Fifties Fair 2014 – What we wore (Or “Two Ladies for Tea”)

Hello!  I’ve been busy, a new job, a traveling husband, lots of appointments for my son, so here’s some photos of my sewing buddy Toni and I at the fabulous Fifties Fair at Rose Seidler House in Wahroonga, Sydney from August.

Full Length Shot Fifties Style Dress

We were super excited but fashionably late arriving around midday after the epic wrangling of hair and false eyelashes. Just as we had taken these first photos – down came the rain. Darn it. And whoops, our slips are showing.
Head and Shoulders Fifties Style Hair and Dress

Still it didn’t last long and we were at last in. Excited face.

Back View Fifties Style Dress at Fifties Fair

This is a few hours later and I feel like Lurch, trying to get up that hill in those heels, (that I had so carefully hand dyed). I was exhausted by about three pm – the terrain at the site is precarious in flats, lots of sloping driveway , the bush garden section steps, and crazy paving.

Full Length Fifties Style Dress with Vintage Car

Toni is still looking fresh on the way back to the car. I loved her colour combo of Tangerine and Teal – quite unexpected and exciting. She made her hat copying one in my collection! She also made her dress in genuine vintage rose print fabric. Check out all those tiny pleats around the neckline and sleeve hem – wow!

Full Length Fifties Style Dress with Vintage Car

But by now I am over it. My feet are killing me, the hair has flopped and I wish I had a flying car. Still, it was a fun. More photos to come…

The details.

Pattern Used: Um, I have to dig it up – it was a Princes Seamed Sixties Dress with very puffy sleeve heads. The skirt was just pleated – no pattern required
Fabric: My favorite Cotton Lycra Sateen* in a Border Print from Lincraft (this fabric was also used by Laura Ashley – for a dress sold out very quickly)
Necklace: Vintage Pink Multi- strand Pink Faux Pearls from Vinnies about 15 years ago
Shoes: Target Suede Wedges (ow!) – Plus Suede Dye
Handbag: Vintage Brown Beaded purse – Salvos $25
Belt: Self-fabric with a vintage celluloid buckle from my stash
Hat: Amazing Floral Confection from Salvos $25
Watch: Gold Marcasite Vintage Costume Watch – a present from my parents when I was a child

*I cant say enough good about sewing with this fabric. It handles so beautifully when you are sewing. It has great body and drape and looks fantastic made up! I have just sewn a dress in a quilting cotton – such hard work to make it look good.


Sydney’s Best Opshop

Those of you in the know will not be surprised to hear this.  I declare Sydney’s Best Op Shop to be the wonderful Salvos at Tempe / St Peters – AKA Tempe Tip!

And those of you who might be visiting Sydney will be thrilled to learn this place is a short car ride from the Airport! And it’s just near Ikea – if that takes your fancy after your flight too!

This store never fails to disappoint in coming up with the goods – and I usually find myself gasping from how good it is at least a few times!

I fount this gorgeous “Vintage Glamourpuss” handbag. In my early days of attending the Fifites Fair, I remember seeing the maker of this great range of bags selling her wares, however they were always well out of my price range so I am just so pleased to have finally nabbed one and for just $8 – yay!

One went on Ebay recently – you might find one there

Looking for wool for winter sewing? I picked up this lovely double Faced black and grey wool it is a beautiful quality – 3 meters were $15 – there was a few on the rack – one was labelled Smouha fabrics – an exclusive fabric importer in Sydney – now defunct.

I always check out the furniture, though I am banned from bringing another stick of furniture into the house, and the lighting section.  The fifties kitchen set was about $600, the the antique chair was a steal I thought at under $200.

And remember my tip for great op shop karma – always take something to keep the awesomeness coming!



7 Bellevue Street










Treasure from a Pre-TV World

Gosh, the beginning of the school year is so busy isn’t it?

I must make a note to watch our commitments and make sure I have at least cleared off the notice board of the previous year of school before the year starts!

We have been busy teaching Sunday School, getting our youngest organized for his first year of club soccer, as well as the usual round of Parent/Teacher meetings – there literally is a deluge of paper to contend with, and lists of stationary to buy, and I still don’t feel like I have gotten on top of things since we got back from NZ!

The kids are busy, the little one joined the Drama Club (!!!) and will do Gymnastics next term. The eldest one with also do Senior Gymnastics

So here’s the bit about Opera. This is a book I found many years ago in an Op Shop – It’s a guide to Operas. My Dad, who is a bit of an Opera buff, comes to Sydney he likes to go to the Opera House and catch one, so we study before we go. The handmade cover is very beautifully embroidered isn’t it. It’s a much loved book from a Pre-TV world. It’s nearly 100 years old. It fell off the book case the other day and this postcard was hiding inside. I have no idea where the building is but its sweet. Don’t you think?

A book cover, that’s a nice easy sewing project, make it as simple or crochet the edges?

Hope you are managing to juggle your load successfully…





Crown Lynn and Excess Baggage

As its Waitangi Day today – let’s take a look at the Crown Lynn crockery I bought in NZ shall we?!

Now, I tried very hard not to spend lots while in NZ but when in op shops and tip shops (we need more of these in Australia) I went to town!

Consequently my kid’s, husband’s and my two bags were all a little heavier and fatter on the trip home.

These goodies came from The Motueka Sunday Morning Market, op shops in Motueka, The Tip Shop at Motueka, and the Tip Shop in Nelson.

They were all around a dollar, I may have paid $5 for a bigger dinner plate at the market.

Do you stuff excess items in your family’s bags when traveling? Come on – ‘fess up!

