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At the time when Kiwi blokes were becoming masters of the "can do No8 wire" approach to getting things they needed, New Zealand women were adopting a similar attitude.
If they could not buy the clothes they wanted because of either cost or unavailability, they would jolly well make them themselves.
The result was the evolution of a buoyant home-sewing industry.
Notable Auckland fashion designer and founder of the New Zealand Fashion Museum Doris de Pont, whose appetite for creating beautiful garments was whetted by skills she learned as a home sewer, has set up "Home Sewn" to present a retrospective view of this evolution.
It runs at the Britomart Precinct in the Nathan Gallery, 40 Customs St East, Auckland until September 26.
De Pont has also watched today's women begin to face a dilemma similar to that of their forebears. But this time, it is triggered by a fashion market saturated with ready-to-wear styles that makes finding the right garment as challenging as in earlier days!"It's much easier to simply sit down and sew it yourself. And, increasingly, women are doing just that," she says.
Consequently, she sees the exhibition as "the showcase of an old art form that is gaining renewed interest in the fashion arena".
Along with the 40 outfits that have arrived from homes throughout the country, other exhibition items, such as the machines, the fashion illustrations, photographs, newspaper and magazine articles, and an interactive programme, also intrigue.
The museum's latest book, Home Sewn, a history of home sewing, which includes profiles of 10 leading New Zealand designers and a pattern from each of their collections, has also been launched at the exhibition.
Many of the garments created were unique as sewers with design aptitude breathed originality into them. Indeed, numerous home sewers carved careers in the fashion trade, several helping shape today's national fashion industry.
Among these is Dunedin's Margarita Robertson, successful fashion retailer and founder of the the Nom*D fashion label, who has an outfit in the exhibition.
She made the flocked sheer nylon blouse with satin ribbon detail, in 1970.
"I'm still attracted to this type of fabric in op shops and vintage stores, pretty impractical with its stiffness and nylon content.
"But I love it all the same."
Margarita was taught to sew primarily by her mother, who had worked as a machinist in Dunedin's clothing manufacturing industry.
Motivated by a desire to make her own clothes - she was employed in the Rank Xerox office at the time - Margarita found the materials she used for the blouse in her mother's collection of old fabrics.
That the blouse is displayed with a Nom*D wool serge skirt made 31 years later from boys' school trousers is apt, as reusing vintage garments and reinterpreting utilitarian clothing and uniforms in new and unexpected ways have become integral to Nom*D's signature.
Growing up at a time when even schoolgirls wore Panama hats and gloves, Barbara was highly influenced by her well-dressed grandmother and the polished presentation of others around her. Her love of fashion would find her poring over the latest magazines and Vogue pattern books in the H & J Smith department store. Although she could sew by then, in 1957, just before heading to Dunedin to train for a long-time career in nursing, she completed a formal dress-making course in Invercargill. She went on to sew for her two children and her love affair with fashion continues.
Now living in Omarama with her second husband, Ruth's love of sewing continues, her grandchildren now reaping the benefits of her skills.
Titled "The Treaty Kid - The Genetic Medley" it tells the visual story of the unity of New Zealand combining motifs and traditional clothing styles from Maori and European cultures.
The materials, $2 Shop flags, created huge technical challenges that needed to be incorporated into the final garments.
Handling caused the dye to rub off, which created variations in colour intensity. Made without a pattern and from inferior materials, the outfit is a triumph of the abilities of the designer and seamstress.