29th August 2020

I just bought a lovely lot of Australian buttons from Olga. They were left over from her mother’s work as a ‘finisher’. From the prices I’d say they date from the mid 1950s to mid 1960s. Some would be for blouses/shirts, and some for dresses.


Olga tells us that:

“My mother emigrated to Australia from Cyprus in 1951 and commenced work at a factory where women’s clothing was manufactured. The proprietors were two Jews by the name of Pakulas & Konoski. (I am not sure if the spelling is correct). The factory was located in Regent Street, Darlinghurst, in inner Sydney , and almost all the women working there were recent arrivals, mostly from Greece and Cyprus. My mother had an advantage in that she could speak Hebrew and was able to translate the boss’s instructions to the seamstresses. She had spent two years ( 1945-7) in Palestine ( which became Israel in 1949) as a nanny for a wealthy Jewish family. They encouraged her to study dress-making and pattern-making.

My mum was a “finisher” at the factory in the early 1950’s . It was her job was to sew buttons on the clothes made in the factory. After having children, she would bring the work home and return the finished items each week . Hence, there were left-over buttons which she kept after she resigned.

As to the work performed by the ‘finishers’ it included hand stitching hems of skirts , dresses and ladies suit jackets, sewing buttons on blouses, dresses , jackets as well as sleeves, hand stitching applique embroidery on lapels , collars and bodices, trimming excess thread after machine sewing was completed and tacking fabric pieces together (e.g. sleeve to bodice ) before it was sewn by machine.”

“Thank you for publishing this story about my mother. It was a delight to have met you (via your blog) and to know that this collection of my mother’s has found a worthy home.
She would be chuffed to know that her humble story has found its way into history!”


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