A scrapbook of whatever I'm making, collecting, or just obsessing about
at the moment.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Vignettes from my sewing room

Today I had to tear my sewing room up a bit so that my husband could install a new light fixture over the cutting table. That gave me a chance to clean up some obscure areas and enjoy all over again, as if they were new, some fun things I've acquired over the years and the memories that come with them.

Pretty to look at...
While the cutting table was away from the wall, I hung up this 60s vintage Junior Girl Scout uniform, complete with belt, tie, pins, socks (in the pocket), patrol leader cords, and a rattling good sash.

I have a pretty respectable GS collection, focusing mainly on badges and sashes. I started it around the time my mother was dying; she had been my Girl Scout leader when I was little and being immersed in that world was a comfort to me at that time.

My sash has been lost: this is a fuller one from ebay. I bought the dress at an antique store for 35 cents--one of my best deals ever!

A memory I can hold...
Here is one of the first kinds of "needlework" I ever learned to do. My mom started me on embroidery when I was six, and this came some time afterward.

You just wind yarn back and forth around those little pins sticking out around the edge, then sew up the middle with a blunt yarn needle. The magic part is when you turn the dial in the middle, the pins retract, and off pops your daisy!

You can join them together to make whatever seems good, but I never did--I just liked making the daisies.

I call this thing a "Thing Basket."
You know how in antique stores and flea markets you find little doo-dads that don't amount to anything on their own, but they're cute and cheap and you like them? Well, I buy them and I put them in Thing Baskets.

This of course is the sewing notions Thing Basket. The plastic thing sticking out of the spool of blue variegated thread is an ivory bodkin. Next to that is a rustic wooden spool, hand carved. Ray found it under the roof of our house when he was up there re-shingling.

The cameo studs, tatting shuttle, green metal gauge, and the tape measure that cranks up into a gold metal case (you can see a little bit of it next to the pin cushion) were all gifts from my mother-in-law, Sharyn. She has given me many little treasures for my other Thing Baskets too: I have ones of kitchen items, children's toys, paper dolls, Dutch items, Girl Scout items. My favorite Thing Basket is the one filled with "pretty lady" things--kid gloves, perfume bottles, a tiny lady doll, and so on.  I keep it on the cedar chest in my bedroom.

Here are two kinds of antiques joined together
to make a new thing: they are "rubber" stamps made with old buttons stuck on to old wooden thread spools for handles.

My daughter liked to play with the button tins when she was little, so they always make me happy.

If you want to make some, be sure to use a fresh, juicy ink pad to get the best impressions. Also, put something a little squishy (like a magazine) underneath your paper to pad it a bit.

Buttons are often convex--bowing out--so you have to kind of roll the stamp around on the paper to get the whole design--takes some practice.

Scissors Obsession
Finally, here is a look at my scissors collection. Kind of an accidental collection, actually--most collections I set out to acquire but this one just happened.

There are paper scissors at the bottom--and yes, it really is true you should never cut paper with your fabric shears, odd as it seems. I read the scientific explanation of it once but I don't remember it. I just remember not to do it.

How do you like those long-bladed ones? Those are editor's scissors, designed to cut across a whole page of paper so you can re-organize paragraphs by cutting and pasting them. Can you believe I own two pairs of these?  A pair was given to me by a librarian who worked until she was 85, and taught me a great deal about reference work.

The Belding-Corticellis in the upper left are very special to me: they were the first fabric scissors I ever bought for myself, way back in high school--after a certain event happened and I started to like sewing after all.

Because I certainly didn't like it at first, back in 9th grade Home Ec class, which all of us girls took back then. Cooking and baking were fun, but I was really struggling in the sewing part of it and quickly learning to hate it. Then my friend Mary V. gave me a gift that turned me right around.

It happened one Saturday morning when I walked along with her on her Grit route in town. Her brother had had the business first, then she took it over. I don't remember being of much help with collecting the subscription money, but it was a nice morning for a nice walk together and I enjoyed it.

After we finished up, we strolled back through downtown on our way back to her house. There was a store there called Northern Apparel, and it had a book in the window--a Simplicity "How to Sew" book. I can't remember if I said something about failing Home Ec--maybe Mary just knew it already--but anyway she went right in, bought it, and gave it to me. She told me, "I always buy a present for anyone who goes on my route with me, and I wanted to buy a present for you. And I don't want you to fail sewing class."

Well! That book was the text-book I needed: it made sense of flat-fell seams and welt pockets and plackets and side-lap zipper applications and everything else that had been bogging me down. I firmly believe that if it weren't for Mary's gift, I'd have left 9th grade permanently disgruntled with sewing machines and everything that might go into, onto, over, around, underneath, or through them. As it is, I feel my love for sewing is another gift Mary gave me that day. But her greatest gift was caring.

Memories like this one make my sewing room a special place for me--without the memories attached to things, they would all just be so much "stuff." But they're not stuff to me--they're reminders of good people and good times.


Nonna Sue said...

I love feeling a part of your sewing room and projects. Your little baskets are such a wonderful idea! Keep sharing!

Tricks and Manners said...

Thank you, Nonna Sue! It inspires me to know you are out there reading! :-)