Thursday, April 05, 2007

grandma's stash

I've been waiting for Joann Fabrics to put Simplicity patterns on sale again...they often mark them either a buck apiece or $1.99. This weekend they are $1.99, so Daughter and I braved the whiteout conditions (which, what the - ? It is APRIL), and picked up a dress pattern I've been eyeing. I wanted to buy a bunch of patterns, actually, but I held back because I'm already juggling enough projects.

I just got this one:

Simplicity 3897, sizes 1/2-4. The one I want to make is the dress shown on the little girl. The reason being that it requires one yard of fabric, and I have many, many single yard hunks of calico piled up around here.

Which leads me to the title of this post. I had to pick up some zippers to make a couple of these dresses, but I neglected to bring the fabrics with me to the store. I guessed at the zipper colors, but I couldn't guess at ribbon for the trim. When I got home I started thinking about a box of stuff that's been buried in my sewing bins for years. It was stuff we cleaned out of my grandma's basement when she passed away, oh, I guess it's 18 years ago now. Wow. Anyway, I've never actually sorted through her sewing stuff...till today. I thought I might find some ribbons and trims. Egads. Here is what I dumped out:

Aparently this is where I got my instinct to hoard the craft supplies.

Let's take a tour!

Need to bind a seam? Face a hem? Holy moly, my grandma was prepared for anything. There are some fantastic colors here, people. Some of these packages predate my birth by many, many years. Remind me to never ever ever buy seam binding. Ever.

Bias tape. MILES OF IT. I should never have to buy this ever again, either, but no doubt I'll need a different color/size than I have here. That green one on the top is Majesty brand, and it says it's "lawn." On the back it advertises other products, like coif caps and corset ties (!), but there isn't any company info. Anyone know anything about Majesty brand?

Not much ric-rac, I was surprised to find. But those two sealed packages are awesome. The one on the left is silver and new-ish, compared to the red and gold one, which only cost 19 cents. I would hate to open this stuff, as the packages are in perfect condition.

Ummm, need any fasteners? We have zippers in a rainbow of 50s/60s/70s colors, some enormous buttons, lots of snaps, and enough hooks & eyes to fasten about eleventy-billion garments. I wonder if my grandma just bought stuff when it was a good price, like I tend to do. I currently have enough hand-sewing needles to outfit a dressmaking school...I don't know if I'm subconsciously afraid they'll stop manufacturing them or what.

These buttons are my favorite. Can you see the sparkles? There's only one missing. I wonder what she made with it.

Back in the day a mere 45 cents would buy you these "Loving Touch" strap holders. These are unused...I wonder why she bought them if not for a specific event? The directions on the back indicate that you wrap them around any lingerie straps you are wearing, and then use the tiny safety pin to attach the wrap to your dress lining. Then your bra and/or slip straps are hidden! Neat!

Polyweb, 59 cents. I wonder if this would still stick?

Bright flaming red iron-on mending tape. 25 cents. It has "a 1001 uses!" The date on this package is 1945.

This pretty lady can teach you how to make draperies with Kirsch Easypleat tape and hooks. Phew. I was wondering how I would learn that!

And look at all the neat stuff you can make with nylon elastic thread! In your bobbin! Which I would not try! I don't know about you all, but I've never had good luck putting anything other than regular sewing thread in my bobbin.

Ah, that was fun. So much neat stuff, and I love to look through it and sort it and think about my grandma.

I did a really quick bit of sewing today as well. For heaven's sake, have any of you tried to buy a slip for a little girl recently? Sheesh, when I was a kid we couldn't escape the dumb things, and now I can't find one anywhere. I guess I'd need to look online or something because the department stores in my mall didn't have any. Luckily I am resourceful! And maybe a little nuts! I decided to make know, 3 days before Easter. Yikes.

McCall's seems to be the only company that even makes a pattern for little girl undergarments, and their pattern starts at size 3. I thought I might buy it and try to cut it down, but when I went to buy it today at Joann Fabrics, I realized that the basic slip is just a tank-style dress with no facings.

Well, come on now, I don't need a new pattern for that!

This is the same old dress pattern I always make, in a size 1 (I want it to fit fairly close to the body because it's underwear). I had a big chunk of eyelet in my stash, so I used that to avoid making a hem. To finish the armholes and neckline, I serged lace (which I have a metric ton of, for some reason) around the raw edges, then folded the edge and topstitched on the right side.

Detail of the topstitching.

The McCall's pattern has straps that meet at the top of the shoulder, and these will button more to the front, but I don't think it's a problem. I'm going to make the buttonholes by hand tomorrow because this fabric is pretty lightweight and machine would probably make a mess of it.

This isn't a perfect solution, but considering I couldn't get a 'real' slip pattern in Daughter's size, it will do for now. That said, do any of you know of a commercial slip pattern (even one in a book that I could maybe get at the library) for toddlers?

I'm signing off for the holiday weekend. To those who celebrate, have a blessed Easter!


Morning Glory said...

Reading this was like going through a treasure chest! Oh the joy of finding that box of sewing goodies.

I made a dress once with elastic thread in the bobbin. It actually worked pretty well. You have to hand-wind the bobbin. In fact, I still have the leftover spool of elastic thread in my sewing box. It's 35 years old now and probably doesn't have must durable elasticity to it.

Loved all this stuff!

Karen said...


That slip is TO DIE FOR! I feel the slip buying pain. Occasionally I might find a fluffy one at Dillard's but just a simple straight slip seems darn near impossible. I LOVE THE EYELET! So feminine.

LOVE your box of notions. You would have peed your little panties at the Barn Sale if you like vintage notions.

And that Simplicity pattern? Yep. I have it too. Seriously. We are sewing sisters separated at birth.

Pam said...

A slip made from eyelet-how fabulous is that? What a wonderful keepsake for her! Very dainty-love it!