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!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Camperdown Cruise 2013

Morning Cats and Kittens!

It's that time of year again - Camperdown Cruise.
A tiny little town in rural Victoria is transformed into a rockabilly paradise for four days with bands, vintage fashion and dancing.

I'm off for the next few days, but I promise to have some photos from this year's Cruise to share with you when I get back.

Have a grand weekend!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stash Flashing and Fabric Fears

Do you collect vintage fabrics - and do you ever use them?

Left - 1960s batik cotton, friend's stash. Right - 1940's cactus feedack, Etsy

The first place I head in an op-shop (thrift shop) is the haberdashery section, you never know what you'll find. Not only fabrics but vintage trims, dress shields, shoulder pads, ribbon, etc.

Left - 1940s cotton pique, etsy. Right - 1940s rayon, opshop.

I'm always a bit afraid of using my vintage fabrics though - what if I mess up? I'll never find the same fabric again!

Left - 1930s rayon crepe. Right - 1940s cold rayon, both from Retro Station

Hopefully this is the year I overcome my fabric fears.

Left - 1950s mayan influenced cotton, friends stash. Right - 1950s polished cotton roses, op-shop

My tips for Vintage Fabric 

1. Visit your local thrift or op-shop, and ask where their fabric is. 
Have the patience to go through it all. 
(side tip - if its a small store ask them if they have anything that's 'really old' from the 50s. It might be out the back and I've found some awesome things just by asking).

Left - 1950s atomic cotton. Right - 1950s polished cotton.

2. Make sure you look at the fabric carefully. 
Look for fade lines on the folds, thread bare patches, light stains. This is especially important with rayons.
Stains might shift with a soak on cotton, but I've had rayon disintegrate from the stain removing chemicals.
Fade lines can be often be dyed over on cotton, but some rayons oxidise when they fade and the lighter areas won't take the colour.

Left - 1940s cotton challis. Right - 1930s rayon chiffon, both from Retro Station.

3. Size matters. 
If you find fabric that is 90 cm wide (36 inches) you're probably holding something vintage. The standard 115 cm/45 inch we're familiar with now wasn't common at all in Australia during the 30s, 40s and 50s.

If you need to quickly measure a piece try holding it at arm's length, and across your chest (to your opposite arm pit). On most people that's roughly a yard/meter.

Left - 1940s birdie and blossom chiffon (rayon), op-shop. Right - 1940s puppy cotton, Etsy.

4. Etsy and eBay are your friends, and try different searches.
I've always got my eyes peeled searching for '1940s fabric' or 'vintage western fabric', but have you tried searching under other fabric types? Searching for 'vintage rayon', 'novelty fabric', 'pineapple fabric' and 'vintage pique' turns up some interesting results.

5. How much are you happy paying?
I'm not comfortable paying much more for vintage than I am for modern fabrics (although we pay through the nose here in Australia). Roughly $10-12 per meter is my limit. 
Online listings have a great range - but sometimes hefty postage costs to match.

I know I sound like a broken record, but it doesnt hurt to develop a relationship with your vintage sellers. 
Some of my best dealers have now become close friends - and once they know you're after certain things they'll always keep an eye open.

Talking about cost though - sometimes, you just find a fabric that's too fabulous for words.

With a heft price tag to match!
This 1940s puppy fabric cost a lot more than I would normally spend - but puppies! 
Ribbons around their neck! 
And enough to make a dress!

Sometimes, a girl's just gotta have it...

Have you ever used your vintage fabric? What are your tips for finding it?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Tourist in Your Own Town : Bare Island Fort

Do you ever play Tourist where you live?
Cowboy and I love exploring Sydney, and this weekend we visited Bare Island Fort (near La Perouse in Botany Bay).

What made the tour even more fun was the guide is one of our friends!
(now I'm going to post some embarrassing photos of her).

The fort on Bare Island was built in 1885 to quell the Victorian paranoia that someone would come all the way to Australia to attack the fledging penal colony.
Never mind that it took 9 months to sail here, and you'd probably need to replenish your supplies before you could even think about launching an attack.

I love these photos from the opening day - the Victorian women look fabulously stern.
Flash forward to the 1920s - the site was transformed into a Veterans Home. The difference in the facial expressions too - hints of smiles.
You might have noticed the golden tint to the photos? We've got some terrible bushfires around at the moment - the worst since the 1960s. At least 200 homes have been lost in the Blue Mountains, and there's a golden smoke haze covering Sydney.

The area around Bare Island is one of the best places to scuba dive in Sydney I'm told - I'm scared of sharks so it's not something I'll be trying out any time soon.

1940's day dress : HolliePoint on Etsy
Leather bowling bag, rose hair clip and sunglasses: Mimco
Saddle shoes : Bass
1940s bone necklace and earrings : Etsy

Do you have hidden gems in your town?
(And if you live in LA, Chicago or New York please let me know cos I'll be there next year and would love recommendations)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Free Pattern: 1940s Split-Neck Jumper, Patons 820

I love this knitting pattern because it combines some great 1940's styling - boxy shoulders, deep waist ribbing, decorative stitches and a split neckline.

The neckline has two sets of buttons on either side of the neck, and was probably a nod to the Fashions for Victory requirement of 'functional' buttons only.  It was a sneaky way for designers to use buttons for decoration but still have the function aspect covered.

If you'd like to read more - here's a link to an article from the The Mercury (27 July 1942) right here.

This jumper's finished size is 36 inches, and is knitted using fingering weight yarn on 3.75mm and 3mm needles.

free vintage knitting patterns

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