Monday, January 14, 2013

Dressing Sylvia

 Well you've seen 'Dressing the Queen' but what about me? I had a dresser too. My mother.
I bought this knitting book at a second hand book sale recently. The book was released in 1954 to celebrate the visit of the Queen to Australia. You can see rampant lions on the front cover designs.
This design is named Heraldry and has the kangaroo and emu coat of arms.
 Look, here I am wearing the knitted jacket. Mum was an expert dressmaker and embroiderer but not much of a knitter so I'm sure she didn't knit this and I didn't. Mum knew an expert knitter who took orders so perhaps she did the knitting. I loved this jacket and wore it often, it was a deep rose colour in a fine wool. Wish mum was still here so I could thank her for my Royal knitting.
In the photo I am also wearing the wide eyed gormless or stunned mullet look on my face which I still wear sometimes now.
I made this dress. The fabric was rainbow coloured with glitter in the fabric. I never used a pattern but this style looks a little more complicated so perhaps I did. My usual dressmaking style was to look at me, look at the fabric and cut and sew. Being small and young I got away with dressmaking mistakes. I always favoured quantity over quality and my clothes often fell apart after a few wearings. My sandals are silver.
I had a very sophisticated paper doll with very nice clothes. Mum copied this outfit from the paper doll. The jacket was green with pale yellow blouse and embroidery. Mum didn't need a pattern, she could look, cut and sew but with more skill than me.
 Here I am bridesmaid at my older sister's wedding. I made the dress and mum made my younger sister's the same. Mine was blue brocade with blue nylon skirt and taffeta underskirt, my sister's dress was pink.
 Me at about age 3. I am wearing a red coat with yellow embroidered chickens. Don't know the history of this coat, it could have been a hand-me-down from my sister. I never minded hand-me-downs as I always felt I was getting bigger like my sister. Not sure about the rest of my outfit but note the boomerang brooch I am wearing.
My daughter about the same age as me in my red coat. Daughter is wearing a very pretty purple and white striped dress with matching underwear and a white apron. This was a gift from her grandmother. Lucky girl, mum had almost given up dressmaking by then so daughter was given-something I always wanted- A Shop Bought Dress. I continued to make clothes for daughter and me for a few more years and she still talks fondly about some of the pretty dresses I made for her.
I never sewed for my son, boys clothes are too difficult to make.
Now I have discovered comfortable jeans and op shop bargains my dressmaking days are over......Unless the Queen needs help, I'm sure I could still sew on a button...........


  1. How wonderful! I like looking at old photos. The hair styles, the clothes, and everyone's skin always looked so nice! Looks like you have a lot of nice memories here. So sweet!
    xo Catherine

  2. Lovely clothes, beautiful portraits.

  3. Beautiful Mum. Imagine if Grandma could see this! Thank you for such a lovely post. I can see where my fascination with clothing came from.

  4. These pictures are so nice ! What a pretty girl you were ! My mother loved to knit and she used to knit for others and in exchange she got toys and clothes for me. Money wasn't worse anything just after 1945 so she knitted and got also food for that sometimes. Later on she wanted to knit for our son, but that was not in fashion anymore and finally she also became too lazy, lol !