Sewing Tackle Box
A month ago when my aunt was visiting, we went to a church fleamarket in Urfahr on the northern side of the Donau (Danube). It was a terribly crowded fleamarket, but the pickings were good. So good that within about 15 minutes I had too much stuff (i.e. a sewing box and metres of amazing fabric) and was beholden to my friend Vicy who carried it home in her car.
One of the things I’ve been looking for over the last years of fleamarkets has been a vintage sewing box, ideally one that’s full of useful gadgets and thread. When I had previously seen them they’ve either been empty, too expensive, or falling apart. So I was really happy when I saw one hidden in a corner and after a 30 second glance at the contents decided to take it for 10€.
When I lived in my grandmother’s house for a couple of years I spent a lot of time sorting boxes and cupboards and trying to collate them together. I must have found more than 100 old keys and countless collections of sewing tools and embroidery floss stashed in different places. When I looked through Min’s stuff there was of course the wistfulness of thinking about my grandmother before I knew her, but there was also the total fun of finding loads of free craft and sewing tools.
Looking through this box was possibly more fascinating, even though it didn’t come for free. I had no idea who the owner was, but each item gave me new inspiration for the stories I was making in my head. Amongst incredibly useful things that I’ve been wanting were a tracing wheel, needle cases, threads and darning wools in varying colours. There were travel sewing kits from varying eras, delicate lace flowers, a box of black armbands for mourning and special tools for threading ribbons through fabric.
I didn’t find dates on many of the older looking pieces, but there was scrap of an envelope postmarked in 1982. But most of the things were much older than the 80s. Look at these, a collection of colour tablets and powders for dying fabric! The blackletter font on the second packet gives me an idea that it must be at least 50 years old. I’m looking forward to dying some fabric with these old packets.
Stuck into a pin cushion was this, a Radfahrprüfung pin. If you’re under 12 years old you need to pass your Radfahrprüfung (bike riding test) before you are allowed to cycle on the streets without an adult. Presumably the original owner wore this pin to demonstrate their proficiency.
I’m always on the lookout for good pieces of fabric when I’m at fleamarkets. I’ve never come across a haul like this though. For 4€ I walked out with about 4 metres of grey suiting, an entire cotton sari and some beautiful batik fabric (not pictured). I have no idea what I’ll do with the suiting and the sari and batik will be waiting for next summer. As well as those fabrics I also found these amazing woolen fabrics, 1 yard of a checked rusty fabric and 2.5 metres of a dark red, tweedy wool.
I’ve already got an idea for a dress to make with this fabric, something inspired by the pockets on Oliver and S’ Book Report Dress and this shift from Burda Style. I’d made a sketch and noted that I wanted a contrasting lining (orange, teal, purple or striped) and a couple of days later found a dress worth of remnant at Komolka in Vienna.
The other winter weight fabric is this lovely check of which there is not even a metre, just a lonely imperial yard! Most searches for one yard patterns bring up rather creepy crafts and this is not a craft weight fabric, but something that should be worn.
I know I don’t want this used in a standard a-line skirt, so I’m considering making it into a kimono sleeve jacket. That would mean both drafting a pattern so that it would fit just within the bounds of the fabric. What would you do with this fabric?