I’ve been following the Instagram sew photo-hop over the last month. I love getting an insight into the sewing habits of other people… their sewing spaces… things they are particularly proud of. I don’t tend to join in because my working week is so full and sometimes hard work, that I don’t think I could do it justice. But I am a nosey creature and love to find out what makes people tick. So I thought it would be nice to show you guys a bit about my sewing lineage.
Ok disclaimer time. I absolutely stole this blog post idea from my Mum. You’ve heard me mention her many times, she’s my sewing buddy, and we do talk about sewing… at length… every time we talk to each other. You can follow my Mums sewing exploits too, she has her own blog (hence the post thievery) go check her out at 60somethingteacher.wordpress.com
So when I was visiting my parents over the summer, during one of our lengthy sewing discussions, we were reminiscing about what sewing Mum used to do a while back. We then dug out some photos of the things I remember her making for me, and for herself…
Are you ready for a 80s-90s fashion show?
You know that culottes trend going on right now… well I grew up in handmade culottes! This is me with my brother… in his short shorts (snigger). These are one of the items I particularly remember my Mum making for me. I’ve never been much of a girly girl and I think this was one of the few ways she could get me into skirts. I think I was about 9 or 10 here, they were made as holiday attire… and can we just take a moment to really appreciate Phil’s bum bag (fanny pack if you’re American).
My sister also got a pair of culottes that same year, we couldn’t find a picture of her wearing them, but in the age old tradition of being a younger sister… I got them the next year… and Phil progressed onto Bermuda shorts. We can’t judge him… they were super trendy at the time.
A lot of what was made for us was holiday attire. I can remember Mum at the dining room table at the machine, cutting board and pins out trying to ignore the three of us making noise in the living room. And yes I can remember rolling my eyes when we were summoned for a ‘fitting’
The holiday clothing here needs a bit of explaining. We were often taken to Lourdes when we were kids on pilgrimage to help out in the hospitals. There was a uniform for everyone (to help others identify us). Women were asked to wear white and we were given a maroon neck scarf with the pilgrimage badge on it (you can see it on the background people). Now while tee shirts could be found on the cheap (we tended to destroy them with dirt and food by the end of the week), skirts were trickier to find… So Mum made several for me and for my sister. This is a Mum-made jersey skirt which I remember as super comfy. And yes… I had a bum bag too… ahem…
Mum also made herself a holiday wardrobe, while I don’t remember this as being handmade, I absolutely remember her wearing these items together and separately! I don’t think any of mine or my sisters clothes these are handmade in this photo.
And it wasn’t just holiday clothes she made for us. Now before I show you the photo I must stres that I have no memory of this outfit… and it was probably the height of kiddy fashion in the 80s… brace yourself…
Yup… both the trousers and waistcoat are Mum-made. I think Chris’s culottes are too (Mum really liked making culottes). But just take a minute to let that outfit sink in! I’m wondering if it was clothes like this that mean I love long sleeves now?
When we were talking over the summer I kept asking Mum about the shorts that she made which had crocodiles with beach balls on them… don’t ask… it was the early 90s. Mum kept insisting she hadn’t made us any such thing… then we found this photo…
Now overlooking how cute it is that I’m pretty much dressed like Mum here… we found those shorts!! And I was wrong, it’s crocodiles with parachutes on… which makes more sense obviously (?!!). Turns out these were actually made for us by my Gran! I have no idea why this surprised me, but it did. My Gran was a Home Economics teacher, who could obviously sew (I mean I knew she could cook like a boss!), but I have never connected this lineage up in my head properly.
So if someone were to ask me why I sew… I could very happily respond that it’s in my DNA to sew. I have grown up surrounded by sewing machines and pins, I have always known to never use the orange handled scissors to cut anything other than fabric. I have worn handmade possibly since year dot.
But you know what’s really funny about all of that? I was horrendous at sewing when I was at school… and I mean painfully bad at it.
If you’re lucky Mum might have found some photos of things she made when she was younger, she’s been doing this sewing malarkey for longer than I have. Keep your eye out on her blog for those.