Today I’d like to introduce you to my amazing Mum (Rose) who, unfortunately, is no longer with us. Mum was a seamstress/dressmaker extraordinaire. Her father was a tailor and Mum worked in clothing factories during the war years and was a dressmaker for several boutiques in Mosman Park/Nedlands/Dalkeith during my childhood. I remember so many lovely After 5 and evening dresses hanging in Mum’s bedroom as she was working on them. Times were tough and my Dad was working three jobs to keep the wolf from the door. Mum always made sure that what she was working on was put away out of sight before Dad came home as she didn’t want him to feel that he couldn’t support his family. I know Dad knew that Mum was doing what she could to help but it was such a nice gesture on Mum’s part.
Here are my Mum and Dad …
… and some photos of Mum’s handiwork as I was growing up …
and how she managed to make material bargains go a long way …
I remember wearing my big sister’s dress after I’d outgrown my own.
I didn’t have any shop bought clothes until I started work at 16. Mum made everything, including dancing costumes, fancy dress outfits, all our every day and going out clothes and square dancing outfits for herself and Dad. Even after I started work and could buy my own clothes, Mum was always there if I needed anything made and when I was ballroom dancing she made all my dresses for my medals. I couldn’t have afforded to have them made and would never have advanced as far as I did without Mum’s magic sewing skills.
This was my Tango Star ballroom medal dress. I sewed the black and silver sequined roses whilst travelling on the bus to and from work for months. Back in those days the regulars on the bus all knew each other and talked to each other, so when my roses were finished everyone wanted to know when they were going to see the dress! Mum managed to make a clear plastic bag to cover the dress for my final rehearsal and that day I took it into the city on the bus for everyone to see. I don’t think that would happen these days.
Taking another look at this photo I noticed that my foot is strapped up, which must have been when I broke my little toe by accidentally kicking a rock that was buried under sand on the beach.
If I wanted something made all I needed to do was draw a diagram and leave it to Mum, who would then measure me, get an old newspaper or some brown paper or butcher’s paper that she’d saved and make a pattern to fit my diagram. It was so easy for Mum, and I never developed those skills, because at the time I didn’t need to. If I could go back in time I would apprentice myself to Mum and learn all those amazing tricks of the trade.
One skill I did learn was to backstitch by hand. Mum always said that it was the best skill to have and it has stood me in good stead over the years and I passed it on to our children (not sure about youngest son but definitely eldest son and daughter).
So today, when my eyesight failed me on the first hurdle to making a new peg bag (my trusty peg bag that I made I made from a tea towel, at least 15 years ago, finally gave up and I needed to make a new one) the backstitch came into its own.
With my towel marked and pinned ready to go I opened up my sewing machine planning to have it made in a matter of minutes when I realised I couldn’t see the eye of the needle to thread the cotton 😪. Found my family heirloom magnifying glass and still no luck. Out with the needle and cotton and 30 minutes later …. the finished bag.
So, that’s the reason why no crochet photos today. I’ve been too busy playing peg bags and reminiscing.
The sun is streaming in through the kitchen window where I’m sitting and it’s a glorious sunny day. Washing done and I think it would be a good idea to get some uke practice in this afternoon ready for tomorrow’s gig.
Wishing you sunshine, lollipops and rainbows
(aka Pinky) 🔆🍭🌈