Monday, December 30, 2013

Bewitching For Parties, A Gay Blouse in Icing Sugar Colours c. 1950s

Today's free vintage knitting pattern just cracks me up.
The model's hair looks like it's sliding off her head, and the gentleman behind her looks like he's trying to see down her blouse. I'm waiting for her to whack him in the head with her flowers.

And the colours are certainly reminiscent of icing sugar/frosting!
I really do think the pattern is pretty cute, but I would knit it up in a less-cutesy colourway; maybe hunter green, with rust and yellow fair isle? Or pale blue instead of pale pink?

Either way, it's a pretty unusual style and I hope you like it too.
Knit on fingering weight yarn, using 2.75mm and 3.25mm needles.

free vintage knitting pattern 1950s 50s blouse

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Midcentury Gelatine Mystery Dish - Vegan Style!

On the weekend we were invited to a 1950's-themed dinner party - so I wracked my brain for something Mid-Century to bring...  And there's nothing more 1950's than a gelatine dish!

After going through my cookbooks, and searching the internet, I settled on 'Jellied Avocado Ring with Strawberries' from MidCentury Menu, set in a fish mold for full effect.
Actually, I don't think it looks too bad!
We couldn't figure out if it was meant to be a sweet or savory - in the end we ate it as both! It's savory enough for an entree, and mild enough for a dessert..

Now the vegan bit - have you ever looked at a product label (i.e. yogurt, jellies, ice cream) and went 'oh, yeah, gelatine, whatever'? Gelatine is made from animal's skin and hooves. Just saying. I try to be vegetarian, but gelatin can be tricky to avoid sometimes.

Luckily we live in a mostly Muslim neighbourhood, so vegan jelly (made with seaweed gelatine) is readily found -  here is my version of the (vegan) Jellied Avocado Ring if you'd like to try it.

1950s Vegan Jellied Avocado Ring:
1 x packet of Ahmed Instant Set Lemon Jelly (get it from your local mixed business, it's cheaper)
400 ml of water, boiling in saucepan.
1 x tsp of salt
1 x mashed avocado
1 x tb of lemon juice
4 x tbs of Melrose Sunflower Mayonnaise
1 x blueberry for the eye

Add jelly crystals and salt to the boiling water, stir to dissolve. Let jelly sit until it thickens slightly (not too much though as it will thicken up really quickly).
Mix mayonnaise, avocado and lemon juice. Pour jelly mix over the avocado, mix vigorously and pour into a damp three-cup mold. Leave somewhere to cool down (takes about an hour). Pop in your blueberry for the eye.

Vegan Lemon Cream Dressing (I didn't make this, ran out of time)
100ml (half small tin) of coconut cream
1/2 tsp of lemon juice
200ml of Sunflower Mayonnaise
1 tb of golden syrup

Blend the above together until smooth.

Once the jelly has set, carefully turn it onto the plate and serve with Lemon Dressing and strawberries. Or cucumber. Or whatever you think goes best as it confused the heck out of us!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tutorial: How to Alter HeyDay Tailored Trousers

While the majority of men's pants have an adjustable back seam, not many women's pants do - HeyDay Vintage Style is the exception! I always buy their Swing Pants in my hip size as the waistband is adjustable.

The tailored back seam means if you're pear shaped it's easy to get the trousers to fit well, instead of gaping at the back. If you're less curvy, you can also let out the waist band a couple of inches to get more room.

For example...

Dark Chocolate Swing Trousers

Heyday's trousers fit my hips really well, but as my waist is much smaller there's a definite gape.
So here's how you can alter them, and I promise it will take you less than five minutes!

1. Measure how much you need to take them in by, and mark it in chalk on your trousers. (If you need to let them out, skip this step).

2. Unpick the centre of the back waist band (switching to the Beige as the sewing is easier to see).

3. Unpick where the waistband joins the trousers on the inside. I unpicked for about four inches either side of the centre back.

4. Transfer the markings from the right side of the pants to the inside with chalk. Fold the pants along the centre seam and pin. Note that the transferred line makes a slight < shape? That's to taper the waistband in at the top.
(If you are letting the waist out, now is where you would try them on to figure out your new stitching line and mark it similarly.)

