Mrs Murdoch and Dorothy bags

There are times when you realise, unexpectedly the influence that something or someone has made on your life. A small impact that stays with you and it is almost a trivial thing but at the same time it has become a part of who you are……

At school, Home Economics was taught by Miss Murdoch, a grey haired lady in a white overall who was pretty serious, although this was primary school so I can’t remember her personality very clearly,she was just a teacher who took us out of our usual class. She may have been Mrs but there were a few spinster teachers at this Edinburgh school who seemed to have devoted their lives to teaching.

Our young Scottish wit decided it was funnier if we called her Miss Murder, but out of earshot obviously and with more of an Edinburgh than a ‘ Taggart’ accent.

I made three things in her class. First project was a Dorothy bag. A pretty,yellow, checked hand stitched bag with the clever closing that you pull. I was impressed.

Then we moved on to the peg bag that we had to bring in a coat hanger for and I brought home, a few weeks later, a bright red bag with a front opening and embroidered faces on each side (I don’t know why I thought faces on a peg bag was a good idea but I seem to remember Miss Murdoch actually handing out a compliment for my efforts).This is the time I was introduced to Herringbone stitch. This peg bag was used for quite a few years before it literally fell off the washing line. I can still see it in my mind’s eye swinging amongst the  washing.

The third project was a piece of clothing, specifically a smock top. This was the seventies, so smock top patterns were abundant. I can’t actually remember much about making this except maybe I actually used a sewing machine this time. I must have been ten or eleven. It was a bright top with empire line gathering and puffy sleeves and it was two colours using plain purple cotton and a patterned one. I only remember this top now as being worn a fair bit by my sister who liked it more than I did. I have photos of her wearing it over a thin jumper and it looking quite good…the Smock Top.

I was never going to be a great seamstress but it was a grounding for sewing and every now and then at different times I have been drawn back to the needle and thread and  made stuff. All thanks to Mrs/Miss Murdoch and the Dorothy bag.

This grey haired lady sprang to mind when I was making these Dorothy bags…… :)