Monday, April 13, 2015

Cute as a Wink (hat and gloves), c. 1940s

Its getting so lovely and fresh here in the mornings, so close to Winter that I'm getting excited about wearing knits again.

Looking through my knitting books for inspiration, I came across this sweet little hat and gloves combo - I hope you like it! It's from Woman's World Knitting, circa 1940s.

free vintage knitting patterns 1940s hat gloves

It's knit using fingering weight yarn and  3.75mm DPNs for the hat, and 2.75mm DPNs for the gloves. Enjoy!

Monday, April 06, 2015

My vintage brooch collection

I have a secret to share - besides collecting vintage knitting and sewing patterns, I also collect brooches!

1940s lucite novelty brooch celluloid monogram sweetheart jewellery jewelry

They're mainly from the 1930s-1950s, but there's a few modern ones in there as well.

1940s lucite novelty bakelite cherry brooch celluloid monogram sweetheart jewellery jewelry

I have a couple of passions, one for 1940s carved lucite brooches - case in point: lobsters and crabs oh my!

1940s lucite novelty brooch crab lobster celluloid monogram sweetheart jewellery jewelry


My latest prize is a carved lucite safety pin brooch, with diamante detail:

1940s lucite novelty brooch celluloid monogram sweetheart jewellery jewelry
Monogram brooches - Bs and Rs:

1940s lucite novelty brooch celluloid monogram sweetheart jewellery jewelry

Scottie dogs and sweetheart brooches:

1940s lucite novelty brooch celluloid lobster plastic sweetheart jewellery jewelry

The 1940's beaded dangle brooch below was a present from Jakk and my first real novelty brooch. I blame her for my collecting bug.

1940s lucite novelty brooch celluloid plastic sweetheart jewellery jewelry

Cowboy brooches,  Niello (Siam) silver and celluloid:

1940s lucite novelty brooch celluloid cowboy sweetheart jewellery jewelry

I store all my brooches (80+) on some white picture frames from IKEA - cover the backing board in wadding and fabric, and they're a cheap and easy storage solution.

It's hard to pick a favourite, but if I could only take one brooch with me I think it would be the lucite crab (another present from Jakk). It's just so silly, and it makes me smile when I catch a glimpse of it in a reflection.

haskell 1940s lucite novelty brooch crab

Novelty brooches are pretty hard to come by in Australia (about 90% of these came from the USA) but you can find them if you look hard.

Do you collect anything a bit different? I'd love to see photos!

Edited to add - OK, I also collect Australian Lustrewear! Maybe I have a problem...

1940s 1950s lustreware fish vases kitsch australiana pates mingay

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bad Girl goes Western - plus mods for Curvy Gals

Thanks for all the nice comments on the blog and Facebook - the BG pants are definitely getting a lot of loving, and I had to make one last pair (for the moment).

Meet the Bad Girl Western Jeans.

My inspiration was this pattern (View 1), Advance 8341 from 1957.

I wanted something with a slim fit, but more authentic pockets than the original Butterick 5895 version (I still think their pocket isn't the most attractive option).

western vintage jeans 1950s plus size denim bakelite candy butterick 5895

The western pockets were VERY easy to add to the pattern, and I love them.

The denim only has a small amount of stretch (less than stretch twill) and I think they hold their shape much better. (Denim came from Fabric Remnant Warehouse in Alexandria)

These pants just fit in all the right places, but it wasn't always the case.

I did warn you.

Anyway, as promised, here's what the first cut muslin of what the pants looked like in cotton stretch sateen. I'm frowning because they dip dramatically at the front (waistband not attached at this stage).

See the blue line? That's where they should be sitting.

And now the back - much more noticeable, and the sateen makes any smile lines really stand out.

Time for a Curvy Gal adjustment for booty or belly.

1. Figure out how much you need to raise the back (or front) to even it out to match where it sits on your hips. (Lets say 2 inches)

2. Draw a line across your pattern, about 4 inches down from the top (doesnt have to be exact, but around the middle is good).

3.  Cut along line, from centre back seam to side seam, leaving a tiny bit attached. Hinge the top part of your pants pattern upwards, the amount you measured before (the 2 inches).

4. Fill in that new gap with paper, retrace and you have a new piece that will actually meet your waist.

Yes, it's really that easy.

I hope the booty and belly mod helps some of you! If you get stuck, let me know.

Monday, March 23, 2015

FO: Everyone loves a Bad Girl! (Butterick 5895)

I feel really late to the party sewing up Butterick 5895 - better late than never though!

I normally hate sewing pants.
I mean, technically they are easy to put together but I have a heck of a time getting them to fit properly. And fitted pants? On my pear shaped booty? Hmm, they could look like a train wreck.

The first fitting of these were cut with a waist between size 16 and 18, with the hips graded out to what would have been a size 22 (based on the finished measurements and zero ease at the hips).

The front and back both dipped down, and the back of my calves and knees had some shocking 'smiles' going on due to the tightness.

butterick 5895 b5895 gertie pants trousers 1950s cigarette pants plus size vintage repro xl

After making some mods (explained below) this second pair fit like a dream. In fact - these black pair were just meant to be a muslin too, but they're perfect!


