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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Re: School Needlework

Post by Katharine » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:53 pm

Knitting had become one out of three in my time, Maggie. I did it twice, my last term and in the LVI, I think. We only tried on our garments in the Summer term, one year I made an outfit for my little sister so didn't have to try it on!
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: School Needlework

Post by Angela Woodford » Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:04 am

MaryB wrote: I also remember going to my Oxford interview in a collection of everyone's school needlework that remotely fitted (my skirt, Carolynn's coat (which can't have done up), someone else's blouse). I got changed in the Ladies at Paddington. It was the era of Biba, maxi coats, laced short boots...I must have looked like a jumble sale even though every garment was individually fine.
Oh Mary! Getting changed in the Ladies! This is such a charming post! I suppose you were meant to go to an Oxford interview in your school uniform? :oops:

Putting on make-up on the train! How it's reminded me! I remember feeling really envious of Jill Wright as we once drew into Liverpool Street as she adjusted a slouchy daring hat over her perfect *newly-enhanced-by-blusher cheekbones! How had you concealed your interview outfit from the ever-vigilant Lil?

I bet your Oxford interviewers thought - "Here is an applicant utterly original in her presentation!" Well done!

*Mary Quant Blushbaby in Toffee.
"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: School Needlework

Post by englishangel » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:39 pm

I think by my time we had to make one garment between summer and Christmas, and another between Christmas and summer. I always made something for myself or I would never have had any clothes to wear at home.
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Re: School Needlework

Post by midget » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:47 pm

Did anyone ever do embroidery?
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Re: School Needlework

Post by englishangel » Sat Aug 14, 2010 10:19 pm

I have never embroidered but I started x-stitching when in the US to keep my fingers out of the crisp packets. My daughter now x-stitches like a demon.
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Re: School Needlework

Post by Katharine » Sat Aug 14, 2010 10:34 pm

I do remember some embroidery as part of school needlework, but never did it myself. Again we were supposed to be able to do it one term in three - but I'm not sure whether you could embroider one term, knit one term and only dressmake one term.
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Re: School Needlework

Post by MKM » Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:06 pm

We did a sort of embroidery, involving pulling threads out of linen, and gathering the resulting loose threads together into tiny decorative bunches. Someone tell me what it's called, please. I still have the table mats I made - they've never been used. We made them in one of the lower forms, when the whole class made the same thing.
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Re: School Needlework

Post by Katharine » Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:29 pm

Mary that is drawn thread work. I think everyone did some embroidery while they were having classes, I thought Maggie was asking about optional embroidery as School Needlework in the higher forms. I think we used to make something in the Autumn term that would "make a Christmas Present for your Mother". We did dressing table mats in drawn thread work and My Mum did use them for years!
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: School Needlework

Post by Fjgrogan » Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:53 pm

I think the drawn thread work was called hemstitching - presumably as distinct from other forms of drawn thread work. I remember doing a set of table napkins each with its own envelope; I know my mother kept them for years but have no idea where they are now - I hope they didn't end up in a jumble sale; I would quite like to have them back, but my sister has done some ruthless decluttering in my Dad's flat! Yes, we did have to do some embroidery in the lower school - I believe I still have a hideous apron - I really should have 'decluttered' that! I absolutely hated embroidery, but I think I have mentioned somewhere else on this forum that I started cross-stitching some years ago and quickly became addicted to it ...... and I am sure I have told of discovering in a cross stitch magazine a picture of a sampler designed and stitched by Katharine - I'm sure I have that magazine still.
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Re: School Needlework

Post by Katharine » Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:09 pm

Frances, hemstitching is just one technique, which can be part of drawn thread work. Mary described gathering the loose threads together, which is definitely drawn thread work, and in this case hemstitching would almost always be done first.

