All posts tagged: 1950s

Simplicity 2733: a pattern mystery

I found Simplicity 2733 at an op-shop a few days ago, and it has turned out to be quite a fascinating piece. On the surface, it looks simple: a basic late ’50s blouse pattern: The pattern wasn’t a lot, and I was in a hurry, so I didn’t inspect it at the op shop.  When I came home and opened it up, I was surprised for two reasons. First, I got a bonus!  It also included most of the pieces (all but the longer sleeve view) and the instructions for Simplicity 1735.  Sweet! The second surprise?  Simplicity 2733 is late 1950s, but the pattern is a non-printed, pre-cut perforated pattern, of the type that you rarely see in post mid-1940s patterns.  I have never before seen a 1950s pattern of this type. What a conundrum.  Why is this particular pattern so old-fashioned?  Are all copies of 2733 like this?  Or was this pattern produced in NZ, using older technology, meaning that the NZ version of the pattern is different than the usual international version? Any …

The ‘Ice Cream Banana’ blouse

For some background music for this post, put on Gin Wigmore’s ‘Too Late for Lovers‘, because Gin is awesome, and her yellow uniform in this video is awesomely awful.  Also Dennis Pavao’s ‘Ka’ahumanu‘, a wonderful old-school Hawaiian song in honour of the Hawai’ian queen who abolished the kapu (taboo) system by eating bananas with her son, the king.  Before this women were not allowed to eat with men, and bananas were forbidden to women. Right.  The sewing. This blouse has nothing to do with ice cream.  It’s all about bananas. You’re probably familiar with Cavendish bananas from the supermarket, and perhaps one or two other novelty varieties, but did you know that there are actually hundreds of different varieties of bananas?  The Hawaiian’s alone had at least 44 different varieties of bananas before European contact.  Sadly, almost half of these varieties have gone extinct in the last few centuries, and only 23 varieties of Hawaiian bananas remain, and 19 of these are very endangered. The fabric for this blouse instantly reminded me of the creamy yellow interior of ice cream …

The ‘Aloha ka Manini’ blouse

I’ve been waiting to tell you about this garment for years.  From even before it existed – from the moment I laid eyes on the fabric. Before you read the post though, you need to set the mood.  Put on Aloha Ka Manini (Love the fish, or ) by the wonderful Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and then Ka Uluwehi o ke Kai (The Plants of the Sea) by Hapa.  These are the songs of my childhood, and the Hawai’ian songs of the sea. I grew up in Hawai’i, 10 minutes walk from the sea.  My parents were farmers – land people, but we kids loved the sea.  We went down to the beach every time they let us.  We snorkeled and swam and kayaked.  I knew the names of all the fishes, the kinds of seaweed and coral, the history of the fishponds that ringed the coast like stone necklaces.  I was in a hula halau (dance troop) for years.  I was never particularly good, but my favourite dance was always Ka Uluwehi o ke Kai, a hula in praise of …