Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ghosts of sewing past

So yesterday Sis and I celebrated her Bastille Day birthday with a slap-up lunch at the art museum, followed by a prowl through Pioneer Square shops.  I wore this rayon crepe beauty (well okay it looks like a shapeless bag in the picture) which I had hastily finished only yesterday morning. 

And that put me in mind of sewing when I was in college. Sewing back then was a one day (and sometimes half the night) marathon to get the damn thing finished so I could wear it the next day.  Who cares what it looks like inside (aside from Grandma Sally, and like she counts), or if your hemming stitches are so big you could catch your toe in them.  In fact safety pins work just as well!  Anyway, here's a real piece of slapdash stitching from about 1970.  I loved the pattern with its six tucks instead of darts.

And I loved the fabric, some strange totally synthetic something with a crepe weave.

But look at the inside, with its crappy six inch hem!  I'm sure I just slapped it in there, telling myself I would fix it later.  As in never.  Certainly not in the last forty years!

And then there's this.  I remember sewing it in the hot days of August 1970, with clouds of synthetic dust wafting up every time I cut into the fabric.  It had shorts to go with it, which got a sneer from the crappy boyfriend of the moment, who informed me his father wouldn't allow his mother to wear "hot pants."  Not allow, fr'crissake.

And this tiny scrap of a thing from 1967 or 1968.  The waist is 22 inches.  And mind you that's the waist of the skirt.  The tiny me that wore it was even smaller.  And it's only 19 inches long. 

And finally, perhaps the sweetest thing I've ever sewn.  Isn't it adorable?  I made it in 1970 to go to see Hair, and I wore it with orange tights.  And short!  It comes only to about mid thigh.  Forty years later it looks as fresh and pretty as the day it was made.  When I pulled it out of the box this morning there was scarcely a crease in it.  That's the miracle of synthetics!  I sewed almost exclusively synthetics back then, in part because they were inexpensive and I was poor.  But also because the Vietnam War made cotton and wool less available, and silk not available at all.


Sis said...

Nostalgia Dresses! They are so lovely! I remember the last dress very well. I thought you looked so cool and hip! And you were, of course, the coolest and hippest big sister ever. Thanks again for a delightful birthday celebration!

Annie said...

And you were, of course, the coolest sweetest little sister ever!