Tag Archives: antiques

chocolates and silk

It has been months since I participted at Beswingtes Fräulein’s Getrödelt gefunden gefreut.

First because the date always collides with the due date for the HSF-challenges and I didn’t manage to write two posts in such a short time, second because sometimes I can’t decide what to show you and plan too large posts in my head I never even start to write.

And since we know that we will move again in a few months, this time into a smaller flat, I suffer from a total flea-market-ban. I already have too much things to move into the new flat, it really wouldn’t be wise to buy much more (though it is so hard!).

But a few days ago when having a close look at old books and some incunable pages my favourite antiquarian bookshop had put out for me I couldn’t help dropping into a lovely antique shop just next door. The owner knows me and knows in what kind of stuff I am interested in.  When I asked him if he had something for me he said no, only a pin cushion box he would assume I am interested in. But I thought being already there I could as well have a look. Unfortunately I had to tell him that it wasn’t a pin cushion at all and the sight of the pins in the already very damaged silk really hurt. But it was so lovely I had to buy it.


It is quite large, maybe 25cm diametre. The motif is flocked or maybe painted onto the satin, which is, as cleary visible, very fragile and damaged, much of the warp thread is disappeared. On the bottom left you can see a small signature (it is hard to decipher, I assume it says “Chembine” but I can’t find anything online)
The bottom is covered with a patterned paper I am pretty sure is not original but was added in the 2nd half of the 20th century.

The inside of the lid proved my assumption it being not a pin cushion at all, but some kind of chocolate or praline box.

“Au Vieux Gourmet” in Nancy, a french city appr. 300km north of Berne.


I love love love this Robe de Style motif and the cute little doll the  woman is holding in her hands. This may be the main reason I couldn’t pass on this one, even if it was quite expensive with 30 CHF (appr. 25€).

And because this was really the only thing I bought this month I thought I could show you its little brother, another chocolate box I already bought over a year ago in another antique shop only a few metres away from the other one.


Silk, again. This one in a dark red and ruffled, topped with a tambour embroidery in silk and (fake?) gold thread, a golden lace attached to the side.


You see, the silk is damaged, too. The seller assumed it to be a little younger than the new one above, maybe from the 1930ies. And she gave me the hint of it being a chocolate box.

The inside is a little more interesting because there is some paper lace still in place, though very torn and dirty.


While the 20ies box looks great inside (but as I said, I assume it being changed later), this box doesn’t look as nice. Maybe this is the reason the seller asked only 10CHF for it (appr. 8€). I have to admit I never searched for these boxes, so 10CHF being cheap and 30CHF being more on the expensive side is a very subjective evaluation, I have no idea what these things cost elsewhere.



And now you might ask how I use this box without completely destroying the paper lace (because I do use it, I try not to collect things I can’t use because I have neither enough room nor enough money to buy everything I like).

I use it to keep some of my jewellery. To protect the paper lace I covered the whole inside with a sheet of acid free wrapping paper. Like this nothing touches the inside and the lace and the material doesn’t harm it either (if I would use standard, acid, paper it would make the old substance brown and brittle, it would disintegrate sooner or later as you can see with old books, who sometimes just fall apart because of the acid in the paper itself)


Though I do already have so much boxes and old tins I really love these silk covered ones and I can’t promise that I won’t buy some more if I find some.


And I really hope the next post will be about some sewing project again. 😉

See you soon, love,






Tough decisions

Maybe you wondered why I didn’t show you any of my flea market hauls on the 1st. Well, I really bought some things, to be honest I bought a lot. Maybe too much, because I really wasn’t able to decide what to show to you, additionally I was very short of time last week.

But this sunday I went to a household clearance in a village nearby and found something, I just have to show to you.

As you know, I am a fan of old sewing machines, the newest I own dates from the 1990ies and is only used for automatic buttonholes (and I only keep it because it was my grand-aunts). My oldest ist from the early 20th century, around 1903.

But my by far largest one ist my foot operated Gritzner Modell R, a 1958 machine, working without any electricity and a vibrating shuttle, at a time where electric machines with rotary hook mechanism were the state of the art. You could really say this is pre-war-technology in a post-war-warapping.



