Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sewing Gifts

When I pulled this pattern out of the drawer, the first thing I thought of was Christmas 1960, my first year as a member of my husband's family. I must have been a bit homesick, so I made adorable gingham checked hostess aprons for his aunts, grandmother and my mother-in-law, each in a different color. I think Aunt Babe in turn, gave us a picture she'd made with macaroni pieces and ribbon, a craft that was quite popular in the 60s. Everyone smoked (no one in my family did) and talked about how awful it was not to have Jean, my sister-in-law (whom I'd never met), with them at Christmas. Not a single relative was impressed by having a "new" daughter/niece/granddaughter. I was having a real pity party and it was all about me!

We had a tiny little tree with no lights for our first Christmas in our 3 room apartment at 1311 Rural in Indianapolis (it's been so long, neither of us remembers if it was Ave. or St., north or south). My father-in-law had cut a fresh tree for us in Brown County, and we set it up on a table in the living room so it would look a bit taller. My husband worked for Ayrshire Collieries, a coal company, as a draftsman, and I think I'd recently quit my job as a secretary for General Mold and Engineering. I had a lot of time on my hands, didn't know anyone except my in-laws, so I made these Christmas gifts to pass the time and took a night class at a local college. I missed my family, so I caught a train to Chicago, and then missed the train to Oregon, waiting about 12 hours for the next one. I had no money to even buy food. Truly, a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons.

When I opened the pattern envelope, I discovered that not a single piece had been cut--not even the apron. The pieces had been refolded rather carelessly. I thought surely the cumberbund was the pattern Mom used for my senior prom dress, but it hadn't been cut either. The package has obviously been opened many times, and is in poor condition. It's possible that once I looked at it, I just used the yardage to figure what I needed.

One of the hat styles is designed to accomodate a pony-tail, so I'm figuring the copyright is late 1950s. Once hair teasing became popular to create a fuller look, no one wore hats.

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