed now!
So, if you get to go Downunder, make sure you go to Tasmania as well and take your time hunting for some vintage or antiques!

On my way home I also made a very short stopover in Melbourne - just enough to repack my stuff well, have a look in on the excellent National Gallery of Victoria, which I missed the last time, have a coffee and a croissant at a lovely bakery in one of the laneways (now if you're in Melbourne and haven't pottered around these for a bit, then you really haven't been there! Need a guide? These ladies do a fabulous job: Hidden Secrets Tours). And of course I looked in at Circa Vintage, the wonderful shop of fellow VFG member Nicole Jenkins. I visited here shop (still in Fitzroy then) the last time I'd been in Melbourne - and now again. How amazing. It's just wonderful to get to talk to someone about vintage in person for a change, and to look at some of her utterly amazing stock! What I didn't do though, for all of our being caught up talking, looking at stuff etc. - take one photo of us or the shop. I did take a photo though of Mitchell House, where Circal Vintage is located - now isn't that just the perfect setting? I just goggled for a moment, as I walked up there. This is just so fabulous!
What I did do though was shop. Yes. Of course! There was just that much space left in my suitcase!
This cute 50s cotton gingham blouse and skirt set is by Melbourne maker Merri Maker, and it was unworn. The little loose-fitting blouse is just what I like for hot summer days and it looks great with a pair of black capris. The skirt is ultra-tiny, but since it has a a bit of an A-line shape, I have started working on it to make it fit...
And then, there's this gorgeous dark blue-purble 40s slip with a side zip, that can be perfectly worn on it's own as a dress! It just needed to have the straps taken in a bit. Photos of me wearing it will follow some time.

And if you want more inspiration on wearing vintage and mixing it with modern, I've started an album on my Facebook page where I'll keep uploading photos of me just having some Vintage Fun!


Sindy - stylish gal!

I've recently gotten a few more vintage Sindy dolls, and I have restored a few other ones that I've had for a bit of time. With the "new" dolls, I have also got a few more outfits and separate outfit parts from the 1970s and 80s - some of the shoes are Mattel though, as I don't have a lot of Pedigree Sindy shoes... So they're all stylishly dressed now! Don't you just love the cute red capri pants with the little buttons? And the super nice fitting green skinny slacks? And of course - that combination of black, white and pink - always a winner!
The two gals on the left are probably from the early 80s, the glamourous platinum blonde is one of the big-headed, red-lipped mid-80s dolls, from the last years of "classic" Pedigree Sindy, as well as the doll on the right. I love them, with their creamy skin and bright red lippy! The pig-tailed girl second to right may be a little older - I don't know who she is, but when I examined her hair whilst cleaning her up, it definitely showed that she must have had pigtails originally.

Here's a look at the short-haired Sindy and the one with the pigtails as they were "before". They both cleaned up nicely, and their hair too! Sindy dolls really are a joy to restore - they usually clean up so nicely, even the seemingly hopeless looking ones! This is one thing I really like about them, and a reason I find it hard to resist them. It's just so satisfying to restore a doll back to looking pretty.

A quick update on Ringier patterns

Wonderful - I have just received three more issues of the Ringier Journal de la Mode - from 1964/65, 1966 and 1970. They have again brought a little more insight - like that the shorter pattern numbers probably started earlier than I'd thought, but still were consecutive and therefore help with dating. You can see the update, and also the albums of the new magazines here on the Vintage Sewing Pattern Wiki.

And... I found a pattern I had - in fact that very first one I bought as a vintage pattern, which was also the first vintage pattern I sold - this is from the Spring/Summer 1970 issue:


Opera costuming - Manon Lescaut at Baden Baden

So Arte had Manon Lescaut from the Easter festival in Baden Baden on the other day, live. You can still watch it - still a few days left, if you want to know what I'm talking about:

