Saturday, October 18, 2008

Time Machine

I spent part of today in a time machine.

This time machine:

This is my mother's sewing box. It was custom made for her, I believe by my father. I am not sure when it was made, but from the beginning of my memory, my mother used this box to store her sewing things.

My mother really didn't sew much in the last years of her life, so the contents of the sewing box have been frozen in time. It has been stored at my house, but it was always known that the sewing box would belong to Wisest Sister after Mother passed away. It moved with us to the desert two years ago, but I am delivering it to WS next week, when I visit her during our vacation.

I got it out today and took a trip back in time!

The lid opens with a piano hinge and there is a place for her sewing shears as well as pinking shears in the lid. The smaller compartments were meant to hold bias tape, hem tape and other trim as well as other notions as well as zippers that came in the little circular plastic boxes.

It also held her machine grease and manual. My mother was very diligent in maintaining her sewing machine!

The front has a door with two shelves behind it and two drawers.

The shelves held mother's supplies for making covered buttons and belt buckles,

and extra custom buttons as well as store bought.

The top drawer held miscellany, but the bottom drawer was custom made to hold patterns.

My mother was a very skilled seamstress and used those skills to support her five children, after my father died in 1959 at age 43.

She made covered belt buckles and buttons for the Mennonite ladies in town whose faith required them to wear dresses with no ornamentation. (Self covered buttons and belts met that requirement.)

She also made custom garments, often for folks who could not buy ready made due to physical challenges, or size issues.

When Dearest Sister and I took dance lessons, Mother made the recital costumes for our fellow dancer (wanna-bes) whose mother's did not sew.

Lets look at some of her projects:

She used the Butterick pattern on the top to make house dresses to wear around the house, or in the garden.

I think the bridal pattern was used to make Deeply Missed Sister's wedding dress in 1967.

The ever popular "reversible tie and ascot" is uncut. I imagine that it was probably intended to make gifts for the men-folk sometime in the 70's.

The choir robe pattern was used to make baptismal gowns for church, I believe.

I don't remember the hat patterns, but our family is notorious for our large noggins. We are rarely able to buy a hat ready made. The hat patterns are by Mr. John. Who is that you ask?

A prominent designer, of course!

While discussing the various places that the sewing box could be stowed for travel, The Mister had many ideas of emptying the contents so it could lay on it's back, removing the wheels so that it wouldn't roll around, etc.

I told him firmly that it is not to be modified! It will be delivered to WS in the same condition as it came to me!

Nowadays, there are many caddies, containers and boxes made for storing sewing supplies, but you can't buy a time machine!


Iron Needles said...

Oh my. I cannot say anything else. You took me back, too

I have her old pinking shears.

jodi said...

It's amazing!

Anonymous said...

I remember the sewing box so well. It was one of the things that Mom managed to take when we moved into the trailer house in 1946. One year Ginger and I received Cowgirl outfits from Santa.I learned that she had made them when I found the scraps in the back of the shelf of the sewing box. By the way, current patterns do not fit in the pattern drawer. I am really looking forward to having it in my house. Thanks for the memories!! WS