Fifties fashion from Australian Home Journal advertisements

You may like to do your Vintage Wardrobe Research using original source materials. In Australia, Australian Home Journal magazines from the forties through to the sixties are easily obtainable for under $20 on eBay or in Junk shops. They are a rich source of inspiration for your wardrobe, hairstyles, and make up.

This ad has has it all.

* Divine fabric
The diversity of fifties fabric never fails to surprise me.
This print features what looks to me like a night scene of fireworks over a Chinese village.
The cornflower blue with the pink background really appeals to me.


* Five cute fifties looks:
– two simple buttoned up blouses
– what would have to be a pleated or gathered waist skirt
(but is drawn as a circular skirt)
-and a classic button front skirt for whipping off at the beach
– revealing a pinstriped sun suit
– a shirt using the border print over the hip region,
just like a menswear style!

* Period make up – heavy, unplucked, brows,
winged eyeliner, pink lipstick

*Three hairstyles

* A palm tree – love!

If you can’t get your hands on Australian Home Journal – you probably have a local equivalent in your country.

Source: Australian Home Journal September 1959



I’ve had my feet up – in Bali

During the recent school holidays we visited Singapore and Bali. Here are a few shots from my phone of me relaxing. In between excessive bouts of shopping, eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner and keeping the kids busy. As you can imagine – relaxation was brief and I mostly unwound in the pool of our villa.

Ku De Ta – In Seminyak


This was my first glimpse of a Bali Beach Club and I was wowed. Cool music, comfortable seating, big umbrellas and cool drinks. I love the beach – who knew!?

In Villa Bugis – Seminyak


This was our Villa – it has three bedrooms and a pool in the middle. I surprised everyone by swimming three to four times a day. It was the best way to cool down. Temperatures were around 30 degrees and very humid. You were hot and sweaty by 10am.

Finns Bar in the Samara Resort, near Uluwatu


This place was divine. Our driver Nyoman took us to Uluwatu temple where there were monkeys. Then my sister in-law Lisa had read about this place Finns Bar which is part of a resort. We caught a cable car down to the otherwise inaccessible beach – it was just stunning. The surf came crashing in. The food and drinks were divine. I swam in the surf after – it was an unforgettable day.

I took lots of photos using my big camera so come back please to see my random take on Bali and Singapore.

My sewing room – a sneak peek

Brother Industrial sewing machine

Here’s all I can show you right now because the rest is such a shocking mess!!  This Brother industrial sewing plain sewing machine is what I do most of my sewing on.  I have a domestic machine for buttonhones or three step zig zag stitch (but its been a while since I’ve used it for knits).  I have a domestic overlocker which I think I need a new cord for – the wires are definately loose.

Maori Doll, Sewing Room, Velasquez Infanta

I keep stuff that inspires me in there – vintage, stuff, Kiwiana, artwork like this one.  There is a theme, in that I use kitchen storage items to store sewing stuff.

Ikea book shelves hold books – so many books, Art Deco Jars, Cake Stands, a Champagne bucket for the scissors, cake tins for yet more junk, and jam jars for buttons!  Ironic as I don’t really care for cooking!!  Although I am trying!!

There is fabric, boxes for my eBay shop, “stock” for said shop – or “junk” as my husband calls it.  The bookcase is piled high.

Sewing room organization

The patterns are mostly really organized – in Ikea boxes – organized into decades.

The ironing board is piled high with ironing and new op shop finds usually!  Although I have been cutting back a bit on that lately.

I pray my parents arent planning a visit anytime soon – even though I am missing them and Mum recently had a cataract operation.

Champagne bucket as storage, industrial sewing machine

It’s lovely to have a nice garden to look out at, and its good to change your focal length to keep your eye muscles working ( great for computer users too).

Essentials are music and my portable DVD player – which I can watch movies on (or mostly listen to). And most important for any time spent in the sewing room – a big mug of coffee – and a handful of biscuits too!!

We are in the middle of school holidays now – I will be posting again afterwards with some of our holiday snaps!

Going all pink with Kat and Drake

Kat and Drake PicMonkey Collage

Oooooohhh, look – I’ve given the blog a little pink rinse makeover – what do you think?

And still on a rosy note, the last couple of times I have travelled to NZ I have met up with this gorgeous creature with pink hair, its Kat from Modern Vintage Cupcakes!  and her wee man Drake!

