"Make It Yourself"

by Sarah A. Gordon

Home Sewing, Gender, and Culture, 1890–1930

Interview with Edith Kurtz

Edith Kurtz: My mother made over everything I wore to go to college.

Sarah Gordon: Right.

Edith Kurtz: I had jumpers made up out of old dresses, and I had, well, I didn’t wear skirts and blouses very much because I was not a figure to wear them. But, I never had anything brand new, and I didn’t have very many of them.

Sarah Gordon: Did she make them over from…

Edith Kurtz: Made them over from things that I already had.

Sarah Gordon: So she renovated to look, to fix it… a lot cheaper…

Edith Kurtz: They were new to me. I remember one dress that I had that was really quite beautiful, that the sleeves had worn out. So she, she made dolman sleeves of a different color. It was, it was really beautiful. You had to buy some, some supplementary material to be sure, but the fabric was still good, so…

Sarah Gordon: Why not!

Edith Kurtz: Why not. And she was quite skillful at making, making things over to make me feel that they were something new and different.

Sarah Gordon: Right. That’s a real skill.

Edith Kurtz: Yes.

Sarah Gordon: That’s hard to do.