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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Memories ....



I have a little framed picture of myself in a frock standing outside the old family house in Hong Kong. It's a sweet little frock and I am rocking some awesome frilly ankle socks. I never thought much about that picture and what I was wearing but my sister said to me one day when she saw the picture "I remember that dress. I made you it". It turns out my sister was quite good with a sewing machine and as we were not wealthy, she used to use her wages and walk down in to the village and buy some fabric and make me my dresses. I look at that picture in a new light now because my sister took the trouble to do that for me. I must have been damned cute :o)

The thing is ... I don't really remember that little dress very well at all but there are a few which do stir up some memories. There was one particular dress which I remember well. It was made from a white seersucker fabric and it had red trims (bias binding) on the short sleeves and collar and was empire line. It had a little pocket. With a red strawberry on it. It looked a little like this.



I also had a lemon version. Same design, same fabric, yellow bias binding and with a lemon on the pocket. I remember I always wanted to wear the strawberry one and not the lemon one. So do you know what I used to do? I used to crayon all over the yellow one and pretend it was dirty. I feel quite guilty now but at the time, no remorse! And yes, I now realise I was a horrid little brat!

My next memorable dress looked a bit like this.




My sister also knocked this one up and it looked like something Laura Ashley would have quite happily put her name to. In a mossy green floral fabric (it was the seventies) - this one had ties at the side to make a lovely bow detail at the back and it had a deep swooshy bottom frill. If you swished this way, it swished with you and then wrapped itself around your legs. If you swished the other way, it did it but the other way. If you went swish, swish, swish, you fell over after you got yourself all tangled up in it. And I loved the fact that it was a long dress because long dresses are special aren't they? Even now (excluding summer maxis) when do you wear a proper full length dress? For a special occasion, that's when! And I have to say that I wore that dress till it became a midi because I didn't want to give it up ... and also because I couldn't fasten it up.

I had a school skirt that my sister made for me too. A circular skirt. A navy blue polyester number  which nipped right in at the waist and flared right out again. Another swish swish swish number. It was cool ... and long. The idea was that I would grow in to it and at the start of the year it was mid calf and by the end of the year I remember it was above my knee. I even recall the teachers saying how tall I'd grown. I had a big growth spurt that year and then I stopped growing ... forever.




And last but not least when I was about 5 or 6 I had a awesome fake fur hat with furry pom pom ties.  It was so lovely and soft. I remember the teacher putting it on me and saying how cute I looked before sending me out of the door to meet my mum in the playground. I really loved that hat. Years later, I found one similar but somehow, I didn't look as good in it as I imagined I would. Not cute. Quite demented actually.




That's just some little memories of mine - related to clothing - which seem to have somehow stuck in my mind. I guess I must always have loved clothes and fashion. I know there are things like wedding dresses and celebrations where you have reasons to buy something special but do you have any fond memories of something you loved or wore from way back when or which had meaning for you?

Do tell.


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Last Note :

  • I'm no Garance Dore but it was fun to doodle. I haven't done that in a long time :o)


41 comments:

  1. Sue it's amazing - can't quite believe it but over the Summer I came across some old photos my mother found in her house and looking through them I realised how my taste formed quite early on and how little things have changed for me fundamentally. I always knew I loved clothes and shoes but it had not occured to me how early the foundations were laid and started a post about it while I was holiday.

    Your doodles are fantastic! I always wondered who drew your little avatar at the top right but now I think it's a self portrait? And your sister sounds so loving and sweet! Worth her weight in gold, no?

    I have so many memories of my clothes even from when I was very tiny, a toddler even (scary) that I could post a whole series except it would be much too boring.
    The only one I'll share now is when I was a carnival maid I suppose, with the Carnival Queen riding on the float - in 1975 lol! The dress was long, white with blue spots, little puffy sleeves which was ok but what they did to my poker straight hair was tragic - I had a curly beehive - sorry to leave you with that image!

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    1. Oh no - your curly beehive sounds so wrong especially on oriental hair! I had a perm when I was in my teens and that was my first and last time. It killed my hair and I've just gone with nature since - except for the growing grey gracefully bit.

      And it's amazing what you can remember from your childhood and the fact that you started a post similar to this - you need to finish it.

      And the doodles - I did do the little avatar pic - I was too embarrassed to put a photo of myself up there. But I've kind of got used to her now so I think she will be here for a bit longer. She's kind of part of the blog.

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  2. These "doodles" are beautiful! (Have you ever read Lynda Barry? She does these collagey/doodley books, impossible to describe, sorry, but brilliant. I got "What It Is" from the library and the whole family are interested in it.) Anyway, talks about doodling a lot. My mum used to make my clothes and I had an Laura Ashley swirly number too. With the swishy frill and "sash." I loved calling it that!

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    1. I've just looked her up and her work is pretty impressive. I don't have it in me to do anything like that - if you tell me to draw anything specific - it all goes to pot. But with no agenda, I can make a little pic for a card or something but I have no time. The hubs was out and I had the idea for this post but no pics to accompany so I just got the boy's felt tips out and found a Sharpie pen and got on with it. I enjoyed it.

