Tuesday, 13 August 2013


I am an avid scourer of the online, local classified ads on Gumtree and look what I found! A lovely lady was selling her mother's collection of sewing patterns from the 60s (above), 70s and 80s. Some of the 60s patterns still have the price in shillings and pence. I love the red tunic in the second row.

Here is the 70s awesomeness:

And the 80s:

I was pretty excited about these, so I rummaged further through the box. It mostly contained old knitting patterns, which are not really my thing, but there were also some old magazines from 1967-74 and one from 1990. I was fascinated to flick through these and see how much things have changed.

Helpful articles:

Delicious food - pickled cabbage anyone, or maybe sliced cucumber with grated cheese?

 A feature on ghost towns of WA. That looks like a thrill-a-minute holiday. I think if I was going to relax in a state of excitement I would choose somewhere other than an empty town surrounded by miles of red desert. ('State of Excitement' used to be the slogan for the state of Western Australia and was printed on all car number plates).

 Some pattern suggestions for making your own wedding dress:

 Interior decor:

I found the advertising particularly interesting. (Australia banned cigarette advertising on TV and radio in 1976 and in print media in 1989).

Ooh la la!

The 'luxury of crimplene jacquard'

I was particularly interested to see that there were lots of ads for knitting machines and sewing patterns and paraphernalia. This dress form ad caught my eye. It's made from cardboard and can adjust to a variety of sizes.  

The reason I was so interested in that ad, was that the Gumtree haul also included a real life version of this dress form. Completely new and unused and with instructions. How cool is that! I can just picture my sister reading this and saying "but Meg, what are you going to do with it?". Well, I don't know. Put it in the garage with the rest of my clutter I suppose! But the point is that I love it, and I'll get it out and admire it from time to time and maybe one day I'll donate it to a museum and it will be admired by generations of space-age sewers who will appreciate that I sacrificed minimalist living for their cause.

This made my day and I think I got a bargain for $40 for the lot. I can't wait to have a go at some of those patterns.


Anonymous said...

wow! what an amazing haul!!! i love some of those patterns and the dress form is so cool. As I tell others, I am a collector. Would you ask any other collector to actually USE their collection? Museum curators to put their masterpieces in the sun? No I say...LOL!! Enjoy your new addition to the collection

Anonymous said...

Those vintage ads and magazines are just too funny. Do I even know any of my husband's co-workers, much less have I ever invited his boss to dinner? and wow, an underwear ad where the model has body hair. On the feminine product front, the more things change, the more they stay the same...must have them wearing white. And if you ever assemble that dress form, you have to post a picture. Too awesome.

KathyS said...

Thank you so much for the trip down memory lane. I bought and read English Woman's Weekly for many years in the 60s and 70s and still have a few patterns of my own from that time. I would love to have the dress form, too. Enjoy your collection.

Lucy Legget said...

I think you should make it up if its anywhere close to your size!! The ads are so funny. I love the tampon one, what outfits! And the men's pants sold on price, even after that photo!! I have a sewing book from the 70s its pretty great too. Some amazing home decor, with fabric everywhere. Hope to see you in some of the patterns, I'm loving the jiffy jumpsuit.

Unknown said...

What a great haul! Those adverts are priceless. Thanks for letting us see them.

Unknown said...

That's a collection to be proud of. Grab a cuppa and keep going through your haul would be heaven.

Without Directions said...

Wow! What an amazing find and so funny with those adds. Thanks for sharing! ~Major Moma

That's Sew Amy said...

That tampon ad just made my day! "...you forget what day it is" HAHA!!

Great score on all of it though - some of those patterns are extra special and I'd love to see you recreate them... oh and wear them in public ;)

Marianna said...

Some of those patterns look great. Just worried about the sizing: we're constantly told we're bloated giants compared to women of yesteryear... (who might have worn girdles...)

The articles remind me of looking through my granny's magazines when I was little. She kept them forever.


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