In 1961, if you were German and seamstressy and about to embark upon a lovely trip to the beach (Strand und See, sehr schön!), you’d be chuffed with the offerings of BEYER Mode Magazin.

Eagle-eye Moggy spotted these at Camberwell Market last weekend. We got two each. The pictures are amazing, the frocks charming, but the instructions are German or curt English and the pattern sheets are completely barmy. So, with the best of intentions, I doubt we’ll make much from them.  But look at the purdy pictures!

Oops, I did it again

Despite my astonishingly fecund stash of fabric, I seem to have terrible accidents in fabric shops on a not irregular basis. Awful. Unintentional purchases.

Yesterday I called  in to Rathdowne Remnants seeking some of Moggy’s silk twill. It was all gone, unsurpisingly, but the bins of remnants were freshly filled… and filled with lovely, lovely pieces of vintage fabric. I asked at the counter where they all came from and apparently it was one woman’s stash. She was probably a dressmaker and hoarded a riot of colour and pattern from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

L-R: 2.9 m of silk twill, 2.4 m of silk in the palest finest pink stripe, 2 m of very fine polished cotton

L-R: 3 m silk twill, two splendid squares of floral gorgeousness, one rayon (I think), the other silk.

Amazing brocade and a pleasingly contrasting lining. Destined to be a macaw-like wiggle dress!

Hyacinth Macaw

And while I was putting this all away, I remembered another terrible drive-by accident in recent weeks – a Japanese import place was clearing out its kimono fabric, selling whole rolls rather than by the metre.

Left is a crepe that looks like the night sky on one side and sandpaper on the other, right is a silk print that made me think of SEM images of neurons in the brain, which was irresistably nerdy.

Nerve cells

See what I mean? Uncanny.

Have you had any similar terrible accidents lately?

Out and about

Last weekend I went past a dry cleaner in South Yarra which is where, I was told, a lot of the theatre and opera companies take their costumes for cleaning, and that there are often amazing garments hanging near the window. And lo, there was a big full skirt and corset combo. I took this picture of the exquisite hand-rolled hem. Something to aspire to when I have the a) patience and b) competence to do so.

I also dropped in to Australian Made at the NGV Fashion & Textiles gallery which was, as usual, showing a modest but magnificent display of treasures from their costume collection. I think I’ve seen this gown on display before but the fabric is just as lovely upon second viewing.

LA PETITE, Melbourne, Cocktail dress (c. 1955), silk, wool, cotton, metal, acetate

My favourite though was a black 1930s bias-cut number. Stunning.

Cut the wrap

I bought this amazing old dead stock 70s curtaining months ago thinking, “That would make a fabulously loud wrap skirt.” Only problem was that I didn’t have a wrap skirt pattern.


A chance encounter with Simplicity 7876 (see it on Vintage Pattern Wiki here) in an op-shop yesterday. It remained virginal and uncut for about 2.5 hours until I launched into it with gusto. And, presto!

I didn’t have enough to make the tie but I had a tiny scrap of green barkcloth left from a curtain I bought from a church sale about 10 years ago which has since been used for 234,673 projects – among them a plush alien, a ukulele case and quilt binding. It’s treated me well.

But I digress. Because, this skirt has a cunning secret. I lined it with black cotton and…

Look at that! The clever thing’s reversible! Two skirts for the price and effort of one! Convertible, reversible, desirable! Coupled here with the tulip blouse of last post. I took this ensemble dancing last night and both of us enjoyed it very much.

I also made a housewarming present for a friend … it’s a kind of chimera craft, part crocheted, part sewn. How unholy. The back is mauve velvet. He likes purple. I don’t. He gets a purple cushion and I rid my wool/fabric stash of purpleness. We both win!