February 26, 2014

Tillie Tinkham's Sewing Circle with Sewing Bird!

A New Pinny for Hitty!
Hitty tries on Tillie Tinkham's latest creation so that Tillie can pin the hem. Tillie has made Hitty a pinafore using a Gail Wilson pattern. Hitty was carved by Judy Brown, also a wonderful seamstress who made her lovely brown frock.

Fit for a Lively Sewing Mouse and Sewing Bird.

 The book "Hitty, Her First Hundred Years" written by Rachel Field and illustrated by Dorothy P. Lathrop. The story follows the wooden doll Hitty's many exciting adventures throughout the years.

On the walls in "Tillie Tinkham's Frocks and Fashions" shoppe with Millinery and Tea Room at 863 Park Avenue are blue and silver scenes that are like diamond shaped windows looking out to fashionable folk walking about on cobbled streets. In one of the windows is a lady wearing a bonnet who reminds us of Hitty on the cover of the book "Hitty, Her First Hundred Years".

In her shoppe at 863 Park Avenue, Tillie steps back to see how the hem looks after pinning.

 "The Mary Frances Sewing Book, or Adventures Among the Thimble People" published in 1913, written by Jane Eayre Fryer and illustrated by Jane Allen Boyer.

In the book Sewing Bird tells the little girl Mary Frances about the sewing lessons and all the things that she can make for her doll:

"Why, certainly, dear little Miss,
You can learn to make all this:
A pin-a-fore, some under-clothes,
A little 'kerchief for her nose;
Kimono, bloomers, little cap,
a nightie for her little nap;
A dress for morn, for afternoon,
A dress for parties, not too soon;
A little cape, a little bonnet --
perhaps with roses fastened on it; --
A nice warm coat to keep from chill,
A dainty sack, in case she's ill:
All this and more we'll gladly teach,
If you will do and follow each--
will you?"

The book has patterns for all these things
for a bigger doll than Hitty.

863 Park Avenue, the smaller apartment dollhouse that we found after reading about it on Susan Branch's blog. The dollhouse, with its two large opening doors, reminds us of Beatrix Potter's doll's house at Hill Top.

A lovely sewing bird holds Tillie's pins.
Sewing birds were used for hand sewing.

In "The Mary Frances Sewing Book" sewing bird's beak held your work whilst hemming and sewing. Mary Frances' Grandmother says about sewing bird: "The first time she ever helped me was with my wedding dress. Yes, I love her, too, dear." Working with the sewing bird allowed you to sit up straighter whilst sewing.

I have fond remembrances of visiting a favorite elderly relative. My great grandmum's cousin Lena (who was more the age of my Grandmum) 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.

Lena had a sewing bird. I remember her sewing bird clamped on a table near her sewing machine. She was a professional seamstress and had her sewing shop in her house. Her sewing machine was in her bright cheerful yellow kitchen near an old fashioned bay window. In the window she had all kinds of plants and a canary that sang.

In "The Mary Frances Sewing Book" there is also a canary who lives in the sewing room.

Lena also quilted and made hooked and braided rugs and always had many projects ongoing.

The Sewing Bird in
"The Mary Frances Sewing Book" sings:
"I love to sit
And sing and sing --
But lesson time
Is on the wing:
Miss Never-Try
Never can-do;
Miss Never-Begin
Never gets thru."

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."

Tillie Tinkham helps Elizabeth turn the wheel to make the sewing machine sew.

The photograph above was featured in our calendar "The Days Until Christmas: Amelia's Favorite Things" on our web site "Our Favorite Things" in 2008 and on our blog the Corgyncombe Courant in 2011.

My Grandmum's treadle sewing machine.

The Sewing Bird holds a tiny woven heart that Sarah made. The little heart can be used as a pocket purse to carry things, perhaps buttons or little notes!

In "Drawn from New England" written by Bethany Tudor, she speaks of how her mother Tasha Tudor made woven hearts at Christmas.

A Hitty friend gifted our "Pumpkin House" Hittys with a sewing basket of tiny buttons, hooks and eyes, scissors, and spools of thread.

Looking out one of the "windows" in Tillie's shoppe at 863 Park Avenue.

A view from the mirror of the back of Hitty's pinafore.

Whilst Sewing Bird and one of the Tweet Sweet Birdies hold the pinafore Tillie makes tiny stitches to hem the pinafore. Tillie is daintily perched atop the rose tuffet to reach her work.

The Sewing Bird in
"The Mary Frances Sewing Book".

A certificate in our old "Mary Frances Sewing Book" showing the emblem of "The Mary Frances Sewing Circle".

Tillie Tinkham's Sewing Circle

copyright © 2014 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson


Simply Shelley said...

This was so much fun reading. I may come back,just to enjoy this post once again. :-) I too featured my Hitty Jane and some friends in a post today at my blog........blessings dear friends. Oh yes, that sewing book sounds wonderful......how blessed you are to own it!

Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson said...

Dear Shelley,

We're glad you enjoyed our Hitty and Tillie sewing post!

Loved seeing your Hitty Jane and her friends!

Your friends,
Diane and daughter Sarah, and the Dolls and Tillie Tinkham the seamstress mouse at Corgyncombe

Jeri Landers said...

My goodness, everyone is sewing these days... your little mice and bird, my little mice and birds and bears! (Dimity Doormouse suggests that she and Tillie Tinkham get together soon for a quilting bee.) Christie (Grammys House) came to the Garden show I am exhibiting at this weekend and showed me HER little Hitty she had just painted and beautifully stitched a sweet outfit for. It was a dress pattern from Gail Wilson as well. So, it's a whirlwind of sewing!I I too have enjoyed visiting Gail's website catalog since first I learned of her from your blog. Love that sewing bird and all the sweet seamstresses. Cousin Jeri

Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson said...

Dear Cousin Jeri,

Winter is the perfect time to sew! How nice that you saw Christie! Gail has fun dolls and kits!

Your cousins,
Diane and daughter Sarah, and the Dolls and Tillie Tinkham the seamstress mouse at Corgyncombe

Post a Comment