Friday, August 17, 2012

Sewing with History

My mom just returned from CA, and brought back a HUGE bag of vintage buttons from her sister. I am so excited to have these. And to think I didn't have to scour antique shops to get them.  Not that that wouldn't be fun, but this was much quicker. ;) 

If you have a moment, please say a little prayer for my aunt. My uncle Dave passed away two weeks ago. Though he had recently been diagnosed with ALS, this was still a sudden loss for his family as they thought they had much more time with him. I'm thankful that they didn't have to witness his slow departure, but no matter what it's still never easy to say good-bye. I'm also thankful that my mom could fly to her side right away and that my aunt will be here visiting next week as had been previously planned. 

Thank you Aunt Cathy for thinking of me and these buttons even in the midst of all you are going through. 
Love you tons!

Photobucket

As I was sorting these I couldn't help but wonder what the story was behind each different style.  What had they been used for? I know I can look through my button box and tell you what I bought each type for. Call me strange, but I just love details and like to hear the history of how things came to be.

Photobucket

These little red and white ones are my faves.

Photobucket

Some sweet ladybugs.

Photobucket

Love this color green.

Photobucket

Look at the sweet pink lambs!
*swoon*

Photobucket

I love these floral ones in the middle.

Photobucket

Lots of different shades of pink. A girl can never have too many right?

Photobucket

Photobucket

Love those big orange buttons. They will be cute this fall with some of my leftover Meadowsweet.

Photobucket

These light blue ones are just as sweet as can be. Oh and I'm envious of those old prices too. Aren't you?  Buttons can be so expensive these days.

Photobucket

Love those white flowers and the half-balls are so mod and the hearts just make me think 70's like I'm looking back at my own childhood. *sigh*

Photobucket

Photobucket

Does anyone have a use for these black and white kitties? There are twelve. I can't think of what I'd use them for so I'd love to send them off to a fun home.  First to leave me their e-mail address gets them.

Photobucket

A few months ago David's mom gave me her mother's sewing machine and table.  I love how she calls it her mom's "new" one. More on that in a little bit. I set it up last week right between my sewing desk and cutting table. It fits perfectly there. It's all plugged in and ready to try, but instead of actually turning it on, I organized my desk drawers first. I think I'm procrastinating because I don't want to find out that it doesn't work. Silly, I know.

Ever since my first machine's motor died and I replaced it with my fancy BabyLock I haven't been able to shir with it. I can't get it to work with elastic thread in the bobbin. So I'm really hoping that this older machine will do it.  Unfortunately it doesn't have a drop in bobbin, it's vertical in the front of the machine. So that's why I'm nervous to try it out. Thankfully I do have the original manual so I should be able to figure it out. Wish me luck!  I'd really love to make my girls some shirred blouses again.

Photobucket

The best part about this machine is that inside the manual (you can see it sticking out ^) Grandma Sophie also kept a log of every single time she used her machine.  Wow! Seriously wow, let me show you what a treasure this is. Reading it was like walking back into history and I seriously had tears in my eyes when I showed it to David.

Photobucket

She bought her first machine in 1964 and then replaced it with this "new" one in 1974.  

In 1964 her youngest daughter made an outfit for the Sadie Hawkins dance. Isn't that just precious?

Photobucket

There are more notes of  her daughters (our Aunt Dee and Aunt Mari) sewing on this machine.  And later there is mention of my mother-in-law, Phyllis, practicing on it too.

Photobucket

Then, the summer just before David was born, in 1974, she bought the Pfaff that I now have.
Her new machine.  :)

These were the most sad entries for me to find. Her youngest, Mark, was about 18 that summer and here she is mending his t-shirt, patching his jeans and trying to make his shorts bigger by adding to the sides. You didn't just run out and buy new clothes, you mended what you had and made it work. Shortly after these entries Mark drowned tragically in the lake behind Sophie's sister's house. He and his best friend took the canoe out on a hot day during harvest, to cool off.  They were goofing around and both jumped in the water fully clothed and the boat got away from them. By the time the adults knew they were in trouble and David's Grandpa swam out there to save the boys, he could only find the friend. Gives me a big lump in my throat every time I think about it, which is often.

