If you ever made clothes from Quant patterns, owned a Quant piece or were impacted by her style in any way, we wanted to hear about it. And you certainly came up with the goods!
With her fresh take on designer clothes at an affordable price point during the post-war austerity, Mary Quant’s fashion made people feel good. Homes started to fill up with the iconic daisy brand. Enamoured by the possibilities of making and customising their own unique garments using traditional dressmaking skills and a variety of materials, women collected and made their way through Mary Quant Butterick or Courtelle patterns at speed.
Through their recollections, those who got involved with #SewQuant highlighted just how Mary Quant made an impression in ordinary homes across the country. Alongside the physical garments bought, made and kept by many, we were charmed by reminiscences of the Mary Quant style, now neatly sewn into fond family memories.
The following anecdotes have been turned into short webcomics delightfully illustrated by Fraser Robertson.
Pushing the boundaries
"I had a pattern that I made for a wedding: it got shortened several times until my grandfather asked if it was a shirt. It was about 30cm below my waist, but I did wear tights, very expensive at that time."
Timeless and liberated
"I would have loved the Quant look but my dad, who was a shirt cutter, used to draw the patterns and make mine and my mum’s clothes. As a result, my dresses were very similar to mum’s and I used to cry with frustration. I couldn’t make my own because he guarded the sewing machine like a Rottweiler! I learned after I left home and at 68 I still make many of my clothes."
Out of work, into fashion
"I had several Mary Quant designs that I made myself. I had a Saturday job, so I would meet my friend at lunchtime, we would buy patterns and fabric, then she would take them to my house where my mum would help her cut everything out before I got home from work. We would make up the garments, then go out in them that evening! I shudder to think how they fitted or how well finished they were.
We thought ourselves the absolute height of fashion, though my mum said in later years that she “would not have liked to walk round to the dustbin with us, the get-ups we would go out in."
Mary Quant today
"I've had a love of all things 60s since I can remember and when a teen, my folks got me this gorgeous Mary Quant raincoat on a trip in London. Dug it out the other day because, Scotland 🧐☂️"
A number of the stories and photographs we received throughout this campaign feature in a digital slide show in our Mary Quant exhibition.
A huge thanks to all of you who shared memories and dug out old patterns, garments, dolls, sketches and photographs to show us. We hope it was as fun for you as it was for us! 🌼
Fraser Robertson is an illustrator living and working in Dundee who produces narrative-focussed illustrations and character designs. Most recently working as a recurring illustrator on issues of Dungeons on a Dime, and lately creating the cover artwork for In the Red, with author Bryan Tyrrell. Follow Fraser on Instagram.
Our Mary Quant exhibition is now closed. You can still enjoy videos and stories relating to the exhibition here.