Friday, February 26, 2016

Thinking back to an earlier time.... a button jar..... and tea towels from men's shirts

Sometimes it behooves us to pause and think back to an earlier time, a slower pace, a less privileged people, and a way of life almost lost to us.

Think back to when people didn't throw out worn out items or outgrown clothes. No, they utilized every bit that they could.

Take a man's shirt that is worn out at the collar - their neck has simply worn the fold of the collar threadbare. The same is true of the cuffs of his long sleeve shirts. In that "earlier time of make-do," ladies would carefully remove collar and cuffs and "turn" them. That means she put the outside on the inside. You couldn't simply turn the cuffs. I believe you had to replace or shorten them to hide the worn edges.

And then when nothing would work to make the shirt wearable anymore, you simply cut out the back of the shirt, squared off the edges, and hemmed it with a narrow hem. This could become a "dish towel," tea towel, a napkin, or an all-purpose cover for bread, cakes, etc. Just imagine everyone in the family having their own favorite "napkin" made from dad's shirt.

Then take the woman's coat. It has become a bit threadbare or doesn't fit anymore. Take it completely apart. Press the pieces. Then take a child's pattern for a coat or jacket and make it into a different outer wear coat.

You can remake any larger garment into something suitable for a child if you are careful in choosing your pattern and you have sufficient pieces from the larger garment.

Don't forget the "button jar." Save buttons from any discarded garment. These are real handy when you need to replace a lost button from another garment. And if it is kept through the years and passed down from one generation to the next...... well, there would be stories to tell about buttons found in the button jar.

Quilts of today are mostly made of brand new material in special patterns. However, in that earlier time, the basic patchwork quilt was made using scraps from any and every garment. As I said earlier about using the back of a man's shirt for a tea towel, the rest of the shirt would make quilt scraps. And then, of course, the buttons would be clipped and put into the treasured button jar.

So while we thoroughly enjoy the blessings and comforts and ease-of-life that today's world has enabled us to all have, it pays us to touch base from time to time and remind ourselves that some things from an "earlier time" are worth remembering and worth doing a bit of, perhaps.

1 comment:

  1. I have my own button jar that my granddaughters enjoy looking through just as I enjoyed going through my grandmother's.


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