I found her in a charity shop in my hometown, literally blindfolded: The machine can be hidden inside the table, the opening is covered with the wooden panel you see on the left side of the table. Well, and this cover was locked. It was obvious that there was a machine inside, but nobody knew what she looked like and in what condition it was. So they sold it to me for 10€ and I tried to carry it the 50m from the shop to my working place, a haberdashery store in the same street. After appr. 15m I asked a man passing by if he could help me and he really did. Thirty minutes later my shift ended and my boyfriend picked me and the machine up.


The key on the photo is an old desk key I found in my father’s garage, I was so happy to avoid breaking the lock. As you can see, it even came with supplies and the manual.


Of course she looked different than what I had expected. I had never seen such a “modern” machine in a wooden cabinet. But I loved her from the first day on and she sews very well.
She even has a dealer’s tag on her, a shop in my hometown that sells only bikes today (bikes and sewing machines being a common combination in the first half of the century).



Well, that was…

Because today I met…her:


I found her at the household clearance after I had spent my time in this house mostly in front of the book shelves. The rest was either uninteresting and too high priced or high quality antiques, legitimately high priced but out of my price range.

After we had seen everything there was only one room in the first floor left. My boyfriend and I stood in front of it an all we see was a built-in-wardrobe with some empty hangers and an ironing-board. We were close to leaving when I decided to at least make one step into this room. And there she was!


A Pfaff 30, according to the serial number built late in 1932. As with the other one, the key is missing, but this one was open.

The price that was asked? 20 CHF, not much for a machine like this, don’t you think?


Only one screw is missing, the one that holds the rear cover in place. But the cover is there, so I am optimistic to find some random screw that fits.


I love the subtle art déco design of the handles and the fluted legs.



And it too has the dealer given, this time engraved in the needle plate.


Well, and now I have a problem: I promised my boyfriend to part with my beloved Gritzner, simply because we have not enough space for a second cabinet-machine (and I do not only own these two, in fact I have way too many sewing machines). And now she stands there, abandoned in the dining room,  waiting for someone to love her…and I do! And she looks so pretty next to our dining table, I don’t see the need to give her away. Additionally, the dealer’s badge that reminds me of my hometown. I am not sure if I am able to give her to someone I don’t know. Anybody willing to give her shelter?

But at the moment, the joy of having found such a black beauty is larger than the grief of parting, surely also because she sews as good as the Gritzner, maybe even a tiny bit better.

So, this was my sunday. I hope yours was fine as well, see you soon,








Getrödelt, gefunden, gefreut: department store stories and old news

Again, one month later. And as every month, Beswinges Fräulein is hosting her “Getrödelt, gefunden, gefreut”-series where everybody can show what he or she found at flea markets in the month before.

Well, there really was only one flea market this month, on a sunday where I decided to stay at home and sew instead. But I had a flyer I picked up a few weeks ago at another flea market, giving the adress of what was called a flea market and took place once a month on friday and saturday. Normally either my boyfriend or me have to work and getting there without the car (that my boyfriend needs to get to work) is rather complicated. So I had never been there. In this week we both had our week off and I begged him to go to this flea market on friday.

In fact it wasn’t a real market, but a small shop, where different sellers each had one corner/table/area. It was quite weird because that also meant that you had to pay in each zone seperately, a fact I of course didn’t knew until one of the sellers stopped me from going on and urged me to pay, obviously nervous that I could steal her treasures. Well, the misunderstanding was cleared very quickly and in the end I had found a handful of lovely items, I would like to show you.

A fabric-covered photo album, never used.


The back cover shows the retailer’s sticker, Kaiser & Co. AG, Bern. Kaiser was one of the large department stores in Bern, run after the model of the famous “Le bon marché” in Paris. The family started their business in the late 19th century with a bookshop, in 1903/04 they built a house for their store, the Kaiserhaus, which still exists and is still named like this, though the Kaiser department store closed its doors in 1972.


And it really is a fun coincidence: I don’t know if anybody still remembers, but I wrote one of my first posts on this blog (it didn’t survive the move to the new url, so I can’t link to it) about a 19th century church vestment and the previous owner told me that it might have come from the private collection of one member of the Kaiser-family. I was unable to prove this assumption, but still, I like the idea of having bought an item from an old Bernese collection.


The second little piece I bought isn’t for myself, but for my boyfriend.


I gave him a classic safety razor for christmas and when I saw this small travel razor for only 5 CHF I instantly bought it and gave it to him after we had left the shop, because he had waited so patiently while I was inside for a whole hour.


