Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Right royal dresses for our "princesses"

 A former seamstress to the Queen is now making dresses for our little Happy House "princesses".
Margaret Sumpter, 77, started her career in couture in the workshop of the Queen’s favourite designer, Norman Hartnell, who created dresses for her two most important occasions – her wedding and her coronation.
Margaret joined Hartnell’s when she was 15 and two years later rose to be a “hand” which meant she got her own garments to work on, instead of assisting someone else.
In the following few years she worked on outfits for the Queen, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Princess Alexandra, plus other high-profile socialites of the day including, Lady Marks of Marks&Spencer and the wife of holiday camp magnate, Billy Butlin.
Six decades on, Margaret is still stitching.  In a sewing room at her home in Dagenham, Essex, happily works on dresses and shorts for our kids,

Margaret discovered the charity through her daughter Dawn Szpak who is in Mercy Changawa's sponsor family..
Sylvester, Chesco and Abdul
When the first parcel of Margaret’s dresses and shorts arrived, there was no shortage of little girls and boys wanting to model them.
Ludwin and Farhida
Amongst Margaret’s proud possessions is a clip from Picture Post, dated 1957, when, on a trip to Paris, the Queen wore a pencil slim dress Margaret had made.  The first straight dress ever worn by the Queen for a royal occasion,  it was described as  “a triumph” with the comment “The silver laced dress worn by the Queen last night
caused gasps of surprise and then of admiration.” 
It was worn again for the State Opening of Parliament later that year.
Another of Margaret’s fashion triumphs was a wedding dress made for Frances, daughter of the Duchess of Argyll and golfer Charles Sweeny, when she married the Duke of Rutland.
“Designed by Norman Hartnell and made by mum it was described as “The dress with the dip line” and one publication reported “the bride of the year in the dress of the year,” said Dawn.
“Mum had to give up her charity work in hospice shops because of a hip problem. I introduced her to Happy House when I started sponsoring Mercy and she takes a keen interest in Mercy’s progress and of news from the Happy House..
“She wanted to help and making clothes is something she can do from the comfort of her own home. She’s got me sewing again too!”
A huge thank you to Margaret for putting her talents to good use for our children and to Dawn too.
Your love and support is truly appreciated.