Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Haberdashery, Vintage Fabric, Vintage Market, Where to buy vintage 3 Comments

Yesterday I had the very great pleasure to price up the latest donations for the annual National Trust vintage clothing sale. It’s always a treat to see all the wonderful pieces, and the generosity of the donors gives me great heart too.

So many nice things – this year we have some special wedding and evening gowns from the ’30s, brand new and unworn ’40s high heels in big sizes, lots of designer handbags and a silent auction for two ’60s Chanel couture skirt suits as well as hundreds of good quality ladies and menswear from the last hundred years.

One of my favourite pieces is a silk scarf from Ferragamo with a design of ’50s stilettos and a brand new Pucci silk scarf, unused in the original box. Everything is priced below its value, so it’s an easy decision to give it a new home and support a worthy cause.

Last year we raised a lot of money for the National Trust’s costume collection, enabling it to be preserved and displayed for exhibitions. With your help, we can raise even more this year.

NTV0257_VintageSale_2015 475 1

What: National Trust annual vintage, designer clothing and haberdashery sale
When: Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March, 10am to 4pm.
Where: The Ballroom at Como House, Lechlade Avenue, South Yarra.
Entry: $2. All funds raised support the collection. Be early to snaffle the best bargains!
More information at the National Trust events page.

Nat Trust vintage clothing sale 2015 3
Pale blue silk taffeta couture party dress from the ’50s with shelf bust and hand-beaded lace details.

Nat Trust vintage clothing sale 2015 5
Fabric detail from a printed ’30s tea gown with matching net bolero.

Nat Trust vintage clothing sale 2015
Brand new and unworn silk dancing shoes from the ’30s with little diamante buckles.

Nat Trust vintage clothing sale 2015 1
Detail of hand embroidered silk kimono from the ’40s, lined in printed crepe de chine.

Nat Trust vintage clothing sale 2015 2
1950s hatboxes: perfect to stash all your new hats from the sale.

Nat Trust vintage clothing sale 2015 4
Two good lengths of vintage upholstery linen with bird and roses print. One is a few metres long, sufficient to cover an armchair.


Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Costume Collections, Where to buy vintage

If you care about fashion in Australia you’re probably familiar with the Darnell Collection, the largest private collection of international couture in Australia, curated by Charlotte Smith and frequently put on display at exhibitions and events.

Over the past ten years, the collection has grown and grown and Charlotte is now offering up a selection for your acquisition, so she can focus on the more special pieces.

From the official site:
Theodore Bruce are proud to present the de-accession of The Darnell Collection with over 500 lots of antique and vintage fashion, including garments, accessories, lace and mannequins. Ranging from the Edwardian & Victorian era through to the 1980’s all lots to be sold unreserved.

What: Vintage Fashion: The Darnell Collection
When: 23 November 2014 – from 11am
Where: Theodore Bruce auctioneers, Primary Saleroom : 6 Ralph Street, Alexandria, NSW 2015, Australia.
Cost: free to attend, buy as much as you like
More information: See the catalogue online here.

If you do go to the auction to buy I recommend that you inspect each item carefully for damage, as it greatly affects the value – especially if you want to wear it. I always travel with a tape measure and this can be particularly useful at auctions where there may not be a facility to try things on.

Auctions offer a great way to pick up good things at reasonable prices and there are some very nice items available in this collection. Assume nothing though, as all items are sold “as is”.

I’ve gone through the catalogue and picked out some interesting pieces for you. My best pick is lot 187 – the silk velvet ’20s opera coat. Check out the Deco styling! Worthy of Miss Phryne Fisher.

