Monday, 2 January 2012

Sewing fills my days, not to mention the living room, bedroom and cupboards!

I like the Antiques Roadshow and often watch in the vain hope that some item in my house which I consider to be tat (a UK expression for rubbish) will turn out to be worth a fortune and set me up for life.  One of the things that I find particularly fascinating is old sewing boxes, especially when they contain things that we no longer use, like button hooks and darning mushrooms.
So I wondered what might happen if someone from my family took my current sewing box in to be looked at by Hilary Kay's grand-daughter.

"Ooh how exciting, this looks like an old plastic mechanic's box from Woolworths but we know it contains something rather different.
Indeed it does... it's your maiden great aunt and spinster of this parish's, sewing box, isn't it?

Well let's open it... on the top you will see a number of interesting items:
  •  Seven tape measures... she liked to be sure that she measured correctly (hmmm... doesn't always work though, especially if you read my last blog
  • two rather gruesome looking mattress needles... now when was the last time you sewed up a mattress, I expect she used them for blowing eggs or making felt ball bracelets
  • a stitch ripper, curiously unused... I expect she preferred to use small sharp scissors
  • a button hole foot - how sad it is not still with the sewing machine
  • thimbles - unused too, I understand she could never find one small enough to use successfully, look you can see the padding she stuffed inside it to try to make it fit
  • a pair of tweezers - for removing stubborn tailor's marking
  • a mini pompom maker... seriously I wonder why she did not use cardboard like normal people?
Now let's go to the next level, this is bound to be very telling about her.  Oh my goodness, what have we here, let's tip it out so we can get a good look?
  • Scissors - several types, dress making shears for cutting out fabric and never to be used on paper on pain of death, pinking shears for that zig zag finish and to stop fabric from fraying and a selection of small sharp scissors for embroidery, including a pair for cutting threads in Hardanger or drawn thread work
  • pins - now we have several different types again, shorter pins with glass heads for everyday sewing, longer pins with decorative heads for quilting and look in an old tobacco tin the Dorcas pins which are purely functional.  (Do you know why they are called Dorcas pins, they are named after a dressmaker in the Acts of the Apostles and this is the first time I have used my Religious Knowledge O level since I passed it nearly 40 years ago!)
  • needles - heavens this woman was prepared to sew anything!  We have everyday needles for sewing up a hem and re-attaching a button, small fine needles with tiny eyes to quilt with and look at these fine needles with larger eyes, these are for embroidery.  Now look in her needle case, there are a selection of crewel needles with large eyes and a blunt point, used to work a cruder form of embroidery or canvas work and also used to sew up knitting.  And then we have some more unusual needles, look at this one with the triangular point, this is a leather needle which pierces the fabric and look as these others, about half the size of a mattress needle but equally nasty looking, it is a dolls needles, used to go through soft toys and for tying quilts.
  • pencils - she must have used these to mark her fabric, one is a pen which marks and then disappears and the other is pencil used to place a permanent pattern onto fabric for embroidery
  • fastenings - obviously this woman would have had a separate button jar but she does have a selection poppers and, hooks and eyes and some self covering buttons
  • a chopstick - now that is odd but I guess she would use that for ensuring she got good pointy corners in her cushions and bunting
  • look at these rotary cutters and wheels - look how she has ensured that they are safely stored - she has plain blades for cutting through multiple layers of fabric when quilting, pinking wheels for a decorative finish and look she has small wheels for intricate work
  • finally there are lots of other little odds and sods from bias binding to brooch backs and hand cream to name labels.
I know that you are going to ask me to value this box... well I am going to be honest with you, it is irreplaceable, the owner would never be able to replicate its contents and I would not be surprised, if this was the object she might grab should her house catch fire!" 

So now you know what is in my sewing kit... what is missing from mine that you have in your box? And where do you keep your sewing accoutrements?

And just for fun, how do you fancy making an Etui Box for Mothers Day?  The good news is that there is no sewing, just loads of glue!
PS - I admit, there is even more tat that I found in there but was too embarrassed to show you... but I did find my missing ball of hairy twine!



Michel said...

I LOVE Antiques Roadshow! It's a small obsession of mine... I don't have a sewing box, rather, a drawer... that's completely unmanageable! I should take lesson from you and get organized!

Lyn said...

Looking at your sewing box was like looking into Aladdin's cave - I love it all!

I've picked up several useful little bits from 'car booties' and something I use a lot but that you didn't mention are curved needles. Really useful for stitching when access to the underneath of the fabric is restricted.

I didn't laugh at the mention of mattress needles - a mattress needle or two are essential kit. I once actually repaired a mattress, but mostly they've come in very handy for many different repairs.

Funny story from a 'bootie' - a young man was selling his gran's stuff and I asked how much the knitting needles were. He looked puzzled so I pointed them out, then he scratched his head and replied "10p each".

Lyn said...

p.s. forgot to say, I have my sewing stuff and threads organised in a couple of drawer stacks. The kind you find in an office for stationery storage - grey metal with 2" deep drawers - perfect.

SeniorCrafts said...

Your sewing box made me decide to try and put all my kit together in one place. I have an very nice "art box" which is unused (I keep my brushes etc elsewhere!)which looks about the size of your sewing box...I shall now find all my sewing stuff and get organised! Thanks Ros! PS I can't match your collection but also seem to have accumulated lots of "sewing things"...! Nancy

Pickle Lily said...

Great post - it really made me smile, my knitting bag is like your sewing box! I must go and see if the lost pressie got hid in there, as I'm typing this! Just to say also I have given you a Liebster Blog award today for you brilliant blog.
Jo x