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Not like Cindy or Barbie

December 21, 2021

When I was a child, we rarely had new bought clothes.   I was the eldest and biggest so, I did get seasonal new items from time to time when my outgrown garments were passed down to my little sisters.  Mostly our wardrobe was filled by donations from friends and family.  We enjoyed little new delights like socks and underwear when income allowed.  My mum went to great lengths and much care to repair, restyle, and make our clothes as required. She spent many hours machine and hand stitching and knitting; her singer sewing machine was a permanent feature near or on the dining table.  Socks and knitwear were darned, dresses, blouses, and skirts, and trousers were lengthened or shortened accordingly. She would unravel cardigans and jumpers to make others. I never found this practice less than wholesome until perhaps I learned that my cousins and friends at school had a different experience. 

In time I learned to make my own outfits and took delight in making some fashionable additions to my utilitarian wardrobe.

When my own family came along my mother continued to create for her beloved grandchildren. Who enjoyed to open parcels when they said, ‘smelt of Nana’ and it was true! The bundle had the sweetest perfume, the items were pulled over their heads and proudly paraded and worn daily.

It was strange and remains dear to my heart that the clothes my mother made and even those made from scratch with new yarn and fabric never had a newness! It seemed that her stitching, knitting or crochet had worn away the harshness of the industrial new. Her warm energy and love to make for a growing family was imbued in the fabric. 

It is this feeling I find when I make my ‘dolls they seem to have a warm and weathered look unlike the look of Barbie and Cindy.

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