Anyway, it was beautifully sung and all, but the costuming was horrible in a way - really got me up the walls. So this was set in 1940s Nazi-occupied France. Don't ask me where the sense is in that, to me it didn't make much sense in relation to the story, but there you go. I do understand that costumes also have to look good on stage and I'd never expect them to be say as perfect as in a period movie. Still, I think whoever was responsible for the costumes here totally let the main character of Manon down. Honestly. Ok, her shoes never looked like anything like 40s, but maybe higher heels weren't on the menu. So, that's one thing. Much worse though was that horrible white dress and hat in act one. It looked like some 80s monstrosity with super-huge shoulders, and a cheap-looking hat! Yes, 40s fashion was about shoulder pads, but compare a 40s dress to an 80s dress and you'll notice that they were quite different kinds of shoulder pads, and they were definitely bigger and more exaggerated in the 80s. Considering her figure, I think they could have been more kinder on her with the shoulder pads. And even if the dress had to be white, there would have been more authentic-looking 40s dress styles, that would have looked much better on her. This particular dress really didn't flatter her - sorry! And there would surely have been a better hat style too! Also the glittery dress in act two - ok, it was probably quick to get into, as it looked like a wrap style, but again, it did nothing for her and didn't look like anything 40s. There were choir extras in all acts, wearing dresses or suits and hats that looked much much more like 40s styles - and in general much better! In fact there were a few in the background that I would have loved to see more of.

So, in short - I just don't get it. I'm not quick to be critical of any costuming being absolutely historically correct, but this just looked so out of place and not really good on her.Isn't it just horrible when they make the leading lady look not really her best?

Ringier sewing patterns

You've probably noticed the Ringier sewing patterns in my shop, that you've also probably never have heard about - so time to blog a little about them... Ringier is the biggest publisher in Switzerland, best known for the tabloid newspaper "Blick" and the iconic people magazine "Schweizer Illustrierte". From the 1940s at least until the 1970s (or maybe 80s), they also published sewing patterns. Living in Switzerland, I of course come across them a lot, but there is very, very little information on them to be found. Not even Ringier's company history online mentions anything about them.

I had also not known anything about them until I found one of their patterns at a flea market. This was one of the very first vintage patterns I ever bought, and it was one of the first items in my Etsy shop to sell - just a fun little mod summer dress:
When I then started looking for patterns to sell, I came across more and more of them, and some are really elegant and can stand their own against better known brands!

Some of my favourite ones are:

So here you can already see the evolution of how their sleeves look - from the 1940s to the early 50s, early 50s to late 60s and then the late 60s to 70s design, with which also the numbering seems to have changed from five to four numbers.

I have also recently acquired three issues of their bi-annual "Journal des Modes" in which they published their newest patterns - only the more glamourous ones though. Sleep- and homewear it seems was probaly just published in their weekly family magazines. Click on the magazine covers below to view the complete magazines in an online album! They are gorgeous to look at just for the beautiful, colorful illustrations.
Thanks to these, I have also been able to glean a bit of information on their numbering system, which seems to have been continuous, with the first number (at least in the 5-digit system) denoting what kind of garment/pattern it was, and the character before standing for the price.

To keep track of all the information I have so far, and since I have faithfully been uploading or linking every pattern in my shop, I have also added this to the Vintage Pattern Wikia:
I will keep adding as I find out more - I hope to be getting more of the magazines soon.


Vintage sewing...

Well, I've been at it again - sewing! My problem was a small one - what do you wear by way of "nice" (or even "business") clothes in warm or hot weather? The easiest of course is to pull on a nice, not too short/cut-out summer dress, at best in cotton. But if a dress is not in question? I have a heap of nice black capri pants, but the top options to go with them were always about the same, like this super 50s cotton blouse, or my trusty Vietnamese silk top:

So I decided to make something myself. Vintage patterns for tops and blouses abound, after all. In fact, read somewhere that they're the easiest to find of any kind vintage pattern! So I've been buying them, sifting through them, keeping some, putting others in my shop. And in the end, the best-looking patterns turned up in bigger lots that I acquired when not looking for blouses especially. Typical.

And now, here's what I made. First, from Butterick pattern 7024:

This is a very typical 1950s look, very chic and elegant, and actually quite quickly made from realtively few pattern pieces! I used a bright turquoise cotton that has just a small amount of elastic fibers, and some secondhand buttons from my stash that have little rhinestones on them. The fit of the pattern is good, just that the sleeves were a little wide for my taste, so I made them a bit tighter, like it looks in the drawing on the pattern sleeve. Also, it is a little tricky to make, because you have those seams going around corners. There are probably sewers out there who do this better than me - which is why it's now on sale in my shop (no worries - I always copy my patterns, I never use the original pieces!).

