I was pretty insufferable on Instagram these last few weeks because I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks back in my home town of Perth, Australia.
It was great to be back after so long away and I’ll never let 3 years pass between visits again. I can’t remember the last time I had so many conversations about sharks and spiders! I got to escape winter for record-beating 44.4 degree days (that’d be Celsius, so 112 F) and spent a lot of time on the beach trying to soak up vitamin D without burning to a crisp.
Unfortunately, you can’t spend all your time at the beach under a hole in the ozone layer so I took the opportunity to indulge in a few nostalgia trips with my family via old photos and I uncovered a lot of photos of things my mum had made for me over the years. The two of us are especially fond of this pattern and between the two of us we’ve made at least 6 or 7 versions but the ones in this post will be dresses my mum has made over the years.
In its first incarnation, this dress was bright orange and covered in green and yellow flowers – it was the late 60s, I guess this colour scheme would have been very chic. It was actually mum’s engagement dress. She didn’t marry him though. Heartbreaker. There aren’t any photos of that time but there are some of when I found the dress at the back of a cupboard and claimed it when I was about 19.
Some of the flowers had fallen off but apart from that, it was in perfect condition. It still is now 20 (TWENTY!?) years after that photo was taken. There’s a brocade version of this made in the late 60s but I couldn’t find any decent photos of it.
When I was 15, mum whipped up a version in this black and rose print and I wore it to death! If it still fit me, I’d be wearing it now.
The next two versions were for costume parties. This next one was a last minute outfit for a friends Medieval-themed 18th birthday party (hi Tania).
Chiffon sleeves, lace, silver belt, laced up back. It may have been last minute but that didn’t mean there’d be any slouching in terms of details. I think the laced up back may have had something to do with not having a long enough zip around.
And then there’s this circa 1999. It’s glorious.
This was made for a 70s party and it was a joy to wear. I remember it being the afternoon before the party and there was still a zip to insert and few other details to fix. Then the power went out on our side of the street. An electricity pole had been knocked down (no one was badly injured) so no electricity for us. We ended up taking it across the road to a friend’s place to get it done. There’s always a solution!
Gathered sleeve heads, huge sleeves and those colours! Looking at this now, I can see how clever she was with the print placement. Yet again, mum was on it with the details.
I’ve made this pattern twice before but I know I’ll be making it up again. And soon.
My mum has always been a powerful creative influence on me, I try to keep in mind her tips when I’m sewing “don’t fight the fabric”, “Try it, you’ll never know if something doesn’t work until you try it”. And, my favourite, “Darling, if you like it, bugger what anyone else thinks, wear it”.
I’m the one on the right ;