My maternal grandmother Madge had couture level sewing skills. When I asked where she got them, my aunt told me she took classes in downtown Chicago. She never rested on her laurels. I am thinking of her a lot, since my sister and I are taking a couture sewing workshop with Claire Shaeffer in Palm Springs. I like to think of her spirit in the room with us.
During the depression, she made complete wardrobes for her three daughters, taking apart old clothes to find fabric. One aunt told me she always had a new dress for special occasions, even if the fabric was not new. When the youngest daughter was ready to go off to college, my grandparents had enough money to buy her a new wardrobe. But she demanded a handmade collection just like her sisters had received.
This picture is from 1961, when she was about 62 years old. You can see that she was able to stay right in style. Find me that jacket, and I would wear it today.