Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sewing: a Land Army skirt

My latest sewing project is a mish-mash of vintages.

Calling it my "Land Army" skirt probably has my Aunty Sarah giggling in her grave. She was that kind of a woman - always in fits of laughter about something!

She was an actual "land girl" in the war, you understand. Having decided that working in the munitions factory was not her cup of tea, she took to the fields instead.

As a result, she could identify every wildflower in Scotland and in the summer holidays she used to take me out for walks "down the glen" looking for flowers to name. She also taught me how to fry an egg. But that's not relevant... though I think she was the first person I knew who enthused about keeping hens, full of memories from her land girl days!

So, what's going on here?
It started with a 1970's pattern with front pleats and a buttoned yoke panel (top right). I saw this style and thought it had something 1940's about it.
And I remembered I had some "distressed" cotton canvas in the stash. It is dark brown and sanded on the upper surface, but quite rough and caramel-coloured on the underside.
When pre-washed, the fabric developed some badly-faded creases diagonally across its width, and I almost threw it out. However, I managed to cut the skirt panels around these areas.

The more I thought about it, the more I was reminded of a uniform skirt, and that mucky brown colour made me think of farms and mud ... and one thing led to another and I decided this would be my "Land Army" skirt, in honour of Aunty Sarah. (Who actually wore dungarees on the Home Front, but lets not get picky!)
I wanted to emphasise the uniform aspect with metal buttons, but didn't want to use something overtly military, so I fell upon the idea of "civil defence" buttons. I suppose the Home Guard would have had these on their uniforms...? I have not been very successful in my historical research of this point (google has failed me!) so if you know better, please let me know!

I won two buttons on eeebaaay, and then a wonderful Ravelry reader offered me another five! Her son had bought them as a joke because her initials are "CD", but she felt a bit self-conscious about using them - how lucky am I?!

I think it will be fabulous with a fairisle cardi over a sweet little 40's blouse... you can see where this is heading can't you?

Better finish the skirt first though...


mooncalf said...

I really like that Land Girl look but it tends to involve a lot of stranded knitting and I'm terrible at that.

I'll admire from afar...

Linda aka Loobylou said...

Love those buttons - a great detail.

Did you watch South Riding? I thought Miss Burton's clothes looked fantastic. There's a short video about the costumes on the BBC site if you haven't seen it.

Minnado said...

I like the look and sound of this project,and it will look fab with a fair isle cardi and blouse and great for striding around fields in. Are you now going to have to knit said fairisle cardie?

Scruffybadger said...

LOVE the idea of fairisle & this skirt for a bit of tromping around outdoors with rosy cheeks. My recent fabric binge has halted purchases for any new knitting projects for a while, although I don't think fairisle is something I'd attempt!

feresaknit said...

Yeah, its heading for a pair of dungarees and a head scarf for when you're pottering round the farm! ;D

FifiReid said...

Aunty Sarah was a good role model..I still enthuse about-indeed ,did keep-hens until last year..

christinelaennec said...

This sounds very promising! I look forward to seeing the finished ensemble, and then to meeting your hens.