In this extract May Smullen talks about how her sister was an excellent dressmaker. She remembers how her sister would make bomber jackets for her brother from her fathers old postman jackets when he had finished with them. She also remembers her sister turning a coat she had inside out as the colour of the fabric on one side had become faded.

Item Type

Moving Image


Can you remember did your mother or father ever make your clothes or did you buy them or what did you do?

Bought them, I had… I did have an aunt who would make things sometimes for me and there was a friend of my sister’s, she used to make dresses, but mostly I think we bought clothes.

Did you ever learn to do any dressmaking yourself?

I done a little bit.

Is it alright if I say something? Esther used to turn the… remember the turn?

My sister, yeah, one time I was going on an outing and that was when I was working and I had this blue tweed coat but it was gone a bit faded so my sister ripped it all up and turned it the inside out and it was like a new coat.


And a neighbour then made a dress for me. We were only going to Skerries on an outing!

Yeah but even so, what Esther done, like…

I’d love to have that skill. It would be great.

She was very skilful though wasn’t she?

She used to make… my father was a postman but at that time they used to wear the uniform, you know, so when he would… one of the jackets then, he’d get a new one, she used to make little bomber jackets for my brother, you know…

Out of …

Out of the jacket that he used to wear, yeah.

Wow, yeah, that’s very skilled.


4:30.7 - 6:22.9


About this item

Spatial Coverage



Dublin City Life, Work and Family, Work



Date Added



"May Smullen remembers her sister was an excellent dressmaker.." Lifescapes: Mapping Dublin Lives, Item #238 (accessed February 21 2018, 7:24 am)