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  • Writer's pictureAisha

A Vintage Seamstress Treasure Trove

Hello darlings!

Recently I was gifted a box of sewing items from a friend’s relative, and as I was unpacking it I thought that I might as well share the finds with you too! If you like looking at vintage packaging and imagining how your grandmothers would have sewn stay tuned!

I have also made a video of me unpacking this box, which may show more than what is in this post (and vice versa; this post may show some things that aren’t in the video!).

Inside, there was a bundle of fabrics wrapped up in black tissue paper.

Along with some gorgeous and delicate black lace remnants, there’s also these simply stunning lacy strips.

I’m not sure what they would have been used for initially: perhaps they were pretty table runners?

But the moment I saw them, I knew what I wanted to do with them. I want to make a cute little early-Victorian cap with these as streamers.

(Something like this?)

I initially wanted to cut them in half, but I actually might just stitch the ‘cap’ part on top and preserve the lace so my addition can be removed and the lace kept intact for future generations.

There was also a big ol' bag of miscellaneous sewing supplies, most of which were buttons so I didn’t include them in the pictures or we would have been here forever. I simply added them to my button stash, you may see some of them used in projects in the future!

In these close ups please try to ignore the big ugly welt on my finger. I went through all the trouble of wearing pretty gloves, and yet I forgot that I had caught my finger in my pliers the day before taking these pictures!

What I wouldn’t have given to have these buckles when I was doing my 1930s project in my first year of uni…

Hidden in this Alexon (clothing brand?) bag is a little RAF badge- it looks like something you’d see on Antiques Roadshow so if anyone knows if this is worth anything let me know!

Is it just me, or would your Christmas tree look tacky as all hell with these on? Maybe that’s my modern taste talking!

Hidden in this bag I also found this. It feels like a button, but it’s very heavy and covered in this fabric… the only use I can imagine it having is to weigh something down. Georgian ladies sewed weights into their sleeves, so maybe someone wanted a decoration, a waistband or collar weighed down.

This looks like the oldest piece in the bundle. I love when buttons advertise that they’re able to go in the mangle, it’s just such an insight into a different era.

This buckle must be purely decorative, there were three in the bundle and they’re so tiny!

Speaking of tiny… the tiniest button I’ve ever seen!! What would even be the point of a button so small? Dolls clothes maybe?

These could also be very old; not the slightly larger decoration, I’m fairly sure that’s a plastic reproduction, but the small black buttons could be jet which was massively popular in the Victorian era for mourning clothes. They do look quite Victorian in design.

Now, I’m slightly cheating here. This actually came from my grandmother who lived for a spell in Germany, but I’ve been meaning to share it for ages so I’m sneaking it into this post.

A replacement pocket! This is what you did before fast fashion I suppose, but with was an emerging market for pre-made kits instead of making things from scratch.

Another bag contained a load more sewing supplies. I’ve never heard of Janus and a cursory google hasn’t revealed anything so I’ll have to ask around to see if anyone's heard of it.

Embroidery threads galore, my goodness. These are going into my stash, although I’m sure I’ll be loathed to use the plaited ones, they're just so pretty!

You might be wondering why it specified unboned petersham, well…

Do they still sell boned petersham? They must do, although I can’t say I’ve personally come across it. I’d love to use it, but I don’t want to ruin the packaging, especially as it matches the other one!

I’ll have to give this one try, seeing as I can use it without ruining the packaging. I’ve only ever used the needle threaders that come with sewing machines, you know the ones, with the profiles on the top.

Isn’t this sewing caddy just beautiful? It’s a shame it’s a little age spotted.

And this little needle case, with a thimble holder built into the design! I love finding used needle cases, especially when the needles are threaded. I like to imagine the last project they were used for… sorry, is that a little morbid? I have a quilted piece my great-grandmother was working on before she died which still has the threaded needle in it, I’m planning to mount it this year and put it on my wall. Anyway…

‘Mushroom’ colour doesn’t seem terribly appealing, but the label is super cute!

I'm constantly reminded when looking at old sewing supplies and extant garments just how small everything was. I must keep that in mind when sourcing things for historical costume; look at how thin this bias binding is!

And let’s finish this off with some super cute needle cases!

I'm going to use some of these in my sewing but the intact packaging I'll keep and save for another person to discover one day, when everything will be even older than it is now!

Do you have a favourite? Mine's definitely the old buttons that say they can go through the mangle, even if the packaging's a bit beaten up.

Until next time,

Aisha x

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