Thursday, 6 September 2012

Vintage suitcase finds + more corsages!

This is a long post with a lot of photographs but please stick with it because I hope you'll think it's worth it :o)

As many of you vintage wearing followers will know, sourcing original 1940's clothing is not an easy task.  We are always on the look out, scouring vintage fairs and buying from re-enactors etc.  Normally we have to "find" the items but, a chance meeting at a 1940's re-enactment, not one that we were trading at, a lady who had discovered some beautiful items while clearing a house, brought them to our attention and we were lucky to acquire them.

First up, a suitcase.  I've riffled through many a vintage suitcase.  Sometimes they are full of treasures, other times the contents are so disgustingly dirty that I have I worry what I might have inhaled!  This unassuming leather suitcase, somewhat battered and tired.......

was full of treasure. 

Please excuse the chapel pew that the case is sitting on.  We have 2 in the garden that came from Perranporth Methodist Chapel where my daughters were christened and they are somewhat of a project!  Back to the case though!
It contained;

A half finished dress.  The sleeves are sewn in and the skirt attached to the bodice.  All it needs is buttons and button holes (argh!!), a collar and then a hem.  Why wasn't it finished?  I wish I knew.  It's been beautifully made, neatly finished seams and the like so should be easy enough to follow on and finish it off.  The instructions are in the pattern envelope but sadly no pattern pieces.

A collection of vintage cottons and a rather complicated looking knitting stitch/pattern counter thingy - think I'll stick to paper and pencil to mark off my rows.

Some instruments of torture!  Well, in truth, some 1920's crimping irons but I didn't know that until I asked my Mum.  They are complete with singe marks from when they were heated in the fire before being used on someones hair.  The damage they must have done and the smell - it must have been terrible.

Two rather lovely knits!  The tank top has been feasted on a little by some hungry moths - thankfully it's repairable though.  The cardigan is beautiful with just a tiny moth hole on the front rib and a missing button - better raid my button stash then.  Someone has boiled it and shrunk it which is a shame for us adults but a plus for C as it fits her perfectly.  However, as it's pure wool, she is reluctant to wear it - I shall persevere because I shan't be knitting anything as intricate for her!

More knitting patterns!!!!  I couldn't believe it.  They are in lovely condition and I had been after an original copy of the Bestway "Gifts in Knitting and Crochet" for a while.

Apart from some seriously sharp sewing needles and some random 1960's buttons, the last thing in the case was a little clear bag stuffed full of the most amazing.........

Corsages!!  Just look at them, so very beautiful and each one different.  They are mostly done in perle cotton (thank you Ginny for help on that one :o)!) and each one has a thick green felt back with 2, sometimes 3 safety pins on - no fear of them falling off.  Some require a little stitch here and there and the backs aren't the neatest but, who's going to see that once it's on a jacket?? 

This very talented lady must have spent hours making them and for what purpose?  An artisan with a shop perhaps or simply crocheting for pleasure, we'll never know.  

I would love to keep them all, they were a real once in a lifetime purchase, but I'm being realistic and have only kept 2.  I figure that they have been stored long enough and clearly haven't seen the light of day for many a year.  I'm hoping they will end up with people who will love and cherish them as much as the lady who kept hold of them for all these years did.

When looking through them, I noticed that the Bestway "Gifts in Knitting and Crochet" pattern had been put to good use to make 2 of the corsages.

Along with the suitcase, I bought 2 dresses.  I don't normally "show off" the clothing that I buy but these 2 dresses, both made of moygashel, a linen feel fabric, are so beautiful that I thought you might like to see them.

Patriotic red, white and blue number with it's original belt!

Cute hey?!

This recent lot of purchases really got to me and it's because there was an actual person associated with the items.  I know that that might sound odd, but a dress brought to us by a re-enactor or purchased at a fair is a stand alone garment with no reference as to the original owner.
This lady, whoever she was, couldn't part with her things.  She obviously deemed them important enough to want to hold on to them for many a year.  Worn on a first date perhaps or for a special occasion or maybe, like me, she was just a serious hoarder!!  Whatever the reason, I know that I'm incredibly lucky to have them and will be a willing custodian of them until someone else comes along to love them! 


  1. Wow, what an amazing find! The two jumpers are just lovely, and such pretty corsages. There must be so many hours of work packed inside that little suitcase.

    Oh, and the shiny crochet cotton is most likely perle cotton.

    1. Thank you Ginny :o) I have just updated the post to include the perle cotton info :o)

  2. Wow what a great haul. Everything you got is amazing. Loving the corsages the most.

  3. That is such a wonderful find! I love the corsages a lot :) And the knits... just beautiful!

  4. wow... what a find!!! You lucky lady :)

  5. Wow! what a find - you must have been squealing with delight as you unearthed each little treasure! it is something all us vintage treasure hunters just dream of finding. The secrets that case holds and the love that has gone into every little piece is pure magic. The cosages are just exquisite, the tank tops and dresses are to die for and oh! the unfinished dress ... would just love to know the story ... thank you for sharing.

  6. Oh my god I can't believe you found all that! You're definitely coming shopping with me next time! I adore all those pieces, beautiful! XxxX

  7. What amazing finds! Lucky girl!

  8. What a wonderful find- I can understand how you feel about it! The mystery of wondering why oh why these things remained in there, who was she, where did she live, what did she do, why were the things not finished? It's like studying artefacts in a history lesson trying to draw information from them! The corsages are beautiful!

  9. Ooh ooh ooh, I most especially love the two fair isle knits! Swoon!

  10. Wow! what finds - love the corsages
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  11. Especially love the stripy and I'm a sucker for an old suitcase. I seem to have gone from owning one to far to many in over the last couple of years, they are great for storage, but now I really must stop buying them!

  12. Omg you scored!!!! The corsages are to DIE FOR!!! xox

    1. Thank you Bunny. I posted your goodies last week. Hope they make it through customs! :o)

  13. Ohhh, I can't decide what I like more your new vintage treasures or those immensely pretty corsages - fabulous pieces one and all!

    ♥ Jessica

  14. wow, fabulous find,love your detailed descriptions, wish i had the time to do all that lovely knitting.