Following on from my earlier post here part 1, this is the 2nd half of my post :)
|Mummy's Singer 224ML Sewing Machine|
How Did Mummy Start Sewing?
Chatting with Mummy I tried to ask her where her sewing interests came from. And, truly it was the most enthusiastic I've seen her when talking about any topic EVER! I found out that she started sewing in the 1960's when she was 14 years old, she enjoyed admiring the fashions of older girls and ladies, but could not afford to buy things for herself in the shops (she was the youngest of 11 children, so I imagine that spare cash for the idle fancies of the young and fashion-concious was not readily available!). She had an urge to make for herself a dress with a fitted bodice, nipped in waist and full gathered skirt. But, that kind of style takes a lot of fabric to achieve. So, she bought some cheaper bedding fabric, plus having only a 19"/48.3cm waist at the time (Mummy is 'ickle - only 5ft 1inches/155cm tall) she had enough fabric to accomplish her aim. She didn't use a pattern - she just winged it, using her older Sister's sewing machine! The result came out so well, that her next door neighbour upon admiring her brand new handywork commisioned Mummy to make some pretty dresses for her two young daughters (who, if I understood correctly from Mummy were about 5 and 7 years old at the time). The neighbour supplied the fabric for the dresses, Mummy supplied the thread - and she was rewarded with a payment of some "proper" dress fabric. Pleased with this turn of events, Mummy realised that if she took on other projects she could earn enough money to buy her own sewing machine. So, she made things for people in her neighbourhood - and used that money to take evening dressmaking classes to improve her skills, and to buy her Singer 224ML sewing machine. A friend of hers was a photographer for a local paper, and his girlfriend asked to pose with her for the photo you see below left. Mummy made the blouse and skirt from her own self-drafted patterns. Turns out she never wholly liked anything worn by other people, and sewing helped her to stand out in her own individual style, and "To be different; unique". She liked to mix and match elements from other garments she saw in magazines or on the street. The picture on the bottom right shows Mummy at 19 years old (did the eyebrows man ;)!) still with the 19" waist in a self-made, self-designed dress at a fashion show. Mummy says that models back then often worked on shows say modelling just a line of coats, or something else and that they were expected to provide the rest of the clothing (and makeup/hair) themselves. So, she made her own!
Mummy in her self-drafted, self-made garments.
After her initial start into sewing at 14, Mummy, took on four part-time jobs at the same time! Modelling, Perfume Sales Lady at the Robinsons department store, wedding make-up for brides, and of course dressmaking. Ten years of saving up her hard earned wages later, she had enough capital for a sizeable deposit to purchase her own flat. And, a couple of years after that she trade-up for a bigger and better place. (NB: Mummy met and married Daddy in her 30's, so was pretty much an independant lady before she settled into married life and babies etc., and they did ship her sewing machine over from Singapore to the UK when they married) .
It's funny - I can remember Mummy making me 1 or 2 things when I was little. And, she made my two brothers some matching waistcoat and trousers each (along with neck ties). But, I can't ever seem to remember her making things for herself - I guess having 3 small children all under the ages of 6 at the same time must really eat into your "Me-time". I do distinctly remember that we were never allowed to go near her sewing machine - and (see photos from my Flickr account below) it was always covered in many layers to protect it from dust, scratches, and sticky children's fingers (haha!).
I asked Mummy when was the last time she made something from scratch, and she wasn't very clear - but she did say that for my youngest brother's recent wedding (this April) she'd taken in a jacket all along the sleeves and down the side-seams because she likes the big 80's shoulder-pad look of the bigger sizes, but not how baggy they are on the body.
So, whilst I don't think we'll be setting up a wee sewing circle of just us two stitching-buddies anytime soon - it does somewhat intrigue me as to whether my