Friday, August 12, 2016

Almost vintage for Summertime . . . . . . .

I often enjoy looking through racks of vintage clothing but rarely consider buying any.
Have you noticed how tiny women used to be who wore that clothing? 
Not so much in height perhaps, but definitely in wasp waistlines and small bosoms!
I do have a beautiful sheer embroidered vintage blouse which I use as
a window decoration in the guest bedroom - it's romantic looking and 
diffuses bright morning light while covering the harshness of the modern blinds.

Some of you may recall my mother was an amazing dressmaker.  She worked in a
London atelier for a few years and actually made clothes for Queen Elizabeth, our
current Queen's mother. . . . . . growing up I aways loved referring to my mother as
'a Royal dressmaker'.

Mother made most of my clothes when I was a child, therefore I had
some beautiful dresses - which is what most little English girls wore, even 
when playing outside. Trousers - pants - capris - jeans etc. didn't come into style
 until I was about about 12, although I do have a photo of myself in shorts at
age 10 when riding my first grown up bicycle.

When my mother came to visit, usually staying a month or so, she would sew for me. 
This continued over many years, with garments even coming across the
 pond in parcels when she couldn't travel as often. My mother lived to be 91, 
flying to the USA alone until her early eighties.
Back in the late '60's I discovered a small business in New Hampshire which imported
 beautiful fabrics, these were two of them, soft woven cottons - silky and light for
 Summer - made in Switzerland. We almost aways sewed Vogue Designer patterns, 
this simple blouse was part of a Calvin Kline outfit.  Can't begin to tell you how often
 they've been worn and laundered, and the fabric is as lovely as when it was new. 

In the heat of this Summer, again I brought these out to enjoy. 
My only almost vintage clothing I suppose. 
What sweet memories they hold.


  1. What lovely memories, Mary. You were so very lucky to have had your mother for such a long time, and to have these beautiful reminders of her love and care.

    1. I really am fortunate to have had such a wonderful mother - she was such a talented woman in so many ways and I miss her so much.

  2. I've bought some vintage dresses over the years, and kept some from my Mum and Grandma. But for most vintage clothes, I am too tall at 5'7". The last one I bought was a few years ago in Ripon; you can see it here. It will soon be chilly enough again to wear it!
    The fabrics in your photos are beautiful, and how wonderful to have clothes sewn by your mother - unique, and perfect reminders of her love for you and her skill as a Royal dressmaker!

    1. Thanks dear - like you I am tall, 5'8" - but not as beautifully slim as you!

  3. In those days there were no shops specifically for teenagers, and we tended to wear dresses suitable for 'gels'. When I was 16 I yearned for a grey pleated skirt, but had to go to a Ladies Boutique to find anything.

  4. Dear Mary, The blouses you have pictured are so very special. And to think that our Mother sewed them for you. Will you be taking them with you on your upcoming African trip?
    We have a fine seamstress in our town. She copied a Max Mara dress for me in the most gorgeous silk crepe de chine. It goes on every trip to Europe with me because the dress is always right, at the opera, traveling in the car, walking the promenades, eating gelato in the square or going to a fancy restaurant in the evening.
    I don't know what I will do when it wears out.

  5. Oh Mary, your pictures and prose delight.

  6. A lovely post Mary. I don't think I recall that fact about your mother sewing clothes for the late Queen Elizabeth. Amazing! Sewing is not a trait I have nor did my mother or grandmothers. Sad eh. I tried my bit at it and we had sewing lessons in Home Ec classes in high school where I made blouses and dresses and made a few things on my own too but I never had the patience for it. Quality fabrics are hard to find 'off the rack' today and that is all I can afford. I'm amazed that your two blouses are wearing so well and still in style too. It speaks for the quality of fabric and workmanship in your handwork. The hanging vintage blouse is beautiful. Interesting post!

  7. Beautiful, Mary! What a treasure these tops are. What a very special and talented mother you had too.

  8. The patterns on your blouses are so pretty. You have some wonderful memories of your mother.

  9. What an incredible story! I asked M if he remembers you talking about your mother as a dressmaker and he said he vaguely remembers you sharing about it. It's fabulous and what history to have your family! :)

  10. I did not know this about your mother - amazing story! I love the vintage blouse hanging in your guest room window.

  11. The don't make good fabric anymore! My mother use to sew for her friends as she learned to be a dressmaker too. Unfortunately when I was 14 she didn't want to do it anymore. Actually it was a passion not doing for a living.

  12. Oh the joys of having such a talented mother and the wisdom of purchasing quality.


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