Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sewing Grandmas, Part 2

Grandma H. (1914 - 2001) was my Stashing Grandma. Widowed in 1977, she had her house to herself for 24 years and, although she usually split the year snowbird-style between Hendricks County, Indiana and Leesburg, Florida, I'm sure that freed her up to accumulate fabric and sewing doo-dads to a larger degree than she would have otherwise. Plus, there was a fabric store in Florida called 'Fabric King' that she frequented during her stays there; I have inherited several stapled - together flat fold pieces with Fabric King tags from her stash that have rust spots where the staples were. Most of Grandma's stash is still at my mother's, but I have a box or so of things that came from her and the occasional reference in a review to fabric from my Grandmother's stash is a tribute to Grandma H.

But she was the truly creative Grandma who sewed because she enjoyed it. She liked creating things and sometimes would just put kind of odd combinations of materials together just to see how they looked...and frequently it looked surprisingly good. She made a lot of her own clothes, and her stash included several UFO's that she'd started but probably lost interest because she just didn't feel physically up to completing them. There's a lot of polyester in her stash -- it was cheap, Grandma H loved a bargain as much as Grandma R -- and there were quite a few odd pieces that I'd love to know what she planned for them. Of course, she may just have purchased them because they were intriguing and she put them in the stash waiting for inspiration to hit (a trait I've been known to exhibit now and then...).

Grandma didn't just make clothes, though, she enjoyed doing home dec projects and frequently revamped her living space by making new curtains (not lined drapes...usually just gathered priscillas or cafe-style tabbed panels). After I got my driver's license, it became standard practice for my sister and me to stop by Grandma H's house on our way home after a shopping trip to Indianapolis and show her our new Cloth World or JoAnn's or SoFro purchases. It was kind of a standing joke that she would always feel the new fabric and, no matter what it was (even a shimmery blue jersey knit), comment 'Oh, that would make nice curtains!'

She enjoyed dolls, too, making dolls and dressing dolls and displaying unusual dolls, although she didn't really collect them. The only Grandma H.-made item I've got is this doll, which I think she made in the early '80's. I think this was supposed to be Holly Hobby, but I could be wrong:

So...frugal fabric recycling on one side and creative stashing on the other; how could I help but sew?


  1. Love them Grandmas! Aren't we lucky to have had them in our lives?

  2. I have to agree with Mary Beth's comments. Thank goodness my Grandmother sewed and passed that on to me.

    I lived near Leesburg, FL for almost 9 years. When you wrote about Fabric King, I smiled. It was an interesting store with a variety of fabrics, some good and some not so good. It was always a treasure hunt but what fabric store isn't.