Liberty Bodice

This is a guest post by one of our forum members Antje Ream. 

Many women of a certain age will remember ‘Liberty Bodices’. These were the vests of the day. At the age of 7 or 8 I was not a fashionista, not like so many children today. We had more serious things to do like play doctors and nurses with our dolls or build dens with bed sheets over washing lines etc. All I remember about them was that they kept me warm but more importantly they had EXTREMELY fiddly rubber buttons down the front. Some bodices even had them on the side.

As already mentioned I am of a certain age, but to my surprise one of my bodices resurfaced a couple of years ago when my late father asked if I remembered this ‘cloth’. He had been using it for decades as a shoe polishing cloth.  Although badly stained it was still complete and somehow it set my creative juices going….which meant dad had to find ‘another’ cloth! Sadly the rubber buttons totally dissolved when I laundered it.

Above I’ve started stitching, although I didn’t like it. Nearly two years later and the juices had found the right recipe. I’m sure I’m not alone in this regard. I started to stitch around the stains using different colours and types of stitch, but nothing tooooooo complicated. It helped me remember many happy times growing up.

From my avid explorations and research on (read that as addiction to!) Pinterest I gleaned some useful ideas, combined with input from my EPH (Ever Patient Husband – he is a brilliant hobby painter so has a good eye) and others, I finally completed my slow stitch piece. The last few days were not quite ‘slow’ stitch as I wanted to enter it into a village show. Then came the method of presentation problem.

Using a piece of polished driftwood, I roped my neighbour into helping me create the stand – the night before!

I titled the piece….Polished Childhood. I could say more about the colours and continuous line of stitches but I’ll leave that to your imagination. Unable to replace the original buttons I recreated them by making individually patterned ‘Dorset’ buttons and stitching a comment about the rubber ones as a reminder. Dad would have loved the result and we would both have laughed and giggled at all the memories. Writing this has just made me realize the bodice is a tribute to him (and my still active mum)….totally by chance.

EPH and I arrived at the show just at packing up time….WOOHOO……..a red ticket I will certainly treasure!

Thanks for the wonderful post Antje! I am sure it will bring smiles to the faces of those who remember wearing the same type of bodice.

 

 

 

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20 Responses to Liberty Bodice

  1. Marj Long says:

    How wonderful Antje that your dad still had your Liberty Bodice after all this time!!! You have created something very special with your slow stitching. As I am old enough to remember wearing such a garment it was lovely to read your post. Well done!!

    • Antje says:

      Thank you Marj. I’ve just found out that the bodice is even older….my mum said I stopped wearing these bodices when I started school! I hope it has brought back some happy memories of that time for you.

  2. Karen Lane says:

    What a great idea to breath new life into this old bodice and such a lovely story to accompany it! That’s a piece of work to treasure!

    • Antje says:

      I enjoy the concept of re-using things, Karen, but I don’t always have the answers. This one took 2 years for the idea to fully evolve. As I mentioned it was only writing this post that made me realise it’s full importance to me, so I will definitely treasure it as a ‘package’ of happy memories.

  3. First Prize – well done! It took great imagination to rescue the bodice from a shoe-polishing cloth to a beautifully embroidered garment.
    The cleverly devised stand shows it off perfectly.

    • Antje says:

      Thank you. It’s the first time I have entered any work so I was delighted with the result, and the red card is a boost to keep me going.
      I’m glad you liked the stand. Fortunately I had just the right piece of driftwood (and neighbour!).

  4. jane dolan says:

    That is lovely. Well rescued and what a good story. Delightful work.

    • Antje says:

      Hi Jane. I’m glad my story appeals.
      Originally I had thought to work with the stains in a monochromatic scheme, but I’m glad I went with colours.

  5. ruthlane says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post Antje! The bodice is definitely a piece to treasure and I love the stand. Congratulations on the red ticket!!

    • Antje says:

      Thank you Ruth.
      I’m glad my story has resonated with a few members.
      The red ticket….well you know how encouraging that is.

  6. What a delightful story! And to have an actual article you wore as a young child. Great and creative idea and results!

    • Antje says:

      Thank you Sherry. The fabric was fiddly to work for some of the stitches and getting the colours to ‘flow’ was tricky at times….I had to sort the colours out in bright daylight and then stitched in the evenings. I have to admit it is satisfying when something actually turns out like you’ve conjured up in your head.

  7. What a great save, the history and journey to recreate it. The stitching and colors are beautiful. You did indeeed deserve first prize. This is an heirloom to cherish. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  8. Flextiles says:

    What a beautiful piece Antje – and congratulations on your first prize! It was well deserved. Visible mending and upcycling are very much in vogue right now, so maybe that helped get your creative juices going!

    • Antje says:

      I am lucky to be a member of a textile group so I see other members’ work and combined with the infinite ideas offered by Pinterest it finally came about. I,m glad you liked it.

  9. What a great piece. I never would have thought to do it. You have a great imagination. Congratulations on getting first prize. I am not old enough for a bodice but I remember always having an undershirt on when I was small.

    • Antje says:

      Thank you. Like any creative person my head is always buzzing with ideas (I’d have to live to a 1000 to achieve just half of them!) and sometimes my imagination runs totally wild. Trying to bring these ideas into reality is not always a success (I could more accurately call them a learning curve)….Luckily this one did come out just fine.

  10. zedster66 says:

    Wow, that’s really unique and interesting, Antje, thanks for showing us! Great stitching too 🙂

  11. Antje says:

    Thank you Zed. It was slow stitching whilst sitting down of an evening. I quite missed the activity afterwards.

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