Day dress & slip
Grace Andrews (nee Furniss) was born in 1920 in the small town of Piopio, south of Te Kuiti. One of eleven children, Grace went into domestic service at the age of 13 to help support her family. Determined to change her circumstances, at the age of 19, she began studying in the evenings at the Hollywood School of Dressmaking on Auckland’s Queen Street while continuing her domestic work during the day. Her new skills enabled her to establish her own dress making enterprise in her home town. Marriage in 1941 brought an end to her business as it was customary for married women not to work. However, Grace continued sewing made-to-measure daywear, wedding and occasion dresses from her home and later, clothing for her four children, until her untimely death at 49. Much of Grace’s work has been given away with only a few pieces, such as this dress, remaining in her family’s care. Read more about the history of home sewing in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication Home Sewn.