      And I love that your dress had a sash - I'm afraid mine were little ties - it wasn't that dramatic :(

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  3. What cute doodles! Put them side by side and frame them!!
    My mum is rubbish at sewing. She once 'made' me some disco pedal pushers. One sat above the knee and the other leg below - I told you she was rubbish and I have inherited her (crap) skills!

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    1. Yes! The drawings are so adorable - if you frame them all and put the side by side in a hallway, they would look so cute. You should open an Etsy shop and sell personalized doodles, Sue!

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    2. Thank you both. If I had a little girl, I'd probably do that and draw something for them but it's a little bit more difficult trying to find something for the boys.

      Fiona - your mum sounds terrible at sewing but bless her for trying. Thing is - did you wear them?

      Amanda - an Etsy shop sounds brill and I started one actually for the jewellery but never got round to following that through so one for the doodles is a step beyond me. But thanks for the vote of confidence.

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  4. Love the doodles, and what fantastic clothes memories. I remember having the most amazing safari dress and then ripping it whilst picking blackberries. I cried! Also some glow in the dark leggings, that I used to wear to the roller rink. What was I thinking. I'm very anti leggings now, probably because of those haha.

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    1. Glow in the dark leggings. Hmmm. I confess to never doing leggings when I was young - I was too self conscious of myself and didn't like my legs so leggings were pretty scary to me. I always wanted to have those straight stick legs to wear stuff like that and I just wasn't that shape. Oh and you ripping your safari dress reminds me of the time I got my first pair of jeans and I got stuck in some wire after crawling through some fencing I wasn't meant to. My mother had to come and cut me out!

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  5. Your drawings are so cute and the green dress is just like the Laura Ashley ones in the early 80s. Your sister did well! You reminded me about a similar faux fur hat with pom poms which I once had. I was looking at old photos the other day and realised that my love of clothes began at a very early age!!

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    1. My sister did do well as Laura Ashley was all the rage in those days. And you had a fur hat with pom poms too? Cool.

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  6. "My" dress was cream with tiny flowers and a ruched bodice with flutter sleeves. Borderline 70's-80's. And I had a pink parka with a fur trimmed hood that was awesome. And a pair of red shiny clogs that I demanded on my 5th birthday. Apparently I also went to kindergarden wearing a pair of gold ballet flats....that my mom tells me. I would probably still wear all of the above if I thought I could pull it off. No regrets!
    PS. Your sister was the best! All I did was dress up my poor younger brother in doll clothes....

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    1. I think I was my sister's little doll. She said the clothes weren't very nice in the shops so she made me mine instead - thank goodness she could sew. And when she wasn't sewing, she was knitting - I had a few jumpers off her too.

      And it's lovely to have the memories isn't it? Even if we look back now and think "what on earth possessed me?".

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  7. Lovely sketches! You have set me on a quest to find a picture I had long forgotten I had. As a child my parents took me to a big department store where I had my portrait sketched by an illustrator from (I think) Ladybird books. In it I'm wearing an arran cardigan with toggles that I practically slept in for months on end! If I remember rightly, it's currently residing in a gaudy seventies picture frame in white with gold embellishment. I must dig it out and frame it in an -ahem- more subtle surround :-)

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    1. Oh you do need to find that portrait sketch - it sounds like something which you need to have on a wall now. But in a nicer frame like you said :)

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  8. I am laughing out loud here because I'd forgotten those furry hats with the pom poms ... and I had one too! I wasn't allowed a maxi dress however (my mother thought they were too grown up for little people) so instead I would wear my friend's one when I went to her house to play. I definitely loved clothes from a very young age .. I had my first handbag when I was four! Love the doodles ... what a talented person you are!

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    1. Obviously faux fur hats with pom poms were all the rage in the 70's. I never knew.

      And really about the long dresses being too grown up? You'd think parents would worry more about hemlines being too high. I have a picture of me about 4 - with a handbag too. Separated at birth!

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  9. These doodles are great! I remember being attached to a pink skirt and wearing it from when I was three until I was 7/outgrew the elastic band. I must've been a sight drowning in the large skirt though.

    Too bad there aren't any pictures of you in those frocks! :)

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    1. It is a shame that I don't have any photos of the clothes that I remember - ah well.

      And I think as children our attachments to a particular item of clothing is so much stronger than what we have with them as adults. I think it's to do partly with having less to choose from and so we find it easier to create favourites.

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  10. Gorgeous drawings you talented lady! I had a turquoise coat and knitted hat with bobbles that my Nan made me -it had loops - so it looked sort of like a turquoise perm! Then there was the M&S dress that my sister and I wore for a school photo once - we called them rabbit hair dresses - she thought they were terribly itchy and her bow was undone on the photo:) I used to get a special outfit each season from M&S or Kays catalog - not a lot - just one new outfit. My favorite of all time had to be my yellow ensemble from Kays - a banana yellow ra-ra skirt - I just loved it! My Nana was a great knitter too so I had a new Aaron jumper each year!

