A Favourite Piece of Clothing
When I was around 15 years old flare trousers and loose smock-type tops were suddenly the only items of clothing anyone slightly interested in fashion could possibly wear! I was still at school and too young to be earning money so only had my weekly pocket money to spend which didn't amount to very much. My favourite magazine at the time was called 'Jackie' and my friends and I used to devour every issue, drooling over the 'amazing' outfits worn by the models - most of which I wouldn't be seen dead in now! However, we were going on School Journey for a week to Paris, France and were all very excited about it as for most of us it was our first time away without our parents! I pestered my Mum constantly telling her I had to have a new wardrobe of clothes to take with me and she finally gave in and said she would make me one new garment if I helped, even though she hated dressmaking! I was in heaven and off we went to the fabric shop to choose a pattern and some fabric.
I chose a large pink gingham check cotton fabric and the pattern was for a very loose top, buttoning up the front with a huge collar and leg-of-mutton sleeves with large cuffs! My Mum and I worked on this garment, which wasn't very complicated and it was finished in time to take on my school trip. I can still remember wearing this top (which must have made me look either extremely overweight or 6 months pregnant!) and feeling I was the belle of the ball! Many of my friends were very jealous, although I also remember one of my closest friends had persuaded her Mother to make her a trouser suit in blue corduroy with white teddy bears appliquéd onto the pockets of both the jacket and the back of the trousers! We had a wonderful time in Paris, and even though we were chaperoned by the teachers everywhere we went we felt very grown-up and worldly-wise!
I wore my beautiful top incessantly for several weeks, until on one of the few occasions my Mum had persuaded me to have it washed it was chewed up by her twin tub spinning machine! The collar and one of the sleeves were pretty much shredded and, of course, we didn't have enough fabric left over to repair it in any way so I was never able to wear it again. I was inconsolable and hung on to the torn remains for ages and still remember my gingham smock top with much fondness.