Alternative Name(s): Fancy Dress, Dress-ups

Child's dress-up fairy costume with wings, hand-made by the donor's grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Taylor Saunders, as a gift for the donor Jennifer Saunders around 1960, on either her second or third birthday. Jennifer adored the dress, which had fairy wings which she could hold open with little loops through her fingers. The dress was originally accompanied by a matching flower crown and pair of shoes, shown in the accompanying photograph; these no longer survive. As Jennifer grew the hem was let down and sides let out. Bias binding was added to the neck and arm holes, and it was mended in several places, most notably the skirt. Jennifer's mother remembers that once the petticoat had to be below the original tulle hemline, her grandmother made her another tulle skirt with an elastic waistband that went over the petticoat and under the dress. 'It eventually "collapsed" from all the fun!' Jennifer wore the dress until it could no longer fit her. The dress hung in a cupboard at the donor's parent's house in Oak Park until approximately three years ago.

Part of a collection of objects, documents and photographs from the Saunders family home in Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne. Elizabeth Jane Taylor Saunders (nee Elliott) (1894-1971) and James (Jimmy) Farr Saunders (1888-1974) bought the house in 1928, financed by the State Savings Bank of Victoria. James was a stevedore, working on the Melbourne docks, notably Station Pier. Elizabeth Jane was a skilled seamstress, making clothing for her family, mending, creating soft furnishings such as cushions and blankets, and doing decorative needlework. They had five children, of whom four survived to adulthood. After Elizabeth and James passed away their daughter Elizabeth Euphemia, a dental nurse and later language teacher, became the sole occupant of the house, carefully preserving its contents as decades passed.

Physical Description

Child's 'fairy' dress made of yellow tulle over plain fabric. Tight bodice has tulle frill with satin tape edging down either side of centre front, and metallic tape around neck and armholes. Centre back opening. A pair of 'wings' of tulle edged with satin tape are attached to the centre back, with loops at ends so the wearer can extend the wings. Skirt section has two layers of gathered tulle frills with satin tape edging, with the plain fabric extending below the lower frill to lower the hemline.

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