Now that the kids are back to school, the lambs are almost bigger than their mothers, and I'm in a blessed lull between green beans and tomatoes, my eye is wandering back into the sewing room. Things were put on hold last April when lambing season started, but I think it's time to get back at it again. Before I lose myself in a pile of patterns and trims, I thought I'd give you a quick peak around.
My Singer machine was bought brand new in 1946 by my grandmother. I've used it for the past 12 years, every day (almost). Straight stitch, forward and backward, pretty basic machine but it has never let me down, even when I'm shoving through layers of denim, upholstery or Naugahyde. I do have the original zigzag and buttonhole attachments, but tend to use my '81 Singer for projects requiring a zigzag stitch. The original attachments are great showpieces but I haven't had much luck with clean finished stitches.
My trunk is packed, and I do mean packed, with fabric and notions, quilt batting and overall buckles, pellon and my small assortment of velvets for that Victorian Crazy Quilt I mean to do one day. The framed picture on the wall was made by my husband. He mimicked the window trim to build a custom frame for a print that has been in every house I've lived in. It combines two of my favorite things, Sarah Bernhardt and Shakespeare, in this case, Hamlet. Bernhardt was a French stage actress, hitting her peak in the 1870s, and the first woman to ever play the lead role of Hamlet. Her death scene at the end lasted for 17 minutes. You may recognize the artwork as Alphonse Mucha who based several of his Art Nouveau pieces on her. But I digress. . .
. . . the fabric that simply cannot fit into the trunk has come to fill (and overflow) this picnic basket. Most of these pieces I've collected to use for my daughter's clothes. They are a bit outdated or less than a yard, but still very serviceable. A strawberry print, a watermelon piece, ditsy florals, seersuckers and ginghams. Perfect for summer sundresses (which will wait patiently for next year)!
The opposite corner of the room has my large barnboard cupboard which is also packed with fabric (three shelves behind those doors to hold my dressmaking yardage and quilt fabric). It was also made by my husband. The boards were salvaged from an old hog shed on my mother's farm that had to be torn down. We salvaged the hinges and door latch, too! Also in the photo is an Oriental wallhanging I did, and my portable 1956 Singer in the black box on the floor. Always the oldest machine at the quilt retreats!
Somehow I've managed to squeeze in one more machine, my great grandmother's 1911 treadle machine. This came to me with its drawers full of dusty notions and a head covered in grease. How excited I was to sort out a quart jar full of vintage buttons, a bag of used zippers (even an authentic side placket zip) and dozens of hand crocheted trims! I cleaned off the head to discover gold decals. While the machine is still complete and probably functional, I just don't have the need to figure out a shuttle bobbin treadle. So I took out the head and swapped in that 1981 I had mentioned earlier. The tin boxes on top are actually my daughter's sewing boxes. One is notions, one is trims and the red plaid one is packed (like mother, like daughter) full of fabric. I told her she couldn't get any more until she uses what she has!
The 1911 Singer treadle with shuttle bobbin.
Notions from the drawers of Great Grandma's sewing machine cabinet.
So there you have a look at my little hideaway in the corner of the house. It's a small room and filled to the brim with projects and gadgets and favorites. From clothespin bags to hotpads, from sundresses to flannel quilts, it's a place where I can whip out creations to my hearts content! Or until it's time to make supper.