Hot! The “Postcards from Abroad” Skirt

The Facts
Fabric: 1950’s Cotton Chintz? $40, Robert Kaufman Suessville Quilting Cotton $10
Pattern: Advance 6064
Year: 1952
Notions: Zip
Time to complete: 4 hours plus 1 for dyeing
First worn: May 2012
Wear again? Once it’s got a black yoke

Total Cost: ~$50

The main fabric of the skirt is this wonderful 1950’s postcard print fabric. The postcards depict scenes from exotic locales like Venice, somewhere with palm trees and somewhere else with cacti!! With wonky stripes. If you can identify any of these scenes – please, enlighten me! The fabric might be chintz – as it has a lustrous appearance.

I picked up this remnant at the 50’s fair in Sydney for $40. It had the top cut off . Perhaps the rest of the fabric it was used for a dress and belt – leaving a bit almost big enough for a skirt for me!

The second fabric (on the yoke) is Suessville from Robert Kaufman. It is a quilting fabric. I bought the fabric online and waited for it to come from the US. It has the wonky stripes too – I thought it would be perfect. First issue is that the stripes looked tiny on my computer screen. Hard to judge scale when buying fabric online isn’t it? I wasted at least an hour trying to tea dye the bright whiteness out of it. Second issue is that it just looks like a wrinkly rag next to the beautiful glossy postcard print. I will seriously consider sewing garments from quilting fabric in the future.

I was very disapointed in the way the stripes make me look like I was wearing a large striped maternity t shirt with a curved hem, under my top and 50’s cardi!!!

I tried turning the skirt around – it helped a little, but I hated it so much that for the outdoor photos I wore my long top to cover the yoke!

Another confession – after my bathroom photo shoot I gave up on the skirt and the waist is unfinished (except for stay stitching) so it slipped down my hips and looks longer than I wanted it to when I was out to lunch.

Anyway as soon as I can find black fabric that is slightly faded and glossy – that wobbly stripe’s outta here! Next time – I promise to do something more adventurous with print mixing!

More information over on my blog.



Trish lives in Sydney and has way more thrifted patterns and fabric than her fair share. She studied fashion design in her former life and sews while trying to not to burn the dinner.


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  1. That postcard print is fabulous, you can see how great this skirt will be when you get round to finishing it. Definitely worth fixing when you find the right fabric.

    • Thanks Taracat – it’s yummy isn’t it?! Laura Ashley did a wonderful group of travel related pieces last summer. Cardigans with bunting, dresses featuring postcards – so nice to have an original though!

  2. Hi Trish
    Lovely outfit! I think I might be able to shed some light on the print.

    The cacti in the middle postcard are Fichi d’India, literally “Indian Fig”, also known as Opuntia, or Prickly Pear. They produce a delicious fruit that doesn’t look much like a pear but is definitely prickly!

    In Europe and they are typical of Mediterranean countries, and in Italy they are typically associated with Sicily.

    The picture on the right, which I cannot see properly but it reminds me of somewhere in Tuscany.

    All this, together with the unmistakably pic of St Mark’s Square on the left, makes me think that fabric is a homage to Italy. It would be interesting to find out what use it was meant for when it was printed!

    • Wow Stef! That’s amazing! Thanks so much for your knowledge. How appropriate as my husband is half Italian – that makes it even more special. I will show it to my father in law. He’s from Abruzzi (not Sicily) but may have some insights!? There are some more photos – of the pink band too on my blog – if you care to take a look.

      Thank you so much!

      • Hi Trish
        I have just been to have a look on your blog, I think most of the pics are of Venice on the pink band, although the one with the tall trees in front of the palatial building baffles me, as I don’t think that’s Venice. It definitely looks familiar and it could be some corner of Rome.
        I stand by my previous Tuscany and prickly pear/Sicily comments :)
        The print is gorgeous and it’s making more than a little homesick, but luckily I will be in Venice in two weeks’ time!

  3. Hi Trish, I think the postcard fabric is fabulous and quite interesting, I tried to figure out location but I didn’t recognize any, sorry.

  4. Love the postcard fabric. Its a mix it up pattern all by its self. I agree with you on the yolk and waistband, a color that matches the background of the skirt will probably look great.

  5. What fantastic skirt – what a lucky find with the fabric. I love the idea of it being a homage to Italy. I have a skirt made from 1950s tourist print fabric of Venice – such a wonderful time for prints!

    Pity that the yoke didn’t work out, but it will look fabulous with the one you are contemplating.

  6. Gorgeous fabric! I’m glad you love it enough to fix the yoke.

  7. That is a pretty cool find Trish. Shame about the striped yoke, though I admire your determined attention to detail to find wonky stripes online!.. and then tea dying it too. Isn’t it funny how things look so different in our heads.. or even the mirror… and then we see the photos. lol.

    • Thanks Casey. The power of Google! Just a fluke really. Yes, but what I didnt realize was how much of a curve my belly needs to get around it! The stripes highlighted this spectacularly for me!

  8. Damn those stripes, ah well! it doesn’t look too bad in the photos but do know what you mean when you’re not happy with the outcome. The postcard fabric has Trish written all over it. Queen of skirts :P

  9. Amazing postcard fabric! Sorry about the yoke. Buying fabric online can be so hit or miss; most of the time when I order for a specific project I end up using the fabric for something else. You must finish this beautiful skirt, though.

  10. Just looked at the further pics on your blog. I think Stef’s right and they’re virtually all Venice (I’m not an expert on the fig one, I’d have no idea about that). We used to holiday a lot in Italy when I lived in the UK, and Venice is one of my favouritist places on earth. I think the pink card that’s alluding Stef isn’t trees, but it is a Palace….I think it’s looking at the Doge’s Palace just off St. Mark’s Square from the water and through the thick trunks of wood they have at the water’s edge to tie the gondolas up to….a bit like this: Though that photo’s taken from the wrong end. If I’m right, the etching is by the left end from the water, the bit where James Bond drove his hover gondola onto St. Mark’s Square in Moonraker….shall I shut up now? ;)