Travel prep

I’m getting ready for my annual trip to Houston. Packing for a long weekend in Houston is a no-brainer because you don’t need a bunch of heavy, winter clothing, which saves a ton of space in the suitcase for quilt books and/or fabric purchases that might be made while there.

Except this year. Packing for Houston has been a bit of a chore, but the end result will be worth all the hassle….

There is an exceptional framer in Houston, and I’ll be paying them a visit on Friday. Last Sunday, I gathered a bunch of my mom’s and grandma’s sewing items saved over the years and packed them in my carry-on bag. The plan is to turn them over to this expert framer to have a shadowbox made. Here are some of the things I collected, keeping in mind that not all of them may end up in the final product, but I wanted to make sure they had plenty to work with:


Check the prices on some of these items. The metal triangles and other shapes in the upper right I think are pattern weights. Below them are 10 crochet hooks, most with incredibly tiny hooks, possibly used for lacework edging on tablecloths, tea towels and napkins.

My grandmother made all her own clothes, including some of her undergarments and coats. Her tailoring skills bordered on professional. The wooden spools in the lower right contain silk thread in a fairly heavy weight. I think she used this thread for making all her buttonholes—by hand!


Grandma had a lot of buttons, many of which were still attached to their cards. The cards shown here weren’t necessarily chosen because the buttons were pretty or unusual, but because the cards they were mounted to were unusual or displayed a very low price or a store name that no longer exists.

The bias tape cards in this photo were chosen because of their unusual wrappers.


  • The measuring tape only goes to 60 inches.
  • That is a metal darning hoop toward the lower left.
  • The pattern in the middle is dated 1919 (five years shy of 100 years old!) and is for Ladies’ One-Piece Step-In Drawers.
  • The trims were some that my mom used to embellish some of her tops back in the 1970s–and possibly later.

My grandma also saved pages from magazines and other printed materials related to sewing, patterns and fabric. Check the date on the sheet about dyeing shown in the lower left corner: 1924 – 1925.sewing4

These pattern instructions (called The Deltor) for a little boy’s one-piece romper or playsuit, feature a patent date of 1919 and another date, 1923; although, if Grandma made it for my dad, she probably would’ve sewn it around 1927 or 1928.


romper instructions

Read about Butterick Patterns’ instruction sheet the company named The Deltor here.

I pulled some embroidered pieces my mom gave me over the years, probably done by different women on her side of the family; we’re just not exactly sure who.



I’m pretty sure my paternal grandmother made this small tablecloth:


She played bridge and it is the perfect size for a card table. I’m thinking of asking the framer to use the leftover cloth, if there’s enough, to cover the board or whatever surface they use to mount items in the shadowbox.

Here’s a close up of the embroidery on the tablecloth. I love all those knots. If they’re French knots, they must’ve been made with a very thick thread or many strands of it because they’re fairly substantial. The pink flowers look to be constructed of a cluster of bullion knots.


Here’s a hand towel embellished with embroidery and lace edging:


These poor, forgotten embroidered pieces went from my mother-in-law’s linen closet to mine:


We think John’s maternal grandmother or his great-grandmother stitched them. If they’re salvageable, they’ll be framed and hung in his office here at home.

This also turned up in the stack of abandoned needlework in the linen closet and may get framed as well, possibly for the master bathroom:


And finally, for those who care to keep tabs, here are the next 10 Aunt Grace snowball blocks:


Back next week!



Filed under miscellaneous

2 responses to “Travel prep

  1. Jo Ginther

    Thank you for sharing. The patterns were incredible. Have a safe trip and a very good time!! See you when you get back.

  2. Pingback: Pictures are back from the framer |

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