Two generations of sewing supplies

I’m back from a week at my dad’s house where I helped him sort through my mom’s stuff to clear out. Four closets, four cabinets and 14 drawers later, it was either get on a plane right now or shoot me, so I opted for boarding the plane to come home–much less complicated and messy, that option.

We (okay, it degenerated into just me)  started in her sewing room, which was in a spare bedroom upstairs. In the closet was this miniature chest of drawers

four drawers

made by my paternal grandfather for my grandmother who was an accomplished seamstress. Let’s define accomplished:

  • For many years, my grandmother made my winter coats, complete with lining, inner lining, pockets, collar, hand-made buttonholes and lots of cool details like you see on the sleeves:

winter coat

  • In addition to all the winter coats, she kept me fairly well supplied with some nice clothes. Here’s a jumper she made for me when I turned nine:

jumper2

  • She made undergarments.
  • She  made two bonnets for my dad’s christening:

bonnet1

bonnet1 detail

bonnet1 back

Here’s the second bonnet, which has a sweet little knitted lining:

bonnet2

Check those microscopic, hand stitched pin tucks....

Check those microscopic, hand stitched pin tucks….

bonnet2 lining

bonnet2 back

  • She made a mink coat for my sister’s Barbie doll, lined, of course:
Barbie is sporting a stylish frock also made by Grandma. Oh, and for those of you wondering if the coat was real mink, well, knowing my grandmother, it probably was.

Barbie is sporting a stylish frock also made by Grandma. Oh, and for those of you wondering if the coat was real mink, well, knowing my grandmother, it probably was.

  • She was also skilled at upholstery. My dad told me in 1947 when he was 21 years old, he bought a used 1933 Chevy for $150. Grandma was most displeased with the condition of the seats so she ordered my dad to remove them from the car so she could re-cover them!

    That's my uncle, ax in hand, standing next to the car--not sure what that was about, but he appears to be goofing around.

    That’s my uncle, ax in hand, standing next to the car–not sure what that was about, but he appears to be goofing around.

  • When Grandma learned that my dad would be making a footstool in junior high shop class, she explained to him how she wanted it fashioned, including the shape of the legs. When it was finished and he brought it home, she covered it.
  • In 1967, she covered these desk chairs for my sister and me.
Notice the pink cording around the edges of the seats and chair backs.

Notice the pink cording around the edges of the seats and chair backs.

Her skill level was an Atlantic ocean’s distance from mine….

When Grandma died, my mother had the task of going through her belongings, including those in her sewing room. In this little chest she consolidated items like seam tape, cording and marking supplies from Grandma’s stash as well as her own. Here’s a peek inside each of the drawers:

drawer1

drawer2

drawer3

drawer4

I’ll be returning to Iowa when school is out to collect the little chest of sewing supplies, content with the knowledge that when I die, my boys will lovingly and carefully sort through my sewing supplies just as my mom did with Grandma’s and I did with my Mom’s—or not.

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