Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A New Obsession - Sewn Paper

I love to sew.  I have been making my own clothes since my Momma taught me how when I was 8.  My first 4-H project was a simple cap-sleeved dress that consisted of 6 pieces. Until I started putting in 60 hours a week at a law firm 30 years ago, I continued to make many of my own clothes.  I also made purses and even once tried my hand at making fabric shoes, which is actually a lot easier than it sounds like it would be.  

I don't know if it is a Southern thing or not, but every woman my age that I know can cook and sew, a skill learned from their mothers, who learned from their mothers, and on down the line.  

My brother Neil and I and the Barbie Doll birthday
cake also made by Momma  -1963 
I wouldn't trade knowing how to cook or sew for anything.  It is an essential part of who I am, being able to create things for myself and the people I love.  As I have often said here on the blog, my mother is the original "mother of invention."  When I was growing up, her sewing machine was in constant use.  If she couldn't make it, we didn't have it.   

Some of my earliest memories are of my brother and sister and me sitting around our big oak kitchen table, which my grandfather made, by the way.  Neil and Tara and I would color a picture in a coloring book and Momma would use the picture to make a fabric applique which she would sew onto a sundress or pair of shorts.   

For the past few years, I haven't had the time to sew as much as I used to, and I miss it.   When I was trying to figure out what to do with the buttons my new friend Kym Hunter sent me for Cindy Wimmer's button swap, I remembered a sewn paper kitchen shower announcement someone had sent me several years ago.  It was made from a paper bag and had a bright red rick rack machine stitch around the edges, a vintage plastic button and some string.  The details of the shower were printed on the face.  The bag was supposed to be filled with a favorite recipe and ingredients for the bride.  (There's that Southern cooking thing again.)
Sister Tara and the cake
(Tara's smock also made by Momma)
I went through several tries before I figured out what worked best, and these are the result.   With a collection of 10,000 plus digital images, many of which are vintage ephemera and advertising art that I use in my polymer image transfer pieces, the sky is the limit on what I can do.  I can make these feminine or masculine.  They range in size from 2"x3" to 5"x7" and up.   The small to medium ones are perfect for gift cards and cash.  I'm going to be listing these in my Caroline Homespun shop at Etsy shortly.

These take me right back to the times when Momma would sit working away on the sewing machine at the kitchen table on a sultry Carolina Summer night, with the windows open and a cool breeze blowing in while we colored with our crayons and she sewed.     


Nena said...

It use to be the norm that all our moms would sew, not so any more. I made it a point to pass down the art of sewing, crochet and so on to my own daughter. I hope she keeps it alive. I saw your barbie cake and thought "I remember those!" Looking at your pictures took me down my own memory lane. Thanks.

Lupe Meter said...

Beautiful, Lynda!! I love the sewn paper! Your creations are beautiful and it's a great way to use your beautiful buttons too! 8)

Suzanne said...

I am in awe...I don't know how you find the time but you probably don't sleep...:) Did I read correctly, these are paper? Adorable! I am so impressed.