5. Stitch the chalked line, being careful to join the point of your new seam up to the original seam lower down.  Ensure you continue your new line of stitching over the top of the old stitching for a centimeter or two.

6. Unpick the original seam to where your new stitching line meets it. Press this seam open.

7. Fold waist band back over, pin and press.

altering heyday vintage trousers plus size

8. On the right side, stitch the waistband back down by stitching along the seam line (stitch in a ditch).

Wear them and enjoy your custom fit pants!

heyday vintage swing trousers forest green cowboy flamingo
Forest Green Swing Trousers

Sunday, December 15, 2013

FO: A Retro-themed Christmas Look for Summer

While I don't normally dress 'Christmassy' (people stare at me enough - why give them another reason?) this year I thought I'd give a couple of vintage-style-Christmas looks a go, and here's my first result:

bakelite 1940s 1940s tourist skirt mexican scottie dog clothing pinup

 Skirt Pattern: Peggy from BlueGingerDoll
Blouse: FunnyGirl Top, Dangerfield
1940s Jewellery + Wedges: various, Etsy

I was trying for a 1940's-style tourist theme; bright fun colours, easy to wear clothing and novelty jewellery.

(Please excuse how dry my lawn is! It's Summer and we are trying to save water.)

bakelite 1940s 1940s tourist skirt mexican
Delicious, fruit-coloured Bakelite Bangles

I love the Peggy skirt pattern from BGD - it's so versatile, quick and easy! Abby has just released the pattern as a printable PDF, which saves postage for anyone overseas.

I used 100% cotton drill from Spotlight, and alternating lines of lime, yellow and red ric-rac trim - plus ric-rac around the pocket, just like last time
There's a great place to get ric-rac in bulk called SabieSupplies on Etsy - even with postage its much cheaper per meter than what we pay in Australia.

I set my hair using curling tongs (24mm), and a comb out instead of a brush out.
Then off to the Christmas party at the Creative Vintage Centre for dancing and fun.

Coming up soon - my Christmas day outfit (a 1940's Christmas tablecoth-turned-skirt), and a Tutorial on how to take in tailored pants!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Daffodil, a Jumper-Cardigan Knitting Pattern c. 1939

Apologies for the silence up here - I've been feeling really flat at the moment and am finding it hard to muster the energy to blog, knit or sew.

While I'm busy trying to get some mojo back, I thought I'd share this lovely pattern with you. The pleated box-head sleeves and arrowhead lace look really smart - not to mention the 11 buttons down the front!

It's from Patons and Baldwins 'Style', Volume 5 - and probably dates to 1939. No mention of the war and the format is large with good quality paper.

Finished bust size of 34 inches, knitted with fingering weight yarn on 4mm and 2.75mm needles.

free vintage knitting pattern 1940s jumper cardigan swing wwii


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Triangle in Many Moods - 1940's Turban Pattern

Perfect for those bad hair days, a turban is a look you have to try at least once!
(I have yet to wear a knitted turban, but a scarf version is my casual-Friday staple*).

Today's free knitting pattern comes from Weldon's No.218 - Caps, Gloves ans Scarves, circa 1939-1940.

This particular turban is just a large triangle which is knotted at the top of the head. The knot ends are probably wrapped around each other a few times to create the 'pillow' shape.
The final point is then rolled over the knot, tucked under, and the fabric arranged nicely

Knitted in a lighter fingering weight (normal fingering should work too) on 4mm needles - quick, and easy!

* Question - do you have casual-Friday (Mufti day) where you are? 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Camperdown Cruise - Vintage Side Trips

The great thing about the Camperdown Cruise is that there's a lot to see in the surrounding towns if you've had your fill of rockabilly.

We've always wanted to see the Fletcher Jones Factory in Warnnambol (about an hour away) so we snuck off for a drive...

fletcher jones factory warnnambol 1940s vintage industrialThe factory was built in 1948 by Fletcher Jones to make men's pants (and later, women's wear). It's surrounded by extensive and beautiful gardens that were designed for the employees - Fletcher Jones was ahead of his time when it came to work-life balance and staff happiness.

The gardens are lush, and full of quirky mid-century modern 'art' pieces.

I don't recommend The Mill markets inside - they were rather disappointing compared to the other 'Mill Markets'. All I could find was this mexican-inspired ash tray.

