Sunday, January 16, 2011

You can tell a lot about a woman based on her_______

Have you ever walked into an old Victorian house and wondered whose home it used to be?  Who touched this doorknob?  Who opened these shutters?  What kinds of board games were played by this fireplace?  Or have you ever eaten off of one hundred year old china and mused about the person whose plate you shared?  Did they help polish the silver, or just polish off the food :) ?

Given that I sew from old patterns so often, I find myself thinking these things all the time.  You may remember my post from a couple of weeks ago, where I made a ruffled blouse from an old sheet?  Well, it came from this pattern:
You can tell a lot about a woman based on her sewing patterns.  I know that she made the dress from this 1/16" lime green gingham fabric:
A time capsule of history that was left inside the pattern for all these years.
I wonder if she was as glamorous as I picture her.  Did she realize how iconic her poodle skirt would become?  Did she really wear heels every day?  In a funny way, I feel a connection to her.  I often know her "name"--this one's was Mrs. J. L. Gaines.  Back in the day, oftentimes ladies would write their names on the outside of the pattern envelopes (presumably to claim ownership from the sharing that went on?).  I can tell if she smoked, for when I iron the sixty year old wrinkles out of the pattern pieces, it sometimes emits that unmistakable aroma.  I can guess if she had more than one daughter by how many nicks the outline of the patterns had; well used patterns tend to lose their precise edging with each use.  A sewing pattern can even give clues on how organized the seamstress was.  Was each piece folded neatly back into the envelope, or were they haphazardly stuffed in? 

In writing this post, it made me wonder in today's world what a sewing pattern might equate to.  Perhaps your jewelry box, or lack thereof?  Are your earrings placed in pairs in each perfect cube, or all tossed into the large compartment at the bottom like mine :) ?
This was a yard sale find of mine from last summer.  It may be one of those once in a lifetime kind of deals.
So maybe you don't even keep a jewelry box.  But what about all those digital photos you've taken?  Are they still on your computer?  Printed off and all put in the same box?  Organized by year?  Or maybe even scrapbooked to highlight your favorite ones?  I think maybe sixty years from now, those might be things that people will look at and wonder about us.  Speculate on how we might have been.

But for now, I'm content in knowing that one thing I have in common with Mrs. J. L. Gaines is that we both had a little girl, age 2, who liked to wear fancy dresses.

Today's happiness:  I have four different sewing projects that need to be finished, but I took and nap and blogged instead.  Napping on a cold, gray day is my interpretation of finding the silver lining on winter weather.  

I hope you have a really great week!  The kind that's so good that it's unmistakable for something special.


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