Two tone ice cream colours! Yes, please!

Little Prince turned one over the weekend… where has the year gone? though since he has started crawling, my life has gone into a vacuum! My spare minutes however are still spent swooning over lovely vintage fashion… I just listed this pretty knitted lingerie shop at my etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/VanessaLovesVintage

Yummy vintage design!

1940s Aloha Sweater

I have decided to do a full week of knitting patterns as I have spent the last week sorting through them and picking out designs for my etsy shop. This is one of my favourites, produced in Australia during World War II. Quite apart from the era, I also love Hawaii and the style of this sweater is gorgeous. The colour palette chosen for the advert is very retro… but so sensational! I want one!!!

The design in my pattern book is actually black and white but I found this beautiful colour rendition in a 1940s women’s magazine. Enjoy!

Sunglo Series 22 and the mystery of Miss Polly… the unknown dolly… do you know her?

There we were in “country” Australia. Like many other such towns it consisted of a long main street, a local park and playground and a few blocks of  low buildings on either side. The shop windows looked enticing except for the “we are closed” signs hanging at the doors. Bub was in my arms wrapped snugly in a blanket, I was the coldest I had been in forever, not expecting that a mere hour away from where we live, the temperature wasn’t just cold, it was glacial. I quickly felt like I was turning into an ice-block and was worried about Little Prince, who happily looked around, laughing at the cold gusts of windFaced with the reality that the first op shop we tried was in fact closed… all weekend… and that my ears were so cold I was no longer sure whether they were there, we quickly decided to move to plan B… a hot breakfast somewhere warm.

After asking around the local shopping complex, we found a café  a few blocks away, hidden behind the local church. It had one major sell factor… it had good heating! And there was cooo-ffee!!! After which the initial shopping failure didn’t seem so bad after all. I had dragged my husband and child an hour away on a treasure hunt, with the promise of nothing and the allure of the undiscovered …and the morning was looking bleak if not hypothermic.

Of course this is where hubby played hero. He scouted about for the next op shop, returned with directions and I was on my way. And there it was… the item I didn’t dare to dream, I might find…  The gem that made it all worthwhile… the forgotten pages buried beneath a stack of someone else’s would be treasure… SUN GLO Series 22…. Now my earliest pattern book by that manufacturer. I’ve never seen it before online or in any library or archive… and of course it was instantaneous love.

Today’s vintage find however was a mysterious doll relegated to dust on an op shop shelf. I know little about dolls, but this one looked old… any one out there want to hazard a guess about this one?!?! dates, maker, country of origin? I thought she looked very sweet and I love her painted shoes and socks. Not sure if she is bisque or porcelain, but she has a straight cloth body and a blonde wig. Her name, now, is Polly…. These aren’t her original clothes… The shoes look different to the 20-40s boudoir dolls… they are mary janes…

40s vintage “knitteds” and a little adventure

ImageThis is another 40s knitting pattern I really like… so forward and modern for the times! This one was also published in Australia during World War II. Love the flattering ribbed waists in a lot of these designs.

This morning I am packing hubbie and bub into the car and we are going shopping for bargains on a country town about an hour away… with brunch along the way. A mini adventure so to speak! If only I would find more pretty patterns….

Heeeeeeeeeeeeelloooooooooo weekend!

Mad mad mad for 40s fashion… with a cherry on top

There has been a great interest of late in 50s and 60s fashions with the airing of MAD MEN, but I must admit, I also adore some of the designs which were fashionable in the 1940s. As such todays pattern is a 1940s knitting pattern produced in Australia. Oh, two patterns, why not!  If your  ever read my blog, you’ll be aware I love both sewing and knitting (though I have been putting myself through a few courses online of late to learn couture sewing).

But back in the day, knitting was an equally important skill, trade for cheap machine made knitted garments isn’t what it is today. I generally only sell 40s and 50s designs at my etsy store (VanessaLovesVintage) because of Australian copyright laws. If you see someone selling Australian reproduction sewing or digital knitting patterns post 1955, I’d say be careful, they may knowingly or unknowingly be in breach of Aussie copyright law.

