Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Tuesday Treasures - Mum

It’s Tuesday Treasure time again and I’m back to my theme of family sewing bits and pieces.

Of course my main influence in sewing has been my Mum.

This is her with Uncle Chris as kids.  They were, and still are, best mates.  Mum is looking rather precocious here in her cherry jumper that Grandma knitted for her.  Mum still has the pattern.

Mum & Uncle Chris

Like her mother before her, Mum learnt to sew when she was knee high to a grasshopper and an essential tool was a thimble.  These are Mum’s first two.  I also used these when I learnt to sew.  They fit my little finger now.  They now live in my thimble collection.

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Mum and Uncle Chris attended a one teacher bush school as kids.  This was in the 30’s. Once a week while Mr Collett taught the boys woodwork, Mrs Collett, the teacher’s wife, taught the girls sewing and this bag was Mum’s first school sewing.  The seams are all sewn by hand and are French seams.  If you zoom in, you can see the tiny whip stitching on the casing at the top.  I used this bag to carry my sewing for ages as well.  It now lives back with Mum.

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Of course all girls need a needle book, so that was also a school project.  I just love the cheerful 30s fabric in this one Mum made, once again all hand sewn.

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Mum turned 10 just after WWII was declared.  Her birthday is in October and her family were orchardists.  Grandma bought this sewing box for Mum for her birthday.  The following morning there was a big frost and their entire crop, and therefore most of their annual income, was wiped out.  Mum has always treasured this, as if Grandma had delayed the purchase by one day there would have been no present that year.

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Like most other things, when my turn came to do school sewing, this became my sewing box.  At the time I would have liked a nice new sewing basket like the other girls, but knowing the story behind it, I have always treasured this old one.  It is a pity about the Dymo name tag, but if I was to remove it now it would damage the paper lining. Most of the bits and pieces inside I have collected along the way.

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When Mum started high school the first item they made in sewing was a desk cover.  This was the first time Mum had used a sewing machine as Grandma had, up until that time, made hers out of bounds to Mum.  Once again, when you look at the back the binding is sewn down with the finest whip stitch. 

This would have been in about 1941.  Mum and Uncle Chris and their friend Charlie had to ride their pushbikes 8 miles to go to high school, and a bit over a mile of that was up “The Gap”, which is a really steep road.  They had strict instructions on what to do if they saw a plane, being war years.  They were the last kids to have to do this, as after the war a school bus was introduced.

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When Mum went to school you had no choice of subjects.  Mum would have loved to have done sewing, cooking and typing, however, she learnt French, Latin and English History.  All very handy things for a country girl who would leave school to work on the family farm.

After Mum left school at 15, a family friend showed Grandma some sewing her daughter done at Tech (TAFE) and Grandma thought it would be a good idea for Mary to go along too.  So Mum had to ride her bike the 8 miles to town and if the class was in the evening, stay overnight with some friends.

This photo was taken when she was 18. She made the fully tailored overcoat she is wearing at Tech. She just loved dressmaking and was offered a scholarship to East Sydney Tech to become a teacher, which she duly did and then taught at Newcastle, Lithgow, Bathurst and Tamworth before getting married.

Mum at Katoomba 1947 aged 18

And like her mother she has a lovely silver thimble.  This one is made by the same company as the monogrammed one that Dad’s Grandmother owned.  What a coincidence.  Sorry I didn’t get a very good photo.

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Pop over to Clare’s to see what other treasures are on show this week.

By the way, our big wattle tree in the back yard is now in full bloom.  Mick gave himself an early mark on Friday afternoon and got all the lawn paddock grass mown before all the rain on the weekend.  It only takes about four hours!  But, it looks so much better.

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clare's craftroom said...

How lucky you still have all those treasures ! I think your mum is a treasure too , she is just amazing ! Thanks for showing us and playing along .

mandapanda said...

Oh wow Janice! If it had been my family, all those wonderful items would have been gotten rid of years ago! I am so glad you kept them all, as must you be! Thankyou so much for sharing such an interesting story and treasures with us, I truely enjoyed reading this post!

Sue said...

What a wonderful collection. I love the pic of your Mum and Uncle Chris together.

rozhearts said...

What wonderful memories of your Mum and Grandmother I loved reading your story and to think you still have all those sewing notions.
(((HUGS))) Roz.

Melody said...

Your mum was the cutest little girl and your treasures are wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing.

teresa said...

I enjoyed your post immensely! It's amazing you still have all these gorgeous, precious things. I love the pic of your mum in her beautiful coat. Thanks so much for sharing xx

Aunty said...

What beautiful tresures these are. I love the thimbles. To still have and use the items that your mum made as a child is great.

Virginia said...

Janice, they are more precious than anything we can buy! So pleased for you that the've been kept for so many years. Enjoy.

Jewells said...

I too, am amazed that your Mum had kept these things, and then pass them onto you, who has kept them also... I love readong your Tuesday Treasures... can't wait 'til next Tuesday to read more...cheers!