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Object: Dress, child’s

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Title Dress, child’s
Production O'Hara, Winnie (dressmaker), circa 1950s, New Zealand
Materials cotton
Classification dresses
Technique machine sewing
Dimensions Centre Back: 680mm (Length)
Credit line Gift of Shelley Venimore (née O'Brien), 2011
Registration number GH017175

School dress

This dress is part of an extraordinary collection of 21 children's dresses and home-made dress-ups worn in the 1950s and 60s by the O'Brien children – Shelley, Maureen, and David. The dresses represent popular girls' fashion from this period, and include a range of home-made garments, and garments made in New Zealand and USA.

The collection embodies the story of the three children growing up in Tinui, a rural community near Castlepoint in the Wairarapa, with all the rituals, triumphs, hardships, and joys of a rural life.

Winifred O'Hara made this particular dress for her granddaughter Shelley O'Brien. Shelley remembers this dress being made to be worn at school. The pockets were important for carrying hankies.

Grandma Winifred (Win or Winnie) made a town dress and a school dress for each girl every year. She was a skilled home-sewer with a reputation for perfection, who did all her sewing on a treadle sewing machine.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.