As part of the Made Up Initiative, I thought it would be fun to dig out sewing-themed extracts from books I’ve enjoyed. I’m going to embrace the whole spectrum of books – from children’s novels (oh yes please!) to non fiction, high literature to beach reads. Clothes say a lot about us, and people’s observations of clothes say even more.
First, an essay written in 1919 by Dorothy Parker, the queen of satire:
Do you ever stop and wonder what has become of the old-fashioned girl, the heroine of the sweet romantic love-story? Surely you remember her, the before-the-war heroine. She wore checked gingham frocks that she made herself, and she used to go around the house all day long giving it little homemade touches. When evening fell, she put on a simple little white muslin dress, modestly, not to say uninterestingly, high of neck – this gown, too, was her own original model – and tucked a single rosebud in her hair, just over the left ear, where it used to drive the hero wild. Thus attired, she would run down to the garden gate – that was as far away from home as she ever got through all the story – and wait there, in the sunset’s rosy glow, for the hero to come home from his day’s work at the factory.
Gentle reader, that heroine is no more…
The Vogue Bedside Book II, Edited by Josephine Ross, Century Hutchinson 1986
What do you think? Do you agree with Dorothy? Are the days of gingham frocks and standing at the gate far behind us? And when we sew a gingham dress in 2015, what does that say about us? I found it ironic that on the same day as I read this essay, I’d just bought several metres of gingham flannel.