2 Mar 2009

Heirlooms For The Girl Who Loves Red

This wonderfully bright and summery skirt was my first attempt at wardrobe refashion - it started out life as a dress belonging to my Grandma. When my mum and sister cleared out her house a couple of years ago (so that she could come and live with us) they found lots of her old things - including lots of clothes that we could share between us.
I adored the print and vibrancy of this dress but was way too big - so I decided to refashion it into a skirt. I cut it off at the waist (which was already elasticated), hemmed it with the sewing machine and added a white button on one side and a loop to tighten it a little more. It really is a skirt to twirl and swish in... and most of all, it reminds me of my Granny.
I've been wanting to post about this skirt for sometime but then I had the idea to share a few other beautiful red garments that have passed down through my family, and were uncovered in the clearing of Granny's house:
A woolen poncho and beret that was crocheted by my Great-grandmother for my mother when she was a teenager! I love how it has retained its colour and is still soft and warm. I can imagine mum wearing it in the 70s and although it still belongs to her; I am hoping to replicate it for winter.
There is something thrilling and heart-warming about running my fingers over all the trebbles; imagining the great-grandmother I never met with a crocheting hook and balls of colourful wool. I have always been drawn to crochet - much more than knitting - and perhaps it is the love of my Great-grandmother Viola that meanders through.
This is another fabulous dress of Granny's. I adore the pleated collars and the big sash around the middle. I would need to hem it in a little at the arms and waist but I am looking forward to the occasion when I can wear this, lovingly, with a spring in my step.
Although none of these garments are red but are equally as charming. I have always always loved old nightgowns... I love how feminine and flowy they used to be. I love the fine embroidery, smocking and lace trim at the collars and hems. I love imagining that when my Grandma was married she would have had to put together a kind of glory box with new nightgowns and pantyhose.
It also helps that I have a big weakness for sprigged fabric.. sprigged flowers especially. Even more so in nightgowns. Slowly, but surely, I am builing up a little glory box of my own of delicate garments... that may all end up in a gentle, understated quilt or a set of pillows, or a bag or something entirely different.

Or perhaps remain nightgowns,
to slip into at night,
and meet the morning -
with a sigh and stretch
and a breathe of fresh air.


  1. That red skirt is gorgeous!! I love how brilliant it is - it's great that you have something of your grandmother too. My sister and I took to wearing my grandfathers shirts when he passed. It's a great way to feel close to someone :)

  2. I am in love with that pleated skirt. Either, you'll have to give it to me, or we'll have to share!

  3. that skirt! amazing. You're grandmother has great taste.

  4. I love this whole post. I love the pleasure in holding objects passed down through generations, feeling the same nubs and lines your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother felt. That kinship is so beautiful.

  5. Oh good gracious!
    Wardrobe refurbishing has been on the tip of my mind this week! I'm so glad to see you posting on the topic as it will certain spur me on towards converting a few frocks into skirts!

    As for your granny's hand-me-downs, I would have to agree with Umber! Those dresses and skirts are stitched together with beauty and nostalgia.

    Thanks for this really lovely post friend!


  6. I love wonderful family hand-me-downs.
    Good craftiness, deary.
    I love the beret/poncho combination, looks great with your gorgeous dark hair.
    Always a pleasure, my love.


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