Anyhooo… here are two patterns today… shameless plug, they are both available in epattern format at my etsy store! “Cherry on top” is one of my favourites… as soon as Little Prince is a bit older I plan to get this one on the needles… well, I hope so anyway! 😉 I like the buttons on the shoulder on the second design… I think the feature at the neckline is nice too, doesn’t make it toooooo much lace and provides a bit of a focal point…. What do you think?!?

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Charmeuse for lining… it has arrived!

Love the colour, gorgeous beneath a black fashion fabric…!

The charmeuse for my Little Black Dress lining has arrived. Hurrah!
Newsflash for all the sewing enthusiasts out there… craftsy has a sale ending midnight 2 July for some of their online courses including Susan Khalje’s The Couture Dress, which I have now started watching… and its awesome! So hurry if you want to take advantage of the deal (its about $20 with the deal… google “Summer sale” and “craftsy” and the link to access the special deal should come up…) I am totally absorbed watching Susan’s dress get put together and will re-watch when I put my own together to understand the process best.

Today’s pattern of the day is actually a knitting pattern for a very 1950s twin set… strike a pose! I love all of these types of fashion photographs which were so contrived and yet so charming!

Strike a pose!

Aloha Hawaii… so very Betty Draper with McCalls 4428

A "flower strewn nosegay sweater" featured in Vogue Knitting Book, Fall and Winter 1953

Goodbye Hawaii… the night before we left I felt my heart fall. We had such a wonderful time on Oahu with Little Prince and his grandmother, I felt the sorrow that comes with the end of a period of time that you know- know- you shall always look fondly back at. No matter what comes in the future, what changes life brings, I feel an incredible sense of gratitude to have enjoyed such precious time with people I love.

After four hours of sleep (and still on Hawaii time) I woke early to get a start on the unpacking. By 10am I had fed Little Prince, cooked a bacon and egg breakfast for my husband, bought groceries and baked a cake. Oh, and I took out our mailbox. With our car. Our BRICK mailbox. Perhaps driving on so little sleep wasn’t such a great idea. The mailbox has shifted and cannot be moved by man alone (it apparently takes a car and only a car to move it). The car will need to be repaired but still functions. When it happened I turned the engine off and just sat there a moment. This was not what I had planned for my morning. And then, I laughed. it seems laughing is what people do as an alternative to bawling their eyes out or praying. I think I was in shock and quite shaken. Clearly driving on the opposite side of the road during our holiday, I was no longer used to the steering wheel being on the “right” side and my sense of spatial awareness had decreased… somewhat.

Well, anyway, it is wonderful to be home. After being in a hotel room, being in a house feels luxurious. I enjoy being able to cook again. Little Prince seems to recognise his home and appears quite happy, but I have noticed is a bit more unsettled than usual. It must be very confusing to a baby. They don’t understand what a “holiday” or “vacation” is. But I think he is getting a sense of “home”.

In the time we were away he astounded me with three words: mumma, daddy and grandma. Its not as though we heard him practising, he just came out with the words. (He had said “mum” before we left). My heart still melts when he says “Mumma”. It is a selfish delight and I cannot help but throw my arms about him and wish he would be as he is always, so very sweet and cuddly with an infectious smile… but he will continue to grow. And there will be new moments to delight in.

Mother and child, an advertisement image from a 1950s Vogue Knitting Book magazine

On our last day in Hawaii I was drawn to the window display of Banana Republic who have launched a “Mad Men” collection. A very obliging sales assistant showed off a few of the dresses which are modelled after characters in the show. Ie. there are a series of Betty Draper dress, Joan dresses etc.

Over the next week, I will feature a number of patterns in the spirit of Betty Draper’s character, likely to include a few knitting patterns which I think really capture the style of the era. McCalls 4428 is a fabulous first pattern to this end, its Betty Draper right down to the illustration of the model. I LOVE this dress. I LOVE LOVE the collar and the neckline and hope to make this one for next Summer, (undecided about whether to do a contrast collar).