February 6, 2012

Buttons, Lace, and Double Pink!

Our Favorite Things at Corgyncombe Cottage!
Old double pink fabric, buttons, old bobbin lace, an old velvet pincushion stuck round with old pins, and Bridget's likeness in an old tintype frame. Delightful Bridget was made by Margaret Flavin.

Diane has these fond remembrances of visiting a favorite elderly relative: My great grandmum's cousin Lena excelled at domestic skills such as pickling, breadmaking, sewing, and many others. She always won prizes for her domestic abilities at the county fair. My family used to visit them often and I would usually take a doll with me. One time she surprised me with a handmade dolly wardrobe in an old basket.
When I began to quilt, Lena gave me this fine piece of double pink fabric and I have never made anything from it, saving it for something special. Maybe some things for dollies...

Lena was such a wonderful lady! And to think that she weighed only a few pounds when she was born and wasn't expected to live. To keep her warm after she was born they put her in a basket in the warming oven atop the old wood cookstove. It was just warm enough to keep the premature baby comfortably warm. Lena lived to a ripe old age and she passed many of her skills on to me! She taught me how to do piecing and quilting. I inherited some of her quilting patterns and equipment. Lena was so thrilled that I wanted to learn from her!
She always reiterated small, tiny stitches and she was very pleased with my efforts... but then we are from a long line of kindred who love to sew. In the old days tiny quilting stitches were prized and well so because they made items that would last. The same goes for spinning excellence as they wanted good yarns to make into items that would last. These heirloom pieces last because of their fine workmanship. Children were taught at an early age such skills as spinning, knitting, and quilting.

The old, two-drawer box full of buttons was a recent delightful find.

Tasha Tudor enjoyed making doll clothing and did an exquisite job of fashioning and sewing! Tasha Tudor drew and painted little catalogs such as "Mouse Mills Catalogue", for her children, illustrating clothing and fashions that she would make and could be ordered for their dolls and animals. Tasha Tudor had the children use buttons to buy these goods. The currency for the dolls at Corgyncombe is buttons, as well!

Elizabeth, who works with Tillie Tinkham the seamstress mouse at Corgyncombe, especially likes Tasha Tudor's Mouse Mills' motto:
"Good, Better, Best, Never rest, 'Til Good be Better, And Better, Best."

On the book stand, is an old copy of "The Well-Bred Doll".
The book is open to sisters Florence and Laura dressing their doll Lottie.
In another chapter, Lottie had, in many attempts to fashion the prettiest nosegay, picked and discarded many of the flowers in her friends' Emma and Fanny's flower garden. When Lottie was asked why she had ruined Emma and Fanny's garden, she said "Because, mamma, I was so dull." Obviously, Lottie was bored and tried to entertain herself by making a pretty tussie mussie over and over again. Florence then told Lottie that if she she knew how to sew, she could always find pleasure in sewing and not be dull. Florence began to teach Lottie how to sew. From the book "The Well-Bred Doll": "The mamma began a hem, and Lottie began to work too. She made very long stitches, and the hem was all on one side. Then Florence took it again very kindly and showed her how it ought to be done; and very soon Lottie began to work quite nicely."
Thanks to Dixie Redmond, a dollmaker of delightful Izannah Walker dolls, for turning our attention to and highlighting the book "The Well-Bred Doll" on her blog.

Izzibeth is a reproduction Izannah Walker doll made by Paula Walton.
Her sunbonnet and frock are made of antique double pink fabric.



Marqueta (Mar-keet-a) said...

Dearest Diane Sarah,

What a delightful story! I really do wish you would publish a book of your pretty things! :)

All of your dolls are so sweet; we love making doll clothes and quilts, too, but I must admit that tiny stitches and my fingers aren't friends! My grandmother left two unfinished star quilt tops when she died, and I am really going to get them finished this year!

Thanks for all the inspiration for our family.


Marqueta and children

Jeri Landers said...

Dear Diane and Sarah, I have missed many posts it seems! Lovely things you have, I appreciate all of the sewing things especially, as I have a lovely collection myself. I think the pink fabric is delicious and would make a sweet little garment for one of the dolls.
I have been sewing for as long as I can remember. I wished I had a "Lena" to teach me, but I learned all on my own and by watching my mother. I used to love going through her sewing box and counting all her beautiful buttons.
Quilting and embroidery I love, But I simply would not have the patience to do the bobbin lace, as you do.

Cousin Jeri

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