20th Century, Miscellenia

Present time!

For some reason, I always seem to know huge amounts of people with birthdays in November.  My life is a whirl of parties for dear friends, and preparation for the holiday season.

I have an interesting attitude towards presents.  When I find something that I just know is perfect for a particular person, or when I have an idea of something to make that I know they will love, I buy it and make it and give it.

I really try not to buy a thing for the sake of giving a gift: in Western society we all own so much that more stuff, if it’s not the right stuff, is just a burden.  And sewing when I am not sure that the other person will like it is heartbreaking.

This birthday season I had an idea for a present that would be perfect for the recipient in every possible way.  She loves vintage, she dances, we geek out together about vintage things and dancing things, and vintage dancing things, like tap pants.  She also sews, but she’s even busier than I am (if that is possible) so doesn’t have much time for it.

So I made her her own pair of reproduction ’30s tap pants, using vintage fabric and lace.

Reproduction 1930s tap pants thedreamstress.com


Reproduction 1930s tap pants thedreamstress.com


Reproduction 1930s tap pants thedreamstress.com


I also gave her the leftover fabric and lace, in case she wants to make a matching bra.  Giving a friend tap pants tap pants is sweet.  Giving a friend a bra is…weird.  😉

I’m really pleased with the tap pants, and, with under a metre of fabric, they count for the HSF Challenge #25.

I’ve been making gifts for people, but people have also been giving me gifts.

Shona of In the Heyday messaged me out of the blue – she was in an op-shop in England and saw a pair of vintage wedding shoes that she thought I could use for 18th century costuming.  What was my size and would I like them?

Wedding shoes thedreamstress.com


You know you know amazing people when they send you shoes from England to NZ just because!  Aren’t they adorable?


Wedding shoes thedreamstress.com


I think they could be adapted to be something early 18th century a bit like these, but I kinda love them just as they are!

Especially with jeans 😉

Wedding shoes thedreamstress.com


And Madame O gave me a fabulous fringed shawl (fringing is not only OK in shawls, it is approved of!) that she found in an antique store.

Antique shawl, thedreamstress.com


She was told it was late Victorian, but it has me perplexed.  It’s definitely silk, but quite small – about 75cm square, and with quite an abstract, modern pattern on it.


Antique shawl, thedreamstress.com


It’s a present and a mystery!  The best kind!    What do you think?  Have you seen a shawl of this size and pattern?

Antique shawl, thedreamstress.com


  1. Shawl! I don’t know about the pattarn – it does look modern; but I’ve seen shawls like that advertised as parts of folk costumes around here. Maybe an immigrant’s heritage? Maybe.

    Those shoes are darling. And I’m totally with you on that gift giving strategy. Actually, I think most people around me are. Last time, my best friend gave me two pairs of below knee socks. Giving someone socks is that stupid boring thing, except that these are so perfectly me and I wear them all the time. 😉 So I’m sure your friend will appreciate your delicate tap pants very much.

  2. You’ve definitely got the right idea when it comes to gift giving, and those are beautiful tap pants.

  3. Tinny says

    I’ve seen shawls somewhat like that, but only in Finland… Possibly also elsewhere in Scandinavia as well, but not sure.
    Over here they were the “standard” engagement gift from a man to a woman for a long time, my great-grandmother still got one when she got engaged sometime in the 1920’s on the countryside, but her daughters no longer had them when they got engaged in the 1950’s. It was then worn as a “better” sort of accessory in church and other places where you would need to dress up a bit, many times also when getting married, since most people would have worn black for that anyway, and certainly didn’t (or couldn’t) go to the expense of a new dress just for the wedding.

  4. I’m so glad you like the shoes and can get good wear out of them. They are in great condition eh?
    In regards to the shawl, I had a jacket in the 90s that this pattern reminds me of. Sx

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