Monday 2 January 2012

The sartorialista and her sister

Handsome isn't he?

My mother bought this sewing machine back in the 1960s
and started making all our clothes.
No frock was too floral, too bright,
or too short.

Pretty soon I was using it too.
I remember the thrill of leafing through the huge pattern books
produced by Simplicity and Butterick, McCalls and Vogue
and coming home with a fat envelope of
flimsy folded patterns which had to be accurately
laid out and pinned to the fabric.
But if I didn't find what I wanted, I improvised
with old sheets, tie-dyeing them with those tiny tins of Dylon, 
(so impossible to open without liberally spotting everything 
pink and purple, orange and green,)
and then slicing holes for my head and arms.
I also customised my jeans by ripping up the outside seams
and inserting flowery panels to make them more flared.
Paired with chokers and belts made from a huge bag of 
leather and suede offcuts,
I was very well pleased with the overall effect.

Today I hauled it out to make some curtains,
but I was half tempted to make the curtains
into a tunic...

Getting dressed is just so boring these days.

LIfted directly from Wikipedia; Husqvarna was 
originally a military arsenal founded in 1869 to produce
muskets for the Swedish army. 
The company Husqvarna has since grown,
and its production has changed from weapons, sewing machines,
kitchen equipment, bicycles and motorcycles
to lawnmowers, chainsaws and construction products. 


  1. How beautiful you both are.

    If only we could go back to the days of our childhood and reassure our young selves that we shine with the irrepressible vitality of youth.

    (I have a much loved Husquavarna Viking in the cupboard which was a 21st Birthday present)

  2. Oh wow, me too!! I loved my hippie chick jeans, one pair had embroidered flowers all the way up both seams! I wanted sunglasses like Janis Joplin had...

  3. Oh I just love those dresses. I remember my late sister, she lived in London and would shop for fabric after work on Monday and cut out her dress, hand sew it and have a new dress for Saturday night and the dance. I have always knitted and designed sweaters and the thrill of new yarn is an absolute delight and the possibilities endlesss. I do believe the young, in the 60's and 70's, had a unique sense of fashion and design. It was infinitely more exciting than just purchasing a new dress.

    Thanks for the beautiful memory

    Helen xx

  4. Love the title of this post Lucille, and you brought back fond memories of my stabbing Dylon tins and peeling back the metal, trying soooooo hard not to let any of the powder escape. It always did!

  5. Skirts today don't know the meaning of the word short!

  6. I used to make my own clothes too, far cheaper than shop bought! We were pretty daring with skirt lengths weren't we?!

  7. Did a lot of sewing in my younger days. Hours spent in a fabric shop passed so quickly!

  8. My sewing machine is from the 60's as well. I think it could be used as a weapon if needed...!

    I Love the photo. I remember my sisters altering their jeans, too. Sometimes they took out the middle seams and sewed in panels to make skirts.