Monday, 5 January 2009

Nana's Sewing Basket

Yesterday in Bournemouth, it was a whole 5 degrees warmer than it was in Oxford, which when we left, and when we returned, was white with frost and no thaw in between. This morning we had snow, so I'm glad we visited my Nana yesterday. While I was there, I spied her old sewing box in a corner. I remember this box from my childhood when she used to try to teach me how to sew, but in the end I would just watch her sewing curtains or cushion covers or tablecloths or bedspreads, with her beautiful hand operated Singer.

Despite my ancient memories though, I was quite unprepared for what I found in that box! A veritable vintage treasure chest underneath what appeared to be a perfectly modern top tray!

For underneath there were the following things:

These pinking shears were a leaving gift from my Nana's last job back in the early 70's when she retired. She worked in a jewellers shop on Oxford Street in London.

In those days and before, it seems that things really were made to last, and here are the instructions to prove it!

These needles are French. They must be very old as my Nana left France in the Forties soon after the war ended!! Inside the packet were 10 or so perfect needles, no rust, and perfectly sharp.

I guess this kit came from the same era ... "make do and mend"

Inside are a whole range of coloured silk threads for your nylons. My Nana, though living in German occupied Paris during the war, was lucky enough to have nylons because she worked for the American Army.

Inside the mending kit are some perfectly preserved 3 eyed needles (for spring!) and very precise instructions.

There was even 'mending thread' on original cards, and tape measures which really had seen better days, beautiful though they are.

And as my current obsession is embroidery, I took a couple of snaps of just two of her beautiful vintage table cloths for inspiration.

My Nana thought it was most strange that I was photographing her things but try as I might, I just couldn't explain the blog thing to her !


solsticedreamer said...

how exciting! what a great things to uncover and the history of some of things is amazing!
i just love finding things like that to explore :)

twiggypeasticks said...

It's VERY cold here too and we've had snow overnight, very pretty though. I love your nanas sewing box, what treasures, I love the idea of you explaining your blog. My Mum is like that she just says lovely, show me the photos ;)
keep warm
Twiggy x

Kitty said...

My mum has some of those Singer pinking shears! I think they were passed to her from my grandmother.

It's been blinkin' freezing here for days hasn't it? Snow today! Why couldn't it have snowed when I didn't have to drive?!

Good luck for tomorrow - I'll be thinking of you.


jennyflower said...

Your Nana has ace things; it's amazing how old stuff turns to vintage cool in the corner of the living room.....I hope I do!

Word verification mingstag...nice!

CurlyPops said...

That's amazing. I can't believe they actually had to repair pantyhose back in those days. What a job!

driftwood said...

what wonderful things! my nana used to have buttons, lots of buttons, as a child it was heaven to be allowed to play with them. sadly when she died someone threw them away, not realising what treasures they were...

Anonymous said...

Fancy having to mend your stockings!

melissa said...

ooh I love looking at vintage notions! I"d love to see a full shot of the care instructions on the pinking shears, though, if you can. I've got some wonderful vintage tailor's shears but I honestly don't know how I'm supposed to care for them!

Thanks so much for sharing!

Garden Girl said...

Oooh ! i have exactly the same pinking shears in the same box- they belonged to my Nanna as well. I love that I have them, complete with instructions still. Despite the fact I cannot sew...x

handmaiden said...

what a great find and so many memories in that basket

Moogsmum said...

I've still got some of the old things from my Nan's sewing box. I love the old packaging - so much prettier than anything we get now.