As you see, one part of the handle is nearly black, this and the colour of the upper part makes me assume, that the handle is silver-plated. In the paper on the left are the blades and you see the price tag still attached, 0,95 CHF, bought at Loeb. Loeb is another department store in Bern, opened in 1881 and still family-owned. The bookshop I work at is located in the Loeb flagship store, which has been in this place, directly in front of the main station, since 1929. So crabwise, I work for this company.

The third and last thing I would like to show you has nothing to do with department stores, but tells stories as well.


This are issues of the “Schweizerische Unterhaltungsblätter” from a whole year, namely from 1925.


Or, put differently, 1694 pages of yesterday’s news 😀


It took me the whole afternoon to get through it, without reading any of the longer articles. It has something of everything in it: fashion, a little crafting, news, reports, novels or short stories, recipes and household hints, riddles, celebrities, well, everything.


I love old newspaper ads
a rococo-costume-group
a rococo-costume-group

I love things like this. Of course they are a lovely source for fashion, patterns and tutorials. But they are real time capsules, too. I love to read news, that have long become history. I love to see once popular faces that have long been forgotten, I love to see photos that will never be possible like this anymore.

New York's Hudson docks (compare to today)
New York’s Hudson docks (compare to today)
Chicago's North Michigan Avenue (compare to today)
Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue (compare to today)
the walking sticks and umbrella section in a lost property office
the walking sticks and umbrella section in a lost property office

I really had a hard time picking only a few favourites to show you.

American hair trend no. 1: style two thin strands on your forehead into the shape of a heart upside down
American hair trend no. 1: style two thin strands on your forehead into the shape of a heart upside down
American hair trend no. 2: becuase the page-boy cut was becoming boring...
American hair trend no. 2: because the page-boy cut was becoming boring…
Muriel Vanderbilt's first engagement, she married the same year but got divorced already in 1929 only to marry two more times
Muriel Vanderbilt’s first engagement, she married the same year but got divorced already in 1929 only to marry two more times
a report on first steps in sound film
a report about first steps in sound film, “How a talking film is produced”
anybody able to imagine reading about an airship accident in the news?
anybody able to imagine reading about an airship accident in the news?
though I like 20ies fashion, this coat in the middle is definitely too much
anybody else feeling the urge to start playing tennis only to embroider a racket bag?
anybody else feeling the urge to start playing tennis only to embroider a racket bag?
once popular actresses I had never heard of (Betty Bronson, Alice Calhoun, Vilma Banky)
once popular actresses I had never heard of (Betty Bronson, Alice Calhoun, Vilma Banky)
when history was news: the suicide of Max Linder, three weeks after his death.
when history was news: the suicide of Max Linder, three weeks after his death.

And my absolute favourite: A couple, arguing if the new fashion to wear the ends of the stockings rolled in, is a mere female fashion or if men can wear it as well.

look at her face! as if she sais “kidding?”

Never-ending fun for only 25 CHF, I won’t complain about that!

So much for today, see you soon,










sources: http://bauforschungonline.ch/aufsatz/warenhäuser-der-stadt-bern.html, http://www.snb.ch/n/mmr/reference/snb_bern_100_complete/source, http://www.loeb.ch/de/loeb/geschichte.html, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanderbilt

Getrödelt, gefunden, gefreut #4

As each month, SwinginCat is hosting “Getrödelt, gefunden, gefreut” at her blog “Beswingtes Allerlei”. Thank you so much for this series!

I haven’t been to one single flea market in november. First because I was pretty busy, second because it is cold (ok, that doesn’t keep me from going normally) and third because I was stunned discovering what loads of stuff I have while moving. Buying antique patterns on sundays and working the rest of the week is fine, but this doesn’t give you any chance to work with the things you purchased. So I decided to reduce my fleamarket-sundays and increase my sewing-sundays, let’s see how long I will be able to stick to it. 🙂

I’m not sure if I mentioned it, in november I spent a whole week in Gotha, a city in Thüringen/Germany. We visited Schloss Friedenstein, a rather unimpressive baroque castle from the outside, but with an amazing interiour and a lovely textile collection in storage, which we (some fellow art historians and students along with our professor) were able to see and examine.

And there I found, what is to become this month’s find:

maybe the trained eye is already able to discern some characteristic features?

