School Needlework

Share your memories and stories from the Hertford Christ's Hospital School, which closed in 1985, when the two schools integrated to the Horsham site....

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Katharine
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School Needlework

Post by Katharine » Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:19 pm

While doing some ironing just now, I was musing on School Needlework. In spite of everything, I am very glad that I did learn to sew so well. It has been very useful and for years I made most of my own clothes, still I think I could make that - but I don't!

I can remember all 6 pieces I made while I had classes. In the Autumn terms it was 'something you can give your mother for Christmas' - first time hankies trimmed with lace (mitred at the corners) and with a coloured thread woven through as a design, second year it was a three mat set for a dressing table - hem sticthing and drawn thread work. (Mother did use them for years!) In the Spring terms it was something for the school, first time a blue pinny (French seams, facings) second year we embroidered collars for bed jackets for the infirmary. I think we should have made the whole bedjacket but Miss Richards fell ill and as it was so long since bedjackets had been made nobody could tell us how to finish them. ( I wonder whether they were ever finished - did anyone later than me wear a royal blue bedjacket with an embroidered collar while in the infirmary?) Summer term it was for ourselves, first time it was a summer dress, second year it was a blouse (both hideous and hardly ever worn by me!)

In the Lower V, the first term we HAD to make a piece of nightwear, I can still see the nightie I made. I cannot remember all the other pieces I made, I can remember a lovely cotton dress which I wore for years, had lovely buttons too! I was also very pleased with a pinafore dress I made, which I wore the day I left school and many, many times after that.

When we went to a four term year, did it change to two pieces a year? I cannot remember, I know I knitted my last term and think that was the only school needlework from August to December.
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: School Needlework

Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:03 am

Katharine wrote:While doing some ironing just now, I was musing on School Needlework. In spite of everything, I am very glad that I did learn to sew so well. It has been very useful and for years I made most of my own clothes, still I think I could make that - but I don't!

I can remember all 6 pieces I made while I had classes. In the Autumn terms it was 'something you can give your mother for Christmas' - first time hankies trimmed with lace (mitred at the corners) and with a coloured thread woven through as a design, second year it was a three mat set for a dressing table - hem sticthing and drawn thread work. (Mother did use them for years!)
Hi Katharine

Yes, I'm glad that I learnt the gentile art of needlework (just wish that it had been taught in a more gentile fashion :wink: ).

Shortly after moving to NZ I was desperately seeking something useful, attractive, affordable to give as a wedding present, and ended up making a large drawn thread table cloth and napkin set, which was enthusiastically received, with suitable praise for the creator :lol: .

Much more recently I was admiring some Country Road napkins that my daughter had purchased in a sale. She commented that she wished she knew how they had been made (drawn thread work), and I gained some serious brownie points when I exclaimed that I knew how, and that I could teach her how to. Of course, in reality I will not only purchase the linen and thread, but create them myself :wink:
Caroline Payne (nee Barrett)
Hertford 6.20 1965-70

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Post by Euterpe13 » Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:05 am

I remember wearing the bed jackets in the Infirmary, and also having to make the collars ! I also still remember how to do drawn threadwork and how to smock, and my daughter's face when she first saw me darn was a picture.

Primary years were spent at a convent where I learnt to embroider, so when first faced with Miss " I left Cheltenham Ladies to teach here" Richards, I could already wield a needle - not that this cut any ice with her....she made me unpick a seam in the first garment we made, a striped skirt, because she said it looked as if it had been machine-sewn :roll: - so I had to resew it badly to pass muster - how crazy is that ?

I also remember just about every piece I every made for school work ( although to be honest I did not wear them all ) , including some amazing orange gloves which I knitted for the Sale, my nightie, and my last offering, 3 three-piece green linen suit, with sprigged cotton lining - inside facings properly tacked too! ( remember how she used to unpick linings to see if you had done the herringbone tacks properly?)

One thing not mentioned by Katharine and Carolins is that our parents had to buy both the pattern and the makings for needlework projects, so we were limited by family finances, which in its turn influenced the look of the finished garment.

