In the changing and fast paced face of fashion, being handy with a needle and thread means you can keep up to date with changes in trends without breaking the bank. When our style team started looking into how to make your own clothes we delved into our parents vaults (and wardrobes) to find the fashion forwards (or backwards) outfits our parents hand made for us.
All of the Cheshire's were adorned in clothes knitted and sewn by my Mum, including herself (although, her 1980's hairstyle is not to leave the photo album under any circumstances). After deliberating which one of us to favourite and modestly setting aside the fact that I was so awfully adorable as a child, I enquired about a photograph of my sister, Melanie, outside our house in Australia. A close runner up was a photo of my other sister, Jenny, sporting a fluorescent pink talson tracksuit (think 80’s parachute style) - I am assured it was a popular look at the time and in no way contributed to her many years of shyness. "Well, Mel looks about 7 in that dress, so say 1986. It was probably made for a birthday party, but no funny stories - you can make one up if you like!". Now I'm not one to fabricate a story... on that note, I'd best go as this chiffon bouffant gown isn't going to make itself.
In this photo, from 1976, my grandparents attended a friend's wedding back home in Romania. My grandmother, 27 years old at the time, wore a black handmade satin and lace dress. It took her and her mother two weeks to make it, after being inspired by a blouse she saw in a newspaper and coming up with the idea for the bottom part. It was difficult to find the right fabrics due to the poor variety back then and she had to put a lot of effort into making it. Today, almost 40 years later, she still has that dress, even though it does not fit her anymore. She keeps it in her closet as a totem of the memories and her youth.
This is a picture of my Mum’s youngest brother, Jonathan. Now a proud dad of two himself, this is an image of him in full Archbishop of Canterbury garb in my grandparents’ back garden in Otley. My grandmother, in a magnificent feat of up-cycling, had used material from her Diana and Charles skirt, and fabric from one of my granddad’s scarves, together with cotton sheeting to make the whole thing.
The young man with the mullet is my Dad and I am the tiny baby wrapped in a woollen babygrow knitted by my Nana, ready to go home. I’m the eldest of three and we all came home in that same babygrow. My mum has kept it with hopes that now we’re all grown up we can bring her grandchildren home in it (I get the hint mum). My Nana is an expert knitter and she taught my Mum. Mum tried to teach me, with varied results.