Sleeveless white debutante dress with separate petticoat made by Margaret Mayne in 1958 when a final year student in the Diploma of Needlecraft at Emily McPherson College. She recalls it was 'a classic style of the time' and incorporated 60 yards of tulle. The underskirt is over seven metres wide. Margaret notes that she then had a 22 inch (56 cm) waist!

Margaret was awarded her Diploma in 1959, after completing the requisite one year of industry work following her final year of study. She had worked at Keith Smith Pty Ltd in Queensberry Street, Carlton, manufacturer of ingerie and nightwear, as a lay planner and cutter. The year 'seemed to drag' for her as she wanted to become a teacher. In 1960 she attended Technical Teachers' College in Toorak, then began her career as a teacher at Preston Technical School. Her long career included teaching at Emily McPherson College, Executive Officer of the Clothing Industry Studies Standing Committee at the Curriculum and Research Branch of the Education Department, and Staff Training and Development Manager at Frankston College of TAFE. She retired in 1992.

In 1953, The Argus newspaper described the Diploma of Needlecraft course that Margaret began three years later: '...the diploma of needlecraft...takes three years. The course gives girls training in designing and cutting, dressmaking, and every branch of needlework. It also includes a basic training in art, and a number of them teach art in schools when they have finished the course...Girls who do diploma courses receive a good all-round education. They must have their intermediate certificate before they start, and must sit for leaving English, and matriculation English expression, as part of the course.' The article noted that 'Now, for the girls whose main interests centre round the home, there are typically feminine jobs which will never be a loss in their future lives.' It added that 'One of the greatest attractions of these careers is that they are not wasted when a girl marries.' (18 June 1953)

Physical Description

Sleeveless white dress, curved neckline, with fitted bodice of guipure lace over satin. Slightly dropped waistline. Taffeta underskirt and five layers of tulle. A separate heavy cotton underskirt has six tiers, each tier gathered onto the tier above it. It is over seven metres wide around the lower edge.

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