Growing up in the 1950s all our clothes, except coats and undies, were home-made by our mother.
Mum was a dab-hand with her sewing machine and she made clothes for me, my younger sister and for herself.
Mum sewed dresses for winter and for summer; shorts for going on holiday; and blouses for school. She knitted cardigans, jumpers, gloves, scarves, hats; even once a woolly swimsuit.
She had a Singer sewing machine purchased in 1953 for £27 / 18s / 9d. My dad saved the receipt in case the machine didn’t work and he had to take it back to the shop.
The sewing machine was the Singer 99 designed for family use with an oscillating hook.
The electric pedal was an optional extra which my mum didn’t want. She couldn’t afford it anyway but confessed that she was scared that she wouldn’t be able to control an electric machine as she’d been sewing for years with her mother’s manual Singer.
Mum used a paper pattern but she often adapted the patterns to make them more original. She made identical clothes for my sister and me, not because we were twins but because she could get more value from the fabric with careful positioning and cutting – almost two for the price of one!
As we got older our tastes diverged and we made our own choices of patterns and fabrics for the clothes our mum made for us. But in the sixties the days of home-made clothes came to an end as we couldn’t resist the lure of boutiques and department stores.
Mustn’t forget to add that mum made clothes for our dolls too. My sister still has her Rosebud doll wearing a skirt made for her by our mother. And, my sister has inherited mum’s Singer sewing machine and still uses it occasionally to this day.
Thanks for reading my blog today. You can read more of my memories of a 1950s childhood in ‘Cabbage and Semolina‘ and it’s follow-on, ‘Jam for Tea‘.