The Ideal Homemaker #2

30 Jun 2009


My mum became a housewife in the 1950s but I only knew her as a 1960s housewife and beyond.

The picture above is from one of her sewing patterns and pretty much sums up the kind of dress my mum wore around the house when I was a child.
She wore it with flatties, either sandals in the summer or closed toe shoes in the cooler weather and finished off with a plain cardigan.

If you look here you can see more of my mother's sewing patterns from the 1950s through to the late 1970s when she stopped sewing her own clothes.
By this time she had started working in a school office and was having great fun buying clothes.

Some of the patterns are mine, from the 1970s and 1980s.
I started sewing my own clothes when I was in Grade 7.
We learned sewing and cooking at school and we had to produce several garments a year as well as a knitted garment.
I had always been familiar with clothes sewing as Mum made most of her clothes as well as my sister's and mine because she enjoyed it and it was common practice then also to sew for your family.
My Auntie, who lived next door was also a manic seamstress and when she found herself having to support herself and two children it was sewing that allowed her to earn an income and be at home with her children.
For me though it wasn't really until I had begun school sewing lessons that I felt I had been given the keys to the door - I started sewing everything for myself and I was off, absolutely loved it.


The sixties wasn't all Mary Quant fashions and teenagers.
The older women ( my mum was in her thirties by then) were well catered for with flattering and age appropriate clothes.

I love the unfussy lines and inherent elegance of these fashions.

And the knitting patterns of the day were gorgeous too.
I have all my mum's old knitting patterns too plus quite a few I have collected from the op shop. I really must take pictures of them all to share.

I love the self reliance of the time.
Even though the age of mass produced clothing had well and truly struck these women had such belief in their own dressmaking and knitting abilities that they never gave a second thought to dismissing their creations as second rate home made offerings.
The curse of the professional had not yet begun and really, they had a go at everything and did a great job.

You know my mother never, ever did any kind of finishing on any seam allowance apart from occasionally pinking the edges if the fabric looked like it would fray a lot.

Nothing ever unravelled and I still have some of her earliest baby clothes creations and they are just fine.

OK, time for the next installment of the "Art of Homemaking" by Daryl V. Hoole 1963.

( Daryl Hoole has a website that I have just discovered and has a PDF version of her book available there. I haven't really looked at the site but you can go have a look if you like)

# 2 Another "A"

"An ideal homemaker is ambitious and enthusiastic through application of the law that how one feels emotionally greatly determines how she feels physically....

And if the " Homemaker " title is worrying you try replacing that word with your name, eg , an ideal Jenny is ambitious and enthusiastic...

And if homemaking isn't your thing then I think this applies to life in general, don't you.