Welcome to my 'other blog' the one that explores my crafty side. I have been a maker of 'things' since childhood. By nature I'm creative. I still love to write, and you can click on this link to visit my blog: Hanging On My Word, which is where I indulge in the thought and word side. Although a teacher by profession, I don't offer tutorials. This is my showcase of projects I like to share. So pull aside the curtains and let's begin (I'm a bit theatrical too!).

Friday, 30 August 2013

Family Ties

Never waste a thing, that's how I was brought up in the post-war years. My parents had learned to 'make do and mend' and I would often watch my Mum unravel an outgrown jumper to re-use the wool. Both my Mum and my Gran had remnants of material which I remember playing with as a child, dressing my own dolls and making collage pictures. Perhaps that's where my love of fabric was born.

As a young woman I would make nearly all my own clothes, and when my daughter was born in 1977 I delighted in making her outfits too, both crocheted and sewn. The thrifty ways passed on by my parents meant that if I saw a some fabric at a bargain price I would buy more that I needed, so that when the garment I had in mind was finished, there was always some left over for future projects. This is how my Dad, pictured above, became the lucky recipient of a handmade tie, which he honoured me by wearing when he came to visit his newborn granddaughter. I never found out whether he actually liked it or not but it was a gesture typical of my Dad.


The fabric had originally been bought to make a maternity dress, which would also served to hide my post-partum bump; that's what you did in those days, no showing it off as the Duchess of Cambridge did this year. Note also, it has a front tie-fastening for easy access at teatime.


The habit was so ingrained that as a young mum I would often buy enough fabric to make an outfit for me and one for my daughter, creating a family tie of a different sort. My husband and father were thus spared any further embarrassments of having to wear a tie which matched my dress.

Followers of this blog will know that I still have the habit. My owl cushions and toys contain scraps to match my grandchildrens' garments, as well as my own Laura Ashley bridesmaid dress from thirty-five years ago. In fact it all ties together nicely.

Sepia Saturday inspires us each week to us search our photo albums to match a prompt. This week's image was men in rather jolly neckties. Why not join us to see how others have answered the call?


24 comments:

  1. I remember my mother pulling back old sweaters of mine when I was a child, and re-using the wool to make a bigger one as I grew. It was quite normal then for children to have stripey jumpers made of several different salvaged wools!

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  2. Nice job on the handmade tie. I don't know why your father wouldn't like it. I thought it looked quite the style!

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  3. Very personal reminiscences. Thanks for sharing them.

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  4. It's true -- it "all ties together nicely." Love your father's tie -- love even more the fact that he wore it to meet his granddaughter...great!

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  5. Although my parents weren't very good at making do with things, and my father always had to have at least three of everything, I have somehow become the thriftiest, most resourceful person in the family.

    I'd love to unravel a sweater just to knit up something else.

    Really great photos, Nell.

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  6. I also remember wool items being unravelled and re knitted ... My grandmother tried to teach me to knit but I kept dropping the stitches so my other grandmother taught me to crotchet which I got on much better with and also made little jackets for my daughter
    Jackie
    Scrapbangwallop

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  7. I recently gave my youngest his childhood quilt, which included scraps from his clothes as well as from clothes I made for myself and even my father. I quickly told him that, but I doubt he'd remember.

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  8. She who dies with the most fabric wins! I love that last photo of you. The outfit you are wearing brings back strong memories to me of a similar outfit or fabric which I must have worn at some stage. Very 70s. Almost monastic in style don't you think?

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  9. I still have a lot of neckties I bought in the 1980s at thrift shops. I bought them to make a crazy quilt which I did finish. I finally threw away a bunch of used wool clothes I had bought to cut up and use for other projects.

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  10. That was a great tie. Good on yer Dad. Why is it I keep getting so many attacks of deja vu when I'm reading some of these blogs !

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  11. My mother could re-invent her outfits so that she would have a "new" outfit.
    I used to make so many of my outfits.
    Nowadays material is so expensive that it almost doesn't make sense.
    Great memories!!!

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  12. Marilyn, I think you are the person to design and make the commemorative Sepia Saturday tie. Now, how can you refuse such a challenge?

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  13. How wonderful to see these precious moments of your family. My mother did the same with outfits for us and she always made our curtains and drapes as well! I wish I still had the tie I made my dad in junior high school although he didn't really like the pattern that my mum bought for me!

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  14. A clever spin on the theme. Be careful, commemorative ties might lead to plans for t-shirts, hats, sweaters, and more Sepia Saturday merchandise. Next thing you know we are on Amazon!

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  15. I never thought of making a tie. Don't know why because I made plenty of other things.
    My mum used to unravel old jumpers to reknit and I've done it as well. It's a lovely thing to do because wool lasts so well.

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  16. Marilyn this post resonates with me so much.

    When my daughter was little, she had a dress made from the same material as my mum. At the time, she thought it was great that she looked like her Nanna.

    Yes the 'make do and mend' was handed down through our family too. My grandmother took it too far though. She would wash, dry and put Glad Wrap (plastic cling wrap) back on the roll!

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  17. You were very clever with your maternity sewing. Unfortunately, I didn't think of all of that useful information when I was sewing mine.

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  18. "Mend and make do." Wow. How I remember that. It became a way of life for my family. It's almost a lost art for most today. Fine post. Made me think.

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  19. A lovely post, especially the story behind your father's tie, worn when cradling his granddaughter. You brought back my own memories over broadly the same period. I well remember my mother unpicking jumpers, winding them into hanks, which she washed and then I sat by the fire with the hanks over my arms whilst she wound the wool into a ball for reknitting. Like you, my mother was ever making tops, boleros, waistcoats, aprons, nightdress cases, dolls clothes etc.etc. from dresses and blouses past their best - but not I think did she ever make a tie.

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  20. How could your father not like that tie? Handmade from his daughter? It seems perfect to me! My fabric-buying and sewing habits are similar to yours (except I never made a tie).

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  21. My family too - mum made us three kids identical jumpers and they'd get passed down as we grew. I can't ever remember he making dad (or anyone) a tie. i guess dad as a farmer probably hardly ever needed one.
    I'm with Alex - he/she who does with the most fabric wins!

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  22. Really enjoyed that Marilyn, lovely memories. I don't like wasting a thing either - thrifty habits picked up from my mum and my granny. Sadly I'm no dressmaker, but I do love fabric and wool, and hang on to every single, teeny scrap. Over the summer I unpicked a knitted teddy that had seen better days, and used the yarn to make a small mouse - much to the amusement of the kids! x

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  23. I love to see your Dad using your handmade tie. And your daughter's yawning is so cute. I know the 'necessity' to use every scrap of fabric and the satisfaction when a plan falls together. Those were lovely times!

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  24. I made ties for all the men in my family in the 70s too. Fortunately there are no pictures as evidence against me.

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