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Wessex Film and Sound Archive

Nesta Tovey

Nesta Tovey was born in north Wales in 1912. Her university studies in Bangor included teacher training in crafts and she worked as a teacher.

In her interview she remembers making and getting clothes at various stages of her life, including her first sewing machine, wartime conditions in Wales and sewing baby clothes.

After moving to Winchester in 1966, she had clothes made by Olive Finch, a Winchester dressmaker also interviewed in 1995 for the Home dressmaking project.

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Extract 48s
In response to being asked if she enjoyed Dior’s 1947 'New Look’

…”Yes, yes, I was very cross about it actually because we all had short dresses you know and then this wretched thing came down here. I remember seeing it for the first time and I didn’t like it all but then you realised that really it looked very much smarter and somebody in the road we lived in, she was very fond of clothes and she came out in it first of all and she did look nice so I think we all adapted soon very soon. It looked right you know and the short dresses looked terribly old fashioned”


Home dressmaking using a sewing machine
Home dressmaking, repair and renovation achieve a fashionable appearance along the principle of wartime ‘Make Do and Mend’ in The Pictorial Guide to Home Needlecraft, 1946. The longer, fuller styles promoted by Dior’s ‘New Look’ of 1947 seemed especially attractive after those long years of austerity.

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