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. neilmacdon

    A very distinctive voice to this one

  2. gahlearner

    Great voice. The art of mending and using the last patch of cloth is mostly forgotten these days.

  3. Iain Kelly

    Nice little scene.

  4. Morgan

    Brilliance 🙂

    1. Michael Humphris

      In the 1950’s I sat under my gran’s busy Singer sewing machine.

      1. Morgan

        My grandmother in law had one just like this 😉

        1. Michael Humphris

          Cherished memories.

  5. aliciajamtaas

    The terminology in your peice makes the tale extra special. Well done.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you, I take no credit though as I was sat under the machine

  6. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    I have not really experienced this, but my mother taught me to sew so I can mend my own clothes… still do as a matter of fact… but here in Sweden you have to have Husqvarna not Singer.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Mending clothes and writing, I am impressed. I can still see my gran’s sewing machine at work.

  7. rochellewisoff

    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.



  8. ceayr

    Excellent piece, Michael.
    But please, keep the noise down…

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you ceayr. Noise? Mike

      1. ceayr

        Sorry, Mike, a reference back to your comment on my post.

        1. Michael Humphris

          I am slow tonight,

  9. Sandra

    I remember my Gran turning collars and cuffs. Nicely captured.

    1. Michael Humphris

      It’s good to know that someone else remembers, those were different the days. Mike

  10. draliman

    Nice piece. Very different to today’s throw-away society.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I have tried to not be part of the throw away society, but modern capitalism does not encourage that.

  11. Alana Kristen

    Ooo, very stand alone piece – great description of detail!

    1. Michael Humphris

      I really do appreciate your comment, thank you. It helped that I was there.

  12. lingeringvisions by Dawn

    A nice slice of days gone by.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you, that’s a kind comment, they were days that I remember with fondness.

  13. Amy Reese

    Great description, Michael. A different era, for sure. They really had to make those clothes last.

  14. wmqcolby

    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!

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you for your kind comments, it’s strange when writing Turn and Tuck I could see each stitch taking place. Mike

  15. Michael Wynn

    Great scene remembering a very different time and hard circumstances

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Michael, yes difficult times yet also a time of great love given freely.

  16. The Reclining Gentleman

    Very nicely written, capturing a different time and way of life

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you, the photo prompt encouraged many pleasant memories, from the 1950s. I even still have my ration card. !!!

      1. The Reclining Gentleman

        And if the economy tanks when we leave Europe you might need it again!

        1. Michael Humphris

          Economies do change, my sewing skills will not be enough if we tank!

          1. The Reclining Gentleman

            LOL we may be relying on your needles 🙂

          2. Michael Humphris

            Sadly they have gone blunt.

  17. patriciaruthsusan

    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. Michael Humphris

      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.

  18. Dahlia

    This scene is still a reality for many – well narrated

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: