Monday, 27 February 2012

my mother's stash

At the weekend we visited my mother. She'd been telling me for a while that she wanted to show me her collection of fabrics, thread and notions. She loves that I'm enjoying sewing (she taught me - well, her and YouTube, haha!) and wanted to give me as much as I could squeeze into my cupboards.
My plan for this pretty striped fabric is to make summer trousers for my toddler using this wonderful tutorial. This was something mum threw in at the last minute. Before that, she showed me her piles and piles of treasures. It was vintage sewing heaven! She had huge boxes of cottons - some of which were quite old.
I took a handful of the ever-useful whites/creams, having tested them for snapping first (some others were from the 1920s/30s and snapped at the slightest pull - they were soooo pretty but not very useful!) Mum had hoarded decorative old soap boxes and used them to store embroidery flosses and ribbons.
Aren't they sweet? This is such a lovely way to store buttons and ribbons. She had some empty ones which I took home to use for some of the sewing things I have trailing around.
At one point she got me to reach up onto a high shelf and pull down a woven wicker box. Inside was a paradise of ribbons, trims and lace! I wanted to take everything but I tried to select just a few of the loveliest things - and ones I could see myself using very soon.
She also showed me all the pieces of scrap fabric she had used in her lavender bag making when I was a child. This brought back a lot of memories! I wrote about them in this post last year, when I started making lavender sachets myself.
The crazy thing was a whole pile of them had already been sewn and were just waiting to be filled and closed! She always made circles and used to sew a circle of lace around the edge. She really wanted me to have these - to make and sell. I am not quite sure what I'm going to do with them yet but there are so many that some will definitely be finding their way to my Etsy shop in some form or another!
Perhaps most stunning of all was her collection of fabrics. She had old liberty lawn, cottons, jerseys, silk, upholstery fabric and so many beautiful prints and patterns! She told me she used to buy up scraps and off-cuts on the cheap - in the 1960s you could still buy big bags full of these for next-to-nothing.
She also used to rummage through the bins of posh fabric shops in London and get piles of good quality scraps and trimmings for free! These days it is so hard to find inexpensive fabric, let alone for free.
I came home with a bag full of pretty fabric I just cannot wait to use. It made me really wish I had more time to spend sewing! I think it amuses and delights my mum that I have become just as obsessed as she once was! Getting out some of the materials also inspired her to start making a patchwork quilt again, something she hasn't done for a long time. She says she has less patience these days.
I wanted to end this post with an image of this beautiful old lace. I don't know the date but mum thinks it is really quite old. I feel so incredibly lucky and privileged to be given these materials that money simply couldn't buy - because they come from my mother.

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