In a time where we see fashion repeat itself and take heavy influence from the past, we see one trend that seems to be slowly dying. But what could it be? We see high waisted shorts and well tailored dresses being brought back. However, we are overlooking one influential tradition that helped shaped fashion during this time.
In the late 50s, early 60s, it was very common for women to sew their own clothes. People today may argue that this has no significance but hear me out.
As a sewer myself, any time I wear something that I have made I get compliments. It has also become very beneficial to understand how garments are made to better my judgment on buying clothes and I can easily tailor or fix my clothes without having to throw them out.
Women sewing their own clothing shaped middle class fashion in the 50s and 60s because women were able to express themselves. They were able to pick out different patterns and textures, mix and match, and produce great clothes that told a story. The clothing would be tailored to fit the women just perfect, which was the trend during that time. It was also cost efficient for working families. Women commonly stayed home and with only one income, people tried to save the best they could.
My grandmother always told me about how she made her own clothing and she always thought she was hot stuff! Below are pictures from a cruise she took with my grandfather (1961) and she made all the clothes for the entire trip. Could you imagine sewing a weeks worth of clothes? She definitely needed a vacation after that! My favorite is the picture to the left, where she is standing with her friends and her bold colors and prints stand out.
This past week I attended an estate sale and it was advertised as “the house hasn’t been touched in thirty years.” I was skeptical but I went and this house was not touched in thirty years for sure. I sorted through this woman’s things, going through drawers and at this point, I felt like I knew her simply from looking at her clothing.
After bringing everything home and analyzing my treasures I realize she made all of these dresses. Not a single dress has tags in them but the craftsmanship is phenomenal. The fabrics are unique, which captured my attention initially when I purchased them and then to discover everything is homemade adds a little sentimental value to the garment. It meant something to this woman. She carefully crafted these clothes to express her individuality and it really speaks volumes to the type of person she once was.
The point that I am trying to make is that in today’s fast fashion world, we are missing a special aspect of our clothing. In a time where individualism is at an all time high, I can walk and see the same Forever21 shirt on three different girls. Taking your clothing into your own hands adds that unique touch mixed with that sense of pride because YOU MADE IT.
The dresses from the estate sale are on our Etsy Shop for your viewing pleasure!
Tell me what you think in the comments below!
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