S is for...
I know how to sew, but I don't really sew. I can't imagine not having a sewing machine or a sewing basket in which to corral the needles, a small stack of fabric, thread and pins for the mending. Heh, the mending that I never, ever get to. The girls always outgrew the mending pile -- usually by years. Right now, my main sewing basket is set atop the sewing machine case under one of the dining nook windows and atop of that is a pile of stuff with holes or missing buttons or blown out seams or falling-down hems, along with some fabric and patterns.
The accoutrements of sewing are many and they come in all sizes. I have three sewing machines and about a half-dozen sewing baskets. Two of the machines are, at the moment, non-working treadle machines of the heirloom variety -- one from my maternal grandmother, the other from my paternal great-grandmother on Grandma's side. The baskets and stands are a bit of a problem... I am inexplicably drawn to them -- wicker, wood, plastic, it doesn't really matter. All but one are filled with items having nothing to do with sewing -- they hold yarn or needlework, and one in my bedroom holds belts.
I've sewn skirts, shorts and tops for the girls, dresses for myself, even a bag. My main line, though, has been curtains. I've made simple curtains and valances for nearly every place I've lived. My neighbor lady even asked me to sew a curtain for her once. I never met a tension rod that I didn't like. When DH's surrogate grandparents' home burned and the family rallied to transform an unused outbuilding into a new living space, I felt helpless. As the mother of a one-year-old who required constant attention, I couldn't pound nails or pull wire or paint, but I could make the curtains! It isn't home without the curtains!!
My mother -- while she hasn't sewn in quite a few years -- is an amazing seamstress. She used to sew for Sharon and Karen and me -- three of everything -- even after she had Michael, but the sewing machine was keeping company with the mothballs after Annie's arrival (though Ann definitely benefitted from the sewing with all those hand-me-downs). Mom sewed cute, ruffly, flannel nightgowns for the girls with matching gowns for their Cabbage Patch dolls a few years ago -- she still "sews." One of my grandmothers always went over the seams of all of her store-bought clothes, not trusting the workmanship. The girls, too, have "sewn" -- outfits for all of their dolls, alterations to their own clothing -- though I am using the term quite loosely. (Sometimes scotch tape, string, staples or safety pins replaced needle and thread, and sometimes kleenex or paper towels or leaves replaced fabric -- can you see why we like Project Runway so much?)
What a wonderful "S" entry! I love sewing supplies too! I have fond memories of my grandma's turquoise and cream sewing basket, that held bits of trim, thread, and buttons, always buttons. I was lucky enough to inherit her sewing cabinet; one of those Martha Washington cabinets, that was her and my grandpa's first furniture purchase. I hope my girls get interested in sewing as they get older. I particularly like your thread holder; it's amazing!
Posted by: Gretchen | 24 September 2006 at 02:28 PM
I love this S photo and story. Especially the line about the girls outgrowing the mending basket. I usually felt a fair amount of guilt over the things that they really liked and never got fixed while they could still wear it. I'd much rather make a whole outfit from scratch than alter or mend.
Posted by: Teresa C | 24 September 2006 at 03:09 PM
I love the photos of your sewing tools! I don't sew very much anymore but I still believe it's a very important life skill.
Posted by: Carole | 24 September 2006 at 04:39 PM
Wow, those are some great vintage sewing items!
Posted by: Ragan | 24 September 2006 at 06:11 PM
I love the thread caddie and the needle holder. Just gorgeous!!!!!
Posted by: Elizabeth | 24 September 2006 at 08:09 PM
Lovely photos for a wonderful S entry - you reminded me of my grandmother June, who was a seamstress.
Posted by: Chris | 24 September 2006 at 10:01 PM
I love all your vintage sewing stuff, new stuff certainly doesn't have the same visual appeal. I love to sew but hate to do repairs and will NEVER replace zips in jeans or trousers no matter who asks me.
Posted by: yvette | 24 September 2006 at 11:06 PM
Your photos are stunning Vicki!! Great "S" entry!
Posted by: Lesli | 25 September 2006 at 06:06 PM
This is a visually lovely post, Vicki. And the commentary is warming.
Posted by: Lynne | 27 September 2006 at 05:56 AM
Where ever did you get that fantastic spool carousel? !!!!!:)Drooling
Posted by: Diane E | 02 October 2006 at 03:17 PM