20th Century

All the prettiness

I’ve been so busy since January  with coordinating the HSF and sewing for the HSF and The Project and life in general that I’ve missed so many catch-up posts.

In that time I’ve gone op-shopping and gone antique shopping and gone everything shopping at Art Deco weekend and celebrated a birthday and accumulated this enormous pile of fabulous goodies I thought you might enjoy a peek at:

Lots of vintage goodies, thedreamstress.com

Right in front is a bit of literary temptation – an early 20th century edition of Emma (old Jane Austen books are surprisingly hard to find at op-shops), a lovely O Douglas, a beautiful Art Nouveau collection of Tennyson (I like Tennyson for being such a soap opera of a poet), an early 20th century edition of Jane Eyre (just as rare as Austen’s), and a first edition Chronicles of Avonlea – be still my heart!

Vintage books thedreamstress.com

They are all sitting on a gem of a  patchwork quilt full of  1930s & 40s prints.  I’ve shared some highlights of it on Facebook, and will do a whole blog post here.

Next to the book are a stack of fashion magazines and catalogues.

There is a 1920s one I bought not for the transfers (long since gone) but for the illustrations of ’20s lingere:

1920s fashion catalogue thedreamstress.com

Aaaaaah!  So cute!

1920s fashion catalogue thedreamstress.com

And a whole pile of 1930s Women’s Weekly magazines, all stitched together.

1930s fashion magazines thedreamstress.com

If only they still had the coupon patterns they were sold with!

1930s fashion magazines thedreamstress.com

The little box behind them is a treat all in itself:

Vintage Japanese for the export market baby shoes thedreamstress.com

Little Japanese bunnies!  In wheelbarrows!

But what’s inside?

Vintage Japanese for the export market baby shoes thedreamstress.com

Teeny-tiny baby bunny slippers.


I’m pretty sure these are early ’20th century, and are Japanese for the export market.  The slippers are silk and rabbit fur, and the box is wrapped in silk.

Next to them is some exquisite modern silk handwork:

Embroidered silk garters thedreamstress.com

These scrumptious pieces are silk garters, hand embroidered for me by the wonderful Madame O as a birthday present!

And they are sitting on another birthday present – divided drawers.  My lovely mother-in-law got me a gift certificate to my favourite antique store as a present, and these are (part of) what I spent it on.

Divided drawers and other goodies thedreamstress.com

The rest of the gift certificate was spent on linen thread, the gorgeous green 1930s floral cotton you see here, and those fabulous red buttons (they have maple leaves!  I’m going to make pretty things for my Canadian + vintage loving friends!).

1930s fabric, fashion magazine, and 40s buttons thedreamstress.com

The German fashion magazine was an inadvertent birthday present.  I treated  myself to the bee-YOU-ti-ful 1930s reddish hat you see below from Lauren at Wearing History  (she was stash clearing in preparation for her exciting new clothing line) as my present to myself, and she, not even knowing it was my birthday, tucked in a bunch of goodies she thought I might want.

1930s & 40s hats thedreamstress.com

How sweet is that?  They included the Mode und Her magazine, a 1930s fancy dress pattern (my new collecting obsession), half a dozen vintage photographs, and a vintage print.  Lauren is amazing!

Now about the other hat you see above.  I found that at Fabric-a-Brac, and it is a 1940s dolls hat – as in, an actual doll:  a small ceramic toy.  But look how cute it looks on me:

1940s dolls hat thedreamstress.com

Love it!  (I know, an actual selfie from me.  Gasp, shock, horror!)

But there was a fashion in the ’40s for miniature hats which were called ‘doll’ or ‘toy’ hats, so I am totally going to wear this as one of those! (and I am quite gutted that I didn’t buy the other dolls hats on the same stall – there was one in green velvet…)

Moving on to other delicious bits, the ’20s wedding  photograph below is one from Lauren.  The gorgeous embroidered shawl is my most recent find, spotted only yesterday at a local op-shop.  It’s probably 1920s, silk (I also have a rayon shawl of the same period), and has the most spectacular fringe, not to mention being in the most perfectly Leimomi-esque colours!

Vintage embroidered silk shawl thedreamstress.com

The plaid umbrella is an on-the-way-back-from Art Deco Weekend find.

Vintage plaid parasol thedreamstress.com

Check out the handle:

Vintage stuffed toy thedreamstress.com

It’s a little clown head!  Fabulous creepy!

’40s I think?  Maybe ’50s?  And definitely for a child.

The vintage knitted stuffed toy is completely stuffed with very old stockings.  You can just see a big hole on his far arm where they are peeking through.  Such a lovely example of re-use!

So what am I going to do with all this stuff?

The books will be read and petted and admired and read, and read again (I only keep books I’ll re-read, and I re-read a lot).

The magazines and drawers and shawl and quilt will become study pieces – I’ll use the images to illustrate blog posts and articles, and  use them for research.

The fabric and buttons and thread will be sewn up – maybe not right away, but eventually!

The hats will be worn, but not until next summer.  I’m already planning outfits to go with them.  And the garters will definitely be worn – with all my pretty sewn stockings (don’t worry, the tutorial on how to make them is in the works!)

The parasol and stuffed toy are probably transitory parts of my collection.  I want  do a photoshoot with the parasol, and images of the toy will go into a collection of make-do stuff I’m accumulating, but I don’t need to own either of them forever.  There is too much other stuff as it is!

And finally, someday all of my collection of rescued orphan vintage photos are going to be framed and will go up in a big display on a wall – someday!


  1. MJ Ruisi says

    YAY!!!!!!! What a fun thing to read….so(sew) many wonderful finds Gifts ……..The Quilt is the most wonderful and the “Doll” Hat Looks mighty swell on you…..thanks for sharing the bait….Mark

  2. Grace Darling says


    The magazines with the illustrations and embroidery are absolutely delightful. Love that cat on top of the “B” – I have a menagerie of embroidery scampering through my mind now.

    What a fun haul! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Oh! How much fun! I do hope you’ll share a lot of images from the Women’s Weekly! And I can’t wait for the stockings tutorial… 😀

  4. My gran used old stockings to stuff the bunny soft toys she used to knit; I do the same thing when I occasionally make them, though I’m almost out as I don’t wear pantyhose any more. We would cut them up into approximately 1″ squares cos those bunnies were pretty small!

  5. Great stuff! I love that you are wearing an actual doll’s hat as a “doll hat”! Why not, right? It looks adorable.

  6. I don’t know what to ooh at more! Wonderful finds. (Somewhat envious of your Emma, yes. I’ve only got what I printed out of Project Gutenberg…)
    And that shawl is gorgeous, and those old magazines so neat, and…
    You get the picture, and of course that’s why you got yourself all those things. 🙂

  7. Love the bunny slippers. Probably very inconsistent or hypocritical of me, but I would happily wear rabbit-fur slippers with sewn ears, but not with actual rabbit ears. Dunno why…

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