When we were young - Week 13: Sewpony

September 04, 2013

 Today I am 'guest posting' on my own blog for my series, When we were young!
So this is me when I was young.  (From top left-clockwise): with my beautiful Mum on my christening day (I really don't think she has changed much in 35 years!!); with my two older sisters and older brother on my first birthday; with my dear Dad (aged about 18months - 2 years); on someone's birthday morning in my 'chinese pyjamas' I used to love.  I know this is a birthday morning because we used to all gather in my Mum and Dad's bedroom and hunt expectantly under their bed for presents!  My two older sisters are behind me and my older brother is cradling my little sister in her white jumpsuit on his knee.  My youngest brother, Michael was yet to be born.
Before I talk about the outfit I decided to re-create, I will share my interview (with myself!)
Where were you born?
I was born in a small country town called Hamilton in Victoria, Australia.  I lived there until I was four years old with my two older sisters and older brother and Mum and Dad.  We had a small hobby farm which has become the source of many great stories and poems (retold and written by my Dad).  I have some vague memories of these four years, but my first solid memories are from where we moved to next - the lovely coastal Victorian town of Warrnambool, approximately an hour from where I was born.  I have so many fabulously happy memories of growing up in Warrnambool and our family home is still going strong.
Who did you grow up with?
I am one of six children.  I came fourth.  I have two older sisters, an older brother, a younger sister and a younger brother.  We all get along very well and have done all our lives.  I am so thankful for this.  We grew up in a friendly neighbourhood and I was often found climbing the fence down to my best friend's house for another sleepover!  We are still great friends today.
Did you have any childhood ambitions?
I don't remember wanting to be a doctor, a teacher or a nurse.  I do remember pretending I was Mum to my little brother (he was born when I was eight and half).  I would change his nappies and try to carry him around on my hip!  Mum called me 'little Mum'.
Do you see any similarities between yourself and your children?
I can already see that Isabella (aged 5) is a good drawer.  I always enjoyed drawing as a child, and I would say I can certainly still draw.  I love seeing my girls play together, making up imaginary stories and getting caught up in their innocent worlds.  I think of myself and my sisters doing the same when we were young.  I also love hearing Isabella and Juliette (3 years) 'chatting' about important things in their room when I have put them to bed!
What did you like doing when you were little?
I think my favourite childhood memories of playing are of me, my siblings and cousins building cubbies in the trees at my Grandparents' house.  We just loved playing cubbies, which usually involved a 'lost kids' scenario.  Indoor cubbies were also elaborate for us as kids too.  I have many fond memories of Christmases spent at my Grandparents with siblings and cousins playing kick the can and hide and seek (and also the occasional cow chasing adventure!). I also loved playing with dolls and dressing them up in different clothes - my sisters and I all had dolls.  We then ventured into making our own paper dolls with elaborate outfits and costumes!!!  I was designing kids clothes back then too!! We spent many a summer's day playing in our backyard pool too - I am so grateful Dad decided to dig a trench one inspired morning, which eventually became a big hole for our pool.  I have so many fond pool memories.  I am also grateful Mum and Dad decided to remove the pool about ten years ago and replace it with the most awesome vegie patch I have seen - it gave my Dad so much pleasure and is still producing and going strong thanks to my Mum and little brother.
Do you live far from where you grew up?
I moved to Melbourne when I was 18 to go to university.  I have lived in here ever since (apart from overseas travels).  Warrnambool is a four hour car trip away.  My Mum still lives in the house we grew up, but sadly my darling Dad died in April of this year of terminal lung cancer (after only having being diagnosed five months prior).  I am so thankful that my younger sister, her husband and my little brother are home at the moment with Mum.  We are all so lucky to have each other and Dad has given us that.
Where do you live now and who with?
I now live in the suburbs of Melbourne on a large block with a nice big backyard.  I live with my husband Stefan and our three daughters - Isabella, Juliette and Emily and our cat Rosie.  We would like to move back to my hometown someday.
And now on to my outfit...I thought up the idea behind When we were young one morning not long after Dad died.  I started thinking how sweet it would be to recreate outfits from my childhood for my daughters now.  I have fond memories of homemade outfits my Mum sewed for us - I was particularly fond of anything with 'puffed sleeves'!! I dreamt up the idea for the series and after a day or two started emailing bloggers to see if they were keen on the idea.  At that time, I did not have access to my old photos, but was sure there were plenty of beauties to choose from.  But like many others who have guest posted here, I actually found it difficult to find a photo that was focussed, where my outfit wasn't occluded (usually by a sibling), and also to catch me before I hit my 'ugly duckling phase'  (boy short hair cut and thick glasses!!!!)...
Anyway, since Isabella is currently at kindergarten and some of my first memories are of my time at kinder (the memory of the smell of the kinder paint is still one I can quickly conjure in my nasal memory centre!)....I decided to recreate the outfit I wore for my kinder photo - aged about four and half.
Can you spot me?  Second from the left in the front row.  Wearing a hand me down woollen pinafore my Mum made for my older sister (she is also wearing it in one of her kinder photos!!), red skivvy, navy tights and brown T-bar school shoes!! Love T-bars!
Here is the same outfit, although I am sure this is a different day as I look younger.  Similar to my first birthday photos, but this time in our Warrnambool home with another sister - Elizabeth celebrating her first birthday.  I still remember the tablecloth, plates, table and chairs and of course Mum's awesome cream sponge cake that made an appearance every birthday!!
So here I am with my daughter Isabella at her kindergarten - we are almost the same age in these pics.  Issie will have her professional kinder photos next week, and she will be wearing this outfit for history's sake!!! 
Isabella attends a lovely kindergarten - I just love it.  Her teachers are so great as are all the Mums and children.  I have made some great friends in the past 18 months since she has been at kinder.
I took the opportunity to take some kinder shots of Isabella.
Outfit details:
Dress - I used my Debbie's birthday dress pattern, but just squared off the front and back and added straps. 
I used a brown wool I found at Spotlight.  The bodice is lined with a vintage thrifted pillowcase.  I think it fits the theme of this series well - it looks to be circa late 70's when I was born.
Skivvy - I am not sure if skivvy is a universal term, but this is what we Aussie's call rollover neck tight stretch knit tops.  I just made the pattern up - a simple raglan sleeve top with high neck.
Shoes - second hand from my sister's niece.  I did want brown T-bars but second hand and brown is close enough!! 
Pig tails - I did not have enough hair for pigtales, but when I showed Issie the kinder photo and asked her how she wanted me to do her hair, she pointed to the girl next to me and said "like that!!". 
Issie enjoyed a lovely "Daddy and me" night at kinder the night these pics were taken to celebrate Father's day.  She proudly wore her outfit and held Daddy's hand as they walked down the drive for their special night. 
I have enjoyed my series so much and have been really touched by others' posts, comments and what they have shared.  Please visit next Wednesday for a When we were young wrap up of all my guests and a special When we were young announcement!!!   
 Thanks so much for reading!

