Sunday, February 3, 2013
Grandma R and Patterns
Mom once told me that her Mom often made her own patterns. She could look at a garment, figure out how to make it, draw out a pattern on newspaper and then use that to cut out material for her rendition of the original garment.
Sorting through boxes turned up one of Grandma's homemade patterns. The pieces were pinned together with a straight pin.
I was anxious to unpin them - see what she might have made so many years ago. This is what I found - three very similar shapes. I'm wondering if they were for pockets. The paper on the left has 46 and 64 written in red ink. The middle one has pie piece shaped wedges sketched in two different patterns. Those notations may or may not have anything to do with the pattern pieces.
The paper they were cut from was the Omaha World Herald. They had to have been cut out later than 1967-68 because zip codes - mandatory use after 1967 - and job openings at JC Penney in Westroads Mall which opened in 1968, are in the ads. Manpower ("Highest paying temporary help service in Omaha") was advertising for immediate temporary help at $1.70 per hour.
Here is a picture from August, 1964. Aunt Lois Mitchell (Grandma's youngest daughter), Illinois cousin Nellie Gray, Grandma Delphia and her sister-in-law, Aunt Florence Ridnour Haley. Lois' youngest, 4-yr-old Joe in front. I'll betcha' anything that Grandma made the dress she has on.
Grandma's talents extended to fancy work. Above is a doily she crocheted - R for Ridnour - which now, of course, is R for Ramona - and some of her tatting around the edge of another doily. I wonder if she figured out on her own how to execute that R, or if she used a pattern.
The home sewing pattern industry began in the early 1860's. By 1866 The Butterick Company (one of four historic American pattern companies which still exist) was manufacturing patterns for women's clothing. When Grandma did use a purchased pattern, I remember her using table knives to hold the tissue pattern in place to cut around rather than pinning it to the material which is how I learned. This makes me want to sew something - a good past-time on a winter day. Except - Grandma had a strict rule against sewing on Sunday!