Monday, May 16, 2011


I am on the shady side of fifty and have lived on a farm forty years of that time--most of the time near a small village. In my young days, ready-to-wear garments for women were unknown to the stores of this village, so my mother taught me to make my own clothes. I began by making clothes for my dolls and soon learned to cut the garments by patterns of my own cutting. Mother encouraged me in this by giving me old garments to cut up into patterns. They could be measured to a doll more easily than a paper pattern and if they did not fit there was no particular loss. I soon learned to tell just what was wrong with my pattern so that a second or a third cutting would be exactly right. This idea has saved me both time and money, for in dressing two girls through high school many dresses in many different styles are needed. There are no patterns sold in our village so when the design for a dress has been decided on I save cost of pattern and time it would take to order it by resorting to the idea taught me by my mother.

When our oldest girl went to college last fall, she wore to travel in, a brown-and-tan plaid wool dress made from a circular cape she had worn the year before. The only cost of the dress was one dollar for a brown kid collar and cuff set that exactly matched and gave it the precise tailored look a college girl would wish.

In buying piece goods or ready-made garments, I find it economical to buy good materials for they hold color and shape better and I am sure to use a second and sometimes a third time by remaking. I plan the made over garment by studying the fashions and comparing the old garment with them. Sometimes the changes in styles are so radical that the old garment cannot be used. In that case I store it away with a few mothballs till the next season and pretty soon a design comes out by which it can be used either alone or in combination with something else.

What is worth as much to me as the money I save by my sewing, is the fact that our girls have developed habits of economy in dress for they know that one season's wear for a garment is not the end of its usefulness, and they can design and make their own clothes and remodel the old ones.