Monday, 3 August 2015

Party Like It’s 1955 – Saturday Night Celebrations …. At the Dance and At the Flicks ….

Not quite the last word but a post getting you in the mood to take a 1955 theme for the last night party and the preparations along the way.  Here is Jill setting the scene and explaining the plan for preparations...

The year the Association was established, Britain was slowly emerging from the end of rationing which had finished the previous year. Widespread shortages of cloth, thread and yarn which had occurred as a result of the diverting of manufacturing resources to reconstruction were beginning to ease. The devastation caused by the bombing of manufacturing districts was slow to repair and this meant that supplies were often scarce and haphazard at times. Locally produced fibres and fabrics were valued and often reused or made into something different. The skills of ‘handwork’ were taught across the school curriculum and considered an essential part of everyday life. ‘Make do and mend’ had a resonance that carried through the 1950s as folk sought to make their lives less grey and add gaiety to their ‘leisure’ time, a new concept gaining ground.
Against this background, and although not new, the practice of forming cooperative clubs of like-minded crafts-people has proved to be a highly successful one. Working together to improve practice and gain experience has allowed many people to develop their understanding and share that with other people, be it as teachers or practitioners. To celebrate the establishment of the Association, in a small way, we are going to use those principles and play. The Summer School Fringe events are designed to encourage you to share your skills with other people and have fun along the way.

We will be using the Construction Hall during the week as the centre for 1955-style after-hours activity, which will culminate in the celebrations of Saturday Night. You will have the opportunity to play board games including chess, playing charades, cards and cribbage, I will be running four dressmaking sessions for those who’d like to make hats, fascinators and clothes for the social dance and ‘drive-in’. You’ll be using sewing machines from the 1950s and re-purposing fabric to make circular skirts, we’ll be recycling ornaments and feathers and reusing lace trimmings and ribbon. We’ll be doing what my mum did by adapting, making and getting ready for Saturday Night. Going to the flicks or out to a dance was the highlight of the week for my mum and dad; newly at work in 1955 after school and National Service. The excitement of music and the glamour of film was not to be missed and we won’t be missing it either.

If you want to help what do you need to do?
  • Bring any clothing, shoes or scraps that you think you might need.
  • Bring any fabric that is tucked away in the cupboard that can be used for dressmaking (I’ll have a few patterns and know-how) even bedsheets, curtains and tablecloths were used in the 50s for clothing. I’ll have some fabric which I’ve been squirrelling away for the purpose - if you don't bring your own materials you are asked to put a contribution in the pot for the nominal cost as I’ve used my budget to buy some at 50p - £2.00/metre.
  • Bring scraps of lace, feather and any costume jewellery that can be used to make ornaments or fascinators.
  • Bring your sewing kits and a pair of scissors that cut fabric. If you’ve got any 1950s style patterns, that are not too tricky, bring those - bear in mind we will have four evenings to do this and there are others distractions too.
  • Bring yourself and your enthusiasm.
  • Don’t forget your red lipstick, girls, and boys, bring your Brylcreem. I can do your make-up on Saturday evening for the wobbly of hand …
  • I’ll bring sewing machines, interfacing, threads, pattern paper and pins.
  • Any questions, just ask (once you are there) or email in advance to using 1955 in the header.