Phys Ed, c.1918
A few months ago I received a bag from my mother-in-law containing some articles of clothing formerly belonging to her mother (my husband’s grandmother), Elrose. Amazingly, Elrose had my mother-in-law when she was a month shy of turning 47 years-old! Born in 1903, Elrose lived on the same land that her parents, children and grandchildren all lived on in Petaluma. In fact, only until a few years ago, the house that all these generations lived was still in the family and rooms were fairly untouched since the last of my mother-in-law’s generation moved out.
A long preamble to explain two facts about the garment I’m writing about today: one, Elrose was quite older than most grandmothers tend to be and therefore was a teenager in the mid-to-late 1910s. Two, the fact that the house was in the family’s possession for so long explains why there are still fabulous historical just sort of “around.”
The garment I’d like to share was Elrose’s uniform from Physical Education class at St. Vincent dePaul High school in Petaluma (the same HS that my husband and I attended). Most likely from between 1916-1920, the outfit is in remarkable condition, without a tear or rip to it! It does actually fit me (tight in the waist and thighs, however), but I’m not quite brave enough to post a picture of me wearing it. It’s a very lightweight garment that I imagine was a delight to wear after the constricting nature of normal street clothes.
While I didn’t make this piece, I know the readers of The Sew Weekly will be as fascinated with the details as I am. I absolutely adore the rick-rack work and believe it should serve as an inspiration of something I decide to make.