Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Excitement of One New Dress

The Family of the Artist, 1895

In my Mother's day, children normally had three outfits. The saying was: "One in the drawer. One in the wash. And One on your back." There were seasonal shopping trips to get a new dress (or outfit) at various times of the year. But it was nothing like today's shopping frenzy, in the modern home.

Before the "requirement" of walk-in closets, people generally had few outfits.  They had what was necessary along with one or two special (dress-up) garments.   There was no need for large closets. It was not a standard feature when building a home.

When young girls were learning to sew, they were excited at the idea of shopping for material, notions and a basic dress pattern. They would spend hours cutting pattern pieces and fabric. They would carefully sew, and try on portions of the dress. A tremendous amount of effort went into making such a dress! There was also much pride in the finished product.  Those dresses may not have cost very much, but they were treasured by each amateur seamstress. 

I still remember how much time went into making my very first dress.  I also remember selecting a pattern for a baby dress when my first child was only a few months old. I loved sewing a dress for her, and trimming the collar in lace!  I have made many girls' dresses over the years and those dresses have been cared for and enjoyed more than any store bought item. Why? Because so much time was spent on their creation.  Most of the dresses were made for a specific event or holiday, but worn many times, over many years.

Of course, in this present day, it is very inexpensive to buy a new dress. Sales at local department stores and the quality of items available at consignment and thrift shops make it very easy to find affordable clothes.   But sometimes I wonder if we buy too many dresses?  

What if we carefully sought out only one dress at a time. What if we bought one dress each season, or made one dress? Would we take our time and make a deliberate selection, rather than just buying whatever was available (or easy)?

Imagine how exciting it would be if we shopped for one pretty dress just like girls of yesteryear searched for a pattern and fabric?  Not only would we save a tremendous amount of money, but we would slowly build a lovely wardrobe of charming clothing!

Mrs. White

Is Mother Required to Offer Daily Desserts? - The Thrifty Kitchen.

How Clean is your House? - Beware of Random Kitchen Inspections.

For those Very Busy Days - Cooking while Holding a Bible.

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Cathy said...

This post reminded me of how much I enjoyed sewing clothes for my children when the oldest few were little. Homemade things are very special. As far as wardrobes, I know some godly women, some who have large closets full of lovely clothes, and some who have tiny closets, and smaller wardrobes. Both fear and love God. Either way, godliness with contentment is great gain. There is no peace or contentment if you are driven by the consumer spirit of this age.

Emily Fay said...

Isn't this so true!?! We live in such a microwave society where things can be easy replaced - and it causes a lot of waste! I have been victim to it many times. Thank you for this post!

Anonymous said...

i so enjoyed this post!! reminds me of the simpler time i am seeking to find for my own life.

Rayna@blog4simplerliving said...

Thank you, Mrs. White, for the reminder! Yes, a smaller closet has lots of advantages. It's more efficient, you can see what you have, and learn to mix and match. I like the idea of only shopping seasonally for a few new items. It maintains the excitement of something new without breaking the budget (as you quickly would if you went shopping every Saturday - I know a lot of people who do that!).

Anonymous said...

I do remember the days when once a year I went with my mother to the department store to purchase 5 new dresses for the new school year.

It was always looked forward to.
After school each day I was taught to take my school dress off, hang it up, then put on play clothes so as to take special care of those new clothes.

Receiving hand-me-down things from my older cousin was a real treat. My Aunt always handmade her dresses and they were beautiful.

Learning to make my own clothes felt like a gift from God as my mother and homemaking teacher patiently taught me why and how to sew. I still love it today at 62yrs.

Thank you for sharing these memories with us. I look forward to hearing more in the future and am looking forward to teaching my own granddaughters to sew one day.

Mrs. J

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