Documentary Proof

first dresses

I didn't think I had a picture of the first dress I ever made, but I do. The only thing is, I'm not wearing it.

That's me, on the right, in full nerd ectasy, clutching the ribbons I won at the NJCL Forum in 1986. I don't know if that was the year I got a first in Phrases and Mottoes, or if that was the year I got eighth in Latin Grammar by christmas-treeing the ScanTron bubbles, or if that was the year I got eighth in girls' shotput by the simple expedient of there being only eight competitors in the girls' shotput, but it really doesn't matter: I was very happy to be there. Can't you tell?

I'm wearing the dress my mom made for me (while I watched her do it, so I could learn how to sew). It was very long, almost ankle-length, and made of baby cotton with pink rosebuds on it, and I had never loved a dress in my life the way I loved that dress. Even Keith Morgan (who made homeroom "interesting") announcing that it made me look pregnant (and asking me, repeatedly, who the father was) couldn't kill my love for that dress.

My friend N. is wearing the dress I made. She hadn't packed a dress for the dance, so I lent her mine. It was almost the same pattern as the rosebud dress, but with more scooped neckline, and shorter. Why I didn't lend her the longer one, as she was so much taller than I was, I don't know. I'm sure I had a good reason at the time.

It's weird to see the embryonic Erin-style in this photo, to see what's the same and what's different. I always wear my glasses now (I always wore contacts then). I no longer have braces, thankfully, and I haven't been that tan since I stopped living in Florida. I still wear hoop earrings (smaller ones). I'm still obsessed with Swatch watches, and I still have that paisley one. I think if I could find that fine baby rosebud-print cotton again, I'd probably make another dress out of it.

And, in case you're wondering, we had a great time at the dance.

0 thoughts on “Documentary Proof

  1. I had a nursing nightgown out of that fabric! And my youngest dd(at the time) wore out a flannel nightgown I made out of that fabric. In fact, this Christmas, I made that same nightie for my granddaughter and one from that fabric(in flannel) for the dd who wore it when she was little. It is still popular!


  2. Funny….I just took that EXACT print (at least, as near as I can tell – I can’t enlarge the picture) from my mom’s stash (she’s had it since I was little)and cut out an incredibly girly dress for my 5 year old from it. It’s one of my favorites. Her’s too, which is why it was still uncut in the closet. She likes to buy, but not use, lest she wreck the prettiness of the fabric on a pattern that didn’t work well. I’ve seen her pull out a piece, pet it for a moment, and then replace it on one of the many piles of fabric she has. I’m trying to get over this behavior myself.I had a yellow rosebud dress in 4th grade (1982) that was my absolute favorite – it brought me to tears when I discovered I had grown out of it.


  3. What a wonderful post! I love it. Alas, I didn’t start sewing until I was in my 20s. I envy your early sewing jump start.–Lydia


  4. The hair: still short! I had a lazy period of long hair in college, and then again when my son was small, but lately it’s been nice and short.


  5. april 5’s pattern? yeah. went for $27 erin. i’m going to be bitter for awhile. my dh says i can’t be mad because i never would have discovered vintage patterns on ebay if it hadn’t been for your blog. ha! watch me. :)if ANYONE reading had Advance 7890 and wants to sell it…. for LESS than $27….. 😉


  6. Yeah … I tried to get that Advance pattern too, when it was still $5 or $6. Bummer.This rosebud dress is so great; I can almost see the dress I made of the same fabric, and I think very nearly the same pattern! I’m about 10 years older than you, Dearie, and I learned to sew in Home Ec. I still remember how great that fabric felt, though!Pamela


  7. I too started in home ec (6th grade- 12th). I didn’t sew for many years after. I’ve been sewing a lot lately. My older sister made fun of me for taking home ec — changed her tune when I made all new slip covers for her living room and new curtains. I have forgotten so much from not sewing for years. It’s like I’m starting from scratch…but, I enjoy it.


  8. I’m with Nadia. SO FLIPPIN’ CUTE here, and I want more. I’m pretty sure you gave her the blue dress because hello, the pink one was your favorite ever and no way would you risk letting someone else try it on.Your description of Keith in homeroom is spot-on, too.


  9. You gals look terrific! Your smiles say it all. I too started sewing young and still make many of my clothes. It’s fun and you get what you want. BTW it’s never too late to start having the same fun. Sewing classes are a blast and provide moral support and good tips etc. Support your local fabric stores by taking classes and buying fabric or they will be gone – like here (sigh). K Q:-)


  10. oh what sweet 80s memories. One of my finest early projects was a pair of pink check maternity dungarees which I LOVED and resulted in the same pregnancy jibes. I was 15, but alas I got rid of them, along with all my teenage sewing projects. tragedy.


  11. What a great picture!!! I love that you have a pic of the first dress you sewed, and you got to wear it to a dance. No wonder you kept sewing!


  12. You are so adorable! My mom made me various rosebud dresses while I was growing up and I adored each and every one of them.


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