Euphemia Gertrude Thomas V9127

Happy weekend everyone. I’m laid in bed feeling sorry for myself as I write this. I have a cold with a painful cough and am distracting myself with blog reading and Web surfing! So I thought I’d write a post about the Dress Like Your Grandma challenge hosted by Tanya of blog Mrs Hughes than ran this past month.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

This is a vintage sewing challenge where family history can inspire your wardrobe. You take a photo of your grandma (or your granddad, great-grandma, mum, auntie, someone else’s grandma – you get the idea!) and re-create an outfit or piece that they are wearing using vintage or reproduction patterns. It isn’t a competition but a way to challenge yourself with a special project!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

My Grandma, was called Euphemia Gertrude Thomas (nee Nutt). She lived with my Grandad in a little village called North Ferriby in Hull. This picture is from one of my Grandparents regular trips to the coast – we think Scarborough. They always liked to dress up for a trip to the coast and walk the promenade. I love this photo so much. Look how committed to each other they look. Perfectly in sync.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

To recreate the dress I used Vogue 9127 and rose print polycotton from Birmingham Rag Market. I used poppers instead of buttons at the front and kept the dress a little shorter. I added red shoes (my Grandma wore red shoes on her first date with my Grandad) and curled my hair for a similar look without chopping it all off. Sadly I couldn’t make it to the coast in time for a photo.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

 I ran out of material for the sleeves as this dress is fabric hungry and couldn’t source more which was disappointing. I also wish I’d made a front fastening belt like my grandma is wearing but I’m generally pretty happy with the result!

To see my previous version of this dress see this post.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

My grandma was also an avid dressmaker and probably made her dress from the photo. The sad thing is I only found this out at her funeral. For most of my life she had severe alzheimers and she was here until her early 90s. It was so bad she couldn’t talk to anyone coherently or make sense of the world so I didn’t really know about her wonderful skills when I started sewing. I knew she had a sewing box but assumed it was for mending and small projects. However I did inherit her hand crank machine that my Dad discovered in the loft. Plus a pair of pinking shears with her name tag on them which my mum had been using but Grandma used to take to a social sewing session at her Church. These two items are a great way to feel she’s helping me sew and like I know something real about her. Decades apart we’ve followed the same actions; cutting fabric, stitching darts, sewing on buttons and even pinking seams with the same shears.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

For years I’ve wanted to make a replica of this dress for The Vintage Pledge but could never find the perfect sewing pattern or fabric. I think I came close in the end though. My poor friends (including Marie, founder of the pledge) got dragged around so many fabric shops to find this material. They were really supportive in finding the right rose design so thank you ladies!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

This was a really great challenge to help feel connected with my Grandma so thank you Tanya so much for giving me the push I needed. On my next free weekend I might try and head out to Scarborough for a photo on the promenade just like this one. Wish me luck!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

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13 Comments

  1. This is so pretty. It’s great that you have a lovely connection to your grandma through your sewing – I’m sure she would love the idea that you are using her tools to carry on the dressmaking tradition.
    Have a great trip to Scarborough if you get the chance to go.

  2. Your dress is fab, and the fabric is just gorgeous! I hadn’t come across “Dress Like Your Grandma” either, and I think you’ve done a tip top job in recreating the original dress.

    I love looking at old photos and hearing the stories that go with them, so thanks for telling us about your granny. What a glamorous pair your Granny and Grandad were! It’s a shame you didn’t get to know her. Both my Grannies sewed for a living, but I didn’t know my Mum’s Mum. I have all their machines though, and would not be parted with them. Your Granny’s machine is amazing; is it working and have you made anything with it?

  3. Your comments re your grandma sewing but you not really knowing struck a cord. I have vague memories from when I was little of my grandma sewing but by the time I started she was too far gone with dementia to be able to talk to her about it. I did learn to sew on her old machine and I also have pinking shears of hers in my sewing stuff.

    Your dress looks beautiful 🙂

  4. Wow, this is totally amazing. I’m really a fan of your work. It’s like it is all perfect! I have started a bit of my own doing as well, but I didn’t tell anyone yet, especially not my husband because I’m still doing very poorly!

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