Archive for Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Aunt Norie’s Sewing Room

August 17, 2010

Now to finish those old-time homemade patterns. Looking back, they were really something else.

Family and friends exchanged and borrowed patterns. They were not easy to come by (a common expression in those days).

The wrapping paper they were often made from is a story in itself. When you went shopping, small items might be placed in the paper sack.

If you had purchased clothing, for instance, it was wrapped in brown wrapping paper, a sturdy brown paper, torn off of a huge big roll of paper mounted or fastened (much like our paper towels today). It sat at the end of a long counter and the merchant always stood behind that counter.

Your purchases were wrapped and then tied with string. The string itself came from a huge big ball of string setting on the counter. It was threaded upward to the ceiling through a kook or ring. The merchant could quickly wrap and tie your parcel and you were on your way.

All merchandise, groceries, etc., were behind the counter. Oh no, you did not, as we now do, walk around and pick up your merchandise.

The butcher wrapped his freshly-cut meats in a waxed white paper, not suitable for patterns.

So now back to the patterns. That brown paper was precious and saved just for such. If we needed to splice it, it was carefully pinned together along the edges with straight pins (scotch tape had not been invented yet).

Many of those store-bought patterns, the flimsy unmarked tissue patterns, were actually pinned onto the wrapping paper to make a more durable pattern than instructions, written on each of the pattern pieces, much as we have today.

My mother always liked to tell how she made her first pattern for me. She said she laid me on her bed, arms outspread, as I slept, also on a sheet of wrapping paper, then drew a line around me to get he basic size of a pattern.

Patterns were also made from newspaper, but that brown wrapping paper was better and very durable.

We “oldsters” are often heard to wish for “the good old days.” But believe me we don’t want everything just as it was back then.

Bye for now.

Aunt Norie, P.O. Box 265, Tonganoxie 66086; auntnorie@att.net.

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