  • No pockets, I wanted a smooth line for these
  • Taken in half an inch again at the waist
  • Curvy adjustment - that is, cut a line from the centre back seam across to the hip leaving a tiny bit attached. Hinged the top of the pants upwards (2 inches for my booty) to create extra room in the back. Did the same by 1 inch for the front for my tummy.
  • Slightly lower crotch for comfort
  • Added a bit of extra room on the inside seam of the back of the pants leg (big calves)
  • Hemmed the pants slightly lower in the back to allow for my big calves.
butterick 5895 b5895 gertie pants trousers 1950s cigarette pants plus size vintage repro xl

Fabric: stretch chino drill.
I'd recommend something slightly heavier than the stretch cotton sateen they sell at Spotlight and Lincraft - it shows every lump and bump. I don't remember where I got the stretch chino from, but it's perfect!

Verdict: when I die, bury me in these pants. They fit perfectly and are so very comfortable, and scream 1950's bad girl. I can't wait to make an ankle length pair, and some denim ones.

butterick 5895 b5895 gertie pants trousers 1950s cigarette pants plus size vintage repro xl

I'm very glad to be proven wrong with these pants - curvy gals, give them a go - you won't be sorry!

Pants - Butterick B5895
Lurex top - Review (thrifted!)
Gold flats - Asos
Bakelite - Etsy
Glitter confetti necklace - Rock and Roll Markets
Hair clip - Mimco
Lipstick - Illámasqua 'Rockabilly'

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mardi Gras, knitting-mojo and a free Pattern book for you to enjoy

Apologies for the blog silence everyone. For the past few months I've really struggled to knit or sew anything - I'm assuming it's work-stress-related.  My mojo still isn't back yet, but fingers crossed it's soon as my queue is out of control!

Add on organising our part in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and I'm just plain exhausted.

Even though I didn't ride in Dykes on Bikes this year (I was in Geelong for my Uncle's 90th birthday) Jakk did - and she had a blast riding my bike instead.
gay mardi gras sydney dykes on bikes 2015 army marine vintage motorcycle motorbike butch lesbian
Photo Credit : SBS

Isn't she adorable? She was going for a vintage US army look this year.

In the meantime, I've been lusting over a few new patterns that you might like as well:

Mary Mead by Andi Satterland
Photo Credit: Andi Satterland

It's vintage fabulous! Sport weight, fitted and cropped. Love it, and had to buy a copy as soon as it was released.

Vintage Vogue V9083 (circa 1951)


Now, I'm not a fan of the strapless dress by itself (or the swing coat) - but that button on sailor collar just makes this dress pop.

And the new Simplicity Pattern 1155 - this is actually a repro of Simplicity 4704

I used to own 4704 but sold it as it was too small for me to use! 
I really like the Simplicity repro (and that they styled it on a 'larger' model) but I think it needs some tweaks to make it look more like the original. Have you noticed the the straps (that go over the shoulders and under the bust) are one piece in the original, but different in the repro? It's a shame they didnt include the sleeved version too.

I bet it's a lot easier to sew than Gertie's one from Butterick (5882), as Simplicity's instructions are normally easier to follow. It would be interesting to mash the two together and take the best bits from both patterns.

And finally - I did promise you a full, complete knitting pattern booklet from 1948.

Back in January, when I asked what patterns you would like to see, YarnForwardKnitPast said she'd love to see knitted everyday gloves.

Well, I spent a bit of time today scanning the whole of Patons Knitting Book No. 232 into a Flickr Set for you to download and enjoy.

This 24 page booklet is circa 1948 (advertised for sale 10 March 1948 in the Burnie Advocate), and is full of gloves and mittens for women and children.

I hope you enjoy it and, remember, if you're after something in particular let me know!

Monday, February 09, 2015

Poll Results, and a pattern from 1939/1940

Well, the poll results are in!

The most popular decade voted for was the 1940s, followed by the 1950s and 1930s.
The most popular knitted item is jumpers, followed closely by cardigans.

I've had some special requests as well, so I'll do my best to find some patterns for those too.

Well, since the 1940s is so popular - here's Aileen, a jumper-cardigan (looks like a cardigan, but it's actually a jumper/sweater).

This pattern comes from Patons & Baldwins Specialty Knitting Book No.128 - printed at the start of WWII, due to the economy colouring of the booklet.

I just love that stitch pattern.

To fit a 34 inch bust
Requires fingering weight wool, and 2.75mm and 4mm needles.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Blue Mountains Road Trip (plus sneak peeks of the Hydro Majestic)

This weekend Jakk and I packed the car and headed on up to the Lady Luck Festival in Katoomba for some dancing and antique-ing.
3 sisters three sisters motel katoomba kitsch neon sign


While we didn't take any photos of the festival (mainly cars this year, not so much fashion) we did have a great time dancing and hanging out.

We stopped overnight in a little guesthouse in Medlow Bath, which is just down the road from the newly re-opened Hydro Majestic.

hydro majestic medlow bath vintage 1940s 1950s

The Hydro was opened in 1904, originally as a sanitarium for the wealthy to come and bathe in the mineral springs. Unfortunately the springs dried up and the owners had to truck in mineral water from Germany!


 The Hydro went through a few owners, and declined in the 1990s - it's been pretty much abandoned for the past 10 years until a new owner bought it in 2012.

A lot of the hotel is off limits to non-guests, but we snuck around a bit, trying to look like we belonged.

Most of the renovation has been tastefully done, but some of it was a bit over the top like the black perspex chandeliers (why??). The gardens are still lovely though.

And of course the amazing view never changes! Amazing waking up to that every morning.

We're hoping to come back and have High Tea for our wedding anniversary (prices start at $50 per person in case you're interested).


  • Lurex top - opshop
  • Sailing ships skirt - Sail Away by Retrospec'd
  • Shoes - ReMix Vogue
  • Belt - opshop
  • Handbag - Mimco bowler
Hope you had a grand weekend too!

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