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Mother and son wore matching outfit in the ’60s

Mom created lookalike ensembles for a children's wear sewing contest sponsored by a Kansas City Macy's store.

By Mary Louise Hinton, Kansas City, Missouri

A mother and son wear matching homemade outfits in the 1960s.In the spring of 1960, I went to my doctor because I had been feeling lethargic. On May 12, I found out I wasn’t sick — I was pregnant!

I was in a state of shock. Our daughter, Sharon, was 20 years old! Nevertheless, when our son, Gary, was born on December 7, I assumed the role of second-time mom with gusto.

After my nearly 21-year hiatus from baby caring, I was a little rusty, but Gary survived, and thrived. We looked on him as a sort of do-it-yourself grandchild.

In the spring of 1964, Macy’s department store in Kansas City sponsored a sewing contest for children’s wear. Entrants had to wear garments made from material and patterns purchased at Macy’s.

I’d been sewing for many years. When Sharon was a little girl, I had made several mother-and-daughter ensembles. So, I decided to make a mother-and-son ensemble for Gary and me.

I bought the patterns and material from Macy’s so I could enter Gary in the contest. Then I made a shirt, jacket and pants for Gary, and a skirt, jacket and beret for me.

Gary marched in the fashion parade, but he didn’t win. In fact, none of the boys did. The girls won all the prizes.

That didn’t stop us from wearing our outfits, though, and throughly enjoying all the attention. Fortunately, Gary was too young to object!

I never did make any more clothes for Gary, but I still smile when I look at that picture.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzan Wold May 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I grew up in the sixties and my Mom made all of our outfits especially for church, it was a lot cheaper back then and with 9 kids we didn’t have too many store bought items. Unfortunately today, it’s cheaper to buy clothes from the store than to make them but nothing was ever as unique as a homemade dress from my Mother!

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Mary May 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm

That is the CUTEST story and photo! I hope your son Gary has a copy of both.

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Annie Tait May 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I love this story! And the photo is priceless – worth much more than whatever prize Macy’s gave to the winners!!!

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Betty J. Myers June 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm

My mother made my sister skirts from feed bags. We lived on a farm and dad would buy seed and feed for the animals from the mill and they would come in printed sacks and mother would wash them and turn them into skirts and dresses for school. We rarely had a store bought dress. I was a junior in high school before I received a sweater that was bought from a store.

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LEE STRICKLAND May 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm

BETTY, SOME OF MY PRETTIEST DRESSES WERE FROM FEED SACKS. THE COLORS STAYED SO PRETTY. SPEAKING OF FEED SACKS HAVE YOU SEE THE ONES THAT HAD RABBITS, PIGS, COWS ETC, DEPENDING WHAT THE FEED WAS FOR. I HAVE SOME PIECES APPLIQUE SIZE I GOT FROM A STORE THAT IS NO LONGER IN BUSINESS. SOUNDS LIKE A SEARCH TO ME. THE ONLY SEWING MACHINE WE HAD WAS A SINGER TREADLE. I SEWED MANY A MILE ON IT AND I HAVE IT NOW. I DIDNT MIND MY MOM SEWING BUT IT WAS THE TRYING ON PART. MOST OF THE DRESSES HAD ELASTIC, NECK WAIST AND SLEEVES. IT WAS ALWAYS A FIGHT TO GET THEM ON AND OFF. I STARTED SEWING YOUNG. PARTLY THE COST OF SMALL CLOTHES 3′S AND 5′S. I WISH EXCEPT I GOT RUN OVER BY THE SHORT AND SQUATTY. TAKE CARE. LEE

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Lisa N. July 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Loved this memory. Although, when I first read the title I thought for sure when I opened the article there would be a picture of mom and son wearing something silly. What a delightful surprise to see such wonderful smart-looking outfits! The reason I had thought the outfits might look funny was because a personal memory had come to mind. Our church’s organist sewed and had three sons. Back in the late ’60s or early ’70s she sewed them all new matching outfits for church……in bold flag motif fabric! Picture three little boys attending church looking like they’re ready to sit on a 4th of July float. I bet they just hoot when looking back on pics of themselves in those crazy outfits. (They WERE stylish at the time though.)

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Darillyn Starr July 11, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your story and the picture of the smart outfits you made! I also made matching outfits for myself and my first son. I had always thought it would be nice to make matching things for myself and a daughter, but hadn’t thought of doing the same with a son. Then, it dawned on me that, although it would take a little more thought, I could do the same with a son. It was a good thing I took the opportunity to do that because by the time I got a daughter, I had three small boys and no time to sew!

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Jan October 12, 2011 at 11:37 am

In 1975 I made my son Jason, age 3, and I a Easter outfit using polyester material. My dress was an empire waist long dress and Jason’s was rompers that buttoned at the shoulders. The material was stripped green and purple on white background. We received many compliments when we wore our matching outfits! Now my son is 37 and suffering from ALS and can no longer wear anything that requires buttons or zippers. Elastic has become our friend.

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Sherry Kern October 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I was looking for a mother-son matching outfit and found your story. I cried, it’s a wonderful story told with a picture complimenting and making the end complete !!! Thank you so much for sharing….. I had my one and only son at age 45 with the help of invitro-fertilization, he’s my whole life.

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michelle October 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm

my mom made jumper dresses and coveralls for me. when the tv show “Dennis the Menace” was popular, those coveralls were just what i needed (never had a slingshot, but my dad made me one that shot pieces of paper–maybe that safer alternative was why). looking at the little jumper dress with a numbers pattern feels unreal–it was so tiny. a pair of black tights and maryjane shoes completed that outfit. and does anyone remember PF Flyers? those were popular sneakers to wear back then!

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Vicki April 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Your sons will not look back on these memories and photos as fondly. In fact, they’re probably quite embarassed to be wearing matching outfits with their Mom! I would never do that to my boys! LOL

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Vicki April 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Mary, I will have to say though that you look stunning in that outfit even if your son doesn’t seem to enjoy it as much. :)

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DeDe April 27, 2012 at 6:45 pm

what a wonderful story!

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ray April 28, 2012 at 1:32 am

A really great story. You two look great.

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Jan C September 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm

The closest we ever got to a mother-son matching outfit was when I wore white short-shorts and a blue tee to a company softball game and my son was wearing his white diaper and blue tee.

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