The Seamstresses in My House-Part 3

20 Mar


Judy Wills

While I lived a lot of my growing-up years in fiesta dresses, that was not the only type of clothing I wore.  I have pictures of myself in many dresses and outfits other than the fiesta dresses, but have no memory of whether they were store-bought, or made by my grandmother or mother.  Many of the play clothes I wore, I am sure were made from cotton.  Since sun dresses for a small girl’s body were fairly simple to make, I’m convinced they were home-made. 

1943 – Bill (5) and Judy (2) in Granny’s backyard, San Antonio, Texas

1945 – we had just moved to Albuquerque – I was nearly 4 years old

Since polyester had not been perfected yet as a type of fabric, I’m sure cotton was the way to go.  Here are a few examples. 

1949 – Albuquerque – Bill (11) and Judy (8) – clowning around

1950 – Albuquerque – Judy (9) and my best friend Shirley (9)

1950 – Albuquerque – Judy (9) holding Boots

Again, I’m not sure whether they were store-bought, or whether my grandmother or mother made them.  Most of these were before I had learned to handle the sewing machine.

Here is a white velvet dress that was made for me.  Apparently I was to be a “Junior Bride” in a wedding, and my dress mirrored the bride’s dress.  I was five years old at the time.

1946 – Albuquerque

One reason I think more of my clothes were store-bought, is the ruffles and trim that I see on some of these dresses.  I know, from experience, that those “touches” are not easy to put on a garment.  I remember making dresses for our Karen when she was just a small child.  First of all, she was not happy having to “model” the dress/outfit as I was making it.  Second, I found I could purchase adorable outfits for her from J.C. Penney’s or Sears, with all the trim and ruffles, for less cost than if I purchased the fabric and spent my time attempting to make the garment.

1970 – Wiesbaden, Germany – Karen is 2½

1970 – Albuquerque – Karen (2½) with Oma

As I grew older, many of my more dressy clothes were made from other-than-cotton fabrics.  I’m not exactly sure just what type of fabric was used.  I do know that, like in this picture, it was perhaps a taffeta-type of fabric.  It was a shiny fabric, for sure.  

1950 – Albuquerque – Judy at the old upright piano

1952 – Some kind of iridescent fabric, but softer than taffeta 

I’m not sure just what the occasion was for me to be wearing this dress and holding a candle – perhaps I was in a wedding, and would be lighting the candles?  I seem to be awfully young for handling a lit candle, however.  Not sure what fabric the dress was made of.  I was 11 years old at the time.

1952 – Albuquerque

I actually remember the vest I have on in this picture.  I believe it was a heavier weight cotton, perhaps twill,  and I would wear it most seasons of the year.  It was quite comfortable over a sweater, or over a cotton shirt.  I believe my mother made it for me.

1953 – Albuquerque – the Lites family

I remember that the “Poodle skirt” was the “in” thing at that time.

Credit Google Search and Grace Opulanza

I remember coming home from school one day, and finding that my Mother had made me one – it was draped across the second twin bed in my room! 

1955 – Albuquerque – the “Poodle Skirt”

I was ecstatic!  It was cotton, of course, and made in “gores.”  While it wasn’t exactly that current “type” of poodle skirt, I really liked mine.  I think the design (poodles) was pre-printed on the fabric:  just cut it out and stitch it up.  We made up the blouse to match the color, and I wore a scarf around my neck along with the outfit.  That was a fun thing to wear, for sure!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

One Response to “The Seamstresses in My House-Part 3”

  1. divoran09 March 20, 2022 at 9:09 am #

    Well done, so many beautiful pictures and beautiful clothes.




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