Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Nostalgic Nellie

Bleaugh! Man Flu has descended upon us like the plague! Which basically means that Mr H and the children have all come down with the cold I came down with the week before that, but of course they got it much much worse. (But since I turn a stubbed toe into an Italian opera, I can't really complain!) So I have spent much of the week distributing blankets and chicken soup to pathetic coughing lumps on the sofa, and refereeing disputes over whose turn it is with the tv remote. But all this staying home has given me plenty of time to get on with my knitting.

Me , aged about 18mths. (Wasn't I a cutie?)

The first thing that I am knitting is  a copy of the hand knitted babygrow I had as a child. K is terrible for kicking off her covers at night but won't put up with those sleeping bag things, you know with the poppered shoulder straps, so a knitted babygrow is the ideal thing to put over her pyjamas to keep her warm. It's not exactly a new idea, all-in-one sleepsuits have been around in one way or another for years, but it seemed to work for me when I was little. I mean, look at that cheesy grin! I managed to find almost the exact same brightly coloured, self-striping, acrylic yarn as I think my mother used (sounds yummy doesn't it) and if there is any left over I'm going to make S and K copies of the hats and mittens Mum made for me and my little brother. Aren't they lucky?!

My brother and I, aged about 1 and 2. (Digging the bobble!) 

I'm a very sentimental person, pathetically so, when it comes to my clothes. My mother is a fabulous dressmaker and I had the most wonderful wardrobe as a little girl that it's hard not to turn into a Nostalgic Nellie when I remember even the smallest things. I had so many things that I still love now like a hand-knitted blue mohair dress covered in snowflakes, a pink jumper with ballet slippers on the front, a grey ra-ra skirt (does anyone else remember them?), a turquoise and black striped jumpsuit with rolled hems, a royal blue Victorian coat and hat that she made especially for me to wear to London and a huge selection of dresses in everything from peach striped sateen (the 80s had a lot to answer for) to powder blue seersucker.


What I wouldn't give to still have those now. Well maybe not the sateen dresses...

Me in the centre, aged about 3, wearing a puff sleeved dress in white broderie anglaise. 

Me, aged about 3 again, wearing a pink knitted smock dress. 

My brother and I, aged about 3 and 4, both wearing matching sailor suits.
(The 50s/60s tweed swing coat Mum is wearing was handed down to me to wear as my maternity coat and is still going strong!)

 Me, aged about 7, wearing a Victorian style coat and beret set in royal-blue wool. 
(Look at the 1940s-style tweed suit Mum is wearing, isn't it wonderful?)

Me, aged 7, wearing a puff sleeved dress powder blue seersucker and a pale pink hand-knitted ballet cardigan. 
(Look at the long hair and pink ribbons. I'd still do that now, if it didn't make me look like a pantomime dame!)  

Me, aged about 7 again, practicing my Vogue modal pout in a peach sateen shirt dress (left picture) and wearing my ballet slipper jumper, underneath my first ever fur coat (right picture).  

Uckiness and knitting aside, it's been a relatively busy week for me. Mr H and I had parent's evening at S's school on Wednesday and we had a glowing report from her teacher. She practically wants to adopt S! Needless to say that Mr H and I are incredibly proud of our very smart, well behaved and hard working little girl.

As a treat for doing so well at school, and because my little girl is quite the little seamstress, I took her to a craft fair in the town hall on Saturday. I was hoping to find her something like the doll-making kit we bought her last year or maybe some pretty cardmaking notions because she loves to send cards and letters and pictures to her grandparents. But unfortunately it was all a bit of a damp squib. More of a table top sale of ready made bookmarks and cheap beaded jewellery.

It wasn't all bad. We went for coffee and cake (coffee for me, cake for S), then headed into town where we had a mooch around all the vintage and craft shops. S bought herself a little tote bag with fairy princesses on it whilst I managed to find some half-price vintage wool, because I totally need more, and then we finished off with a ride on the merry-go-round for the girl of the hour.

 S on the merry-go-round.
(Her hair isn't normally so, well, droopy looking. It was up in Heidi braids with red ribbons but we saw a dressing table with a mirror in one of the vintage shops and she just had to do her hair...)

For the day out she wore her favourite heart print dress and a net crinoline. She picked out the fabric herself on a trip to the local fabric market and I made it using the same pattern Mum used to make my puff sleeved dresses, which was vintage even back then! She loves her "pretty dresses and pouffy petticoats" and wears them every. single. day. She'd even wear them to school and bed, if I would let her! 

So to save her pretty dresses from too much everyday wear, and because I needed an excuse to buy more pretty things from Etsy, I bought another sewing pattern. I'm going to make her a selection of housedresses, as well as some sized down for her sister K, so that she can wear those when she is playing outside and around the house. They won't be anymore hard wearing really but they'll be simpler to make, mend and put on. And I can make them to match mine...

Original 1950s housedress pattern bought a few week ago (left picture) and a similar pattern for girls, Simplicity 3244 (right picture), both bought from the fabulous HelaQ at Etsy.com 

Just before I go. With the obligatory back-to-school colds this seasons brings, the rigours of three VERY lively children, the huge list of sewing/knitting jobs I've given myself and the everyday activities required as a housewife, I am struggling to keep up with a daily blog. As such, I have decided to change this to a weekly blog. At least for the time being. I hope you don't mind.

See you next week,

Mrs H x


  1. Such cute photographs...especially the one in your first ever fur coat!!
    May x