Lot 187 – An Cream Evening Cape with Contrasting Black Hem Detail with long neck sashes, smot[sic] at back collar, gathered over shoulders, zigzag pattern at back along hem, fully lined; silk; 1920s;

Lot 249 – A Yellow Bridesmaid/Party Dress; comes with an original sketch by grant cowan featured in Dreaming of Dior page 138-139

Lot 256 – A vintage calico cotton travel clothes line with pegs and hooks all original; excellent condition 13cm

Lot 385 – A Victorian ear trumpet ceramic, silk thread, rubber; American

Lot 136 – Two pairs of early 20th century spats and one single civil war spat felted wool, cotton, wool; American

Lot 359 – A Blue Opera Coat with Blue Flower Embroidery Large bow to front, with hook and eye closure, elbow length wide sleeves, knee length; 1960s;

Lot 34 – A Black and White Smock Style Dress sleeveless, collar with covered buttons down front, 2 large pockets on skirt; by Prue Acton (labelled); 1970s;

Lot 48 – A Black and Rust Patterned Cocktail Dress bubble-style skirt.

Lot 91 – A Black and Pink Party Dress with empire waist, wide waistband, appliqued flower pattern at hem with sequin detail, side zip closure, fully lined; by Chelsea Design, Labels still attached; 2000

Lot 159 – A Peach Evening Dress with White Glass Bead Decoration lined, no waist band, round neck, sleeveless with bands of glass beading around armholes, sack shape typical of the twenties; 1920s;

Lot 198 – A skirt and two jackets 1950s

Lot 168 – Five Bathing Suits from the 1950s -1980s various labels

Lot 164 – A Two Piece Seaside Romper Suit sleveless with no collar, button closure to front, has bloomers, unlabelled; early 1900s;

Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Costume Collections, Where to buy vintage 7 Comments

I’ve just come back from a sneak peek viewing of a large collection of costumes and fashion that is being auctioned this Sunday. This is the private collection of one person, that was stashed in an historic home in the country Victoria and it’s quite a find.

Aladdin's Cave flyer

What: Costume and vintage clothing auction
When: Sunday October 27th from 10.30am
Viewing: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning.
Where: 17 Wills Street, Melbourne
More information at the Glenelg Auction Centre site and auction Facebook page.

There is a mixture of film and theatre costumes, fancy dress costumes (especially lots of childrenswear) and authentic vintage.

Most of the vintage is from the ’60s to the ’80s with a smattering of early to mid 1990s with some great prints and bright colours. Quite a few military uniforms of different types and eras and leather jackets, skirts and coats. There are a small number of ’50s dresses that have been adapted into costumes and some modern reproductions in the ’50s style.

Lots of menswear, some of it quite old and a couple of ’20s wool swimsuits. Hats, shoes, bags and belts. A fine collection of wedding dresses from the late ’70s and ’80s. Ballroom dancing gowns. Some of the costumes are vintage that have been adapted – eg, a ’50s velvet coat that has had ruffles added to make it into a costume piece. Academic gowns and capes, including a couple of cute ’60s styles.

The best bit is that it’s all in good and clean condition: the collector looked after it and so there probably isn’t much work to be done on the pieces.

There are about a thousand lots to be auctioned in one day – which means it will move quickly. Everything must sell so there are sure to be bargains, including a large number of mannequins and a couple of display cases. Some items are being sold separately and some in lots but there are treasures to be found, especially in the lots.

If you’re interested in the more retro end of vintage, or older menswear or can’t resist a sparkly costume for your or your family, I recommend it. Allow plenty of time at the viewing because you’ll need to go through the lots thoroughly as they’ve very mixed – take your tape measure with you too and as always: check for condition.

There is food and drink available at the venue too, which is a nice bonus. Here are some pics of what you’ll see – if you go, I hope you have a good day and pick up some lovely pieces!

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Aladdin's Cave 6

Aladdin's Cave 1

Aladdin's Cave 2

Aladdin's Cave 3

Aladdin's Cave 4

Posted by Nicole in Shop talk, Where to buy vintage

This week I’ve been shooting some pics for the webshop with St Clare, chanteuse with Mikelangelo.

Here are some pics – you’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the webshop. Hope you like! She brings the clothes to life. Thank you, St Clare!

