St Johnston - Carrigans     ~ Co Donegal.

Clothing in days gone by

Have you ever heard the expression "stitched up for the winter"?  Even in the 1930's many children in later Autumn had their upper body clothing all stitched on.  It could not be removed without breaking the stitches.  The same clothing then was worn all winter.  It led to extremely poor hygiene and contributed to the spread of typhus.  Doctors found it extremely difficult to examine children as they were indeed "stitched up for the winter".  The clothing was quite heavy and thick as the children were in cold houses and were outside a lot and had outdoor tasks to do even in the middle of the worst of the winter weather.

Many houses had an awl and a last.  This was because shoes were so expensive it was better to buy a piece of leather and repair your shoes yourself.

In the thirties and roundabout, boys did not get long trousers until they were at least twelve or thirteen years of age.  They wore shorts.  The Oxford Bags were in fashion then.  They were grey flannel trousers, the bottoms were notoriously wide - about 28 inches if not more!

Nylon stockings became the must have of high fashion in the last few years of the forties.  But they were very hard to get.  In the fifties, some local women were so desperate to have them that they spent a small fortune in Derry or bought cheap tanning lotion.   They tanned their legs with the lotion and solved the problem of the seam that should show at the back of the leg by drawing a seam with an eye liner pencil!  Many of the ladies sported fancy foxfurs to Mass on Sundays.