The Last Few Weeks

What an eventful few weeks it has been.

My hubby returned. I wrote quite a bit. I finished some custom items, and finished several other projects.

custom item
custom item
I reconstructed this top from a large thrifted double-knit turtleneck shirt. There are princess seams in the front and back.

We ventured to Washington D.C. to see the cherry blossoms, when my sister-in-law visited a few weeks ago.

During a day of exploration a couple weeks ago, I discovered some new thrift and antique stores in the area. I found a very promising source of vintage notions, where I bought the buttons I used for the 40s blouse in my previous post.

To top it all off, I had a very successful day at yard sales two weekends ago.

Here is my treasure from last Saturday morning. The box of zippers and lace came from one sale, and the box of patterns and cuts of fabric came from another.

The contents of the zipper box. I cant wait to make a little belt with that leather buckle!

When I saw the patterns peeking out from the box hidden under the table, I squealed like a child who’d just been told they were going to Disneyland. I was visibly shaking with excitement when I opened the box up to find patterns from the 60s and 70s, and not just the typical 80s cast-offs. I have never had the pleasure of finding such a cache at a garage sale. As if that wasn’t enough, there were vintage fabrics as well.

All of the items were purchased for less than $20.

When I got the box home, I discovered more than just patterns.

One of the drawings in the pattern drafting and dressmaking book

There was a journal with a collection of sewing tips clipped from newspapers, and knitting patterns with little sample squares to go with them.

The box is a treasure trove.

There are several old patterns for making stuffed toys. These ones are for Winnie the Pooh characters.
These patterns are either self-drafted or traced. They are mostly for childrens clothing, which will come in handy one day.
There was a large amount of loose clippings from newspapers and magazines, with all manner of sewing tips and techniques.

I am really upset with myself for not establishing contact with the woman I bought these from. She said that some of the patterns were ones that her mother used to make clothes for her and her brother, and some of them she used to make clothes for her daughter. I would love to spend time talking with her about the memories that go along with the sewing patterns, and writing about the history behind them. It would be wonderful to tell her story.

I may have to go back and try to find her house. I’m sure I could learn so much from her, and I love listening to stories of those who have lived longer and are much wiser than me. I think it would be so much fun to put together the stories of seamstresses throughout the decades, telling their story through the lens of their shared love of sewing, reflecting on the place of sewing throughout recent history and how it affected their lives. Quite a daunting task I must admit, but worth it.

Here’s a sampling of some of the patterns in the box.

I also went to G Street Fabrics recently, because my husband and I went up to Baltimore this past weekend. On the way home, we went through the D.C. area, so I could check out one of the G Street Fabric stores. I went to the Rockville, MD location (there are two others in Virginia).

The store was overwhelming and exhilarating at the same time. The prices are a little high on some things, and they have some really high quality and designer fabrics. It’s possible to find some very nice fabrics in their clearance sections, if you know what you’re looking for. The store also has a huge selection of buttons and notions. I’ll undoubtedly be back once we are in our house and working on décor, etc. I found one upholstery fabric that I am pretty intent on having.

The picture doesn’t do the fabric much justice. It is much prettier in person.

Can’t you just see a cute little chair re-upholstered in this material, or some pillows, or maybe even the cushions of dining room chairs?

Speaking of our house, there are still some uncertainties. So far, we are still set to close on April 29th. However, some things have come up with a lender required roof certification. The roof can’t be certified until it is re-shingled. So, we’re now waiting to hear from the seller about our next step. I’ll continue the updates when we know more.

  1. Eileen

    April 20, 2011 at 10:48 am

    it would be so much fun to put together the stories of seamstresses throughout the decades

    That would be awesome–the book of knit samples is an example of the kind of seamstress and knitter I wish I could be. My grandmother and great grandmother made quilts from every piece of clothing that they made or came into the house, and while they were alive, could tell you all the memories attached to that little piece of cloth, but that’s much harder to maintain without someone with living memory of it. Thanks for sharing your great find!

  2. Nicki

    April 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Goodness, you hit the mother load.

  3. Marie

    April 22, 2011 at 6:32 am

    Wow, I can’t get over your finds…they are so amazing!!! I also love your custom dresses, the second one in particular is gorgeous!

  4. Catherine

    April 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    You are SO lucky to find all those patterns they should keep you busy for awhile…well done!!

  5. ooobop

    April 25, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Wow you have been busy! What an amazing find. I agree it would be lovely to track down the source of all that treasure. Please do share your stories if you get lucky. And of course your lovely creations when you get round to making them!

  6. Stephanie

    May 6, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    You are just way too talented:)

  7. Nancy

    May 8, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I agree, you hit gold on that garage sale. Your designs are awesome. Great blogging!

  8. Lesley

    May 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I love reading your posts. You have amazing talent. I miss it when you are gone for so long.

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