David and his cousin Adam were born a month later. I think it's only by the grace of God that you can get out of bed every morning after something like that. Sophie and Ederald had a strong faith and a tight community that carried them and their other four children through that dark time.

Photobucket

Probably my favorite entry...On April, 6th 1978 she mended a dozen feed (grainsacks). They had a farm near the Edge of the Wilderness, along the Chippewa National Forest in Northern MN, in a little town called Effie. Sophie grew up in a home that only spoke Norwegian and she didn't learn English until she went to school. She was a quick learner and later became a school teacher herself. She was a wonderful woman, and I'm so thankful for the chance I had to know her. She is greatly missed by all who loved her and it was wonderful to hear stories from people in her town when we traveled north for part of her funeral last spring. Stories from women who were in Bible studies with her and mentored by her. Of people that knew her at the Villa apartment. I think my favorite story was from a gentleman that got and told why the Weisert's always had the most help during harvest time.  It was because "they had all the daughters." 

Photobucket

Two days before Christmas, David's aunt was making ornaments for David, Adam and their older cousin Sparkie (Lloyd Jr.). She broke the presser foot lever and Grandpa fixed it 5 days later. I wonder if she remembers this?

Photobucket

I'm impressed with how many fitted sheet corners and pillow cases she mended over the years.  I think of how the tendency these days is to throw those things out. In 1979 she was also mending the pocket on her mother's housedress, shortened her undershirts for her and shortened the Christmas robe she and her sister gave their mother. Man, I miss her sister Corrine too. She was such a sweet, sweet lady. I remember how excited she was when we brought our twin babies up to meet them 6 years ago. They both had fun showing them off at the Villa.

Photobucket

In 1984 she was making jammies for her youngest granddaughters. Including David's littlest sister Diane who will be 30 this fall. She writes Diane's name the way her own daughter Dianne was spelled though.  I think that's cute. For Christmas she made doll clothes for granddaughters Lindsay, Diane and Rachel's preemie cabbage patch dolls. She did one set a month, I like her planning.  Reminds me that I should get a jump start on my Christmas sewing. 

Oh and earlier in the year she made a vinyl tractor seat cover. She could do anything! I'm sure she didn't have a tutorial on how to make a tractor seat cover, she just figured it out. I love that about sewing. You can do anything you set your mind to. As with so many things in life. Yes, there are many lessons to be learned in these frail pages. She's still teaching us.

Photobucket

After they sold the farm and moved to an independent living apartment connected to Big Fork's nursing home and hospital, she was sewing valances for the Villa. And soon after with Grandpa's diagnosis of Parkinson's, he moved into the nursing home end and she was sewing his name into his clothing.

Photobucket

Photobucket

She was still mending his clothes the summer of 1998. He didn't make it down for our wedding August 14 that year (yep, we just celebrated 14 years). But he was here the Christmas before that. I'm glad we could visit him up north a couple of times before he went home to the Lord.

Photobucket

Six years ago was the last time she used this machine. It was to mend pillow cases.

Photobucket

Grandma Sophie, my plan is to continue this list for you, in my own journal.  We'll see how far it takes us...

18 comments:

Amber said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! I found a good collection at a garage sale and an auction that I love to look through....but this stash is swoon worthy!!! I think the b/w kitties would be cute for something for Halloween! I will take them if no one else has claimed them :)

Amber said...

Oh and what a treasure you have in the sewing machine!

Heather L. said...

I love this post! The buttons are so sweet, and that record of her sewing is just amazing. I think we would be good friends in real life - I also love to look at old buttons and wonder what they were used for or going to be used for =)

Thank you for sharing. It's a reminder of simpler times and that put a smile on my face today =)

Martha said...

