Now Sunday is a funny day for garage sales I did wonder if I had missed the place and then I saw the sign. I parked the car under a walnut tree and laughed at the gaggle of sparrows as they pecked at the nuts I had crushed under the wheels of my car.
I did feel a bit self conscious as I walked up the driveway - what would I find? would it be awful? The ad in the paper said "older ladies clothes" - this could mean twin sets and leisure suits or it could mean decent clothing from the 1950s. As I neared the garage where the sale was being held I walked past an aviary full of cheeping birds. The table in the garage groaned under the weight of several kilos of knitting pattern, wool and romance novels. A hand written sign said "clothes at back".
I felt the hand of trepidation clutch at my throat as I was greeted by a distinct smell as I entered "the back". I am not going to gloss over the fact that it smelled really bad in "the back", because it was so bad I thought I would choke. A combination of stale cigarettes, sweat and cat urine. I swallowed and turned my attention to the goods surround me:
- a large table covered in neatly folded sweaters and tops piled 2 or 3 high (roughly 40 sweaters and too many tops to count) all clean I might add
- several rows of shoes (all size 10 - not my size sadly) standing to attention around the edge of the garage
- a table smothered in knickknacks and including housewares from the 1980s such as salad servers, nail polish and Australia souvenirs
- a row of handbags (10 at least)
- several rows of clothes, all on hangers on ropes suspended from the ceiling and looped up every couple of meters.
The only other buyer left - I commented that the clothes were homemade and then I heart - Oh I have the sewing patterns over here if you are interested. By the stage the smell seemed to be fading, or was it my tolerance. I grabbed the tea dress noting that it was on the hanger inside out to protect it from marks and followed the bird lady to a corner where she pulled out a supermarket bag full of patterns. As I enjoyed the children's patterns from the 1950s the bird lady brought a foul smelling box over to me, and asked if I would like to look......
Yes, dear reader I kid you not when I say that there were about 50 vintage patterns from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and a few from 60s, 70s. Advance, Butterick, Simplicity, Womens Home Journal the list could go on and on. Their condition was far from ideal - the box had been wet at some point - tide marks in an ominous colour were along many envelopes. Some patterns had been used - I could see brown paper or newspaper versions in amongst. I got a gut feeling that some patterns would be pristine even if the envelope was not. I selected about 10, and then with the dress under one arm gave the bird lady $10, admired an apricot canary before getting in my car and driving for five minutes to collect myself.
In the supermarket car park you don't expect to see a lady sitting in a car, gulping big breaths of fresh air and reading sewing patterns. Well reader that was me on Sunday. Feeling sad for the lady who made clothes, and her bird friend who was selling them, and hoping that when I am old and need someone to sell all my patterns and clothes and treasures that someone will buy them and love them.
I'll be posting some picture of the patterns, and the dress, which with a little tweaking will fit me quite nicely thankyou. In the meanwhile, this pattern above is very similar to the dress - with the scallops along the neckline and sleeve /arm holes (what are those bits called??).