Thursday, 16 April 2009

Thanks, Grandma!

New pretty pearly buttons on the left and the original old faded ones on the right

I spent a huge part of Tuesday making minor repairs to a pile of vintage and secondhand pieces that I've amassed and couldn't wear because of a few tiny defects. As I was sewing and darning away, I thought of my grandma who taught me my first chain stitch when I was six and the many sewing and crocheting projects that followed when I was sent to spend time with her on the farm during the school holidays.

I hated doing them then. I wanted to be outside teasing the farmyard animals and climbing trees. Looking back now, I'm glad my grandma tried making some semblance-of-a-girl out of a goose-chasing tomboy for my cheap secondhand store-shopping habit could have turned out to be an expensive one if I didn't have basic sewing know-how - the lovely Shanghainese gentleman that I take major alterations to (my grandma's old sewing machine gnawed my fingers once and I've never been near one since) is a superb tailor and his fees sure reflect his skill level.

Anyway, thought I'd share some of grandma's tips...

Floppy buttons (see old button in first photo) are ugly unless they are on clothes of a thicker fabric and need the extra room to fasten properly.

To help your buttons stay as pert as bits of the female anatomy on a cold cold day, always finish with a few tight loops of the thread at the base after the few "attaching" stitches.

After replacing the buttons, I noticed that the stitches around two out of the five buttonholes on this flouncy 1970s prairie dress were not there and the holes were starting to fray a little.

I used a blanket stitch here (lower buttonhole). It's not as fine as the original machine-stitched one (top hole)...hmmm, might go unpick all of them now, both old and new, and do them in threads of contrasting colours.


Birdy Moola @ Oola Moola said...

Genius tips, thank you Likkle Girl (and ta Likkle Girl's Grandma.) You're totally getting into the Make Do and Mend vibe! xx

Gervy said...

I wish I had your sewing skills... my grandma taught one of my sisters to sew but must have lost steam for the rest of us.

My Grade 6 teacher did teach us how to sew on buttons though - possibly my only housewifely skill!

The Likkle Girl Who Wurves Pwetty Things said...

Top Bird -
You're welcome, Top Bird.
The Make Do and Mend vibe? Big thanks to Birdy Moola and my grandma!
The many mod-cons type of services available nowadays make people lazy? xx

Gigi -
Maybe you can start a sewing circle after the book club! Imagine embroidering your own pillowcases! Or book bag! It will be fun!

I didn't do Home Economics in school. Butch little me opted for Woodwork and Metalwork instead...xx

Icy said...

My mum taught me to sew, then wouldn't let me use her sewing machine ^_^. I had to sneak goes on it when she was out of the house. After I left home I bought a second hand one and nothing stopped me then, I even made my wedding dress on that thing.

On the other-hand I hate knitting and can't crochet, even though Mum and G-Ma are champions.

The Likkle Girl Who Wurves Pwetty Things said...

Hey Icy,
Wow! You made your own wedding dress?! I'd love to see a photo of it. Is it on your blog?

I am still scared of the sewing machine but lately I've been nursing the thought of getting one. Or an over-locker (is it what they are called) because it would be more suited to the many projects I have in my head.

I love to knit and crochet but out of all the pieces that I've started over the last 30 years, I think I've only fully-completed two. Haha. Short attention span...