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Click on the word “Serge” above for a definition.

I signed up for the Michael Kors newsletter and an email from the site landed in my inbox this morning. This line is not on my Favorites list at the moment (even though I do like the shoes being shown) but I like to keep in touch. I clicked the link and was taken to the Spring 2007 runway show. This shot caught my eye because of the cinched waist, the square shoulder line and the words:

Black Wool Serge Jacket

I have lost two treasured sewing goddesses within the last decade: my Mother, Lucile H Dearborn and my Mother-In-Law, Charlotte Farney Olszewski aka Chuckie

Chuckie passed out her fabric stash to me a few years before she passed away. As she handed me a small flat plastic food storage bag containing 7/8 yard of blue wool serge according to the original store tag, she said with a sigh, “They probably don’t even use this kind any more”.

I was curious, it looked and felt like simple twill to me and I knew twill was stilled used. But I couldn’t remember the word “Serge” having been used lately.

Her fabric stash contained many small scrapes but the prizes were fabrics from Japan, circa 1949 and this little package. Chuckie raised 7 kids, purchased cheaply and saved anything of value. She had not had much money to spend on her stash and yet is was fairly large.

I’ve inherited the gene, somehow, by association? My own mother didn’t stash, she purchased for a specific project, sewed it up and tossed the scraps. Perhaps that was due to having moved so often. Chuckie was the kind to “stay put”. Stash mistress.

Anyway, I’ve been keeping my fashion eye out for Serge ever since. This is the first time I’ve seen it mentioned since the stash transfer.


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

4 responses »

  1. Serge is a fabric I’ve read about, especially in older books, but I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen any. Why not? Why did it go out of fashion?

    And, like you, I’ve picked up stashing from my mother-in-law. My own mother is appalled, and she has no idea how much fabric I have.

  2. My mother informed me in my late 20’s that I may never be much as a designer, but I had a great fabric collection!

    I always think of serge for men’s suits. Perhaps its just been renamed? Just like you never see bengaline and marquisette these days, not to mention nansook!

  3. Ah, fabrics of days gone by! I inherited the sewing gene from my grandmother although she bought for a specific project and never stashed. She always bought the very best she could afford. I wish she’d had a stash for me to inherit. I would love to fondle the same fabrics that she did and wonder what she’d had in mind when she purchased them. It’s so much more than just fabric to me!

  4. My Air Force uniforms were made out of wool Serge! I loved the material but not exactly Louisiana friendly, which was where I was stationed. It wears like iron because its sorta the doubleknit of twill. I think it is probably too expensive to sell much of so its not made anymore. Hated the structure of the Air Force -loved the uniforms!


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