Thrift Life and What I bought at the Fifties Fair

Thrift Life

The gorgeous Astred over at Design Cherry is starting a new regular “semi regular” feature called “Thrift Life” which involves boasting about Op Shop or Thrift Store finds – I said I’d join up, you are invited to join in too!

She is a graphic designer, that lovely banner and button are her work.  Her blog is a visual treat, her home amazing and her colourful friends are like exotic birds.

Do go and check out Astred‘s fabulous blog and I hope you join in the fun!

Fifties Fair Shopping

So to kick off my contribution to Thrift Life – here’s what I bought this year at the fifties fair.

I was quite restrained this year while shopping . The fact that the prices were astronomical did help.

The pick of the day had to be these glasses. I plan to them made into reading glasses. You can’t have too many pairs!

This male Calypso dancer figure was cheap. He should be on a frame, and have a female partner, but he didn’t so he was just $20.   He’s hanging out in the hallway.

Finally, I couldn’t resist this sweet tablecloth.  I love the colour palette and strawberries – I think it needs to be reincarnated as a skirt, I know, another one.

Other business – Wardrobe renovations

My husband had some time off this week so we went to Ikea and are in the process of installing new wardrobes. Very exciting as the old ones were original from 1971 – damp, dark staring to fall apart and woefully inadequate for our (my) wardrobe.

I salvaged the vintage door handles and I hope that we can reuse them on the new white Ikea doors.

We will do the kids rooms too – when we get time.  Meanwhile – there are doors and parts stacked in the hallway – that’s nothing compared to the six months we had with a un-assembled kitchen taking up half the room – piece of cake;)






The “Cabbages and Roses” Dress

Well, this is nice! A Sew Weekly Reunion!

Thanks for stopping by – glad to be back and thanks for organizing ladies.

When I think back to last year, I don’t know how I managed it. Must have been a lot of adrenalin pumping!

I’ve hardly sewn anything this year it seems. A couple of kids’ costumes and some cushions I think! I have been at the gym, which has really helped the sore back I got from so much sewing last year!

So I was relieved that I could use this dress, which I had already started, for this Pantone colour challenge.

It was good to create a whole new dress in a new pattern, and use some colours I wasn’t really sure about.


This pattern has six pleats on the shoulders

Six sleeve darts

Six bodice darts

Two wrist ties

Four metres of hand sewn hem.

That was a lot of marking in sliver gel pen and tailors tacks. Time consuming, but not difficult.

The skirt pattern is my usual semi circular skirt pattern in 4 gores.

The petticoat I purchased in Linden (um, almost) green – was way too short. So I hacked the top band off and whacked on an extended top tier – in a polka dot lining fabric from my stash.

I was really happy with the dress and I had some lovely compliments the day I wore it. The hat was from an op shop for $10 and I managed to rip the hat elastic off it as I arrived home. My feet were totally filthy from all the dust at the venue

I am feeling very inspired to sew, with the warmest winter in Australia in 150 years, (scary) feeling very much like Spring already. I hope I can make time for it.

The Facts

Fabric: Cotton Lycra Sateen – bought in New Zealand for $50

Notions: One vintage metal zip $1, one organza petticoat $30, plus extra lining fabric

Pantone Challenge colors: Acai and Linden Green

Pattern: Simplicity 3621

Year: 1952

Time to complete: 8-10 hours

First worn: The Fifties Fair, 25 August 2013

Wear again? Yes, but I’m not sure where

Total Cost: $80








The Cocktail Hour

My parents are coming to visit for a few days. Time to set up the bar!

Mum likes Gin and Tonic, so I have stocked up on lemons. My seafaring Dad is a rum drinker so I have bought cola and hidden it from the kids.
We love to spend time with them. They are very kind to visit us every year. They are very laid back, supportive and respect our beliefs even though they differ from theirs.


Cheers Mum and Dad! Can’t wait to have a drink with you!


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?

Audrey Hepburn, Life Magazine 1962

My friend is listing this 1962 edition of Life Magazine on eBay shortly. It contains a nice spread on Audrey Hepburn wearing fashions by Givenchey.

All these garments/outfits are very bulky around the waist which look amazing on her diminutive frame – skinny girls take note!





An awkward moment with a very big bull



Child free, let loose at the markets

This Saturday morning is the first time I’ve been alone in two weeks! I dropped the kids into a Parkour class in Pyrmont and hit Rozelle Market!

Here’s a few snaps




This is a piece of Tivaevae which is applique from the Cook Islands.  It is quite rare – I have never found a piece for sale in Australia or New Zealand.  It was for sale for just $40 – but as I don’t love yellow – I left it behind.  One day, I would love to go there and see the women making it – I find it fascinating and beautiful.






I bought a tea towel and the Gold Coast table cloth for $5 each, and the three bracelets were $15 and I am pretty sure the green one is Bakelite – hooray!


I think it’s Sydney’s best vintage/second-hand market, which is still mostly affordable.

What do you do when you are childfree?

Rozelle Market
Open Saturdays and Sundays

Address: 663 Darling Street, Rozelle

Opening Times: 9-4