On one of the evenings I went to an antique book shop, as I always do when finding the time to do so. Having dicovered the shelf with handcrafting and decorative arts I was first a little disappointed, because nothing was really interesting. But directly next to the shelf I found a whole stack of pattern magazines, some in great, other in deplorable condition.
The seller refused to say what he asked for one magazine, but forced me to give him a prize for the whole lot. I, knowing what those magazines can cost today and knowing that I wasn’t willing to spend this amount of money that one evening, declined to make an offer. So he did, unfortunately one that I wasn’t able to resist.

The lot consists of 19 Beyer pattern magazines, dating mostly from 1938 to 1942, there is  each from 1937 and 1944. Instructions and patterns are almost completely included (only one magazine misses one of the pattern sheets).

Included in the stack were some other things as well: A 1939 zipper promotion (all those little arrows point to where they used the zippers on the garments)…

…some fragments of other handcrafting magazines (and a cover of another Beyer issue), two pattern sheets of now lost Vobach-magazines and lots of so-called “Abplättmuster”. These are patterns, mostly for embroidery, printed in a special blue ink, that can be ironed onto fabric. So you don’t need to transfer the pattern by drawing, but simply by ironing. Some of those patterns are Vobach ones as well, but the majority belongs to the Beyer-magazines. Because those patterns had to be ordered mostly seperately, they are not dated, but only marked with a number. I am pretty sure that those numbers will match many of the ones given in the magazines.

On the one hand I think we are all aware of the fact, that those magazines are a product of their time. On the other hand they had a life afterwards and they still have. This becomes very obvious when looking at the patterns that have been used. They where traced onto old newspapers, sometimes years after publishing (as today, I still use my 1990ies patterns). In the 1937 issue I found a 3rd Reich newspaper from 1939 right next to a socialist one from 1950. We don’t know if the owner changed between those two dates or if it was the same person, but it is quite interesting that the older pattern wasn’t thrown away as well as those are both mute witnesses of two very different totalitarian regimes, used in a completely unpolitical way after they had fulfilled their original purpose.

And something a little more funny to end: I don’t know if you, but I happen to stumble across patterns that I own printed in a Burda-magazine and that are also available as a single pattern, published afterwards. While looking at all those patterns in the Beyer-magazines, every now and then I had the feeling, that I had already seen that particular pattern elsewhere. First I thought “well, it is similar to another one” or “maybe you saw it earlier when flipping through the pages”. But then I found one pattern of that I was very sure that I had already seen it, even made it.

Does somebody remember that dress I wrote about in august 2012?

I made it using a 1940ies pattern-booklet I had bought in Dresden in 2011.
Yes, and it seems as if Beyer didn’t do different than Burda does today, that is republishing patterns:

I wish you all a very beautiful 1st advent sunday!



What inspires me… Giveaway at Dividing Vintage Moments

Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments hosts a lovely giveaway with really beautiful things to win.
All she asks for is writing a post about my 10 personal vintage inspirations. Where do I draw my inspiration for vintage clothing or living from.

So, dear Joanna, this is my list (and in case you wonder: I have none of the accounts asked to comment on your posts, so I can’t write into the comment form, but be sure, I love reading your blog!)

1. magazines

I love flipping through magazines of the time. Not especially fashion magazines, what I love is to capture the feeling of a certain period, so I love to read good old gossip or an article on education or budgeting as well.

(clockwise from top left: Formes et Couleurs 1944, Almanach du Foyer 1924, Der Silberstreifen 1948, Die Frau 1956, Life international 1961, Paris Match 1963, Marie Claire 1941, Ciné-Miroir 1938+1939)

2 films

First of all, I love, I adore Bette Davis, don’t ask why. It’s like falling in love with someone, I can’t give you a reason. So she is a constant inspiration for me. But I love films from the 1920ies to 1960ies in general and watch them whenever I happen to catch one on television. Besides this and a growing DVD collection, Youtube is my best friend, happily so many films are free to watch today.

3 books on fashion history

Though they often use materials I can’t afford and are made with a level of perfection I will never manage to achieve, I love looking at preserved designer’s dresses from earlier decades. It doesn’t make me want to recreate the actual dresses, but they give me inspiration, on what to draw attention to, on what to concentrate, how to treat a special cut or fabric. And of course, it is a glamorous world I have never been part of, it’s simply lovely to see.

