1930s GIFT FROM OP-SHOP GODS

EVERY op-shopper has had a heart-stopping, whisper quiet “Oh My God” moment when the op-shop Gods shine a radiant light on some small...






EVERY op-shopper has had a heart-stopping, whisper quiet “Oh My God” moment when the op-shop Gods shine a radiant light on some small piece of op-shop gold. I’ve had my fair share of these moments, the most recent when scouring the dress-up rack of one of my favourite op-shopping haunts.

The good op-shopper I am, I tidy racks as I go and was rewarded when a piece found kicked under a pile of sweeping wedding trains and after-five frocks was nothing more than a hand-made wool crepe frock from, I am guessing, the 1930s. Nary a zipper in site, the press studs may have been replaced at some point but the hooks and eyes are original … and it’s hand beaded.

Sadly the hem has been slashed away and I don’t really know how long it would have been in it’s original form. And, oh, the design. The skirt panels are cut to create a fluted kick at back and front, there's a scallop-cut detail falling from the hip, beaded bows, hand cut and stuffed shoulder padding. Did I mention it’s wool crepe and as far as I can tell there’s no sign of silver fish having gnawed through it - well, one teeny hole in a spot I can mend.

I haven’t yet figured out a way to wash it. It will need to be hand laundered and I fear what’s in those shoulder pads - I think it may be folded newspaper. True.

I was just going to iron up and hand stitch a new hem in, but saw Bekvam’s scalloped hem on Chelsea’s blog. What do you think, straight or scallop? Or beading. Maybe beading. Could have been a beaded hem, couldn't it?

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14 comments

  1. I wouldn't wash it, I'd steam it and let it air dry. I have a feeling a dress like that would have been mid calf length and killer posh, imagine the hat that the original owner would have worn with it, not to mention the gloves and the bag....

    just curios, what did you sacrifice for this little blessing?
    ;)

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  2. Oh my goodness, that is beautiful, the beaded bows and scallop details are my favourite part, x Nadia

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  3. wow that is rather spiffy, the scalloped detail is lovely.
    Does it also fit you well? I've found divine things that just dont fit my shape/size...

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  4. Wow what a find.

    I agree with Estelle, a quick steam should be sufficient. Dresses from that era were traditionally mid calf, I wouldn't do too much to the hem as they say less is more and you don't want to take away from the original gorgeousness.

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  5. What a divine dress! I agree with the less is more theory. I work with historic costumes and we NEVER wash them. A light steam would be fine though. I so hope you get to wear this one day.

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  6. Wow! Well done you.

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  7. ooh, it's really beautiful......

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  8. I'd steam it too - but if in doubt, I'd contact Lorraine at The Vintage Clothing Shop - she is a wealth of knowledge.

    As for the hem, I'd go for just a regular straight hem, it's already so divine.

    You know I'm dying over here right? DYING! It's a bloody awesome find. Bravo.

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  9. oh yes, well done, I think you win the prize for best find this week!

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  10. I agree with Estelle, steam clean is the way to go. It is such a great find!

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  11. that is gold, lucky you.

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  12. Wow, what a score! Beautiful dress, I agree with the others, a straight hem would be fine. Hope you wear it somewhere fabulous. xx

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  13. wow, did you happen to pick this up at lifeline in gosford?
    if so, i almost bought that dress about a month or two ago! the fabric was too heavy for my linking though, so i left it behind.
    what a funny coincidence that you were able to give it a good home!

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