Was that our Silver Wedding sampler? It is behind me now, and shows the flags of all the places where we had served or lived. England was the only country with an easy flag! Brunei's is particularly difficult. I did have various other pictures of embroideries published, including one of a hornbill, I was very pleased with that! It had been taken from a photo, before the days of computer programs to do the conversions.
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: School Needlework

Post by midget » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:48 pm

Needlework lessons were difficult when I first joined, but later I remember that we were embroidering the collars for the infirmary dressing gowns. Also for Art one term in LVI we could do embroidery (no transfers or charts allowed) and my mother had my cushion cover for years. I think it was finally destroyed by a cat.
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Re: School Needlework

Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:42 am

Drawn thread work :) . For some reason this form of needlework holds no bad memories for me, and I have created items post-CH: a much appreciated tablecloth and napkin set as a wedding present for friends (we were living in NZ and I couldn't find anything that I wished to purchase for them in available shops), and a linen hand-binding ribbon for my daughter's wedding that was so good that my-Ex assumed that my mother had created it :roll:

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Re: School Needlework

Post by Angela Woodford » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:24 am

I'm carefully keeping the transfers of little smocking dots which Katharine kindly sent me some time ago! I produced a little sampler, and yes - I'd remembered a few of the stitches!

If ever I see a smocking project that inspires me, I'll be getting out those little dots! We made a really weird peasanty smocked blouse - the smocker could have turned up for a "Sound of Music" audition in it and been a shoo-in - but I did enjoy the craft and could smock quite competently. SWMNBN had acquired fabric with tiny tiny checks, which made gathering it up accurate and simple.

Remembering going up to Her desk in turn to choose the next piece of embroidery silk. Standing next to Her sitting figure, I felt sorry for Her because Her hair was going really thin on top.

Maybe when I become a granny, there may be some sort of smocky garment I could make for the baby? My knitting skills are really coming along, too!
"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: School Needlework

Post by Angela Woodford » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:36 am

MKM wrote:We did a sort of embroidery, involving pulling threads out of linen, and gathering the resulting loose threads together into tiny decorative bunches. Someone tell me what it's called, please.
Recently, one of the Ladies of the Cove Knitting and Spinning Group arrived clutching a carton of her own very elderly mother's stash of old patterns. We were invited to take our pick in the unlikely chance that any ancient pattern might be useful. :shock: before the box went to the tip. (No, no!) You can imagine my shriek of excitement!

An elegant 1930's booklet of knitting and crochet! A 1950's book of Vogue Knitting! (The adorable twinsets, "sports jumpers", exclusive wools ("Paris Comes to You!") and an angora evening stole.... and more. Oh, the bliss.

Anyway, amongst the oldest is a battered booklet "First Lessons in Drawn Thread for Home and School". This must have been for sale, price one penny, early 20's, maybe older? There's a drawing on the cover of a goddess-like embroiderer - I could check from this the date it was compiled? Anyway, here are the stitches we learned for drawn-thread embroidery with SWSNBN, and more that's extremely intricate and complicated. Wonderful.

I especially like the instructions for "A Nurse's Bonnet String". "Hospital Nurses frequently like to have their white lawn bonnet strings daintily ornamented with drawn threadwork. See FIG. 18."

Lovely. SWSNBN would sniff in approval.
"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: School Needlework

Post by Angela Pratt 56-63 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:36 pm

When my "baby" sister Charlotte (later 0nes 72-79) in 1961 I made her Viella nightgowns with 3 different types of smocking for my school needlework - I'd forgotten the dot patterns! It was great not to have to try them on...
In my time everyone was expected to make their own "Leaving outfit"for school needlework during the summer term. We all made dress and jackets. Mine was pale tuquoise linen, I can remember the terrible trouble I had with the bound buttonholes!! Showing it off with matching bag and shoes(and sometimes hat!) on the field on the last morning was a huge event. I can remember taking photos of each group of leavers each year. Suddenly everyone looked so much older because we'd never seen most of them in anything but school uniform.

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