(clockwise from top left: Fashion. Eine Modegeschichte vom 18. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert, Kyoto Costume Institute (pub.), Köln 2006; O. Saillard and A. Zazzo: Paris Haute Couture: Paris 2012; C. Fiell and E. Dirix: La mode des Années 1930 en images, Paris 2012; Kleider machen Leute, Bürgerliche Moden des 19. Jahrhunderts, Rheinisches Industriemuseum (pub., exhibition catalogue); H. Worsley: Très tendance. La mode de 1900 à nos jours, Potsdam 2011; J. Stockar: Zürich. Mode durch die Jahrhunderte, Zürich 1974; T. Tolkien: Schick & Schrill. Klassiker der Designermode, Hamburg 2002; Anziehungspunkt. 125 Jahre Deutsches Textilmuseum (exhibition Catalogue), Krefeld 2005; E. Thiel: Geschichte des Kostüms. Die europäische Mode von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, Berlin 2004; Hommage aux donateurs. Modes françaises du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours; Ville de Paris Musée de la mode et du costume (pub., exhibition catalogue), Paris 1980; L. Johnston: Nineteenth-century fashion in detail, London 2009)

4 actual originals

Here again, as with the magazines: These don’t need to be actual garments. A beautiful embroidery on a handkerchief bought at a flea market, a pair of gloves with a lovely detail, a brooch, an embroidered box, everything that somehow catches the spirit of a certain epoche or makes this very object something special and unique (though of course it often isn’t, but please, let me stay in this world of make-believe).

(My vanity table: 1950ies vanity set with rococo-scenes printed on silk in its original box, handkerchiefs from 50ies to 70ies, 30ies lace collar, 30ies silk-covered box with embroidery, 40ies tin can, 50ies glove box, art deco-brooch, 30ies (?maybe earlier) spectacle case, 70ies make-up neccessaire)

5 books

Knowing the cut and shapes that were fashionable in a certain decade, I love reading books that were written some decades ago. Mostly, the description of garments is not very detailed, but, knowing when a book was first published, I love to “dress” the charakters in my imagination, make them fit into their time, have them wear something scandalous or rather old fashioned. So I draw the inspiration from a book, but imagine the actual design myself.

6 advertisements

This seems to be kind of a trend at the moment. Last week I even found a Mid-Century-Ad-Calendar for 2014. But knowing how shiny and glamorous, sometimes really ridiculous advertising is today, one can easily imagine that this didn’t change much the last 100 years. And still I love being seduced by those full-bodied promises and imagine what I would have chosen to buy.

(same as in 1)

7 postcards

I would like to include three types of postcards in here: First, antique ones. A lovely source not only for images. I love reading words of love or of friendship that have been written decades ago.
The second type are reproduction postcards. They are cheap, easy to find and show lovely images of whatever period you want.
And last, museum postcards, showing certain dresses, details or fabrics of the museum’s collection. As with the reprinted cards, they are comparably cheap, easy to store and give you the possibility to have a closer look at rare originals without buying loads of books or ruining yourself buying antique dresses in great numbers (ha, as if I could afford that, really, who could?).

(some antique postcards I own)

8 music

Most of the decades of the first half of the 20th century are connected to a special kind of music or dancing. Thinking of the 20ies, many people tend to think of dancing flappers, same applies to the 50ies, where images of whirling petticoats on the dancefloor begin to come to one’s mind. At the same time, music can make us feel as if we were in another place, can make us forget our environment. I have a modern record player in the living room but, more beloved than this, a 1950ies gramophone right next to my sewing machine. I love listening to my 78RPM-records while sewing something historical on my 1948 Singer machine and the images that come to my mind at those times may form the basement of a future project of mine.

(from fore- to background: Early 20th century pin-cushion table, 1950ies Thorens gramophone , 1948 Singer Featherweight on a mid-century Gritzner with table, my current sewing-project, mid-century sewing-table, 1960ies desk lamp)

9 photos

Same as with postcards, photos are easy to find on flea markets and the like and are comparably cheap, especially when they are in a bad condition. But stains or a tear don’t ruin the photo, as long as I can see what is pictured, it is fine to me. And additionally, I love to see that those things had a live much more than finding them in mint condition.