Crown Lynn Cups and Saucers


Kelston Ceramics "Melody"

Kelston Ceramics “Melody”



A collective sticky-beak at thrift scores and op shop finds – care to join in?


Stop me, before I volunteer again

Peonies and baubles in pink cake stand with vintage sheet as tablecloth

Peonies and baubles in pink cake stand with vintage sheet as tablecloth

What?! Christmas is the day after tomorrow?!! Life has been a blur of work, domestics, supporting my husband in his business, final chats with the kids teachers, decoration my church’s Christmas Party (for 200 guests) coordinating two gifts, flowers and cards for two teachers, and trying to get to the gym and sew, before we go to New Zealand in Saturday.

Vintage ceramic Santa Chimney Vase, Deer Planter and Japanese Fifties Musical Carousel Ornament

Vintage ceramic Santa Chimney Vase, Deer Planter and Japanese Fifties Musical Carousel Ornament

I know everyone’s busy but I really seem to have overdone it this year but it’s been blogging that has suffered the most.

Glass Vase filled with Tortured Willow, decorated with tiny Mason Jars, with cakestand filled with baubles

Vintage New Zealand Map, Tortured Willow in vase (so 90’s) decorated with miniature Mason Jars

It’s hard to devote lots of time to something that doesn’t make any money especially when Instagram is so immediate and gratifying.  So I am not apologizing for my slackness, but my life seems busier than when I started this blog and my lack of sewing has become frustrates me.  This blog should be called Silent Vintage Sewing, or more aptly, Copious Amounts of Opshopping, as that is the direction things are going!

Vintage tins in my kitchen with Acrylic Handbad Decorations

Vintage tins in my kitchen with Acrylic Handbag Decorations

The needs of my kids keep growing and I need to focus on my youngest one in particular next year. He’s had a rough time at school and I want next year to be great for him.

Vintage 60's glassware and comportes with baubles in blye, green and pink

Vintage 60’s glassware and comportes with baubles in blue, green and pink

Anyway – I will not make any promises I am unlikely to keep!

Christmas Tree from the garden in a Fifties Concrete Tree Trunk Pot

Christmas Tree from the garden, with vintage decorations, in a Fifties Concrete Tree Trunk Pot

I hope you swing by once in a while to see what I bought, rather than what I have made!

Baubles in Chrystal Cakestand and Cloche, with Red Diana Vase and Australia Tray

Baubles in Crystal Cakestand and Cloche, with Red Diana Vase and Australia Tray

Meanwhile here are some pretty pictures of the minimal decorations I have put up this year.

Red Baubles in Glass vase, Fifities Aluminium Apple Ice Bucket, Vintage Maori Dolls

Red Baubles in Glass vase, Fifties Aluminium Apple Ice Bucket, Vintage Maori Dolls

I wish you a peaceful, reflective Christmas and thanks so much for your support this year.

Fifties Hairstyle by Alyce at Sterling Hair, Surry Hills

Fifties Hairstyle by Alyce at Sterling Hair, Surry Hills

Lots of love

Trish xxxx

PS – here’s a link to my Hairdressers

Make Do and Mend – Party Girl 70’s Leopard Jacket

Pic Monkey Edited Leopard 2

A while ago I found this cool 1970’s Fake Leopard Fur Coat with contrast fur collar, made by Girmes in Oedt, West Germany.  For just $20 and In need of a little TLC – who could resist?

Pic Monkey Edited Leopard

Her a sad-looking belt which was missing the buckle. I thought I could find a replacement and soon after I found this vintage brass “Aros” buckle which has the lettering inside the shape of Australia – what a great logo.

Vintage "Aros" Made in Australia Belt Buckle

Vintage “Aros” Made in Australia Belt Buckle

Pic Monkey Edited Leopard 3

If you want to replace a buckle you can hand sew it on, or if you are truly lazy, like me, use your sewing machine. The way to do this is to sew inside the hole of the buckle – you might like to pin it if you think it will move about, but the great thing is that the stitches disappear into the pile of the fur.

I also repaired one of the bust darts which was pulling open.  As the lining was free hanging, I just turned it inside out and re-stitched the dart – easy.Pic Monkey Edited Leopard 5

Pic Monkey Edited Leopard 6

The funniest thing about this jacket was that in the pocket there was a Cruiser bottle top – oh yes, she’s a party girl.Pic Monkey Edited Leopard 7

Bursting with Buttons

I am trying hard to cut back on op shopping of late, due to an excess of hoarding, but here is a peek of some great vintage buttons that have recently come into my life.

My friend gave me a tip about a dressmakers dummy at an op shop in the Inner West recently. So first thing the next day I packed the kids into the car and off we went.

Sadly the mannequin was was tiny and I wasn’t sure she’d go up to size 16.  And I already have a tiny one.

I found the accompanying sewing box and this great tin – the buttons and tin were too good to leave behind.


Next we visited my father in law and after the Boci Ball game he saw me going through the buttons.

He said he had been meaning to give me this little stash for a while – aren’t these pretty?


First I plan to use the red ones on a cardigan – I love their art deco shapes and I don’t mind that no two are the same.


The sewing basket (and the contents) is available to buy on eBay right now.

Shopping for second hand items is such a hard habit to break, especially when you have been doing it since you were five!

Yesterday I walked out of an op-shop empty handed after nearly buying a packet of vintage iron on motifs, including an anchor, a ships steering wheel and racing cars.  A pair of green plastic knitting needles with black tops and a set of Vintage Yellow Rose Sheridan sheets.  Do you know what stopped me?  No cash in my wallet!

How do you exercise restraint?