Threads Of The Past — Recreating clothes & attitudes from old photos

Have you ever looked at an old photo and been mesmerized? I find myself trying to piece together the years that connect the vaguely familiar  person looking back at me to the faces of my relatives. The hair, clothes and cars they stand next to are frozen in time forever only to be left in dusty albums or messy drawers. It’s proof of good times and bad even when our memories fade.


A very wonderful and classy lady I know when she was 18 visiting Hawaii

Or maybe it’s a scene from an earlier era. Roaming farm animals, dust and down-turned expressions expose a hard life — and I am completely drawn in. I want to know their story. Often times a picture is all we get, no one knows who the people were; the picture in your hand is just an echo of those lives we come across by chance.

City Auditor - Archives & Records Management - Auditor s Historical Records - A2004-002.876   Linnton school

Linnton School House in Portland Oregon circa 1908, 6th 7th & 8th graders

I want to pay tribute to the art of photography; it has a powerful ability to connect us through time or distance. I thought it would be fun to recreate some of the outfits and attitudes in old forgotten photos. I am going to select a couple of my favorite/most inspiring pictures and bring them back to life. I will let the picture influence the design.

Art, copying art, copying life.

Threads of the Past Series

I have included two pictures already that I will be pulling inspiration from and a third photograph to be determined.

First Threads of the Past: The first will be this one of my Mom when she was 18. I LOVE this outfit and the lady wearing it and want to replicate a dress for my daughter with the same red, blue and white palette. I cannot get over how young and fun it is and think it would be great for a summer wardrobe. This garment will represent my family picture.

Second Treads of the Past: For the second I want to use this fantastic black and white photo of school children (above) from the area my children are growing up in. I love the idea of connecting them back to the roots of the town they call home. It feels…respectful; especially since my oldest son starts school this year in a brick school house built in the late 1920’s. This picture will take a few weeks since I plan to make a few garments. (Picture and original post courtesy of Vintage Portland). This will represent my Home Sweet Home picture.

Third Threads from the Past: This one is a surprise because it is not picked yet. I found most photographs were not wasted on kids until the 1960’s and later so I’ll have to search a little broader.

I would love to hear any stories of favorite relics from the past that inspire you or even if there was any single image that haunted you through the years. Feel free to join in on the sewing project.


6 thoughts on “Threads Of The Past — Recreating clothes & attitudes from old photos

    • I’m so glad you love the idea too. I was really excited as I dug through all my old photos. At the very least its fun to go through actual pictures, not just scroll down on the computer 🙂

  1. What an awesome idea! I’d like to do this too. You know, in my “free time.” But I’ll just follow your blog instead. Your grandma must have about had a heart attack when your mom wore that little outfit. It was cute on her though. Must be that big friendly smile!

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