Posted by Nicole in Sewing, Where to buy vintage

On the weekend we went to an auction in Woodend that had several lots of vintage and antique clothing. As you know, auctions are my idea of fun, so even though I hardly need more stock at the moment, Tim and I drove up for a day in a cold shed packed with lots of other people with their best poker face on, and put up our hands repeatedly hoping to buy old wares.

Wedding gown with Edwardian beaded stole and ’20s parasol in the background.

You don’t have to have much money to enjoy an auction: you can put early bids on items and when you’re outbid, you still get the thrill of imagining what it would be like to take a certain item home.

This is what I did on a long Edwardian oak shop counter: I hardly need one, and would have trouble fitting it into my little salon, plus I’d have to find a new home for my beloved ’50s cake counter but it was nice to dream and I was secretly pleased not to win it (even though it sold for a very reasonable price). There were also a few really nice small antique sewing cabinets for threads and the like: not for me that day, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for cheaper versions at flea markets.

Of course, any bid carries a risk that you will win it, so you need to be careful if you’re not serious. Auctions run on trust that you will honour your word.

When I had spent my small budget I settled up, and loaded the van with the booty – including a hall runner for our home, a handbag display/room divider for the shop and several vintage petticoats and a fabulous rose print ’50s dress that I wish was my size. I thought there was another lot, a box of sewing items but it wasn’t on the invoice so we headed home – later there was a phone call as the box had been found and the auctioneer kindly brought it to the shop this morning.

It was a lucky dip: I bid because I couldn’t resist the camellia print tin but had no idea what else was in the mystery box. It was fun to unpack. If you sew, you can appreciate how random a sewing stash – or part thereof – can be. There were a few auction lots of “box of sewing” and each one was unique – one had lots of buttons, one had buckles and another had zippers. This one was a bit of everything including lots of things you’d normally throw out: old empty packets of things but vintage packaging is still interesting even if it has served its purpose. I’ve sorted them into categories:

Three beaded butterfly appliques, an embroidered pocket piece and large 1930s buckle.

Buttons: assorted materials, some old, some new.

Fabric scraps – like me, this lady kept the bottoms of trousers that had been cut off to shorten, although the single silk sleeve and intact collar was unexpected.

Hand embroidered ribbed tights, a ’50s plastic container full of hair roller clips, a ring sizer and a ’70s Vogue pattern.

Needles and Needle threader.

Ribbons, a large roll of millinery petersham, pair of elastic cuffs and small pearl beads.

Embroidery floss (for the pantyhose?), threads, bobbins, elastic for shirring, bias binding and skirt fasteners. Press studs in two sizes.

Wooden darning mushroom (how did they know I wanted one?), pincushion, crocheted needle book, thimble, corks (what were these used for?), odd little mysterious crochet thing, part of a sewing machine foot and the essential tape measure – I never go anywhere without one of these.

And where is the camellia print tin? Here you go – it’s nice and big, and has a hinged lid. This one originally held Cadbury chocolates – I love a nice flower tin.

Posted by Nicole in Vintage Market, Where to buy vintage 5 Comments

Recently we attended the Take2 Markets “Strictly Vintage” event at the Northcote Town Hall and it was a great day – thought you might like to see some pics.

I’ve seen a lot of vintage events in Melbourne and this one was by far the best: great venue, great location, great sellers with something for everyone – just good quality vintage from 1890-1990 at bargain prices. Only $5 for buyers to get in and $130 for sellers to trade, there’s more cash in your pocket for what’s important – buying fabulous fashions.

The next event is on August 3rd and Rina is still looking for traders – savvy buyers will be queueing at the door to grab some of the best styles they’ll see this year. I’m so pleased to find a great event and Circa will be there too.

Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Where to buy vintage

From the in-box: a huge sale, sure to be full of well priced treasures.

I do love it when they say words like “prices from $1″ and “everything must go”. If I were you, I’d go early.

