Thursday, March 3, 2011

Miss Page Blue Mountain’s Dressmaker 1920’s – 1970’s ‘Hearts broken after war’

Miss Violet Florence Page circa 1920's
Miss Page came to my attention through Peter and Laraine Staton of Hazelbrook Cottage Antiques, Peter thought I’d like the ‘Marriage Licence’ dress (see below right) as I’m a marriage celebrant, Offbeat Ceremonies, as well as a dressmaker.

The Marriage License Dress
I was very curious about this unusual costume and the woman who made it. Peter offered me a battered cardboard suitcase and a few garbage bags of ‘rags’ and other memorabilia from an estate sale, this turned into a treasure trove of a dressmaker's working life from the 20th century.   

Miss Violet Florence Page, Blue Mountains Dressmaker 1920’s – 1970’s, and they were all about to be tossed to the tip.

In the suitcase and plastic bags were gowns made by her in the 1920’s to 1940’s, dress patterns from the 20's to the 50's, letters from clients, friends and the romantic story of a lost love. 

The March Miss Page 1920's Gowns Exhibition
I felt that she needed to be remembered, so I decided to host an exhibition of the 1920's gowns as part of the The Roaring Twenties .... and All That Jazz Festival in March 2011. My event caught the eye of Ann Beveridge of the Daily Telegraph and she researched and published the romantic and sad ‘Hearts broken after war’ story of unrequited love in WWII (Saturday Telegraph, 12/2/2011, p.36, History Section)

This article provided me with contacts from women who had had wedding, bridesmaids and evening dresses made by Miss Page. These women offered up their stories of the dressmaker and of their special gowns, which provided more insight to Miss Page's career and life both before and after WWII.

1920's Afternoon Tea Dance and Miss Page Exhibition. My gown on the far right is made from a 1920's pattern that had belonged to Miss Page
 We are planning another exhibition in this winter 2011. We will exhibit all the gowns in the collection, gowns made by a talented local dressmaker, at a price that was affordable to her clientele, not Channel and Dior, but beautiful and stylish none-the-less. Along with the gowns will be memorabilia, letters and patterns.

I'm still collecting information on Miss Page and if you have any information about her, perhaps a gown, or photos that you’d like to pass onto the Miss Page collection for future display please contact me on 02 4701 9345 or by email

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My costumes and gowns

Rudi with hher owner who is wearing my cothardy and veils
19th century underwear

1890's sports outfit ~ bloomers
Medieval maidens
1890s walking outfit on left
Regency bucks. Helped student make the gold jacket and made entire outfit on right
Blue Regency gown

1880s bustle gown

Recreation of a Madame Vionnet gown from her 1929 collection

 'Mad Men' inspired 1950's ensemble

Late Italian Renaissance 
as seen on 
The Italian Showcase of The Realm of Venus 
Italian Renaissance website
Italian Renaissance chemise, linen, hand and machine stitched
as seen on The Italian Showcase of The Realm of Venus Italian Renaissance website

Italian Renaissance gown circa 1490's
 as seen on The Italian Showcase of The Realm of Venus Italian Renaissance website

A Burgundian gown, medieval period

Show girl Can Can skirt, circa 1880's with modern adaptations

Winter Magic 2010: Right is J-L in her Highland garb all sourced from second hand shops, Left is me in my 1880's bustle, bloomers and jacket with modern leg warmers (knitted by J-L)and other accessories

Monk's outfit based on a medieval 'T-Tunic'

Back of monk's garb

1920's tango dress from a FolkWear pattern, linen fabric

Regency 'buck', shirt, vest and jacket made by me, trousers purchased but are period correct. Lulu is to the right on lead

Early Italian Renaissance on right and Celtic Highlander on left

A simple wool cotehardie, 'a truly remarkable garment, through out history there are few garments as special as this one. For this was the first tailored garment in European if not world history. Before the cotehardie most clothes were some kind of variation on a bag with sleeves and a hole for your head.'

A cotton velvet bliaut with silk lined sleeves

Me in my velvet bliaut, J-L in her chocolate brown bliaut (made by me) and two friends in borrowed garb

My rope corset, the most comfortable corset I have ever made