(clockwise from top left: 1930ies photo album, mid-century photos, early 20th century photos, 1960ies photos of my relatives)

10 my job

Being an art historian with special qualification in the history of textiles, I come in contact with antique costume and fabrics quite often. There is little more inspiring than touching a hand-sewn 18th-century robe, standing speechless in front of a 16th century embroidery, looking at a silk-brocade through a magnifying glass, catching a glimpse at the inside of a mid-century tailor-made jacket. Discovering technical finesses a tailor used 200 years ago is so special. Examining how a garment or a decoration was actually constructed gives me so many ideas on how to make my own historical or vintage garments.
I admit this is quite difficult to do when working in another kind of business.  20th century clothing can be found in some charity and antique shops. For earlier pieces try to find an antique shop who is specialized in clothing or see if a local auction house will have a textiles auction soon, sometimes they offer to see the objects some days previous to the auction. Visit museums, if you really want to research something ask if you will be allowed to see a certain object in detail, some museums (for example the V&A, but I am sure the MET and many more do have, too) have study collections for those purposes.

(detail of an early 20th century women’s blouse, Gemeindemuseum Krauchthal)

So, I would divide two main areas of inspiration for myself. First, the actual object: it gives you hints on techniques, on the impression of special materials and embellishments, actual visual starting points to create a dress, an outfit, a style. And second: catching the spirit, be it through music, through a film, long gone news or a trip to the mountains 80 years ago, captured in photos. A note on a postcard or the rusty coffee advertisement on the inside of a tin. I love to be surrounded by those things, love to dive into this feeling, imagine what I would do actually living in this certain period.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?



Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut!

Puh, I know, this is my first post in weeks. I’m so sorry, but life got so busy, I just didn’t know where to start. I went to a conference in France, from France I flew directly to London for a job interview (and no, I will stay in Switzerland) and when I came back I went straight back to work the next morning only to welcome my father in the evening and already the next day we started moving.
Now, the moving is done, the old flat is empty, clean and given back to the housekeeper and but for a few untidy spots the new flat is complete. Right in the middle of moving I was also handed my MA-certificate, so now I am officially an art historian 🙂

So, as you can hopefully understand, I had lots of things to do and I had to neglect both blogging and sewing for a few weeks. Now my life is nearly back to normal and this month’s Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut!-post is not only the post to say “welcome back”, but also the post where I will show you what I found in the weeks before the move.



As every month, SwinginCat of Beswingtes Allerlei is hosting Getrödelt, Gefreut, Gefunden! and I am really happy to be able to join again this month.

I went to France by train, but had to fly to London and from there back to Switzerland, so I had to keep the flight restrictions in mind before I left as well as in Lyon itself.
But, call it fortune or misfortune, on my first day in France, the only one that I had some free time, I ran into a flea market. It had been raining the whole day, so maybe I should be happy that there were only a few completely soaked sellers left.
And those are the things I took with me: a fabric covered glove box and a plastic Singer-box as well as some buttons. I tried to convince myself that the boxes could be filled with small garments and would need hardly any space in my suitcase, so it would be ok to buy them.

The lid of the glove box is covered with a printed fabric with light pink stripes on the sides, the bottom part is covered with blue paper.

The gloves are mine, it was empty when I bought it. Finally my gloves do have a home amd were able to move out from the box they had to share with my belts.

The second box is a original Singer-box. I assume it was used for sewing machine attachments. The red buttons will be used on my 40ies winter coat (I didn’t want to make a seperate photo of them).

I use them to store my machine needles. Can you see those metallic ovals in the foreground? They were still inside the box, I assume they were used to make buttonholes, though I have no idea, how.

All those three items were very reasonable priced. I paid 4€ for the glove box, 3€ for the Singer box and 2€ for the four buttons.

Now…lets talk about…addiction. You may know, I am addicted to books. I own too many of them, I buy too many of them, I read too little of them and I had a very hard time of getting rid of some of them before we moved. I knew we were moving, when I was in France, when I went to flea markets in the weeks before, I knew my boyfriend had already promised me, that I would have to carry my books on my own (and I did!).

still…I can’t help it:

I can’t pass on beautiful mid-century or earlier hard covers of famous authors or novels.

(from top to bottom: Novalis/ Fouqué, Graham Greene – The third man, Jules Verne – From the earth to the moon)

Just as well I had to buy this cute little 50ies book on silk (on the first page you can still see the price I paid: 7€):

And an especially weak spot of mine in books: 19th century fashion magazines. They are very high-priced in Germany as well as in Switzerland, but affordable in France (as long as you stay in the 19th century, I am still craving for that 1920ies issue, but the seller in the antique book shop asks more than 200€ for it).