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  1. This has been such a fun series to watch! And I love your little outfit. I'm busy taping my Debbie's Birthday Dress pattern together this morning, hoping to sew one up soon.

  2. I really enjoyed reading about your lovely childhood. The daughter you made your outfit is so timeless. She is adorable in it of course. I am sad to see your series come to an end. It has been one of my favorites.

    1. Hi Christine.... Thankyou.. Stay tuned for my announcement next week!!

  3. Lovely post! I've really enjoyed this series, it's been a chance to see a little more of the person behind the blog, and there have been some great outfits.I've been meaning to sew along - but as ever I have too many projects on the go, and it's been a busy summer with children off school etc.BUT i am still planning to - my mum made so many inspiring outfits. BUT, as you say, getting hold of the photos is not easy! They're all at my parents house, 400 miles away,there are only a fraction of the thousands of images we have of our children, and when I call and say 'Dad,can you find and scan and email the pic of me aged 4'...("oh and is the dress in focus") I know it is actually a very big ASK of my folks! but Im getting there - slowly...

  4. Love it Suz! The outfit is a perfect match for yours. Issie looks SO much like you at the same age. I've never been to Warrnambool but if you move there I will come and visit! xx

  5. Such wonderful stories of your childhood and I love the outfit you created! Thanks again for hosting this great series!!

  6. I really enjoyed this post Suz and your whole series. Your post reminded me very much of my own childhood (I'm sure I had those shoes, but in blue!). If there is to be a sew along or the like, count me in!

  7. Beautiful Suz :) Thank you for sharing :) Announcement next week??

  8. Gorgeous post Suz...so true...so many wonderful memories which we are now recreating with our own kids....Even the outdoor photos look like your old kinder!

  9. Such a cute outfit! Some of hubby's family live in Warrnambool and we are always trying to figure out a way we can move down there...we love it! So sorry about your Dad. You're very lucky to have such a close family for support xx

    1. Thankyou Abby:) if we both move down we could start a craft group !!!

  10. This is such a cute and timeless outift, Suz! I really love the pictures too :-) This series is so amazing...

  11. This series is just so lovely. I really enjoyed seeing everyone's old photos and updates. Your daughter wearing this outfit for her school photos is just a perfect wrap up of the series. You did such a great job.

    1. Thankyou so much ajaire. I have loved hosting the series:)

  12. oh what a beautiful post! i loved reading about ur happy childhood, and that dress u recreated is adorable xx

  13. This series was such an amazing idea, Suz! I enjoyed it every single week!
    I love your jumper. Simple, classical, perfect!
    And, as you, I love T-bars sandals. Why are they so hard to get?!

  14. What a fun idea! I believe in the US we'd call that shirt a turtleneck :) If someone said "skivvies" my first thought is underwear!!! Oops!

  15. oh, this is darling. she looks just like you! adorable.

  16. Love it Suz!
    This was such an amazing series and you "closed" it with an amazing post :-)
    I need to make a similar jumper using your pattern - I'm pretty sure I had a similar one when I was young :-)
    Thank you so much for having me, for walk down our collective memory lane and for being such an inspiration!
    I can't wait to see your next pattern!

  17. I loved reading this! Great post. Great outfit. And I can't help laughing about cultural differences. In the US "skivvies" are underwear. hahaha!

  18. Very sweet post! Issie looks a good bit like you! I love that you brought back the red and brown shades of the 70s-80s. Reminds me of the way we dressed too.
    Also, so sorry about your dad's passing. Family is so important and you have celebrated that well in this series!


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