I'm still a whizz at putting in a sleeve or a zip, so despite the horrible comments the dire lady inflicted, she did teach us well...

After CH, I continued to make about 60% of my clothes, and made many of my children's clothes when they were small. I only stopped when I really did not have the time any more. Still have 2 sewing machines, though!

Given the ridiculous price of clothes in the shops, perhaps will get them out of mothballs...
B.
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Post by Angela Woodford » Fri Jul 27, 2007 8:05 am

Despite the jowl-quivering ferocity of She Who Shall Not Be Named, I really enjoyed smocking. We made a puffed sleeved blouse out of pink cotton with tiny checks which made it easy for the beginner smocker to made accurate gathers. I remember the sheer fear of taking my work up to her desk when I had finished a line of stitching, and the agony of having it approved - or not!

Then - choosing another colour from the embroidery silks laid out before her. As we sewed there would be a sort of diatribe of comment about our general incompetence and inferiority.

I would really like to try smocking again, but can't think of a project to do - baby garments, no, not yet! Weirdly enough, that smocked blouse might achieve the boho look that we groaned about in the Swinging Sixties which is wearable today.

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Munch
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Post by englishangel » Fri Jul 27, 2007 8:13 am

I don't remember ever doing any smocking at school though I have done it at home.

The drawn thread work I do remember. A 'natural' coloured linen table runner with green stitching. It was responsible for an entire night spent in the loo the night before it was due in. So silly, a little bit every week and there wouldn't have been any of the panic.
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Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:18 am

Euterpe13 wrote:Primary years were spent at a convent where I learnt to embroider, so when first faced with Miss " I left Cheltenham Ladies to teach here" Richards, .
Wonder whether she left of her own accord, or was given the Order of the DCM?

The only Cheltenham Lady I have known (she of the stocking incident reported elsewhere on the forum. JR will surely be able to give directions if anyone is remotely interested :lol: ) was never seen with needle in hand or sewing machine at foot - maybe She Who Shall Not Be Named managed to have needlework removed from their curriculum?
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Post by englishangel » Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:49 am

icomefromalanddownunder wrote:
Euterpe13 wrote:Primary years were spent at a convent where I learnt to embroider, so when first faced with Miss " I left Cheltenham Ladies to teach here" Richards, .
Wonder whether she left of her own accord, or was given the Order of the DCM?

The only Cheltenham Lady I have known (she of the stocking incident reported elsewhere on the forum. JR will surely be able to give directions if anyone is remotely interested :lol: ) was never seen with needle in hand or sewing machine at foot - maybe She Who Shall Not Be Named managed to have needlework removed from their curriculum?
Retired I think, I saw an obit of her somewhere once too. She must have been nearly the same age as DR. Watching HP and the Order of the Phoenix, Dolores Umbridge reminded me of her.
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

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Post by Angela Woodford » Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:28 pm

How I wish, I really wish i could read that obituary of That Needlework Mistress.

It would have made wonderful reading - truly creative on the part of somebody - I wonder who?

Munch
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Post by sejintenej » Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:48 pm

Euterpe13 wrote:I remember wearing the bed jackets in the Infirmary, and also having to make the collars !
we made, a striped skirt,

3 three-piece green linen suit, with sprigged cotton lining - inside facings properly tacked too! ( remember how she used to unpick linings to see if you had done the herringbone tacks properly?)



I'm still a whizz at putting in a sleeve or a zip, so despite the horrible comments the dire lady inflicted, she did teach us well...

Still have 2 sewing machines, though!


Given the ridiculous price of clothes in the shops, perhaps will get them out of mothballs...
B.
I can just see you making a suit with your left hand, putting in a sleeve with the other machine and right hand whilst smocking with your feet. Talk about multi-tasking.
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Post by Euterpe13 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:42 pm

.... whilst dictating a verbatim french-english translation of methodology employed to the computer , to be edited later for the erudition and enlightenment of those less fortunately-edumificated....
Hertford - 5s/2s - 63-70
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Post by cj » Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:17 pm

englishangel wrote:
icomefromalanddownunder wrote:
Euterpe13 wrote:Primary years were spent at a convent where I learnt to embroider, so when first faced with Miss " I left Cheltenham Ladies to teach here" Richards, .
Wonder whether she left of her own accord, or was given the Order of the DCM?

