January 25, 2018

My Own Little Sewing Machine!

Sewing and Embroidery When I was 9 Years Old!
When I was nine years old, I received this sewing machine from my dear Grandmum on my father's side. I was thrilled, as I could sew all by myself and make dolly clothes!

Above, Hitty holds a glittery star above Tillie Tinkham, the seamstress mouse for the dolls and critters at Corgyncombe. This Christmas I plugged my little machine in and she still works just fine!

My mother had my beautiful long blond hair that I loved chopped off.
I hated my new short, short haircut! It just was not me!
It was sooo cold in the wintertime having such a short, short haircut!

I am pictured above with my new ice skates and my Singer sewing machine.

Before my lovely curls were chopped!

Several years ago, I came across in a drawer of my cupboard, this apron that I made when I was nine years old. I washed it and hung it on the line to dry.

Every now and then my mother would would send for remnants in the mail, you never knew exactly what you would get. During Christmas vacation I cut out the apron from one of the pieces of fabric. I sewed the apron together on my little machine.

Iron-on transfers were used to mark the patterns of some of my favorite flowers!

I hand embroidered the tulip, daffodil and rose when I was nine years old.
I didn't quite finish, as one of my rose leaves was left undone.

I loved being outside skating and sledding but on the days that I couldn't go out I would work with my little sewing machine and my embroidery hoop, needle and floss.

I made aprons for both of my Grandmum's the next Christmas!

Tillie Tinkham, the seamstress mouse at Corgyncombe, delighted in seeing my sewing machine and apron!

"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?"

Tillie Tinkham's Sewing Circle Emblem!
Tillie Tinkham on her rose tuffet with her golden metal thimble!

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. Working with the sewing bird allowed you to sit up straighter whilst sewing.

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."

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.

Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant and from our web site and our previous postings elsewhere on the internet.

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Photographs, images, and text copyright © 2000-2018 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson. All rights reserved. Photographs, images, and/or text may not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson.

copyright © 2018 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson