Out with the old, In with the old

I have a mother who sews.  A lot and forever.  She sewed ALL of m clothes from babyhood right through my 50s.  She still creates stuff for me, but not like she did when I was little.  My grandma sewed for my mother and was also a professional seamstress.  There were times when my grandma sewed classmate’s clothing and my mother made mine.  Which makes me wonder if my grandma ever sewed for me.  I’m sure she did but I don’t recall ever knowing about it.  

age 5

Mother made my dresses, gowns, pjs, robes, slips, pants, winter coats, jackets, blouses and for a while, my underwear.  Once a girlfriend asked me if she made my drawers too.  By that time she didn’t.  I actually had store-bought panties! I’m not sure I would’ve told her if they were still homemade though.  There are just some things that you just don’t talk about, right?!

This is the first day of school for our 2nd grade year..I don’t remember this dress at all but our moms had worked all summer getting dresses made for the new school year! I refer to this dress as my Flying Nun dress..that skirt looked like it could take off any minute!

 For some reason, when I was around 10 or 11, she bought me a white fake leather coat  that had red furry lining and red balls that tied at the neck. And it had a hood.  I was in the big-time now!  I loved that coat and was heartbroken when I had outgrown it. 

 But the way my mother made my clothes, especially the dresses and skirts, there were huge, deep hems that could be let down and therefore made to fit me.  Again!  And when I actually DID grow out of something, a little girl whose mother and my mother were good friends would get my clothes.  So those handmade items of mine found a new home and new life!  Her mother would pay a small fee for the clothes…just enough for my mom to buy more material and create a new dress for me.  

Obviously, someone forgot to say “SMILE!!”. 1st grade I’m the one on the right..the other two will remain unidentified until they contact me. I’ll name my price then!
This dress was brown and white cotton gingham and had little metal pennies scattered all over it! And the 2 little girls you see had a mom who sewed for them too!


This was sewing of the highest form…there was no extra money for store-bought clothes, so it was a necessity for Mother to sew for me.  She also made all of my brother’s clothes except for his jeans and made many of my daddy’s shirts.  Again that was the rule because Daddy was 6’6″ and finding clothes to fit him was impossible at best!  

Cutting to the chase because I could tell lots and lots of sewing stories, but I’ll save them for later.  Although the other little girl got most of my clothes, Mother kept some.  Not sure why other than she had spent a lot of time on them…like hand embroidering flowers on the skirt and top below.  Those yokes on Western clothing weren’t easy to put together!  And then there were tucks and ruffles and smocking…so imagine my delight when she cleaned out a closet and handed me a sack of my childhood clothes!  And guess what?!  I have granddaughters who were thrilled to get try them on.  

Me, age 5, on the right. The other two were lifelong friends! This is the stylish “squaw” dress. Everyone had one. Even my doll.


The squaw dress some 50 years later or so. It is cotton and has faded a bit but is otherwise in pretty good condition.

The only thing is that  by the time I got the clothes home and started trying them on the girls, only one of them fit into the outfits!  We about waited too long.  And the other thing is…when my mother used to complain about me being so skinny, I just rolled my eyes  and thought she was exaggerating.  She wasn’t.  At all. The clothes that I wore at age 6 would barely fit my 4 year old granddaughter who is a petite little girl by anyone’s standards!!!  Yikes!  Mother wasn’t kidding.  She was sure I’d starve to death.  Not a problem now.  

So here are the pics I have thus far.  I’ll  have to dig some before I unearth pics of me to match the ones I have made of my granddaughter.   This was my Dale Evans look.  Don’t you love the hat?  Still have it too.  And the tooled leather belt. I have NO idea where the boots are though but wish I had them!!!  

The old, granny, age 6

The new, age 4…perfect fit!

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14 Responses to Out with the old, In with the old

  1. You mentioned about letting down the hem…to cover up the possible “color crocking” rick rack or some other trim was often attached to hide the imperfection. Wow! Sure brings back memories. I sewed for my kids too. It seems, my daughter, who is now 23, wasn’t so thrilled with the “cutsie” dresses I made her. So what’s wrong with pinafores anyway? 🙂
    I love the Dale Evans look? Where’s Buttermilk? LOL.


    • The Queen says:

      IF ONLY!!! You can’t believe how badly I wanted a Buttermilk! Still do. But nobody around here thinks it’s a good idea to me on one now. *rolls eyes*

      I sewed for our boys too along with Mother’s creations! Mainly shirts, pjs and jackets..oh in little courduroy overalls! And now that I have little girls to sew for, am I doing it? Ashamed to say no. But I have the material. And patterns. All stacked neatly beside my sewing machine. For quite some time!!

      Yes, she used the “hide the old hem” tricks too. Funny. I never noticed! 🙂


  2. Kitty says:

    I am a professional seamstress. At the moment I’m on the short end of a job altering about 95 items for a rich lady who recently lost weight. When I’m covered up w/ sewing, the rest of my domestic goddess responsibilities are neglected – the laundry gets washed/dried but not folded & put away, etc.; it’s a good thing it’s tomato sandwich season for that seems to be the only entree on the menu. I’ve often been blown away by your energy and the tasks you undertake, complete w/ perfection and still have time to take a photo, paste it here along w/ the corresponding story. Your revelation of your mother making your pretty clothes shines the light on the source of your energy. Seems the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Love your pics. Love your stories.


    • The Queen says:

      Whoa! That’s a lot of altering. Mother does a lot of altering now rather than sewing complete outfits. And she quilts and loves making aprons! Thanks Kitty!! But I’m thinking you could hold your own with her!


  3. Dianne says:

    Mom made all our clothes too. Four girls! I sewed some for JT but Michael was never very patient with that. By the way, I’ve inherited 64 yards of raw silk from Tommy’s eccentric aunt. I’ve had it for some time. Planning to make curtains for my living and dining room. I think there’s just enough.


  4. Dawn Rumley says:

    wow these still look great… your as amazing as your mom. I used to sew some of my girls dresses and even made clothes for my boys occasionally. Mostly it was matching PJ sets at Christmas. hmm maybe if I start now I can have some this year..


    • The Queen says:

      Dawn, my other dotter!!! Thanks but she can still work circles around me and everybody else!

      Sewing for boys isn’t near as much fun as sewing for girls but man did it ever save me$$! I used to dress the exactly alike so if one got lost, I could just point to the other 2 and say..”just like them”!!


  5. Connie says:

    Goodness! Do these pics ever bring back wonderful memories!!!! I’d bet we had the sewingest mother of any neighborhood, don’ t ya think!! Between us 4 girls, we could have filled a nice little store! Thanks for bringing the memories back to mind!


    • The Queen says:

      A store! Now why didn’t we think of that?! If nothing else, we were well-dressed in the best sense of the homemade coutiere!! As a matter of fact, I found some pics of the 4 of us this afternoon…next post???


  6. servetus says:

    Lovely pics.


  7. Fancy Nancy says:

    Have the exact prints of the 2nd and 3rd pictures! How in the world did we sit in our desks with all those can cans under those skirts! 🙂 And now proof of why I didn’t start out athletic! And in the second pic, what’s with the book in Peg;s hand? I vaguely remember she was unhappy cause she wasn’t getting to go to school with us. What memoreis! Is that Sheila and Pam in the 4th pic? Love the pics of that precious gran (who looks just like you!) in your clothes! BTW, I still have my cowgirl boots! 🙂


    • The Queen says:

      Better yet, how did we walk?!! LOL!! Yeah Peg didn’t like to be left behind! I was pretty sure she’d stay with us that day. Yeah that was Sheila and Pam. Wonder where in the world they are now? Awww, do they still fit? Hey maybe that grand can wear them???!


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