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    1. I can picture your turquoise loopy coat - I think people are still producing stuff like that now.

      And the ra-ra skirt! I had one and it was red & white striped (horizontal) with a matching top. From C&A. I wore it to a school disco and did crazy dancing. I know I did crazy dancing because a boy said I was doing crazy dancing at which point I stopped. Up to that point, I thought I was the dogs doodies!

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  11. Love your drawings like silk path , I often wondered who did your little profile pic. My fashion childhood memories are firstly a white dress with a red polka dot on - this one sticks in my mind because my mum saved it for me, to dress my dollies in. The second is a denim on denim outfit - I am stood with my mum at Easter one year with a denim waistcoat and fab bell bottoms - 70's kids, I think that is why I feel most confident & comfortable in denim.

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    1. Ha - my profile pic - I made her very glamorous didn't I? Doesn't look like me at all but hey ho!

      And the denim thing. I only remember two pairs of denim from childhood. My first pair which I got cut out and rescued by my mum (mentioned above) and a pair of Texwood flares which I tried to turn in to skinnies as they were all the rage. I hand sewed them and how they didn't come apart, I will never know. I was so uncool.

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  12. My mum knitted me a bottle green itchy jumper with a zip in the back. Never forget it, truly vile. What a lovely post x

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    1. And she made me go to a fancy dress party as a domino. I wanted to be Little Red Riding

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    2. I love your mum - she's fab. She looks like she has a wicked sense of humour. Besides, I always think it's our legal right to torment our kids.

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  13. Fab doodles, Sue, you could gave a little sideline going there! I remember some of my childhood outfits vividly (the worst ones too I'm sure). I particularly remember my velvet pedal pushers in burgundy with frilly white blouse and matching burgundy jacket (perhaps my mum wanted another boy...) Lynne x

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    1. I don't remember any particularly horrendous outfits but I do remember some truly awful haircuts courtesy of my other sister. But that's another blog post altogether!

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  14. Just fabulous doodles Sue! My mum used to make our clothes in the 70's . We went in holiday to Scotland in the early seventies and she bought some tartan, she made me and my sister a kilt then my two cousins got one each, but the we're handed down too so we were wearing them for years, my youngest cousin got to wear them all over the years! My mum is a good knitter too so we had lots of handmade sweaters to go with our kilts too xx

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    1. I think it must be a 70's thing when people were a lot more crafty. There used to be a lot more wool shops dotted around as I remember visiting them with my sisters when they were trying to choose a new pattern for a jumper or cardigan. I remember even learning to knit and crochet from about 6 or 7. I don't think I ever progressed beyond a scarf though.

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  15. I think you missed your vocation Sue! You could be an illustrator....your doodles are so good!!
    I remember a gorgeous little navy blue dress I had with some cherries embroidered on it, I think it holds special memories as there is a photo of me in it taken in our garden on a glorious sunny day. Happy days xx

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    1. It's nice if you have a photo of your treasured dress - my recollections are purely in my head. Don't forget to take lots of pictures of your Gracie so she can have her special memories too.

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  16. What a great post Sue, it really made me think about my earliest childhood fashion memories! Oh dear there are so many it's almost embarrasing! OK this is prob really going to ruin my street cred (As if I had any anyway?!)
    When I was about 13 I had an uncle with a wood workshop, nothing strange about ,this except that I wanted a pair of platforms and wasn't allowed any?! So being the creative sort I drew out a template for the base of the platforms, and asked by uncle to carve them out of wood in his workshop? My further plan was to cut up an old leather handbag into strips and attach with nails to make the straps etc........early stud look of course! They did look pretty hot I thought, until I tried to walk, as my uncle had made them out of solid heavy oak......Basically I was going nowhere fast!! Great idea, just needed a bit more work, and to be made from something lighter!

    Sue love your illustrations, and memories, you're very talented and can totally imagine you as a gorgeous little girl in all those creations! Helen xx

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    1. Do you know - without you realising it, I think you were gunning for a pair of Swedish Hasbeens! But I just think it's fab that you had an uncle to help you bring your design to fruition - how cool is that - despite it being an epic failure on the wearing front :(

      And thank you regarding the illustrations.

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  17. Head over heels with your sketches Sue! My mum and I both remember everything in outfits. I felt awful when Luca was born because my mum had a lady knit some replica cardigans especially for him eek! I have always loved those little fur hats with the pom pom ties x

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    1. I obviously think those hats with furry pom poms are the bees knees as I was still looking for them until recently when I did find one, tried it on and it looked seriously bad. On a better note, I do have a furry trapper hat - a more masculine take - a little more me.

      I hope your Luca is not going to be scarred by his memories!

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  18. Well how do you do it you can even make a sketch of you look sexy and fashionable

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  19. Those doodles are gorgeous! You must frame them & keep...you are one talented lady x

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  20. oh i love your doodles sue, is there anything you can't do? more please :) x

    steph / absolutely-fuzzy.com

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