Thai silk day dress
At the age of 94, Elvera L’Estrange made her last dress which was created for her daughter to wear to a wedding. Some ten years earlier she had sold her sewing machine and overlocker, so this dress was made using her old plain sewer. It serves as a testament to Elvera’s undiminished talent and is a fine example of her immaculate skills, with the simple silhouette belying the complex use of shaping seams. Elvera always preferred to hand sew zips at the center back for a neater finish. A good part of her life was spent at the kitchen table sewing clothes for herself and her seven children, and she made everything with care and precision, down to the linings and hand-made buttons. She could copy a garment from a photo and had a collection of brown paper patterns, refined and perfected over the years, along with an enviable stash of fine fabrics. Read more about the history of home sewing in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication Home Sewn.