How delightful! I love Grandma Sophie's sewing record. What a treasure. Make sure you keep that in a safe place.

Jessica said...

Those hand-written notes are such a treasure!! I'm so glad you have them! Love the buttons too, the big orange ones are my favorite!!

Angel said...

Amber, the buttons are yours! What a fun little swap, huh? ;) Jessica, I thought you'd like those! Heather, I think so too. :)

Thanks ladies! I enjoyed writing this very much and you can bet that little notebook she made will be kept secure. What a treasure!

Melanna said...

Oh my goodness what a treasure! It makes me want to start a log for all my sewing. My machine was my Grandma's. I inherited it because my sister had my other Grandma's sewing machine and I was the "next in line." I hauled it around for 7+ years (it's in a big sewing desk, so I'm serious about the hauling) before I tried to give it to my mom to take to my little sister because I had never used it and it was just taking up space in my house. They couldn't fit it in the back of their car by literally an inch (just the feet on the bottom of the table!). So I kept it. And then one day I decided to use it. And 2 years later I can't get enough! I use it all the time!
This weekend I'm going to visit my mom. I swear she has that exact button collection. I remember a lot in your stash from my childhood. I'm going to see if I can raid it (if she hasn't gotten rid of them) when I'm there. :)

klee1 said...

What a treasure to have all these handwritten notes from your Grandma...not to mention the machine and all those beautiful buttons. What a treasure!

Kathy Lee

Kelli said...

Wow what a treasure you have. I love old buttons they are always fun finds. A few years back I thought it would be fun for my daughter and I to start our own button collection. So i have my small vintage collection and a collection of new buttons. I told my daughter that one day it will be fun to look back on the buttons we have started collecting.

Bless by Tone said...

love this post - with a vertical bobbin house you don't use the top thread to pull up the elastic, you stick the elastic up yourself through the hole. Hope you understand my awkward English here..

The Plum Verbena said...

I have been reading your blog for years, just haven't ever commented. This post was the sweetest!! My Grandma just went to a nursing home, and I inherited all of her sewing goodies. I wish she had kept a log like this! What a treasure that is. Happy sewing on your "new" machine. I hope she will shir for you!!
Taylor
www.theplumverbena.com

Stacy said...

Oh my goodness! You are so lucky to have such great sentimental treasures!

Sarah said...

This is an amazing post.

Michelle Jadaa said...

Ive often wished a had a record of who first bought my 2 antique machines and what was made on them.As for the buttons i remember having those ladybug ones on a dressing gown when i was little :)

Sewconsult said...

I am here by way of Southern Matriarch! I have a similar collection of buttons. Back 30 yrs ago (or more), stores would put cards of buttons on sale when the company was discontinuing that particular style or color. I remember paying 9 or 19 cents per card. It felt as if I had hit the jackpot! Over the years, some of those buttons have been used, but many are still in my button stash. When I had my own sewing business, I sold mostly mother of pearl buttons for children's clothing. They are precious and expensive, so I have several dozen tucked away for the possible grandchild or a special baby of a niece or nephew. The journal is wonderful, but I don't think that I would be as faithful to keep one up. I do keep notes on some machine embroidery designs to make a repeat stitching go a bit easier.
Enjoyed your blog and I shall be back!
Beckie in Brentwood, TN

Dawn said...

This is a true treasure and it's wonderful that it wound up with someone who realizes that.

It brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. Thanks for sharing.

Chris said...

This was the first sewing machine I bought for myself after getting my degree in Clothing and Textiles in 1974! It was the best machine ever!
Many people , even dealers, tried to buy it.
It saw me through grad school , and post grad degrees - all involving clothing construction. And then onto making clothes for my own children in the 1980's.
I lost it in a fire in the 1990's. I still miss it!
Chris

Angel said...

Yay! The shirring worked. Now there is nothing I can not do. :)