After Warnnambol, we turned south to drive along one of Australia's best known tourist trails - The Great Ocean Road.

The views are breathtaking (these photos were taken at 'The Bay of Islands) but it was so cold that we were laughing hysterically the whole time. The wind blows straight up from the Antarctic and it sure felt like it on that day!

If you're ever in Warnnambol, make sure you check out the BEST vintage store we've seen in ages. It's called 'Long Gone Vintage' on Fairy St - and it's worth the trip! A massive selection of 1930s-1960s clothing and everything has reasonable prices.

I couldn't leave the store without the below lovelies - a 1950's 'Maxine' powder blue wool dress, a 1940's wooden necklace (to match the earrings I already have), an amber faceted bakelite necklace and novelty plastic brooch.

1950s blue vintage dress australia large xl pinup bakeliteOk, I know it never gets cold enough in Sydney to justify a wool dress but a girl's gotta dream, right? I'm trying to convince Cowboy that a trip to the Blue Mountains in the middle of winter would be a good thing.

1940's wooden necklace, a good match to the clip-ons I bought a few months ago.

I suffer from really bad nickel allergies which means vintage base-metal necklaces and earrings give me a terrible rash. Thank goodness for vintage plastics, bakelite and wood!

And finally, I have to share my find-of-the-year with you.

A 1940's rayon dress - in my large size - in good condition - and for a whopping $25!
This is unheard of in Australia!

I bought this from a junk dealer in Camperdown itself, and took a punt as I couldn't try it on.
All the glass buttons are present, no stains and just a couple of moth bites across the shoulders to mend.

The label is something else - for starters it's embroidered (meaning it should be high end, right?) and it says it's made in Auckland, New Zealand.
New Zealand? That's a rare hen indeed.

People often ask why is vintage so expensive (and hard to find) in Australia - it's all to do with population.  For example, in 1940 the estimated population of the below countries were:
UK = 46 million
USA = 134 million
Australia = 7 million
New Zealand = 1.5 million

When you do the maths, that's not a lot of clothing that would survive to the present day and what did is priced accordingly.

Knowing the maths doesnt make it feel any better though!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Sale at Heyday Vintage

Quick, quick!
Heyday Vintage has 20% off everything, until midnight 31 October!

The Olivia Blouse

The Pinafleur

 Two pairs of ladies swing pants fell into my shopping cart (beige and chocolate brown) - I only wish I could afford to buy more!

Better hurry!

The Twizzle

Monday, October 28, 2013

And a fabulous time was had by all!

Well, it felt that way!
Camperdown is a sleepy little country town that really wakes up when the Cruise is on.

The area surrounding Camperdown is known for its 'dry stone walling' - fences made out of volcanic rocks, held together by nothing more than friction and gravity. You know you're getting close when you can see the grey stone walls dotting the landscape.

Jeans - Freddies 1940s; Jumper - Retrospec'd; Lumber Jacket - me;  Shoes - Bass Enfield; 1940's Lucite Brooch - Etsy

(I'll just share a few photos, and the full set is here on Flickr.)

Rusty Pinto

Patio Dress - Etsy; Handbag - Fifties Fair Day; Shoes - Aris Allen; Belt - Princess Highway

Dancing in The Rockabilly Room

Nico Duportal

Novelty Cardigan - Chicago; Telephone Cord Bag - Facebook

How great is this two-tone Beetle, complete with vintage luggage on the roof?

 The winner of the Pin-Up Competition, Miss Amelia Mae.

My favourite vintage dealer (and a good mate) Christine, from Classic Vintage based in Mittagong.
Check out the fabric on some of her dresses!

I love that she takes the time to colour co-ordinate, as well as writing the bust/waist measurements on the price tags.

Our Swing Dancing teacher Bruce, and his partner Dean.

One of our friends in her killer 'Map of Tassie' skirt, made out of a vintage tea-towel.
For all the non-Aussie's out there, here's a link to what it means...

And finally, a quick sneaky peaky of some of things I came home with:

From the upper left: 50's acetate, 1940's cotton (six meters!), tea towels from the 1940s and 50s, more fabric and some knitting books I don't have yet.

I hope you like the photos!

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