Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Two words...

Enid Gilchrist.

Ever heard of her?  

If you answered no, then you are most likely under the age of 40, and if you answered yes, well then, you're probably a bit older :), or unusually well-versed in Australian fashion / sewing / design history.  

If you're like me (under the age of 40, and not very well-versed in Australian history, let alone sewing / fashion / design), then your mind may have very well immediately conjured up images of Noddy and Big Ears.

Wrong Enid.  

Between the '50s and '70s Enid Gilchrist was a household name.  In a time when buying commercially-made clothes and patterns was simply too expensive for the average family, Enid brought fashion to the masses through her self-drafting pattern books.  Published by New Idea, these affordable magazines held up to 50 different styles and made it possible for everyone, not just the wealthy, to wear the latest fashions.

The Wife Made It Blog {Wife-made}

What a topsy-turvey world we live in, hey?  To think that once upon a time it was more expensive to buy clothes than make them.  This was obviously prior to the international availability of sweat shops and child labour {insert raised eyebrows}.  And to think that not being able to sew your own clothes would have been the exception, rather than the rule.

Call me old-fashioned, but it's a dream of mine to be able to sew clothes for myself.   I don't just mean the odd pencil skirt, or elastic waisted boxer shorts.  I mean REALLY sew for myself.  Like fitted dresses, and tailored shirts, and pants, and whatever else takes my fancy.  To wear my own take on the latest fashions, without looking home-made or daggy.

*sigh*  One day.

So, getting back to the reason for this post, I have only recently become acquainted with Enid and her pattern books.  I now have a few of the mags from the kids clothing collection and every now and then I get them out and pore over them, adoring the little outfits and wondering how they would turn out if I made one.  Wondering, wondering, wondering...  

You see, there's something about the fit that I can't quite take to.  While I love the '50s and '60s styles, I'm not too keen on the whole 'Harry High-pants' thing some of them have going on.  And then the potato sack, straight up and down, no shape tunics aren't that flash either.    I'm probably after more of a modern vintage look, combining the best of both worlds :)

Nevertheless, the other night I finally bit the bullet.  I set aside my expectations and perfectionist tendencies and decided to just give it a shot.  I must admit, I didn't pick my pattern by closing my eyes and pointing at one.  I was selective.  It had to be the one with the greatest chance of turning out reasonably wearable :)  And, at the time the gathered blouse with peter pan collar seemed most likely.

Close enough.  It's wearable.  Sure, Rosie will probably pull me aside one day in the future and ask me what the heck I was thinking dressing her in a shirt like that.  It's kind of cute, in a very, very, very vintage way, but probably erring more on the plain old-fashioned side of vintage, if you get my drift.

So, if you haven't already guessed, I'm not completely sold on it.  I admit, it is slightly too big for her, so I should probably give her a couple of months and then have another look, but I think the collar is slightly over-sized, and the gathers a little too full.  It also has that very 'blouse-ey' look.  You know, the look that the word 'blouse' conjures up all on its own.  Like, a blouse is what an old lady wears...  Ech.  Maybe I didn't make the wisest choice when deciding which design to have a go at.  I might have done better if I had closed my eyes and let my finger do the choosing.

Anywho, the point is, I had a go.  It wasn't a total failure.  I might be able to resurrect it given I team it with the right skirt or shorts or pants.  What do you think?  I'd love to get some comments, be they positive or negative.  And I would also love to hear if you grew up with Enid Gilchrist patterns!

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At 10 June 2013 at 20:05 , Blogger Sarah said...

ooh, I love this combo of fabric and peter pan collar. I have this fabric in my stash waiting for the perfect project - it does look delightful on little fair skin. I think she might grow to fill it out a little eventually - I have sewn a few Enid Gilgrist patterns from the baby book and found they were 'generous'.

At 4 March 2014 at 22:37 , Blogger Peggy McCrystal said...

Yes I certainly remember them. I sewed from these kinds of books. Xanthe I absolutely love the outfit. I sewed all our kids clothes. This blog is amazing!

At 8 March 2014 at 12:38 , Blogger Xanthe said...

Thanks Peggy. I try :)

At 8 March 2014 at 12:39 , Blogger Xanthe said...

I'm so sorry I didn't reply to your comment Sarah! Thank you for your compliment :)


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