Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, April 7, 2014

The Back End of Things

Yeah. We can do better.
I had long, skinny children.
Who always outgrew their clothes in length, far before said clothes fit them in width.
As they grew, fitting them got to be a greater and greater problem. 
Did you know that few companies, back when my babies were growing, created clothing for children who look like they have been shaped in a taffy-puller?
Or on the torturer’s rack.
Well, it’s true.
And, by the way, shaping children in either of those methods is illegal.
Just thought I’d point that out.
So . . . long, skinny children . . .
Ever try to find pants to fit a 28 inch waist and a 38 inch inseam? 
I did what any desperate and decidedly broke mom would do. I started making my children’s clothes.
All of their clothes.
Shirts, pants, shorts, dresses, skirts, blouses.
PJ’s.
I even took a short course in making 5-pocket blue jeans and made them.
Rivets and all.
I made so many and got so proficient that I stopped even needing instructions and could whip up a pair – from cutting to trying on the finished article – in less than two hours.
I had even been known to make them in my sleep.
Of course they didn’t look quite the same.
But I digress . . .
One thing I discovered with blue jeans was the fact that you are fairly limited in things you can do to make them . . . remark-able.
Oh, you can sew trim into the outer seams.
And use different colours of thread.
But probably the most noticeable of TYCD (things you can do) is to mess with the back pockets.
And yes, I went there.
I embroidered many things on my kids’ back pockets.
Pictures.
Slogans.
Designs.
Then I got the wild idea of using their initials.
Genius.
Only they didn’t always agree.
For example, Erik refused to wear his jeans embossed with the giant letters ‘E’ and ‘T’ on his back side.
I don’t know what his problem was. I thought it would be cute to be called ‘ET’.
Finally, in an attempt at mollification, I added a ‘B’, for his middle name of ‘Blair’.
It passed.
I then used the same idea for his next older brother’s jeans. Robin Duff Tolley. What could be better than ‘RDT’?
He thought it was great.
Until his father asked what the ‘RDT’ stood for. “Rabbit, duck, turtle?”
“Nooo! Robin Duff Tolley!”
“Oh. Rabbitduckturtle?”
“Nooo!”
Yeah. Those pockets had to come right off.
I replaced them with something a little less controversial.
Like squiggles.
But the name remained. From then on, our Duff was known as Rabbitduckturtle.
Have you ever heard of the consequences of labelling a child?
Well, the stories are true.

12 comments:

  1. I can always count on a good laugh when I read your posts Diane! I have kitchen chair cushions that the tie backs broke off. I managed to sew them back on but literally walked around with about 6 bandaids on my fingers when I was finished so I am very jealous of your talent. Mom is also wonderful at sewing and used to make all of my clothes (I was the only girl so got out of wearing hand-me-downs). I remember them fondly! Thanks for sharing your memories1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! You're still ahead of me, Rena! When the ties come off my chair cushions, I pretend that's how they were supposed to be and leave them off! :)

      Delete
  2. You made jeans!! with rivets and designs. You are a super woman!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So hilarious! And I can relate... I have a boy who wears a 29/36. It's not any easier finding pants now than it was then. Thank goodness for Wrangler or he'd be walking around naked. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. Naked was my only other option, too!

      Delete
  4. I bow before your amazing sewing skills! Wow!

    I think I might have made his FATHER do the seam ripping on that pocket you replaced, though :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now why didn't I think of that.? Grumble. Grumble.

      Delete
  5. More like branding don't you think lol?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm. You are very right! The parallel just jumps out at you! Where was my head?! :)

      Delete
  6. You made your own jeans??? I take my hat off to you! Supermum.
    I had short skinny kids. It isn't any easier to get clothes than it is for long kids, but at least I could take seams in and take hems up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My MIL was bilt like that. She ALWAYS had to take pants up. One time she was busily redoing the hems in a new pair of slacks. She finished. And tried them on. And only then discovered that she'd taken up the same leg twice! We all laughed for a week! Yeah. I know. We needed to get out more . . .

      Delete

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