Sunday, February 3, 2013

Grandma R and Patterns

 My Grandma Delphia Ridnour was a good seamstress - good thing since she had three daughters to sew for. I surmise she inherited her sewing ability from her Mother, Matilda, as my Aunt Evelyn told me her Grandma Means was the one who taught her (Evelyn) to sew. Shown above are Grandma Delphia (middle) and her brother, Orphas (in front with dog) and their parents, George and Matilda (Lippincott) Means. No date on back, but I would say in the 30's. (Orphas died in 1943, aged 59.)

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.

And for fun, one final picture of my Grandma as she is arriving at cousin Frank and Nellie Anderson's in Quincy, Illinois. Grandpa is getting a suitcase out of the trunk and looking toward Frank, Jo and Rae Jane. This was either '52 or '53 judging by what I can see of Grandpa's Plymouth.

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!

1 comment:

  1. Like your post on patterns...that is what Deise is doing this year for prom dress...we met up with Jennifer (she used to work here and does a lot of sewing/quilting/knitting) and picked out a pattern and material. Anxious to see what it looks like when it is done...