Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oh, to be Able to Sew....

Update:  YAY!  We reached 100 blog followers! :D  Now all you have to do is comment on this blog post to be entered to win the "Thread the Bobbin" collage seen below!  I'll draw the name on Monday evening at 5 p.m. CST.  Good luck! :D

As a lover of nearly all things vintage, I also love the history behind that vintage stuff.  There are certain themes or ideas that appeal to me, even though I have a hard time applying that theme or idea to my own life.

One such theme is vintage sewing items.

A little backstory on my reverence/fear:  I come from a long line of non-sewers.  My Grammie, who will be 87 in August, was a young wife in 1945.  When my mom arrived just a year later, she wanted to learn how to sew some baby clothes.  After several attempts, the instructor very politely told my Grammie that "perhaps sewing isn't for you."  This comes as no surprise, as even my great-grandmother didn't sew.

Fast forward about 26 years to when my mom has already had me and my sister (we're only 13 months apart).  It was the early Seventies and my mom thought that making our clothes would be an economical alternative.  We each got one outfit and then we promptly went outside and sat on a log full of tar.  I think my mom decided that all of the swearing and sweat she'd put into those outfits, only to have them ruined in one day, wasn't that economical after all.

Our next stop is about 10 years later, to my 8th grade year.  For a unit in our Home Ec class we were required to make a reversible vest.  I very unwisely chose pink flannels (!) for my materials, some of the most unforgiving fabric available.  Oh so very many things went wrong with that vest but here are a few highlights:  I made the chalk marks on the right side of the fabric; I had a hard time with my left and right (still do sometimes!) so I sewed the opposite sides together, and I had no foot pedal control so the fabric would jam, oftentimes so badly they'd have to dismantle the machine.  I got a "D" on the project - the only reason I didn't fail is because I actually stayed after class and tried to get it right.  The best part about the whole story is that two or three years later, after the vest had been stuffed in a back closet for that long, my dad found it and very gently asked me if he could use it to wax the car.  I still crack up every time I think of that.  Hey, it IS flannel, after all! 

So when I see all of these mid-century ladies very confidently making these lovely outfits and boasting how easy it is, I've got four generations of family women reminding me that it really isn't for everyone.  Which is why I bow to you who can actually sew a stitch.  (Incidentally, I did needlepoint for years and had some of my works displayed at the museum in Green Bay - ironic, no?)  :D

I may not be able to sew, but I LOVE  using vintage sewing stuff in my art!  (Oh, and if you've read this far, perhaps you'll be one of the few privvy to some info - check out the caption on the collage for more info on the giveaway!):


Want to win this 4X4 collage from my Etsy shop?  Just comment below and I'll draw a name!

25 comments:

  1. I love your collages...pick me! pick me!!!

    ~brenda

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  2. Hi, I found your blog through the Ephemera collectors website - I'm an ephemera addict, but most especially sewing ephemera! Ah, great minds. Good to meet you!

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  3. Hi Mel. Reading this helped me to remember that we have my Grandma's antique sewing machine here is storage. I began foraging around in the 4 small drawers in front, and found a 'Modern' Singer sewing companion book called, 'Short Cuts to Home Sewing' published in 1923. What fun! I must share it with you!

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  4. Oh Mel.....I love to sew...but I think I love collecting vintage sewing ephemera even more! Your stories are great fun to read, and I really like the art you've created with the sewing themes.

    You don't need to include me in the drawing, as I just recently won a great give-away....but I needed to comment on this entry.

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  5. Mel- I feel your pain! Mine is with handymen. I blogged about it. I come from a long line of menfolk with no idea what a power tool is for. They would try but it always ended in fail. My mother had a handyman hired on retainer so my dad wouldn't try to "fix" anything!

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  6. I love to sew, learned at about 12 years old. Spent several years working as a bridal seamstress. These days I do more art and jewelry but I'm very happy when I get to sew! I have a nice collection of old sewing stuff but would love some of yours!:)

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  7. As a shocking sewer I can relate to this post. Maybe using vintage patterns and stuff would allow me to take revenge on all the pain sewing has caused me over the years

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  8. Your collages are THE BEST, Mel!!!

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  9. pick the fond du lac humane society : ) we need raffle and auction items for our may 7 Ball : )

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  10. My grandmother used to sew almost all of my clothes until I was a teenager. My mother doesn't sew ~ I cannot even thread a bobbin. But my daughter has made some very beautiful quilts.
    I use old patterns and other "sewing stuff" in my art.

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  11. Hi Mel,
    Love the sewing and pattern collages. I like aging tissue paper and using a pattern rubber stamp to make it look like pattern paper. It's great for backgrounds.

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  12. I think your ATCs and collages are so cool! I'd love to win one! : )
    Your latest reminds me of sewing in junior high (or should I say middle school). The sewing machines were mostly metal.
    www.diadsie.wordpress.com
    diadsie@comcast.net

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  13. Nice! Would love to trade atcs with you again. Keep in touch!
    ~Dawn

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  14. I hear you sister. I sewed back in the 1960s and 1970s, but always badly. I remember happily taking one project, a quilted jacket, to the dumpster, and never looking back. That said, the brown tissue from those old patterns is dandy collage material.

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  15. You know I LOVE all your work...This is another great collage. You inspire me to do more and more.. Congratulations on your 100th....

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  16. I found your blog a few weeks ago and I have to say that I LOVE IT. You are an inspiration to all use crafters thank you.

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  17. Oh, I love your collages using vintage sewing things! I'm a sewer and collect a few vintage things. I'd love to win!!!
    Linda - MidwestieLady on ArtFire and Etsy

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  18. I wish I could sew! Love your collage! Thanks for a chance to win. I lived near Green Bay for awhile.

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  19. I love to sew, but its getting harder to thread the needle even with me glasses on lol. just love collages, any altered art.

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  20. These are great ATCs! I just looked for my post from my phone and it's not here. good thing I checked!! please enter me!! My aunt was a wonderful seamtresses but I didn't get any of her talent. I'm not bad with a needle but sewing machines and me just don't get along. makes me sad but I guess I'll stick to my paper, glue, and scissors!!

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  21. YAY!!!! We have a winner, everyone! Drumroll please.....it's Laura from Artworks Studio! Congratulations, Laura, and thanks to ALL of you who entered the contest! I am humbled and grateful that you would think enough of my work to want it for your very own! :D
    Laura, I'll also email you. :D Thanks again, everyone! More giveaways coming up soon!

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  22. Sorry I have been away from my keyboard for awhile!EXCITING NEWS! email
    laura@artworksandbeads.com
    and I will give you my address! Thank you!

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  23. I ran across you're niche when I was trying to google info on finding old Sears sewing patterns for baby clothes. My Grandmother made my Mother some baby clothes in 1923 and I am wanting to make a replica of them for a great niece of mine. I have been sewing for years and I love to make clothes! I have a great appreciation for what you do and would love to have one of your collages. Please put my name in your drawing. Thanks! Amy B. Fischer mslakesider@comcast.net.

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