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Turn and Tuck

Photo copyright
Photo copyright Sandra Crook

Can you tread the needle love, my eyes don’t see so well these days, white cotton dear. I will cut a piece off the tail, I need to make a new collar, the old one is past repair. If you unpick the cuffs we can turn them later, it will earn us a shilling.

When we have finished this shirt perhaps you find me some brown paper and string, so that we can wrap up Jimmy Soden’s trousers. I’ve reversed the turn ups to hide the wear and repaired the pockets. That’s two more shillings. Soon we will have a day off, perhaps go to Birmingham.

Foot Note

In Britain in the early 1950’s many things were still rationed, and for many people money was tight. Clothes were patched and repaired, socks darned, rugs made out of sacking, pegged with off-cuts of worn out clothes. Many sewing machines worked overtime.

This Post Has 38 Comments
  1. Dear Michael,

    Such a sweet voice in this piece. Thank you for the footnote as well, My mother used an old Singer that was probably just a little later model than the treadle. It was electric. I still have it and it still works quite well.



  2. Ah! Wonderful stuff, Mike. It’s funny, but it seems a lot of the stories I have read so far have reflected a working knowledge of sewing and stitchery. Now, I think this story might have explained it all.

    Super-duper work!

  3. I have a book I bought that shows how to sew on a patch. Patching clothes is an art. I was lazy and bought iron-on patches for my sons pants. Things weren’t as difficult in the U.S. after WWII. My mother was always economical, though. If she’d known how to mend by sewing she probably would have. My grandmother used to make some clothes for me when I was young. Interesting story, Mike. I took Home Ec in college and used to sew some of my own clothes. I love sewing. 🙂 — Suzanne

    1. Thank you Suzanne, I think I would have also enjoyed home economics, instead I was expected to paint using water colours, and to play the tuba at school, sadly I was not suited to either art form.

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