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News > Alumni Memories > Remember When...

Remember When...

Sally-Anne Longden ('69) remembers how the students were fitted for their uniforms during her years in ISKL at the original Istana building.
Sally Anne Longden ('73)
Sally Anne Longden ('73)

Looking back, what are your recollections of your school days? Surely there are so many fond memories from that time. Sometimes it's only after those carefree days of our youth have passed that we appreciate the fun we had. Remember When is our virtual memory book where we collect the stories and anecdotes of days gone by from fellow alumni. Have a story to share? Let us know at Our featured contribution this time is from Sally Anne Longden (‘73) where she looks back on getting fitted for school uniforms in the early days of the Istana Campus. 

Now living back home in England since 1988, Sally attended ISKL from 1966 to 1969. Sally reminisces:

“In the original school building, a lovely old house in which a beautiful staircase rose from the back hall area, up a step (or two), is where we got fitted for our school uniforms. The female uniforms consisted of white shirts and grey skirts. The latter were made by Chinese tailors who arrived at the school to measure us. We lined up from the front door, past the reception office on the left, to the steps, and were measured one by one.

This consisted of the tailor whipping string around each girl's waist, hip, and length to knee, with knots in the string indicating the measurement. Each girl then moved sideways to another person who sketched the design one wanted, and recorded how many skirts were to be ordered. I had three, one gored (a type of A-line skirt with many different triangular panels sewn together), one A line and one with a front pleat. All of them had pockets.

The material was provided and at that time was a blue grey chambray type of washable fabric. You must understand that in those days most school uniforms were dry cleanable only, except for the cotton shirts, which would never have worked in the tropics with a lack of washing machines.

All the skirts fit perfectly with no intermediate fitting, and I have often thought of the sheer skill of those tailors with all the different designs and non standardised measurements, armed merely with string and a few rough sketches.”

What a beautiful reflection on something that on the surface would seem rather mundane. A truly remarkable glimpse of the past, that will remind many alumni of the very special Istana days. Please help us add to our virtual memory book with more stories like these. Have something to share, please write to us at

Edited By: Kendra Jones

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