Fifties fever, hope and the secret attic.

Inspired look 1: pretty in Tulle (Vogue Pattern Book June-July 1953)

Lots of lovely colours in Canberra at the moment- the trees are flaming with red, yellow, orange and rust brown.

Its hard to put my finger on exactly what has come over me lately, or should I say WHY a certain something has come over me. Fifties fever! I can’t seem to get enough of it. I love the advertising, the fashion, the glamour, the style. For a while I favoured mid-sixties looks, but right now, the fifties have really got my interest.

There appear to be two key “looks”: 1) the younger, more prom-queen in ballerina style tulle and net and rosy prettiness and 2) the sophisticated, polished, tailored, Audrey-Hepburn-plays-Sabrina vision. The latter is what I am most keen on and is reflected in so many of the magazines and images that I have gleened, from fifties VOGUE, France’s Le Jardin des Modes and more locally, Australian pattern magazines like Australian Home Journal and the Enid Gilchrist series. I should not forget Vogue Pattern Book!

Frankly, its all so beautiful!

Inspired look 2: polished, sophisticated and oh so tailored (Vogue Pattern Book June-July 1953)

“Make Your Own Paris Copes” says Vogue Pattern Book… If only those patterns availed themselves! They hide, waiting to be discovered. I sometimes imagine that there are a number of attics out there with perfect paper-preserving temperatures that serve as time capsules… finally, after generations, the owner of the house sells up and puts Grandma’s bits and bobbins on sale… and maybe they use the internet… and voila… Grandma’s dream dresses become someone else’s dream dresses, realised! Where is “the tardis” when you need it??? (For those who for some strange reason never saw Dr who in their childhood, the tardis was essentially a time machines which could also transcend geographical and dimensional barriers… of course I only know that because my brothers watched it)! 😉

I think the best that can be hoped for is that such patterns aren’t binned, even if the current owners don’t sew, care too much or appreciate the value. I shudder to think what beauties have, unloved, made their way to landfill over the decades. Its not just about monetary value, its about history. Its also about beauty and about hope.

IMAGINE: the war (WWII) is over… over! After years of mending and doing without and hearing horror stories and never being able to plan ones future without considering the imminent possibility of defeat… imagine you can start thinking about dresses and travel and you can plan… a dress pattern was just as much about realising dreams. You could put your heart into making a dress, you could imagine all the great things you could do in it…

Thats often what I think about when I contemplate the era. Maybe that is why it is one of my favourites. The garments of this time exude an often demure glamour and reek of hope!

IN RESPECT OF AUCTIONS: There was a notable sale on eBay in the last week, a Vogue Pattern book – April/May 1949, which featured the very first Vogue Paris Originals (Schiaparelli, Balmain, Fath, Paquin and so forth). The Pattern Book went for USD $105.07. In my humble opinion this was a bargain, despite a child’s scribble on the front page… I have never seen the Pattern Book emerge before and no doubt it would have been a really valuable resource for Vogue Paris Original collectors like myself!

Today’s pattern is a fifties Butterick top with kimono sleeves and a number of neckline variations that I really like. Clearly I am dreaming of warmer weather!


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