The “Journal des Demoiselles” from 1878. Some of the plates are damaged or even torn, but they are still there, a lot of those compilations were cut and the plates sold seperately. That’s why I never buy those plates seperately or framed, I don’t want to support this practice (and that doesn’t only apply to fashion plates, but to other fields of interests as well)

Ok, and the last items for today, the topic is still books, but the content has changed from fashion to…cooking. Yes, my collection of old cook books is growing.

The Maggi-cook book has only very few recipes printed inside and was meant as a start to a handwritten recipe collection. The book itself is not dated, but the earliest recipe with a year given dates from 1932.

The fabric covered book is the Bernese educational cook book, that is being published until today. Those were books to learn cooking as a young girl when having home economics in school (I think most Germans know Dr. Oetkers Schulkochbuch). This issue dates from 1936 and is in deplorable condition. The pages disintegrate as soon as you touch them, comparable to old french books, I already observed this earlier with other books.

The third one is a funny one: It isn’t a cook book after all, but a law student’s exercise book. Many pages are filled with statutes and regulations. But atleer

a later point in time, somebody used it to store recipes cut out from newspapers.  There is a number of blank pages at the end, but in the middle, the recipes were simply glued on top of the writing. There is not a single date in it, but I bought it together with the two other books. The whole market stand looked like as if somebody was dissolving the household of an elderly person. It may be a little younger than the other two ones (at least the recipes) but still may date from the middle of the century.

A very long post, I’m sorry, maybe I’m trying to make up for the time without blogging.  See you soon,



What I wore…navy and white

Life is what happens while making other plans…

I don’t know why time is running so fast these days. Between writing job applications, working in the book shop and preparations for our new appartment there seems hardly any time left. I haven’t sewn for days, I didn’t even read much.
The last weekend I went home for a short visit, because my grandmother celebrated her 80th birthday. I left Bern on Saturday morning, arrived in my hometown at half past two, the birthday started at 4pm. On sunday I had a long breakfast with my father before heading to my mother, where I spent the afternoon with my siblings and my niece (I gave her the pinafore skirt I showed you, unfortunately it doesn’t fit as I imagined it to, but I hope that this will change in a few months, because it was still a little large for her). Monday morning I went to the town hall, firstly to vote, secondly to renew my ID. In between I had to take a passport photograph, because I had forgotten to bring one, and brought some parcels to the post office. I had lunch at my grandparents’ before I headed to Düsseldorf to meet a dear friend I know from my time at the local university. In the afternoon I went to the airport and arrived in Basel at 10pm where my boyfriend picked me up, it wasn’t until 11.30pm that we arrived at home. How exhausting this weekend had been I only realized the next day, when I felt terribly tired around 1pm and decided to take a short nap. I didn’t wake up before 5pm and went to bed in the evening like always, sleeping my usual 8 hours until next morning. It seems as if I really needed some additional rest.
Tuesday passed in a blink, unpacking luggage, doing the laundry, checking all the stuff on the internet I had missed over the weekend. Today I had to work and me and my boyfriend were really looking forward to tomorrow, when we will both have our day off. Unfortunately our landlord told us directly after we both got home today, that there would be a prospect visiting our appartment tomorrow afternoon, so our day off will be spent cleaning annd tidying up, as we neglected this a little the past few days.
On Friday we will be handed over the keys to our new appartment, which means that I could spend every spare minute packing boxes and driving them to the new adress, besides this I will work a few hours in the local museum, examining some antique traditional costumes  in their collection.
As you see, plenty of things to do and no end in sight, I don’t really know when I will be able to sew again and how I am to realize the Fall for Cotton dress I announced so flamboyantly.

To show you at least some photos I will leave you with some outfit-pics, again.
This is what I wore on Saturday to my grandmother’s birthday.
The hat was a present from me to myself after having finished my MA-thesis, it is a late 50ies Schiaparelli hat I bought at ebay America. The dress is the only “designer dress” I own, I found it for a reasonable price in a local outlet centre last year, while searching for an outfit to wear at a wedding (I don’t want to start a discussion about the designer’s statements and the reactions to them. I I do vehemently dissociate myself from any ideas or idealogy of this kind. I bought this dress because I had spent the whole day searching for something affordable and appropriate to wear and had to decide wether to buy this dress or leave with nothing). The shoes are the same white court shoes I showed you with my last wedding-guest outfit, but I embellished them with shoe buckles I found at a flea market some months ago.

Please excuse the bad quality of the photos and me, it was half past seven in the morning.

