Monday, February 2, 2015

Patching and Sewing and Making Do

{From the Archives of Connie's Letters, April 2012.)

Part 1 - Patching and Sewing Sheets

Ya know..After my Grandma died we found some old sheets she had
made,,They were made from feed sacks..You cud tell where they were ripped
up ,,,Like one had a big hole in the middle ..And she just patched it with
a big piece of cloth,,You cud use the old sheets as just a frame and put in
some material and patch it all again,,Thats what my Gramma did,,Well too
the flour sacks they made the sheets from were not big..So they had to sew
the pieces together anyway,,i am sure it was alot of work..It was sure
easier tho for them to patch the sheets rather then to have to make them
all over again,,One year when Jim and i were young,,he had to work outside
all winter,,Iowa winters can get bad ,,And that year it was very cold..Jim
had a pair of gloves that he had worn out..The palm of the gloves were
ripped..Well i sewed them up..We didnt have any money for gloves..And each
evening after supper we wud watch tv..And i wud get out my sewing basket
and patch Papas gloves,,Because every evening he came home with holes in
his gloves..i cant remember where he was working then,,But wherever it was
it caused the gloves to rip..But by the time winter was over Jims gloves
had 100s of stitches in them,,I was happy to sit with
Wildman in the evening and repair his gloves,to get them ready for him to
wear the next morning..,i loved hand sewing ..Sissy Joy hand sews the
outfits she makes..Just think of the Pioneer Mothers who made all of her
families clothes without a sewing machine....i was sitting in a chair of
Marys a few yrs ago..And i saw where she patched a hole in one of her
chairs..The chair was blue and it looked like the dog had ripped it,,She
took another material but the same color of blue and she patched it..i thot
that was really a good idea.

Part 2  - Makin' Do

Eat it up..Wear it out.. or Do without ..This was the motto for the
Depression era families,,But i can imagine the Mothers especially thot of
this motto daily..During this era folks had cars but had no money for
gas,,,They cudnt afford a postage stamp that cost only a few cents,,One
housewife reported that the letters wud stack up on the cabinet in the
kitchen waiting for 2 cents to come in from she cud mail a
letter to her folks.. One way i used to stretch our butter was as
follows..Well most of the time we ate margarine,,But if butter was on sale
this is what i did to stretch it..You can take a pound of butter and bring
it to room temp..Then put the butter in a bowl and pour in a can of
evaporated milk and beat it together ,,Then refrigerate it and use it as
you wud any butter,,i had an old-time crock i used to use just for this
butter,,This crock had a nice lid and i always used this only for
butter,,This crock was really old,,probably an antique,,i got it at a Garage
Sale.And ya know on the internet they have alot of Depression era
recipes..simple and good..i was watching a video of a woman making bread
from the 1930s..She made it from only flour and yeast and water,,Man i thot
you wud have to put in some kind of oil or salt at least..and some sweetener
to make the bread rise,,??? But this lady Clara who is 96 just made it so
simply..She made about 8 loaves of bread that afternoon,..The mothers back
then made bread twice a week..and then biscuits and pancakes in between...

Part 3  -  Rag Rugs

The Mothers in the olden days saved every bit of cloth they cud.The
smallest pieces they used for patching or quilting,,i remember my
grandmother making my brother and i rag rugs to put beside our beds,,The
mothers wud save their material in strips to make a rag rug..They wud wait
until they had a huge ball of strips and then they wud braid the strips
and coil them around and sew them into place..Or they wud crochet the
strips and coil them around and sew them ..i have seen crochet hooks for
rag rugs,,they are about a foot long,,i have made small ones to use for
chair cushions,,but not in a long time,,i just had to try it as it looks
fun, and it was. . . i braided mine,,You can get really creative with these rugs
and use them for alot of things,,Mothers always had button boxes ,,They wud
take the buttons off of any garment to use again...Also they wud take out
the zippers to use on another garment too..No one threw much of anything
away,,They wud save different wrappers from the store to pack a lunch..Its
fun to get creative and save things and try to think of different ways to
use them,,The old time mothers saved bread sacks and they even made the
crocheted rugs out of these bread sacks,,nothing was ever wasted,,And every
housewife had a ball of string to wrap things in,,These were the days
before scotch connie

* Order Connie's book, "Dear Kitchen Saints," available on Amazon. It is autobiographical and tells the beautiful story of her marriage testimony!* 


Laura Lane said...

Thank you for sharing these ideas Connie. May God bless you.
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottag

Joyce Ackley said...

My mother used to make tea towels from flour sacks. My father worked in a cotton mill, and he would bring home what they called "mill cloth." I believe it must have been 2nds, cotton that had imperfections, making it unacceptable to the companies that bought the material. Mill cloth was a sturdy, durable cotton. My mother used it for sheets, and for quilt blocks and backings. She sewed pillow cases and tablecloths from smaller pieces of mill cloth. She crocheted edging for the pillow cases and embroidered designs on the quilt blocks or table cloths from iron-on transfers. The simple, humble cotton 2nds would be embellished with colorful embroidery. Mother liked florals and was an expert at all the different stitches. Her satin stitched embroidery was especially lovely and created a rich effect with "filled in" stems and petals instead of just an outline. I have one pillow case that she made from mill cloth. It's yellowed with age, but the tiny red flowers she embroidered are still bright, and the crochet edging intact. I treasure it.

Southern Lady said...

Useful living!

JES said...

I love these makin-do ideas Connie! Thank you for sharing them on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! We are forever looking for ways to reuse and recycle on our little farm... especially in the winter!

Jennifer said...

I have some old sheets that don't fit any beds in our house anymore. I'm planning on turning them into a woven rug this winter - something I've always wanted to try.

Terri Presser said...

Thanks for sharing this great post at Good Morning Mondays, some great ideas for us all. Blessings


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