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 ...!).