Here is another photo of the hat I took right after it had arrived:

(hat: Schiaparelli Paris via ebay.com; dress: Galliano; shoes: Siemes Schuh Center; shoe buckles: Flea Market)

I really hope I will be able to show you something more interesting and handmade soon!


What I wore…to celebrate

Monday was the day…I had my very last oral exam, one hour, four topics. I was a really great exam, my Professor simply let me talk and asked some questions at the end of each topic to see if I really knew enough about the subject and was able to react to react her objecting an argument of mine.

I can’t really believe that it is all done now. Nearly as long as I can remember I went to school or to university, when I will be given my report in October I will officially be a Master of Arts. Now I will start searching a job or maybe think about directly going back to university, enlisting as a Ph.D. student.

A friend of mine had her exam after me and as soon as we were both finished we went to have lunch all together, with our professor, her assistant and my boyfriend.
Now, several other friends had their exams the next day and so I joined them on tuesday evening to celebrate a little.

What I wore: I found this dress a few months ago in a vintage shop in Bern. I saw it and knew it was older than the 70ies and 80ies stuff they sell in large numbers (they always have some 50ies and 60ies stuff as well, but I am not always lucky to find something I really like and fit into). So I bought it without even thinking how to wear it. I believe it being late 40ies/early 50ies.

After having watched it a few weeks as it was hanging on my wardrobe door I began combining it with different accesoires and shoes. I have shoes to match the colour of the outfit, I have grey ankle boots, white court shoes, light pink sandals. But it looked all horrible. The cut, the fabric, the colours, all added up to create a lovely granny effect. Lovely if you are indeed a granny and are about to celebrate you 76th birthday, but I still have 50 years to go to do that. So I was sure that I couldn’t style it authentical or even classical. What I did was to break the style combining the dress with a heavy leather belt and black boots.

Because it was pretty cool outside I also added a white cardigan.

Outside I paired it with a creme-coloured trenchcoat and a lovely early 60ies umbrella I bought at a flea market last year.

Outside it has a standard patterned fabric, but on the inside it is lined, so all the wires and bars of the umbrella are covered. Imagine women with their helmet-like 60ies hairstyle, getting tangled in an umbrella would have completely ruined the hairdo. So it was certainly a really clever idea to cover all the frame of the umbrella.

(dress: vintage, bought at Fizzen; cardigan: Carhartt; belt: from my uncle; boots: charity shop; umbrella: flea market)

Yay, Duckface, don’t ask, I was tired and came home late.

See you soon, love


Getrödelt, gefunden, gefreut

On the very first of Juli we signed a contract to hire a new appartment, that means we will move in October. I already fear moving with all the stuff I have, so I tried to avoid charity shops and flea markets during the last weeks. But of cause, I couldn’t be completely abstinent, here are some of the things I found.

First the ones, that don’t need much explanation: Two linen damask napkins, some beautiful fabric handkerchiefs (from elegant to psychodelic^^), a veil with a cute bow on a hair comb (unfortunately the veil had many holes and I had to shorten it a little to cut them away), a ceramic mould and some wave clips.

I had already bought the wave clips on the flea market, when I found this: A little box filled with antique metal hair clips of different sorts:

They are quite dirty, some have some kind of glue on them, others are crooked. But I was fascinated by the variety of forms and for 3CHF I wasn’t able to leave them behind.

In the boy I found 25 different kinds of clips. 25!!! I couldn’t even imagine that you can realize the standard metal clip in so many different variants.

But there was another reason why I couldn’t leave them. The box was closed, when I found them, so it was the packaging that awoke my interest. Why?

A Worth-Perfume-Box! “Je reviens” was first sold in 1932 and produced until today (source). The box isn’t as old as 1932, maybe it dates from the 1950ies? So, a very little piece of Haute-Couture-History for me.

The second item I would like to present to you was found on the same flea market. It wasn’t a bargain, but not overly expensive, either. The seller asked 15CHF for it and after I had seen the rest of the market and came back to her she gave it to me for 13CHF.

Can you already guess what it could be?

Now at least all the readers who can read french, know.

It is a little sewing kit, offerered as a promotional gift by the “Grands Magasins du Louvre”, a company founded in 1855 and located in the ground floor of the Grand Hôtel du Louvre, it existed until 1974 (source).
This little goodie might date from the, what do you think, 1900s?

I hope you liked my little treasures, now I am curious to see what you found!

see you soon and enjoy the weather, love