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


The “She’s got issues” Dress

I made this dress back in December, and wore it in January back home in Wellington New Zealand – when I met the lovely, lovely fellow tall girl Kat of  Modern Vintage Cupcakes.  You may have seen the photos on her blog of our meet up for coffee, sunshiny waterfront photo shoot with gelato, followed by the walk home to my folks place.

I apologise for the photos – while some are very beautiful – they don’t show the dress that well.

There’s the infamous Wellington wind blowing up our skirts!

FIRST ISSUE: Not enough fabric

I bought the last piece on the roll – I thought – great that will make a nice skirt.

Then I became obsessed by the above pattern – and would have loved to find a similar border print – nothing on eBay except swimwear fabrics and other uglies. So this stripe (is that what you would call it?) fabric had to do. It was really wide so I convinced myself there was a dress in there – waiting to get out!

I had to piece together bits of fabric to get the bodice out of the fabric I had left.

SECOND ISSUE: The pattern

The pattern was teeny tiny – I should have thrown it away and used something that fitted me.


It looks weird, like it’s creeping around my body. The side seams of course don’t match up either.

FOURTH ISSUE: The wrong undergarments.

I purchased a black strapless bra, not realizing at the time that it is some kind of super duper booster bra! Now, I don’t have nothing to start with, so that didn’t help!

I haven’t worn it again – I might give it another try sans push-up strapless stupidity – before it feels the wrath of my pink unpicker and is transformed into the skirt it should have always been.

And Kat, well she is a bit shy, surprising for a girl with hair as blue as Wellington’s sky on a good day! But by the end of our walk she told me that she was expecting! I felt so special that she shared her secret with me. It made me forget my dress issues immediately! She is going to be a wonderful Mum!

Here is my spring palette, I hope this dress falls into it – the oranges and brown are not exactly correct but I doubt anyone will notice!

By the way, I am standing in front of one of the remnant building of Wellington’s early China town – cute isn’t it!


Autumn Palette

Hi !

A few weeks I had a go at making a mood board in Autumn colours. I grabbed a few favourite items from around the house – with a Vintage theme. As the background I used a vintage botanical style butterfly print I bought at a print shop on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy (one of my favourite places in Melbourne to shop).

I layered over fabrics that I hope sew garments with this spring summer.

My TAA vintage leather handbag from the 50’s fair, one of my 3 strand necklaces – 60’s costume jewellery – I seem to have a knack of finding these – and they are not popular in the greens and brown autumn colours that I am lucky enough to be able to wear.

I took a couple of snaps – rearranged – had a play – this ended up being about the most fun 15 minutes of my whole life!

Australian Home Journals are great for vintage inspiration – haven’t tried to use one of their plain paper patterns yet!

I definitely intend to work like this again as a design jumping off point – Why not try it? Especially if you have lost your “Sewing Mojo”!!

I wonder if it could help me with more inspired cooking!!