The only Cheltenham Lady I have known (she of the stocking incident reported elsewhere on the forum. JR will surely be able to give directions if anyone is remotely interested :lol: ) was never seen with needle in hand or sewing machine at foot - maybe She Who Shall Not Be Named managed to have needlework removed from their curriculum?
Retired I think, I saw an obit of her somewhere once too. She must have been nearly the same age as DR. Watching HP and the Order of the Phoenix, Dolores Umbridge reminded me of her.
If Miss Richards is Dolores Umbridge, does that make She Who Shall Not Be Named Voldemorta?
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Post by englishangel » Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:21 pm

cj wrote:
englishangel wrote:
icomefromalanddownunder wrote: Wonder whether she left of her own accord, or was given the Order of the DCM?

The only Cheltenham Lady I have known (she of the stocking incident reported elsewhere on the forum. JR will surely be able to give directions if anyone is remotely interested :lol: ) was never seen with needle in hand or sewing machine at foot - maybe She Who Shall Not Be Named managed to have needlework removed from their curriculum?
Retired I think, I saw an obit of her somewhere once too. She must have been nearly the same age as DR. Watching HP and the Order of the Phoenix, Dolores Umbridge reminded me of her.
If Miss Richards is Dolores Umbridge, does that make She Who Shall Not Be Named Voldemorta?
Same person, as named by Caroline (icomefromalanddownunder) but I like Voldemorta
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Post by cj » Fri Jul 27, 2007 7:58 pm

englishangel wrote:
cj wrote:
englishangel wrote: Retired I think, I saw an obit of her somewhere once too. She must have been nearly the same age as DR. Watching HP and the Order of the Phoenix, Dolores Umbridge reminded me of her.
If Miss Richards is Dolores Umbridge, does that make She Who Shall Not Be Named Voldemorta?
Same person, as named by Caroline (icomefromalanddownunder) but I like Voldemorta
:oops:
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Why?

Post by Angela Woodford » Sat Jul 28, 2007 6:46 am

She Who Shall Not Be Named - isn't it sad that, despite the fact that on the whole we are grateful to have sewing skills, none of us can remember her with anything but horror?

Imagine going through life feared and dreaded by everyone!

That's why I was wondering about her obituary. I wonder if she had family and friends, or if she was alone in the world?

Why was she so bitter and twisted? Needlework (in our time anyway) is an interesting and useful craft. It should have been a pleasure to teach and learn.

I was not popular yesterday, whilst waiting to have the house valued, for googling "smocking". Remembering that pink puff-sleeved smocked blouse, I felt a surge of interest in doing some of those stitches again. Many of the needlework interest magazines and books are Australian! It looks as if there is a real passion for needlecraft Downunder!

No wonder you're a Sewing Goddess Caroline!

Love, Munch
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Re: Why?

Post by Katharine » Sat Jul 28, 2007 7:13 am

Angela Woodford wrote:She Who Shall Not Be Named - isn't it sad that, despite the fact that on the whole we are grateful to have sewing skills, none of us can remember her with anything but horror?
I don't think I would use the word horror, Munch. I certainly don't remember her with any affection. I wish I could remember the last words she ever said to me - my knitting skills (possibly with DR urging her on) had FORCED her to give a commendation for knitting, something she had thought she would never do, and she told me so. :lol: :lol: :lol:
Angela wrote: Many of the needlework interest magazines and books are Australian! It looks as if there is a real passion for needlecraft Downunder!
I was deeply into embroidery when we were there on holiday and I found some beautiful magazines - I may even have some with articles about smocking do you want me to have a look?
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia!

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