Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A Road Trip, Turtles, a Battle & Vintage Sewing


I have been on a little road trip for the last few days, so no blogging.

We went to Townsville, about 380 km north of where I live in Mackay. It is quite a nice spot to spend a few days. I took the kids to the aquarium, or Reef HQ, and we even got to see the turtle hospital. Did you know that turtles can get a floating disease if they have lung problems, which means they can’t swim or dive and can die. The hospital takes in these turtles and after about 6 months of treatment most of the turtles are well enough to be released back into the ocean. Find out more here. You can even adopt a reef creature for $60 a year – what a great gift!

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Along the strand, Townsville, and the Rock pool

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A green turtle at the turtle hospital and Olivia with clown fish (Nemo))

On the way home we stopped at Bowen, or Bowen wood as they like to call it now after the film Australia (Nicole Kidman) was made there in 2008!  My kids were more excited about the thought of the Big Mango however.

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The water park Townsville, and The Big Mango, Bowen

History time - January 23 1942 : Australians fought bravely, but Rabaul on New Britain, an island in Papua New Guinea, was captured by the Japanese. Around 100 Australians and Japanese were killed, and about 450 Aussies managed to escape. The rest became POWs, and most were subsequently murdered or died of neglect. Eighteen of those captured were Aussie nurses, and amazingly most of them survived their 3 years nine months as internees in Japan. Read more about them here.

Rabaul group

Soldiers and nurses in Rabaul before hostilities, photo from here.

Japanese forces turned Rabaul into a major base and proceeded to land on mainland New Guinea, advancing toward the capital Port Moresby and Australia. Australia then sent an urgent request for assistance from the Allies as Japan was within a thousand miles of Australian territory. Read more about the battle here. Or see footage here .

On a happier note my two 1940s Anne Adams patterns arrived from the US today.  I can’t wait to get sewing!  It as taken me a little searching (some may say an obsessive dedication) to find vintage patterns in my size (22 or 44 bust) .   If your bust measurement is larger than 36” you will know what I mean – it is so frustrating to see all the fabulous patterns out there, and then to discover that you can’t find it in your size. But don’t give up on the idea of sewing vintage, even if, like me, you are plus size.  The right pattern is out there somewhere.

My favourite way of finding patterns is to do a search on Etsy – just plug in your bust measurement and the decade you are looking for and up will come the results (I do this at least once a week). 

There are also a few reproduction companies. Eva Dress is a company that grades original vintage patterns into multiple sizes – you can search by size or by decade, and patterns are about $15.  Decades of Style is another great company – click on the decade and the patterns appear – all in 9 multiple sizes and about $20!

#4002 1944 Housedress  1940s housedress from decades of Style

I actually started sewing ‘vintage’ with a reissue Vogue pattern from the 1950s, and the other large pattern companies (McCalls, Simplicity, and Butterick) als0 reissue their own patterns from decades past.  This can be good, as the patterns have been updated for today’s sizing and techniques, and contain more instructions than true vintage patterns (when everyone already knew how to sew!). You can also use contemporary patterns to make retro styles (pencil skirts and boleros can still be found).

Remember, the great thing about sewing is that you can tailor clothes to fit you, no matter what your body type, and you will be making something unique. My next challenge is to find or make a dress form in my size, to make sewing just a little easier…….anyway, I will try and post about my dress making as I progress.

Have a great day, Deb xxx


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