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If I was only allowed to enter one kind of shop for the rest of my life, I’d choose op shops.  You can find anything in op shops or thrift shops or charity shops – whatever you may call them in your neck of the woods – although if you’re after something specific, you have to go about it subtly.  Sometimes the op shop gods will smile on you and you’ll find an exact replacement for your dad’s old dictionary in the first shop you visit.  Other times, they laugh at you as you search through fully a dozen op shops before you finally get your hands on a proper Scrabble game.

Often, Sundays are the only weekend day when I can hunt out op shops and to find one open on such a day is a very rare event indeed.  Yet that’s exactly what happened as I was driving through Chiltern with the parents last weekend.  An open op shop was the very last thing we expected to discover in this historic little town in North East Victoria and yet there it was, its glorious ‘Op Shop Open’ sign begging us to come in.

And look what I found! I was excited enough to discover a large box stuffed full of old sewing patterns.  I was ecstatic to turn around and find two more.

“We might be here for a little while,” mum said to dad, as we set about riffling through the boxes.

This was my selection:

Chiltern Patterns

Seven lovely patterns, many of which have never even been used.  I couldn’t resist that classic seventies dress on the top there.  Will I ever make it?  Perhaps.  I’m finding it difficult to resist those gloriously puffy sleeves.  In the meantime, I just love looking at it and wondering how it might have turned out if its original owner had ever made it.

Feast your eyes on the length of the dresses in the illustration, though.  Either those models actually were eight foot tall or the illustrator took some serious liberties in the name of art.

Chiltern Patterns Dress

I love the little dress in red on the pattern above.  In fact, I hadn’t even noticed the much more prominent tennis dresses until the ma pointed them out.  But the garment I most want to make isn’t actually pictured on the front, for reasons that will soon become obvious.  You can see it at the bottom left of the photo below.

Chiltern Patterns Detail

It’s a pattern for bloomers!  Don’t laugh, but I’ve been seriously tempted to make some silly, frilly bloomers for when I’m riding my bike, because riding a bike in a dress isn’t always decorous as I’d like it to be.  Many a day, I’ve been holding back on pedalling because the wind was being a bit too insistent in its efforts to blow my skirt over my head.

This just leaves one question: Does a pair of bloomers count as a whole garment for my Delightful Dozen Project?  Probably not…  Perhaps I’ll make a pair to match a dress or something.

Then there was this pattern below.

Chiltern Patterns Wrap Dress

I liked it enough to put it in my pile of selected patterns, but as I investigated it more thoroughly, I realised it was a type of dress I’ve wanting to find for ages: a back wrap dress in a very simple style.  This one is definitely going on the list of patterns to make for the Delightful Dozen Project – it has such a retro 1940s feel to it that I can’t not make it.

The best bit?  All of these patterns, plus a roll of hemming tape, cost me $5.

Yes, I think I’ll stick with op shops, thanks.  Who else is with me?

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