The first time I met Kat we had a great time over coffee, and gelato and a walk on Wellington’s foreshore on surely one of the best days of the year!  At the end she shyly told me she was a little bit pregnant.  I went home and sent home and posted her all those maternity patterns that I have been collecting (mostly by mistake!).

This time we met up in my old stomping ground Newtown, and had breakfast at the totally cool Baobub Tree Cafe

It was so lovely to meet Drake!  He was transfixed by all the traffic flowing past through the window and all the light that reflected around the cafe.  Then Kat was very clever as she got the very pink cheeked Drake off for a big sleep and after our coffee and we got to visit three op shops – and I got to meet her lovely Mum too.

Found a totally cool cushion made of a New Zealand teatowel.  And a coffee mug from my brother’s old school.  I feel sure he’s drinking milo out of it , right now, at his place in Aberdeen.  Or I am sure he will when he gets in from the oil rig.

I flew back over to the South Island after some shopping on Cuba Street later that day, but that needs another blog post.  It was quite a special day.  Thanks Kat and I hope to meet the other Wellington Sewing Bloggers next time.

Please don’t lick the jewellery

Even opshops have rules and vinyl records are hard to shift, so I reckon these upcycled, in-house, advisory messages from one of my favourite places um, rock.

1960's Upcycled Record Cover Jewellery

I felt so guilty when I read this one – as I am totally guilty of tapping jewellery on my teeth – to determine if its plastic or glass.  You probably can’t see but this blue lady even has a real vintage earring on!  Mixed media!  Noice!

1960's Upcycled Record Cover Carousel

Ah yes, the “No tag, No sale” rule.  I have never actually seen this rule enforced.  Personally I would think you would have to be a bit of a scumbag to try they old “I’ll rip the tag off and hopefully get it cheaper” stunt.

1960's Upcycled Record Cover In the mood for love

My favourite thing about these “artworks” is the model’s hair and make up – all false eyelashes and lacqured hair – they deserve to be seen, even if no-one wants to listen to the music!

1960's Upcycled Record Cover $1,000,000 Melodies

Wonder who the clever person who created them is?

1960's Upcycled Record Cover Belafonte

And finally – a note to myself too – Nobody wants to handle jewellery after you have put your saliva all over it.

The “Polka Dots and Cocktails” Dress

Bakelite Buckle www.quietvintagesewing.wordpress.comWe got invited out – which is kind of rare!   To a 40th! In Newcastle!  As soon as we got the invite this fabric sprang to mind and I unearthed the bakelite buckle, which is a perfect match.

Multistrand vintage necklace,

Accessories selection – decided just to go with the earrings.

So, the fabric – First it’s polka dots – so what’s not to love?  And second – the tag said it was poly/cotton – I doubt that!  It might be polyester and viscose – as the dots are quite lustrous, perfect for evening wear.

The pattern is B5748 – I wanted to use it again and see if I could improve the fit (of the “All Singing, All Dancing” Dress)  and the low back is perfect for a summer occasion.  I achieved a better fit than the first time but the waist is too tight!  Whoops!

Lucite Handbag, Polkadot Cocktail Dress.

All set!  Here’s the Bathroom selfie.  Nearly took the Lucite handbag for its first outing – but I got scared and left it at home!

I knew it would be a warm evening so I put in a cotton voile lining – this was perfect as it was steamy!


Mark in his new trousers and his Marcs shirt (not new!). Scrubs up well doesn’t he?!

The backyard cocktail party was lovely, for our friend Susan who was home for her 40th from Germany where she lives with her Greek/German husband Dimi and their three munchkins.


This is my friend Kathy and I – not the birthday girl!


The beautiful Susan!  Happy Birthday!

I managed to make it through the evening tugging it back into place.  At least I didn’t bust out of my dress like one of the lovely waitresses did!  I spent the first half hour of the party sewing the poor girl back into her dress!!  It was so nice to be invited – we had a great time thanks!!

The Facts
Fabric:Poly/Cotton Double faced brocade fabric
Pattern: Butterick B5748
Year: 1960
Notions: Zip, lining
Time to complete: 7 hours
First worn: A friend’s 40th
Wear again? Yes please!
Total Cost: ~$45