Hawaiian haul: what I brought back from the islands

I didn’t do much shopping in Hawaii: I spent all but two days of the trip on Molokai, which has very limited shopping opportunities, and the final two days were spent in Waikiki – aka: shopping hell (I lasted less than 7 minutes in Ala Moana).  So shopping opportunities were limited.

Despite this, I still managed to bring home lots of stuff, because whenever I buy something that won’t ship to NZ I have it sent to my parents, and I also still have three large chests of things stored under their house (I swear the stuff multiplies.  Every time I come back to NZ I fill a suitcase, and every time I go back there are still three completely full chests…)

Vintage & Hawaiian goodies,

So what did I bring to NZ? (I’d say ‘home’, but Hawaii is also home, so I’m having a definite crisis of home-ness)

Millinery feathers!  A gift from Lauren of Wearing History, who was clearing out some of her stash.  I was a little worried about bringing these through NZ biosecurity, but they were totally fine.

Millinery feathers,

And some of my grandmother’s vintage children’s sewing patterns, because I’ve hit the stage in life when my friends are announcing pregnancies on an almost weekly basis, so these will come in useful in a few years.  😉

1940s & 50s children's sewing patterns,

One of my few purchases of the trip,  Anwei Skinsnes Law’s ‘Kalaupapa: A Collective Memory.‘  This is the Kalaupapa book I’ve been waiting my whole life for, and it’s signed.  I got it from the wonderful, wonderful Kalele Books, which is an oasis of coolness (oh, the glory of AC!) and culture in the heart of Kaunakakai (the main town on Molokai).

Anwei Skinsnes Law's 'Kalaupapa: A Collective Memory'

For more information about Kalaupapa, read my three posts about it.

More online purchases: Jane Fales ‘Dressmaking’ – a 1916 guide to dressmaking (just as it says on the cover), and a 1909 dress and 1930s coat pattern.

Vintage sewing books and sewing patterns,

From the never-ending chests under the house, my grandmother’s Jiffy-Stitcher and awl:

1950s Jiffystitch and awl,

And my grandmother’s lace and tulle dress made from Butterick 6485:

1950s tulle & lace dress,

And finally, my only Honolulu shopping purchase: three vintage 70s Aloha shirts, because it turns out there is a  Goodwill just down the street from the Honolulu Museum of Art, and I couldn’t resist popping in.

Vintage Hawaiian Aloha shirts,

I’m extremely excited about the green one.  It has nene geese and the Hawaiian flag!  I’m going to re-make it to fit me using a 1940s shirt pattern as a guide – very much in the spirit of 1940s re-making.

Other than that we just bought lots and lots of chocolate for family and friends.  As you do!


  1. Yay Nene Geese! They’re my favorite goose. 🙂 It really makes me want to visit Hawai’i, just to visit them in person rather than through youtube.

    Also, fabulous feathers! I look forward to seeing what you do with them.

  2. Grace Darling says

    Gosh, my mother loved Hawaii and this post has helped me realise that
    out of my grandmother’s seven children (3 sons/4 daughters), my mother was
    the only one who ‘caught the bug’ with embroidery, sewing, crochet and knitting.

    Just thinking about all the darling crochet baby boleros she made for all my work
    colleagues circa 1978-1980 who were falling pregnant at the drop of a hat. And how
    many little garments she must have made in the 10 years she lived at the YWCA that
    could house 70-100 young women.

    My peer group were always astonished that I knew how to knit, sew, make quilts and
    I would be “Whaddya mean! Didn’t your mum teach you this stuff?”

    Such warm memories courtesy of Hawaii.

  3. I love vintage advice books! I just wish the dressmaking ones were a bit more… well, aimed at those of us who have no idea what we’re doing, to put it charitably. Like old cook books, they tend to assume so much.

  4. holly says

    Lovely post!
    Nice to see the vintage sewing patterns for kids live on, and you have the provenance.

  5. sewcharacteristicallyyou.comOh, my. What a fun load of goodies! It is definitely a sad limitation to have limitations on what can fit in luggage. My family often drives across the U.S. to visit family, and while things are generally much better that way than flying about what we can take and bring back, I know my dad and I are going to have to be careful when we go book shopping, and my mom and I when we go thrift shopping on our trip later this year!


  6. Maire says

    I’d love to see a post on the jiffy stitcher.

  7. Ashley Tallentire says

    My mum has a big box full of patterns just like yours, well she used to when I was little and she was always collecting and making something and mumbling through the pins held in her lips. ,Thanks for the memory.x

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