Author Topic: 'Sewn in' for winter ??  (Read 14465 times)

Offline groom

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Re: 'Sewn in' for winter ??
« Reply #27 on: Sunday 10 September 17 09:13 BST (UK) »
I'd heard of it, but thought it was something that went on in the 1870s, certainly not the 1970s. When I think about the fashions of that era, I'm surprised it wasn't noticed. As Annie said, I don't think it was a custom, just a very rare occurrence in a minority of families in certain areas. Without wishing to pry, 1l2e, did you grow up in a particularly poor area of London?

I certainly would have reported children clothed like that as I'm sure, however careful they were there would be an aroma by Spring! That was also the time of communal showers after PE in Secondary school, so what happened then?

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Offline 1l2e

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Re: 'Sewn in' for winter ??
« Reply #28 on: Sunday 10 September 17 09:17 BST (UK) »
I can remember one year when I was 15 years old, that for one sewn in Winter my mother sewed onto me my complete school uniform for the whole 7 months - that is, underwear was sewn to school shirt, shirt to trousers, trousers to socks, shirt to tie, school blazer to shirt. This was extremely embarrassing for school, and meant my mother forced me to wear school uniform on weekends and in the Christmas holidays as well, so to go out with other people I would have to wear layers on top of my whole school uniform of course making me very hot indeed.

Another big memory is that up until I was about 7 years old, my mother always kept me on a child leash whenever we went out and on my way to school (this was 70s London so very busy). I remember that she sewed a permanent leash onto the back of my coat (which she forced me to wear whenever I went outside) so whenever I was always either on the leash or the leash was simply just dangling down from my coat.

@Ruskie 1) the embarrassment was awful but being forced by my mother there was absolutely no way me or my siblings could get out of our clothes (and believe me we tried very hard), if so we risked a very hard paddling indeed. Also, my mother double stitched our clothes so they were extra tight and there was no way they would budge.

2) Don't be surprised this tradition was going into the 70s/80s, at least in my area of London there were other children who had also been sewn into their clothes for Winter. I even remember at secondary school when there were health checks in the Winter, there was a letter home saying that those who had been sewn into their clothes for the Winter were of course exempted from injections,etc. and these teenagers numbered quite a few.

3) Im not so sure if it would be a punishable offence today. Sure, I agree having the diaper sewn on might make it a punishable offence as so, but I doubt having just the pyjamas sewn onto the child would be a punishable offence - after all, in some people's minds (not my own) it is just keeping the child warm for the Winter. Also, I still know a few people who practise the tradition with their own children so...

@groom Don't worry at all for asking. No, my family was a fairly average earning middle class family  living in Maida Vale/Warwick Avenue area. Even though we had a decent heating system and warmth in the house, my mother sewed me and my siblings in for the Winter also for when we were outside/at school/etc.

About the aroma, my mother was always diligent about putting large amounts of soap to wash out the smell when I had my bath once a week (and in my mouth when I was naughty!) and she also sprayed deodorant/perfume to try and help the smell go.

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Offline Greensleeves

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Re: 'Sewn in' for winter ??
« Reply #29 on: Sunday 10 September 17 09:35 BST (UK) »
I find it very difficult to believe that this happened in the 1970s, to be honest.  In the 1930s perhaps, but the 70s were a fairly enlightened time, and clothing was more modern, easy to wash and keep clean.  Not sure about the access to showers though, I don't think they were particularly common in homes.  Sorry to be sceptical, but this really sounds very unlikely and I am sure social services would have had something to say about it.  The idea of children being bathed in their full school uniform and then left to dry really stretches belief  I'm afraid.
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Offline 1l2e

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Re: 'Sewn in' for winter ??
« Reply #30 on: Sunday 10 September 17 09:43 BST (UK) »
@Greensleeves this happened with my family in the 1970s it is very much true. I don't know about your home, but in the 70s-80s we certainly had a shower in the home and at school. My mother was quite a backwards person and I think this tradition happened to her and her parents in the 30s as you say, so she used the traditions she and her parents endured on her own children for them to be sewn in for the Winter.

Offline Andrew Tarr

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Re: 'Sewn in' for winter ??
« Reply #31 on: Sunday 10 September 17 10:01 BST (UK) »
But then on the other side of the coin (as it were) there are tales of young children without nether garments in the days when small boys and girls were dressed similarly.

My wife, whose family came from Tyneside, has also heard of the sewing-in practice.  I am surprised it still happened in the 70s, but assumed that it was a throwback inflicted by a disciplinarian parent doing what had been done to them.  I should think it kept children warm by preventing them removing clothes, rather than any direct physical effect.
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Offline maddys52

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Re: 'Sewn in' for winter ??
« Reply #32 on: Sunday 10 September 17 10:25 BST (UK) »
This is the first I've heard of "sewing in" too and am as surprised as everyone else. Found this article about memories from WW2:
"Around three o’clock they arrived, angry, tired, hysterical and lousy. Many of the children had been ‘sewn up for the winter’ (rubbed with goose grease or whale oil, their flannel underwear sewn on until Spring) and were hosts to infection, which they happily passed on! The Red Cross manual did not appear to cover this."
http://www.caringonthehomefront.org.uk/stories/welfare-work/helen-owen/

Offline Ruskie

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Re: 'Sewn in' for winter ??
« Reply #33 on: Sunday 10 September 17 10:40 BST (UK) »
Surely if a 13 year old from a middle class family felt cold, they would simply put on a jumper?  :-\

How can you posibly have a shower if you are fully clothed? How could you dry yourself? Wouldn't it be worse to shower fully clothed and be stuck in wet clothes in winter?

If you were sown into clothes in the 70s there must have been many places which were heated - what happened then? Wouldn't you swelter? What about playing sport? You'd get very hot and sweaty surely? Couldn't you have used scissors if you were determined to remove the sewn on clothes?

Offline 1l2e

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Re: 'Sewn in' for winter ??
« Reply #34 on: Sunday 10 September 17 11:05 BST (UK) »
@Andrew Tarr Exactly it kept us warm by the fact that they were impossible to remove. Also the fact that sewing them together keeps in the heat because there are no openings for holes, cold air to get in, etc. Out of interest, what did your wife say about sewing in children for the Winter?

@Ruskie Im not saying I agree of course, but I think that my mother thought that as I said it above having it permanently sewed on would be a great method for keeping warm and having an underlay on in the Winter.

To have a shower, the water would just go in-between the pyjamas and the stitches, and come out again. To dry, we would just have to wait until the clothes were dry (hence why mother had us have shower in the early mornings on the rare occasion that we had them).

Yes you are right often we did get very hot sewed in occasionally but I guess it was better than being freezing cold. I mean we could of used scissors but the clothes would just be sewed back on, followed by a hard spanking/paddling from my parents. It was a lose-lose situation

Offline iluleah

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Re: 'Sewn in' for winter ??
« Reply #35 on: Sunday 10 September 17 11:16 BST (UK) »
I agree with you Annie

Quote
I personally don't think it was 'custom' but probably by the minority (in certain circumstances)  ???
.......also maybe  certain areas of the country.

My grandparents live north midlands so 1-2 hours north of London, so potentially colder than London and no children there were 'sewn in' no one there could ever remember anyone being 'sewn in' it was the first they had heard/seen it with the  children who were evacuated out of London
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