Artifact from the 4-H Years

I confesed my blog-havingness to my friend Beth this morning (she’s my most internet famous friend and I knew she would be nice) and she immediately asked to hear more about the 4-H shirt. Here’s the thing, though, I never made the shirt. Instead I made the skirt you see pictured here which, for 1986, *might* have been stylish but looks pretty frumpy to me. I was rocking ankle socks with my jellies which seemed pretty awesome at the time.

I jumped on the internet this morning to see if I could find an image of a similar shirt and I need to warn you guys, don’t google “criss cross back shirt” unless you are ready to look at lots of images of lingerie.  Maybe that should have been obvious to me?

This is the closest I can come to a picture of what the inspiration shirt looked like, but you have to imagine twice the straps. Also it was made out of cotton shirting, not knit and it definitely didn’t hug the body like this one. So yea, something like this but mostly not. Regardless, it did inspire me to join 4-H which seems so country bumpkin except that I live in a small city with a large university so it meant that we did all the 4-H things that didn’t involve livestock. It was in 4-H that I learned to sew, bake bread, make muffins that don’t have tunnels, arrange flowers, decorate a cake, give a decent public speech, and take photos. Mostly I learned the womanly arts from women who weren’t my mother which, in the end, I am grateful for.  Because when you are 12, the last person in the world you want teaching you how to do something is your mother.

Historical note: I know this photo was taken in 1986 because I broke my arm the summer of my 12th birthday. I also remember sewing in the front room of my parents’ house and listening to the Iran Contra hearings on the radio. However, the hearings weren’t until 1987 so there must be another garment in existence from this period that I have no recollection of making. I do, however, still enjoy listening to the news and podcasts while sewing. Perhaps we don’t change all that much.

shirt back image from:

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4 Responses to Artifact from the 4-H Years

  1. Beth says:

    I heartily thank the 4-H for all the amazing things I have eaten that have come from your heart and hands! And I would have envied your 1986 outfit. My mom didn’t let me wear jellies out of the yard.

  2. mslinder says:

    Oh, nice allusion to the 4-H pledge! Did you have to look that up? My mom and I fought about the ballet flats from the Chinese Grocery store but never about the jellies.

  3. Beth says:

    The Oriental Food Market shoes, as I called them, after the Asian grocery in Macomb! Somehow those I was allowed to wear, though under much scowling and moaning about arches. I’m sure my mom gloats all the time about my now-hardly-ever-not-Dansko’ed feet.

  4. Anita says:

    I was a 4-H girl myself! 🙂 My friends and I made fun of the 80’s while we were still in the 80’s. It’s scary to look back at those pictures today. You are brave to share such things!

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