Sunday, 6 May 2018

Festival of Vintage, York

It feels like an age since I went to the Festival of Vintage at York racecourse, but actually it's only a couple of weeks ago. As I mentioned before, I dressed up for the occasion. I felt quite self-conscious setting off from the hotel; but the closer I got to the racecourse the more people I spotted in similar dress, and by the time I joined the queue to get in, it was wall-to-wall vintage.

I've only previously been to local vintage fairs in Chester and Liverpool, so nothing prepared me for the scale of this. Outside there was a large display of vintage cars to be admired.

Admiring the cars . . .

They also provided a backdrop for lots of photos.

. . . and posing beside them

Inside, one building was devoted to the dancefloor and to modern reproduction clothing. This was where I got my 1940s hat, from Heritage Re-loved.

Re-modelled from an old plush hat

The main building contained four floors of stalls selling vintage clothing, furniture, accessories and homewares. The first thing I looked for was vintage handkerchiefs, as I'd decided that amid all this vintage, blowing my nose on a paper tissue just wasn't right!

Once that was attended to, I could have a proper look round. I tend not to pay too much attention to clothes stalls, as they won't fit (too long in the body) and I prefer making my own. There were a number of stalls selling paper patterns (they weren't always prominently displayed, so I had to keep my eyes peeled), and I came home with quite a selection.

Paris Originals from 1964 and 1976

I really like Vogue patterns from the era where the word 'Vogue' was printed in blue. The blouse in the centre is a particular favourite.I'm sure the hat will look ridiculous on me, but it has to be tried.

1965, 1967 and 1961

I've also got a soft spot for Style patterns from the 1970s and 1980s, because Style was the brand I tended to use then. I'm intrigued by the idea of 'half' sizes on the patterns on the left and right; given the bust measurement, surely it would have been easier to label them sizes 17 and 15 rather than 16½ and 14½?

1974, 1975 and 1979

Finally I can't imagine ever making up these patterns because a) I just Don't Do Frills and b) it's a jumpsuit, but I liked them anyway.

1962 and 1976

Over lunch I met three lovely ladies called Joy, Jen and Emma, who were beautifully dressed in 1940s, 1960s and 1930s outfits respectively. They had been to the Festival of Vintage before, and strongly recommended going to the fashion show. This was organised by Clare from The House of Foxy, and included both vintage and reproduction clothes. The House of Foxy website shows the reproduction clothing far better than my photographs could, but these are some of the vintage pieces.

Vintage clothes in the fashion parade, starting from the 1930s . . .

. . . and going up to the 1960s

This dress drew gasps all round when it appeared, as the three-coloured chiffon back drape floated so elegantly.

The chiffon seams were beautifully done

As well as the patterns and hat, I also bought a handbag. I’ve wanted a 1950s summer bag for a while, and this one fitted the bill perfectly. The multi-coloured decoration on the front means that it will go with pretty much everything.

With 6" ruler, for scale

It’s exactly the sort of shape I was after.

The back is all woven

Showing the clasp fasten and handles

Inside it has a zipped section on one side and a pocket on the other.

Zip pocket at back . . .

. . . and plain pocket at front

The original label was literally hanging by a thread when I bought it, and has now come away altogether, but I'll re-attach it.

Made in Miami

On the day before I had bought three old pattern catalogues for research purposes (don't ask), so I had a lot of luggage to stagger home with, but it was a great trip.


  1. What a great bunch of purchases! Half size patterns were introduced sometime in the early 20th century specifically for older women. They were sloped slightly differently than "misses" patterns, and accounted for some of the changes that happen as you get older (lower bust darts, thicker middle, etc). I find half sizes tend fit me a lot better than the standard pattern sizes from that period, particularly since I'm short waisted and the half size patterns seem to be sloped for it. Lynn at American Age Fashion has a few posts on half sizes.

    1. Thanks a lot for the update Juliana, that's great information to know. I'm short waisted too - I'll have to try one of these patterns out now!

  2. Fantastic finds! When I went to The Summer of Vintage Festival I ended up rummaging through all the sewing patterns too. It's always great to find different sellers who offer things you've never seen before. The 70s jumpsuit is really funky, you should definitely make that!

    Oh, and I love the 1930s dress on the HoF's catwalk. Yes please! xx

    1. I had a jumpsuit in the late 70s/early 80s, and once may have been enough! xx