CREPE PAPER COUTURE

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Saturday afternoon movies.

The very thought would send shivers of anticipation up and down my spine.

Saturday movies.

A black and white fantasy world.

My silver screen idol  – Sonja Henie.

Transfixed I would watch her chasse across the screen.

An axel jump

I held my breath

An elegant arabesque.

Her costume a heady swirl of stripes.

My costume for the Victory Day Parade.

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I instructed my Mother how the costume was to look.  The skirt should have alternating rows or red, white and blue stripes.  It should be very full.   When I twirled the skirt would float around me  just the way it did on my idol. The rest I was rather vague about.

The dress was fashioned out of crepe paper on a Singer sewing machine of questionable vintage.   Red, white and blue crepe was sewn into one long piece and then gathered by hand.  The bodice was sewn of white crepe paper and separate from the skirt.  The skirt was tied securely around my waist with twill tape.  In my enthusiasm for a very full twirly skirt I hadn’t counted on the thickness  of crepe around my waist.

I knew then I would never look like Sonja Henie.  My skirt would never float horizontally no matter how fast I twirled.     But I looked in the mirror and told my Mom  “I loved my costume”.  I donned my red crepe paper hat emblazoned with the V for Victory.  I carried the flag my Dad made me.  Then off to the Victor Parade I marched.

(N.B.  Like many things in life crepe paper isn’t like it used to be.  It would be difficult these days to make a costume out of crepe paper.  That said I have seen out-of-this world beautiful creations made out of paper.

This story from my childhood is a companion to  my July First Canada Day blog)

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24 thoughts on “CREPE PAPER COUTURE

  1. My Gowd, haven’t you noticed that all these years I have been calling you Sonja, why din’t you tell me before. Twirl you graceful wonder!

    • I’m twirling as fast I can June Bug! All those years living in the frozen north – skating every day all winter long – and I just couldn’t do an arabesque!! XXOO V.

    • Oh yes .. the Avengers. Emma Peel was fabulous. I made myself a white with narrow black stripes pant suit – slim trousers with a long tunic jacket. Then I found a pair of white ankle boots. Did I think I was swish or what!! What colour was your jumpsuit?? V.

    • That doll would be a collector’s item! How cool – how absolutely icy cool. A while ago they had a Sonja Henie day on Turner Classic Theatre. I munched my way through three bowls of popcorn and one package of red Twizzlers licorice. Then I went and put white shoe polish on my figure scales. The blades looked like they could do with a good whipe-up but other than that they are in good nick. V.

  2. Virginia, I’m on the road! I’ll write again tomorrow. This outfit is fantastic, fantastic! I love the shot. Your expression is ADORABLE. More tomorrow. Thanks to you, I’m now obsessed with crepe paper dresses. I discovered a museum with a 1910 crepe paper gown. It’s beautiful but not the same. What’s missing? Your mother’s eye for detail! What a artist! T.

    • I love watching the old Son Henie movies on Turner Classic Theatre. I am sure your Mom did the same. These movies became part of us – how we would dress – even decorate our home. My desire was to have a dinner party with the men in black tie and the woman in evening gowns. It never happened but it was a beautiful dream Resa. Xx Oo V.

  3. May you always be dancing and swirling in your crepe! What a delightful photograph and story……..I was kind of hoping you would follow your last post with something of this! When I was young we had the Kindermasken Parade which began by the German Immigrants (my people) in the 1800s. The town square was shut down and we would don our costumes and circle the square over and over, carrying poles with crepe paper streamers and shout and sing……..of the delights!

    • These are the memories that definitely define us T.M. We chose to make this little village of Ladner our home when we discovered that every June – since the late l800’s they have a children’s parade. Since we are all children at heart (or should be) there are adults on floats participating. The talk of the village for several months was “would the street construction be finished in time”. It wasn’t but the parade went on. Do they still have Kindermasken Parade in your town? Perhaps Theadora and I could don our costumes and join in the shouting and singing. Indeed a day of delights!! XX V.

  4. Virginia, What a marvelous story! I remember when crepe paper was thicker, but I didn’t realize it could be sewn. How cool is that! And it’s wonderful that you have the photo to go with it. All the best, Terri

    • There is a trick to sewing crepe paper – very long stitches. And it definitely is an “at the moment” costume. It holds together long enough… just long enough .. and that’s all you need. V.

  5. What a wonderful post – love the photo! I remember Sonja Henie but I knew I would never skate. And I remember when you could sew crepe paper. Thanks for sharing memories.

    • It’s interesting Jo Nell how many of today’s generation are absolutely mystified at the idea of sewing crepe paper – let alone making a costume. Those were simpler times. V.

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