Thursday, March 18, 2010

Show and Tell: Vintage Sewing Box

By-Jenny2

My appreciation of vintage items has grown considerably over the last few years, in great part due to being married to a lover of "old stuff", due also to my friendship with you and being exposed to your taste and thrifty finds, due to my increasing desire to repurpose and upcycle, and finally, due to the ever-growing list of fantastic blogs focused on vintage goodness on my blog reader. For a mix of reasons, you could say!

Last summer, when we were staying with my in-laws before our move to Seattle, they got to see me at work crafting and sewing (how awesome were they to let me have a little space to set up my "studio" while we were in limbo?!). And one day, my mom-in-law called me into her bedroom, showed me this box she'd had for years, and told me she wanted me to have it because she thought I might enjoy it instead of letting it gather dust on the high shelf of a closet.


Jenny Spotlight: Vintage Sewing Box

According to my mother-in-law, this sewing box belonged to her mom, my husband's grandmother. I think it is from the 70's, gauging from the pattern and materials it's made of. I am not in love with the look of it, but it is super functional, unlike the crappy plastic box I've been using for years, and I just love the history and connections behind it!


Jenny Spotlight: Vintage Sewing Box

The best part though, was what was hiding inside the sewing box (before I emptied it to take the above picture!)...

* A meeeellion random buttons like these:


Jenny Spotlight: Vintage Sewing Box

* More buttons still on the cardboard, and look at how super kitshy cute the designs are! You can tell how old they are by the prices, 15 cents for these, 10 cents for those.


Jenny Spotlight: Vintage Sewing Box

* A few dozen wooden spools, most of them still wound up full of mercerized cotton, or silk! And all the colors are lovely.


Jenny Spotlight: Vintage Sewing Box

* Inside the pocket, a whole bunch of these little needle books and an old, old envelope punctured by a tapestry needle. I think a pattern came inside the envelope, I wish I knew what it had been for! I love these little needle books so much, but considering they each feature 21 needles, I can't possibly use them all in my lifetime, so I may have to give some away! Do you want some?


Jenny Spotlight: Vintage Sewing Box
Jenny Spotlight: Vintage Sewing Box
Jenny Spotlight: Vintage Sewing Box

I don't know if my mother-in-law is reading this, but in case she is: thank you so much, Lynette! I will cherish this box and its treasures for many years to come!

6 comments:

  1. How cute! I have my grandmothers old sewing basket and it is my most cherished possession. I feel honored to call it mine now. What a nice gift!

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  2. Love the sewing box & love the history! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Jenny - super cool find, the artwork on those little needle books has to be from the 1930s or 1940s. And the spiderweb papers on the bottom are wild, love the symbolism for a sewer. Nette's always full of all kinds of surprises!

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  4. Thank you all for the kind comments!

    Steve, that's so cool about the needle books -- I didn't realize they were *that* old. What about the box itself, the thread spools, the buttons... what's your estimate?

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  5. Hmm, just guessing I'd say you're right on '70s for the box, I remember we had some stuff similar to that around my house.

    The only real clue other than the style of the artwork (the woman's long sleeves and bowtie outfit) and lettering on the needle books is the envelope you show, it has a postal code "San Francisco 3, California", a system which started in 1943. Zip codes started in 1963, so that dates the envelope between 1943 and 1963. So you could check those button backers and spools to see if they have zip addresses or not, google up the manufacturers to see if they went out of business at a certain date. Maybe I should get a job on antiques roadshow?

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  6. Wow, thanks for all the info, Steve! Fascinating stuff. You *should* get a job on antiques roadshow!

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