I’ve been sewing quite a lot lately. I’ve got at least three projects waiting in the wings.
Opportunities for taking photos has been limited and, to be honest, I’m tired. I hate photos when I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. So I’m resting (ok, being lazy) and quietly sewing – I’ll be back shortly.
I’m in Tamworth at the moment with my girls. I’m typing this post on my iPhone as I feel compelled to write tonight.
Today we hit my favourite vintage/op shop – and it was a treasure trove.
I found some beautiful silk, 5 metres for just $6. I feel a decadent kimono or some loungewear coming on…
The real joy for me was finding a collection of vintage sewing patterns.
and this beauty, a damaged but magnificent Vogue Courtier 208.
I believe that most, if not all, came from the stash of a lady called Mrs Williams. The collection was considerable, predominantly women’s dresses with a bust size of 34-36 inches.
It’s silly but I love knowing who vintage patterns belonged to. It makes me feel very attached to them. I’ve been gifted many patterns, including a number from Busy Lizzie , Suzy Bee Sews and a work friend who gave me her mother’s patterns from the 1940-50s. I treasure them all.
I grew up surrounded by lovely furniture that came from mainly my mother & grandmother’s home. I studied at my grandmother’s desk, I slept in a cedar bed made for my mother, I sat on a settee from my grandmother’s home.
Now I sit in my great grandfather’s chair every morning as I drink my coffee.
My mum & dad often told stories about our furniture and other pieces in the house. I loved that these things that belonged to my family and the people that came before me. I felt connected. I grew up with a sense that everything was imbued with people’s lives and their stories.
I know it’s completely corny but there is part of me that feels a strong sense of sadness when I stumble across someone’s sewing collection tucked away in a corner of an op shop.
It’s not the possible monetary value that motivates me to take them home. It’s not huge and I’ve never been able to make myself to sell any I’ve purchased at op shops and garage sales. I have gifted a few of my finds to other passionate sewing friends. I’ve never parted with a vintage pattern that’s been gifted to me. I feel like a custodian. I know. Silly but that’s just how I feel about them. Perhaps I’m a curator at heart.
I gather them up and take them home for other, perhaps irrational, reasons. It’s that someone didn’t see that these weren’t just patterns. They didn’t see or understand their real value. These were very much part of who Mrs Williams was and her life. As much as her jewellery or favourite chair might have been. Perhaps I’m wrong but the extent of this collection and the nature of it spoke volumes to me.
Sewing was clearly a passionate hobby, something that filled her life with joy, creativity and satisfaction.
And that’s something beyond measure. Something to be celebrated and treasured.
So Mrs Williams, wherever you are, your hobby lives on.
Do you collect vintage sewing notions? And if so, what motivates you?