What: Massive costume sale including vintage: see the flyer for details.
When: Saturday June 29th and Sunday 30th 10am to 4pm both days.
Where: 1/177 Beavers Road, Northcote. Opposite CERES, on the other side of Merri Creek.
More information: see the Facebook post.

Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Vintage Market, Where to buy vintage 1 Comment

Hi all,

Rina (Take 2 Markets) and I are organising a new vintage market that combines the winning formula of Take 2, but focusing on affordable vintage for fashion lovers.

No frills, just well priced and fabulous fashions!

The first event is planned for next month at the wonderful Northcote Town Hall – here are the details:

What: Strictly Vintage, a new event for the discerning vintage fashion enthusiast
When: Saturday May 25th 10am to 3pm.
Where: Northcote Town Hall, top of Ruckers Hill, High St, Northcote.
Cost: $5

Circa will have a stall of course, and I hope to see a lot of you there.

There are still a few spots for traders – good quality and affordably priced vintage clothing a must (pre 1990 please) – if you’re interested, please email Rina. Traders will be selected for their high quality and value. Stalls are a bargain priced $130 each.

Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Haberdashery, Where to buy vintage 1 Comment

From the in-box:

“It’s that time of year again – the Annual Vintage Clothing Sale in the Como Ballroom. Help the National Trust care for its historic costume collection whilst shopping in the elegant surroundings of a 19th century ballroom.

Very special items available this year include outstanding vintage haberdashery and craft supplies. Featuring lace, wool, embroidery floss, and fabric remnants many dating from 1900 – 1940. Also an amazing cache of shoes – Italian leather!

Master Milliner Paris Kyne will be available to attend to your vintage millinery needs.

See you on the 16th & 17th of March at Como House Cnr Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave South Yarra. 10 am – 4 pm. Half price Sunday afternoon.”

What: National Trust vintage, retro, designer clothing and haberdashery sale
When: Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th March, 10am to 4pm.
Where: The Ballroom at Como House, Lechlade Avenue, South Yarra.
Cost: gold coin entry, and you’re sure to find bargains!

All images provided Courtesy the National Trust.

Posted by Nicole in 1970s, Melbourne, Menswear, Where to buy vintage

Once upon a time, the Melbourne CBD was full of clothing factories – as time went on, they gradually moved to the suburbs and then more recently most closed down as the fashion and textile industry moved manufacturing offshore.

Imagine my surprise to find a relic of the past just around the corner from our city salon! A visit to the Phillips Shirt factory is truly like stepping back in time – the factory occupies the first floor of 274 Lonsdale Street and the warehouse is on the next floor, sharing space with a shop/museum full of vintage shirts and Liberty print cushions and blouses, along with memorabilia of interesting items found tucked away in the building.

The building dates to 1915 and features many original features but the Phillips Shirt factory moved in in 1958 – the offices are wood pannelled with built in cabinets including a bar, in true Don Draper style. Most of the furniture looks to be of the era too, and so are many of the factory machines.

Here’s the front door to the factory and offices –

Brand new and unworn vintage shirts for sale.

A display of collars and cuffs.

These are shirt fronts only, a pity as I’m sure many of us would love original ’60s paisley prints from Liberty of London.

The expansive warehouse – or rather, a small part of it.

There was more vintage fabric than I think I’ve ever seen before, most of it with the original dates.

The gorgeous old fabric cutting machine – you can cut through many, many layers with this useful device.

Shirt patterns, there were hundreds of them.

The secret to a very pointy collar is this amazing vintage machine.

Wonderful fancy ’70s shirts for special occasions.

The shop/museum is open Wednesday to Saturday 10.30am – 3.30pm or by appointment. Tours of the factory are available by arrangement too.

They can custom make shirts or blouses, as well as selling vintage or modern styles. If you’d like to learn more, the website has lots of great history and information as well as many great pics.

Unless stated otherwise, all content © Circa Vintage Clothing 2004-2014. ABN 37 840 548 574.