Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer bloggin' - My Grandmother’s Sewing Box by Laura Howard

Summer Bloggin' on &Stitches

Today we're joined by Laura Howard, blogger at Bugs and Fishes and prolific felt-crafter. Laura's here to talk about being one link in a generational stitching chain - thanks so much for sharing with us, Laura!

I have inherited a few things from my grandparents over the years, including old photographs, some pretty china and a houseplant that’s older than I am. One of the most precious (to me, at any rate) is my grandmother’s sewing box.

It’s packed with an everyday sewing kit – threads, scissors, tape measures, thimbles, packs of needles, etc. There’s also a finished-but-not-yet-framed cross stitch project and a cutting from an old magazine with step by step instructions for a fancy embroidery stitch.

Some of the older items are beautiful vintage things, lovely objects in their own right. I love the blue Dorcas pin tin and the old scissors and pinking shears.

I also adore the assortment of threads, particularly the reel labelled “service khaki” (possibly dating from my grandfather’s time in the RAF?). As well as being nice to look at, these are objects my grandmother clearly used often, making the box a kind of time capsule from her everyday life – a teeny glimpse into a life dotted with mending and making.

My own experience of sewing is very different to my grandmother’s. I’ve never made my own clothes (unless you include the ugly waistcoat I made in Textiles in Year 9), and apart from sewing on the occasional loose button I don’t do much “make do and mend”-ing. Instead, I design my own patterns, write craft tutorials and books, blog about my crafting and sell my work via the modern magic that is the internet. I dabble with embroidery and cross stitch but I mostly make fun, cute, colourful things from felt.

But although I might be sewing very different things than my grandmother did, and for different reasons, the physical act of sewing is the same. My tools look like her tools, and I’ve even used some of her old sewing kit in my work (the pinking shears came in very handy before I’d invested in my own pair!). When I cut fabric or thread a needle or sew a line of stitches, my hands do just what hers must have done many, many times.

It’s a wonderful feeling to have this connection between myself and my grandmother. It also makes me think further back, to the many women in my family tree who must have spent many hours stitching - either out of necessity or for pleasure – and of the skills they passed down from mother to daughter.

Have you inherited stitching materials from other generations? Do share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!


  1. What a lovely post from Laura. I love the way she is inspired by her grandmother's sewing kit-beautiful writing and pictures. I have just followed your blog Laura! Best wishes Alison xx

  2. Such a lovely post, I have a similar box from my grandma - I'm sure many of us reading this post will have a similar special connection with mothers and grandmothers. I wonder if a young granddaughter will enjoy looking through a box of felt, threads and notions from you one day...! Chrissie x

  3. My grandma gave me her sewing box not long before she died, I will try and share it sometime, although I haven't got all the contents now. I remember the sewing box sitting in the corner throughout my childhood.

  4. Que bello recuerdo, nuestras abuelas son especiales para cada una de nosotras,besitos!

  5. Thanks for the comments everyone - and to the &Stitches team for having me as a guest blogger! :)


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