I am sorry there has been a pause in my textile related posts but here is another one. We were walking through Sainsbury's earlier this week when I noticed a rack of children's fancy dress outfits. How different from the 1950s. As I remember it you had to make your own in those days unless you had a lot of money and could afford to hire the costumes. I do not think we went to fancy dress parties much and there were no 'festivals' for which you wore fancy dress so I was not surprised that I could only find two relevant photos.
I remember this event clearly. It was a Christmas party for children held at Government House in Wellington in December 1954. This was our second Christmas living in Wellington. I remember that the party was held on the lawn, that there seemed to be a lot of children at it and that my sister won the attention of the Governor-General during the lolly scramble.
My father was artistic and imaginative so he always rose to a challenge such as creating costumes. Needless to say, my mother was the one who had to do the sewing. So here we have my sister as 'Mary, Mary quite contrary' and me as a Christmas tree. As I remember the dresses were made from green cotton. My sister had bells round the neck and waistline, flowers on the skirt and a row of what look like real shells round the hem. The flowers appear to be made from tinfoil. This was when milk bottle tops were tinfoil so I think it was quite easy to get hold of. I do not know how my parents attached the shells as having tried to attach them to quilts I know it is very difficult. Her watering can hat was made from corrugated cardboard.
My Christmas tree dress was made with several tiers with pointed lower edges. The packages were empty boxes wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper and there were strings of tinsel draped round the entire dress. My head-dress was a wreath with a star in the middle. We wore our school Clarks sandals - remember Christmas is in summer in New Zealand.