Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Fashion statements in man-made fibre

The wonderful Sally Zigmond, who blogs at http://theelephantinthewritingroom.blogspot.com/ (see my blogroll to the right), now has a new blog devoted to her novel Hope against Hope, which will be published in April. It's at http://hopeagainsthopebysallyzigmond.blogspot.com/. In it she reveals fascinating facts about the Victorian background to the novel and the Harrogate setting. I popped over to it today and discovered that the man-made fabric Crimplene (remember that girls?) was named after the River Crimple! When I was a little girl, my mother spent a vast amount of her time sewing clothes for herself and us at her Singer sewing machine (which had a beautiful domed wooden case to it and weighed a bleedin' ton) - ah yes, the seersucker nighties, the Crimplene dresses to be worn with white Acrilan cardigans or hand-knitted boleros, the two-piece 'costumes', the delicate tissue-paper patterns folded with fiendish cleverness into the Butterick envelopes, with spiky looking Sixties misses with pointy shoes, standing, hip forward and neat handbag over the crook of the elbow, on the covers. The way the garments never quite turned out to have the glamour of the illustration. My grandmother clicking away at knitted jumpers, scarves and hats, all from patterns in Woman's Weekly. My sister and I, meanwhile, were making pencil-holders that always fell over and model Dougals from The Magic Roundabout and Advent crowns, courtesy of Val and Peter and John at Blue Peter (Get down, Shep!) Heady days, my dears. You have to ask yourself if life is as fulfilling now. At least it's not so itchy (Bri-Nylon sheets, aarggh ...!).


Jenny Beattie said...

Oh that whisked me back to another era. I actually made a Dougal from The Magic Roundabout as opposed to thinking about making one. I can still see him in my mind's eye.

I'm afraid that I still make things like this... I just can't not make.

Lane Mathias said...

We were very industrious back then, weren't we?:-)

I think my mother was constantly knitting and I loved anything which called for sticky back plastic.

And those sewing machines... that brings back memories of the sewing room at school where a nun taught us to make dirndl skirts. Because we all love a dirndl skirt don't we:-)

Lorna F said...

JJ and Lane - good to hear that we're all clearly of a similar generation! I remember, JJ, making a Dylan out of Plasticine. I think Dougal had a ping-pong ball for a face. Oh, the joys of sticky-backed plastic, Lane! Innocent times, when all product names on Blue Peter (Sellotape, Fairy Liquid) were hidden by black tape even though we knew full well what they were. Product placement hadn't been heard of then. Dirndl! Such a flattering garment! The name says it all, doesn't it - a word with four consonants in a row - anybody'd think the skirt erred on the bulky ...! :)