Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thrifting is fun!

I should also add a disclaimer  -  "THRIFTING IS ADDICTIVE"
Be warned.

But back to the Thrifting is Fun part!!

A few weeks ago (ok, so it's probably more like months now) I was in Esperance. I don't get to Esperance very often and it's a lovely coastal town. Gorgeous white sands, clear waters, and freezing bloody cold! They have 2 op shops I frequent whilst in town, one is a Red Cross and the other is a little church group one. I *heart* the smaller, church based opportunity shops! I often find Salvation Army, Good Samaritans and Saint Vincent De Paul extremely over priced (in the sense you could buy that child's t-shirt new for less then they are asking in the second hand store). I understand they are employing people with disabilities as well as aiding their international organisation but heck, if I can buy it cheaper new I'm going to opt for new.

Anyways, in Esperance in the little church op shop I found 3 magnificent books and my heart was all aflutter and I just wanted to brag share with someone. My friend's and family aren't really interested in my crafty endeavours so I will share with my readers. 

Tucked away by the counter and behind racks of clothing is floor to ceiling shelves and I have learnt through many visits this is the area of the shop that I want. They have some kids clothes and a few other things but the pile of knitting, crochet and other magazines is massive, they usually have a great selection of preloved sewing patterns and so many other hidden gems. This trip I found some iron on transfers with brilliant gold embossing on the covers, a heap of sewing patterns, a near new knitting book and a handful of lace and fabric remnants. Best of all, I found these...

English editions of Japanese sewing/drafting books!!!
  • Baby Wear
  • Cute Infants Outgrow Clothes Quickly. 58 Tots' Clothes Paired With Dolls
  • Though Girls Begin To Feel More Fashion-conscious, Nothing On The Market Is Snug And Taut. Produce A Good Fashion With Mom-made Clothes  (yes, that's the title).

In the top left corner of each book it states "English Edition - Stitch House" and an abbreviated title for each
  • Baby Wear
  • Infants Wear - by direct cutting 
  • Girl's Dresses - 8 to 13 year olds

The recommended Australian retail price was $2.85!

They are copyrighted "1984 by KAMAKURA SHOBO PUBLISHING CO.,LTD." and printed in Japan. There is no ISBN etc listed. They are each 68pages in total.

These books do not contain patterns. They do, however, instruct you how to create the patterns. Akin to Enid Gilchrist books. (see below)

I love the illustrations that accompany the patterns! Some of the wording makes me giggle too. One or two images would look great framed, but I wont be pulling apart these darling books for such simple pleasures. I ogle Japanese sewing books online all the time (the modern ones) and they are so expensive! I feel like I've just slid up on the outskirts of the in-crowd with my little treasures. Best of all, for everything I bought that day (and it was a lot, trust me) I paid about $7. Yes, total. The plastic bag I was carrying it all in barely made it the 10m back to my car, it was so heavy and hardcover books were making holes.

I especially love how the last page on the Girls Dresses book encourages the girls to sew themselves. The below picture is definitely something I could frame. I adore the simplicity of the illustrations and yet they are so  expressive.

I've been a big fan of Enid Gilchrist books for many years. Below is a photo of just 2, from very different eras, but both are modeled on the same principals. Enid's work was all about self drafting. She gave you an axis marked as 0, then working from that point she gave you the measurements to draw out the patterns yourself, and a detailed description of assembly (rather than pictorial).

I've been collecting these books for a number of years from eBay, thrift stores etc. Some are rarer than others and sell for quite a lot, some are so common they practically give them away. I even have some magazine pages from mags of the 50's and 60's where thrifty mamma's have torn the pages with her featured articles/patterns to save for use. I have some books, like the bright Baby Book (ISBN 0 908429 17 7, rec retail $2.95) pictured below, from different print runs and the one shown below is probably the most recent of all the Enid Gilchrist items I own. You can see that not only the patterns and printing methods evolved, as did a few of the patterns and the measurements moved from Imperial to Metric. Designed back when disposable nappies (diapers) were unheard of, the patterns are a little difficult in todays society. (I have friends with clothed bottomed children, my own daughter wasn't one of them and they're definitely the exception today)

I trace most of my sewing patterns anyhow, but to draw out an Enid Gilchrist pattern I use baking paper or thin sew in interfacing (Vilene) which is far more durable. Probably cheaper too when you consider its width. I place the interfacing on my quilters cutting mat and sometimes use double sided tape to keep it in place. My quilters mat is marked in inches, and most of the E.G. books I have are imperial. I just then use a ruler and pencil to measure and draw out the shapes. Seam allowances aren't included so I use a Sullivans branded seam tracer which is brilliant. I just run it along the edges which need allowances and the handy little spacer means I just trace over the lines I drew to mark out the pattern while the second pencil draws an evenly spaced line for the seams!

An Enid Gilchrist pattern from the more modern Baby Book. The older books were on paper similar to that used in modern newsprint and contained only diagrams and sketches of designs, no photographs and no interior colour.

A couple of poor photographs of a design I have drafted from an E.G. book recently (let's face it, no one visits my blog for my exquisite photography skills!)

Self drafting takes some time, but I enjoy the process. I did really well at Technical Drawing in high school (it was a compulsory component of my elective classes of Woodwork and Metalwork). I have many books teaching me how to draft my own true designs and not just mimic those such as Enid's, but I haven't yet the confidence to tackle those.


Toni said...

WOW!! I'd LOVE to go op-shopping with you! That Japanese book is just adorable, Shell. GREAT find.

The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

Those books are worth having for the title translations alone--great finds!

Kate said...

Wow -such great finds! I rarely have any luck in op shops, but I ill keep looking!