And now, next up is this super-versatile 60s Vogue pattern, 6706, which is a definite keeper! It's a a classic blouse, but with so many sleeve and collar options including a cute pussy bow, that this is staying in my pattern stash!
For this I used a polyester fabric that I've had in my stash for a couple of years already. I saw this by chance at Komolka in Vienna (a truly not-to-be-missed super fabric store!), it was on clearance and I just loved the big house façade print. Initially, I had thought I would just make a scarf from it, but then I decided differently. And this pattern seemed to be perfect, as there are not a lot of seams cutting through the motif. I chose the sleeveless, collarless version, to be worn over pants, with small side slits. I cut it with an eye on pattern matching, which meant though that's what's left of it isn't really usable anymore, but that was worth it I think. The buttons I used are vintage ones, also from my stash (I originally showed them in this post). I had exactly three of the green ones and two of the navy ones, so it seemed to make sense to use them here! This pattern too fitted just nicely, was easy to make and over all a joy to work with. I really love these American patterns that have the 5/8" seam allowance included - marking that extra before you get to cut it out, like Burda does, just takes so much extra time!

And that's not all of it... this amazing fabric also came in a differnt colorway - and I bought some of that as well! I haven't decided yet though what I'll make from this.
And now? Well, I'm onto the next one, made from a 40s pattern and a repurposed XXL 80s silk top! I hope it'll work as I planned it - keeping my fingers crossed...

 As usual, I have made it all on my trusty, also very vintage, Husqvarna 2000 machine:
This super machine is from the early 60s, and just runs like a little clockwork. She makes very little noise, has all the necessary stitches, plus an ingenious system for lots of fancy stitches and also a bevy of useful ones (overlock, elastic etc.) - and she makes beautiful buttonholes too with an almost fool-proof mechanism. And if there's anything that still creeps me out a little, it's sewing buttonholes! As in "you get only one chance"...

If you're looking for some great vintage blouse patterns now, have a look here at my shop, I have some great offerings!


I have opened a second shop!

The patterns have been taking over whilst the other things are not just going from today to tomorrow... therefore, I have decided to open a second Etsy shop, Willynillyvintage for vintage clothes, accessories and other such things. Please visit, favourite and have an eyeful (and yes, there will be new stuff coming in too soon!):


All vintage clothing needs to go - and some has gone to a very good place already!

I'd like to move my "big" stock soon, as I really don't have that much storage space - therefore, all vintage clothes in my shop are on sale now - all prices reduced, so please have a peek:

I have recently already been able to send more dresses to a great new home, especially this black crepe number, which I was never able to show off to it's full advantage, as it was a much bigger size. I always felt this was a shame, as it was such a nice dress!

Last month I sent it off to France and now you can see it shown to it's very best advantage on the wonderful Lost in the 50's blog! This is the first time I see something I sold being blogged, so this is really nice!


Adam - 1950s men's fashion magazine

Here's a rare magazine I acquired lately:

Adam - La revue de l'home - summer 1954

Basically, this is a French fashion magazine for the man of the world. Wow. It's chock full with ads, fashion pages (drawings and photos) that show the newest by the best brands, and then there are further topics that are almost cliché for guys... hunting! BBQs!

Ok, let's start at the beginning...
This cover is a scream, I think! It's title is "Chapeau de plage (se transformant en sac de shopping)" - beach hat that transforms into shopping bag. And doesn't the girl look just like Barbie doll in her first swimsuit? Only, that was five years later! Well, and the guy could certainly be Ken...

Just some of the amazing ads!
I wonder what shop this was... it sold Lambretta scooters and "the best fishing equipment". What a mix!
On the left - the Deauville summer program for 1954.
 But now, for the look of summer 1954!
 Ok , this is for the hot days, but a tiger striped shirt?!
 Summer evening.
 Hunting in Scotland.
 How to build your own BBQ - and what to put on it!
 Important stuff - how to wear your decorations right...
 All you need for your summer holiday.
The latest from the finest tailors. Love the girl's outfit - the jacket looks like my vintage "power jacket" - which was made by a tailor.
And finally - an ad for the girls too! I guess they thought that women would look at this too ;-).