The way back machine

I’ve been having a bit of a clean out. You know, that “stuff” that’s been shoved away to be dealt with later. 90% of it has gone to the op-shop (why do I keep this stuff in the first place??!!), but I thought you might like to see these.

Waaaaaay back, I used to dress make. My Nanna (Ma Kettle’s Mum) was a fabulous, self taught dress maker and so, taught me. I also did some dress making in high school. The skirt on the left was one of the first things we made – it’s now my duster bag! (Just sewed up the hem!). I made the skirt in the middle pattern in red gingham with the top in broderie anglais, complete with threaded ribbon, all for a 1950’s style dance at high school – and won a prize for the costume! I can remember making the frilly top in the right hand pattern, but can’t remember in what.

I made quite a few of the skirts in the left hand pattern, including a denim one and a brown one (it was the 70’s!). The middle one I made in the dress, with longer sleeves in a green pin whale cord, and used cream linen for the pants of the right one, and vaguely remember making the top.

The pattern on the left I made in a very pretty pink floral and wore to the Valedictory Dinner at the end of year 12. The middle dress was made in electric blue to wear to a friend’s wedding (woo hoo!!), and with the last one, a friend’s mum helped me alter it as the style wasn’t quite as I imagined on me(!!) and in pale pink was my wedding dress when The Golfer and I walked down the aisle!

(Have you noticed the dress sizing going up the older I got??!!).

As a late teenager, nearly all my wardrobe was hand made – hard to imagine now! And looking back on these (and many, many more!) has whetted my appetite for a bit of sewing of the clothing variety!!

How about you? Did you or do you make your own clothes?

Meredithe x

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18 Responses to The way back machine

  1. Vicki says:

    Ooh yes and glad that I am not the only keeping those paper patterns.
    Each year I tell myself that I will use them…..
    Thank you for making me smile and your lovely photos of beautiful things!

  2. Suz says:

    My first sewing experiences were in making clothing! I made many a dress for College balls! (that last Simplicity pattern is rather familiar!) And still make dresses and skirts for myself. I have a skirt all cut out and ready to sew…..I might just get to it today!

  3. Sheila says:

    I used to make practically everything I, and my 3 daughters wore. My sewing came to an almost abrupt halt 20years ago when my husband took 4 archive boxes crammed full of patterns to the dump… He thought they were in the “dispose of ” plie when we were preparing to move

  4. Kyle says:

    Oh, yes, I sewed lots of clothes, the dreaded double knits, an eyelet emperor waist wedding dress, super duper Halloween Costumes, and lots of outfits for my girls when they were small. But I don’t have any desire to sew clothes anymore.

  5. Helen F says:

    Tired to but I used to get frustrated and piff it over the other side of the room!! But made the kids clothes when they came along with heaps of fancy dress outfits! You have to keep the pattern of your wedding dress – might even be able to frame it is some other wedding memorabillia!!

  6. Hilda says:

    What a wonderful collection of patterns and memories Meredithe! I have a similar collection somewhere – didn’t make my wedding dress but did make my Year 12 cotton ‘maxi’ formal dress – complete with sweetheart neckline – remember it well Lol!

  7. Robin says:

    My mother made all my clothes as a child. Then I began sewing for myself as an adult. I sewed all my clothes until middle age crept up on me and I didn’t have a waist any more. Drat! I can’t seem to fit myself at all and so I’ve gone to blouses and skirts. Too boring. . . I’d love to have a one-of-a-kind garment again.

  8. I used to make my own clothes – mostly when I was a hard up teenager, recycling my Mum’s clothes!
    Have a greta weekend, Anne xo

  9. Cécile says:

    Oooh…. I remember my mum had the same kind of patterns ! But I never tryed to make my own clothes !!!

  10. broderie says:

    Oh yes Meredithe, I was also a ‘dressmaker’ ! Made everything I ever wore way back when and I have been buying a few new patterns again lately with the same idea of doing it again !

  11. Janine says:

    Made many clothes as a teenager and Corporate Jackets in the Eighties. The Shoulder pads were huge. The last thing I attempted ended up being thrown across the room and into the bin. Oh dear never mind.x

  12. Cherree says:

    Yes when I started High School ( age 12 for all the non Aussies) my mother told me I could have an allowance for my clothes, so if I wanted lots of clothes I could buy fabric and learn to make them or buy them from the shops and have less clothes. So I learnt to make all my clothes so that I could buy the trendiest shoes to go with them. I use to make lots of clothes for my children as well but haven’t made any for years now.

  13. Annie Andrews says:

    Having downsized all those patterns went. We made all our clothes as they were too expensive to buy, all those ball gowns and wedding dress still in a cupboard somewhere, remember the stiffened skirts,we’d make them the afternoon before going out.

  14. thimbleanna says:

    As I was reading along, I kept thinking I’d see a pattern that I also made (being of the same era LOL) and sure enough — last picture Simplicity 7939! My wardrobe was nearly all handmade too and I also made my wedding dress. I wish I still had some of those old patterns for the many smock tops I made LOL. Of all the crafty things I do, I think I love garment sewing the best, which is probably why I still do a little of it — just can’t give it up! Fun post Meredithe!

  15. Ann says:

    Love the patterns Meredithe. Like you Mum and I sewed most of my clothes, including my wedding dress, 3 bridesmaides and one flower girl. Nearly sent us crazy, but very special to have done it!

  16. rachaeldaisy says:

    My clothes making is a bit like my quilting, I just make it up as I go along. It means the clothes I’ve made are a bit crooked and don’t fit very well, I’m lucky that approach works better with quilts. 🙂 I do love the look of old patterns though.

  17. Deb Burville says:

    I don’t think there would be many teenagers from the 70’s that would not have made their own clothes! How many times have I walked out the door feeling quite sassy in my new outfit, too many times to recount!!

  18. Carole says:

    Oh yes I too made clothes for the children and myself, even did a tailoring course and made coats but unfortunately most of that went by the wayside, but recently had another resurgence if only small. But I must admit patchwork has taken over. Today went to the Gympie quilting show, loved it and made a few purchases.

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