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.


The 50’s Fair 2011 – Shopping Part 1 !

Feast your eyes on these prettys.  Yes some things are expensive, but the stall holders come from far and wide.   Some from interstate to attend.  Have you ever done a market stall?  I imagine it would be a  huge ammount of work to pack up your inventory, load your vehicle, get there really early, bump in, unload, trek through the garden to your plot, set up your display, stand around all day selling, then pack up and get home!

What’s avaiable is of amazing quality.  My friend Penny and I were lined up outside by 10 am (normally I go in the afternoon).  The range of stuff was amazing.  Definately would go early next time.  I usually find the fabric especially picked over – but this year I  scored!  Watch out for my next post on Fabric!

The wonderful Somboun Phonesook, guru of Australian collectables especially Australian Ceramics

Thrilled with their lovely new picnic rugs!

Look at that pig in mud!

Isn't that the cutest dish! I would have bought it but I am banned!

Who doesen't need a little Trechikoff around the house?Ole!Telephone cord purse!

The 50’s Fair 2011 – “People watching”

Yee haa! What a great day!  The ladies and gents that attend go all out with their ensembles.  Some of my shots are not as good as I would like, but I try to document what people are wearing – ‘cos that is my focus.  It gets crowded which makes it hard to get a full length shot, or you can’t  get close enough – so it makes for mixed results.  Sometimes you feel a bit like a stalker!  Usually if you ask permission politely, people are happy to pose for you – which is nice! Anyway I hope you enjoy the eye candy!

Watch out for further posts on “Shopping at the Fifties Fair” and “Fabric at the 50’s Fair”!

Sorry that some of the photos are the wrong way up – still struggling with this bit. If anyone can suggest anything.

(Sometimes the images can’t be saved after turning).

I have the fabric she used for her skirt, still trying to make my my mind up about whether I love it or hate it !

Much photographed!

Love that 40's cherry necklace (actually she had two on!)

Rosalie won the best dressed this year - stunning! Word is she bought her hat on the day!

VIP – The “Walk the Line” Dress

This week over at the challenge was to use a VIP – Very Important Piece of fabric from our stash.  While I must come clean and admit I have had many pieces in my stash for years, this is a pretty recent arrival.  I found it a few months ago and it immediately screamed 50’s Fair to me!

HHT Fifties Fair from Historic Houses Trust on Vimeo.

I agonized over cutting into the fabric and choosing the right design, so there was a bit of sketching, much thought and a toile before I cut into the actual fabric.

The pattern I first attempted was:  Vintage Vogue V1043.  The top was a complete disaster, how much chocolate have I been eating lately?  I binned it and had a total change of direction.  Decided the skirt was worthwhile using.

Plan B was Butterick B4513, I made it very large (after the first disasterous attempt) then had to do lots of fitting.  The back of this dress is meant to be gathered into the gathered waistline of the skirt.  I wanted a fitted look, so had to alter it quite drastically to get this look.

This pattern calls for bias binding to form the ties at the shoulders.  I quite enjoy a bit of bias-binding action, so went quite nerdy, and made my own self-fabric bias binding, I think it makes it a bit special.

I was watching Walk the Line as I sewed for a bit of inspiration while sewing, then I looked down at the DVD’s cover after I had finished and saw I had subliminally created the dress Reece Witherspoon wears on the front cover!!!

The fabric sewed up like a dream despite not being pure cotton and doesn’t crease – which we like!  Even the side zip ended up facing the right way – which didn’t happen last time I attempted one!

Cost: Fabric $A25, patterns about $A10 from Ebay each.

The Facts

Fabric: Poly cotton from a Junk shop $20
Pattern: Skirt from Vogue V1043, top fron B4513 (with major fitting alterations)
Year: ’53 and ’57
Notions: Zip $3
Time to complete: 9 hours
First worn: August 2011 – Sydney’s 50’s Fair
Wear again?  It should be useful for spring days in Sydney –  but not for those stinking hot 40 degree days, when anything synthetic is un-wearable and unbearable.

Love the pretty coloured polka dots on a black back ground – I wear a lot of black – it’s very me, this dress!!

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I had a ball at the 50’s Fair today – it was freezing (about 16 degrees – so please excuse the leggings peeping out from under the skirt – if I had a fur coat I would have worn it!

I will add more photos all week from the day!

Thanks to my lovely friend Penny the queen of handbags for coming with me.

It was also lovely to see Kesenya from

And I said hello to the lovely Kelly Doust from

50’s Fair – Got your frock?

It’s nearly time for my favourite day of the year (yes, it’s better than Christmas!), not that I am at all ungrateful for Jesus’s Birthday!

Here are a few snaps from last year – I didn’t get frocked up last year – just went and enjoyed being a spectator.

I just love checking out the patterns – the most amazing collection from a lovely chap from Adelaide – must get his card next time.

The “collectables” are many and varied – bit pricey, but it’s fun to try to find them in op shops after the event, now you know what you are looking.

I have made a few purchases over the 13 (really is it that many?) years that I have been attending. I have dragged so many friends along, thanks Lisa, Dani (who dragged me their first back in 1998?) Mark, Lynda, Jo, Margaret (with Noah 1 month old in a Baby Bjorn!) Toni, Tash, and this year’s guest – Miss Penny (and Toni if she ever finishes her attempt at 50’s French Couture).

Hope to see you there!! Hope I can get my dress done!

Sorry, some of the photos are not turned right side up – I am fighting with this disobedient command (if anyone has any tips please let me know).


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