My mother was very intelligent and loved to learn, but she was more of a bookworm than a seamstress. My grandmother on the other hand, loved to create with her hands. Maybe the gene skipped a generation, because anything with a needle, thread or fabric calls to me. My grandmother died when I was very young, so I never had the opportunity to have her teach me her skills, or to be around when she sewed.
When my mother passed away I found this box amidst a collection of family photos and letters.
She had saved patterns that her mother had used to make clothing and toys for the grandchildren.
These are patterns she sent away for in the 1950's. Notice she didn't use her given name on the address bar, but instead referred to herself as the wife of my grandfather Oscar. A decade later, the woman's lib of the 1960's worked hard to discontinue those practices.
I love that the postage was 1 1/2 cents to mail a letter from New York to California.
I remember playing with many of the stuffed toys my grandmother made. My grandfather lived into his 90's and I visited his house often until I married and moved away. He kept a little leather chest in his living room filled with the toys my grandmother had sewn, and we could play with them if we were very careful. I remember the musty smell of the chest, and felt close to my grandmother during those moments, even though she was gone.
The paper on the patterns is still in good shape, and my grandmother's handwriting and notes are very visible.
The all time favorite toy in the chest was the sock monkey.
I have the original pattern she worked from.
My grandmother made at least two sock monkeys. One she gave to my older brother to have for his very own. He loved his sock monkey so much that he decided that when he grew up he was going to become a monkey. No one could convince him other wise.
Isn't it amazing that today these toys are just as popular as they were in days gone by?