So Not Me, But I Like It

Thanks to the generosity of a recent acquaintance I now have a piece of vintage embroidery, and I’m curious to find out exactly what it is.

The base fabric is heavy and canvas-like, and the binding is lighter weight. The embroidery thread made it through a soak in Biz without bleeding. Alas, the stains are still there, though lighter. I’m wondering if they were caused by spilled tea. Any thoughts for further remedial action are appreciated.

I think it’s to be tied around one’s waist like a small apron to hold sewing notions like scissors, etc. If so, it’s for a slender-waisted person. I don’t think it’s to be tied onto a table or chair, given the curved shapes.

My dilemma is, what to do with it. It could make a cute pillow with the embroidered areas appliqued onto a base. I thought an oval shape might work with the sprays of blue flowers added on the side. Of course I have no fabric in stash that looks right with it. Or, I could wear it at sew-ins and confound fellow sewers with it. I can hear them now, saying “I thought you didn’t like that sort of thing.” That’s usually the case, but I love word play and the embroidery is nicely done.

All guesses and opinions are welcome.


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20 responses to “So Not Me, But I Like It

  1. Wear it. It may be handy.

  2. That is very sweet! I doubt I would try to change it in any way, other than de-staining it if possible. No creative ideas for use from me!

  3. Anne Kirby

    My mom had a clothes pin keeper that was like a little apron on a wire hanger that she made. So both kinds were popular. Yours probably was for laundry day, when you might do some mending and some washing. Prob a WWII era pattern. I would also just hang it up as it.

  4. Elinor Burwash Designs

    Hi, i agree about the clothes pins. At the same time it might also have been left on to wear as an apron while serving tea. The fabric looks like a heavy weight pure linen. If the stains are tea and it has been washed and ironed before then they are likely set. However I would try Melaleuca Sol-U-Mel to soak it in together with a bit of a gentle hand wash product. I agree that it makes a lovely vintage decoration for a sewing room or could be recycled into a small wall hanging.

  5. Kuster Doreen

    Not sure how wide it is but you could use it as a center insert in a blouse. Or hang it up in your studio and use the pocket to hold patterns, clippings for ideas, or your small rulers. Just my 2cents. It is beautiful!

  6. Penny

    Very interesting! My former little apron is drawing lots of attention. So cool to see it in your post!


  7. Berit Hokanson

    Hi, I really enjoy your blog. It is very inspiring. I may be wrong but I think this may be a pocket for keeping clothes pins from the time when we used to hang the wash outdoors to dry. Do I date myself or what, LOL. At any rate, it is beautiful and I am sure you’ll find a spot for it.

    • Rosemaryflower

      yes, clothes pins. My mom had one of these
      I am first generation dutch legal immigrant. After WW2, my daddy took his first job with some accounting firm in Rotterdam Holland, where both of my parents were born and raised. They met after the war (very long story of each of their lives) and married. Shortly after, dad’s boss offered him a job in New York. He and mom came here, and then became citizens shortly after.

    • Thanks for spending some time here. I thought about a clothes pin holder, but recalled that my granny’s had a wire hook on the top for hanging from the clothes line. The ties might be tetchy to untie, especially on a cold, windy day.

      • Rosemaryflower

        I really do enjoy your blog.
        I guess I never really got to the point. My mom had one of these. Hanging the clothes pins with a hook I think was also popular. I suppose if there were no hooks available you made an apron.
        My dad used to take pictures of my mom doing work hahaha and I just bet someplace in that pile of slides he has a photo of mom hanging laundry. Now I wonder if by the time we made it to Maryland in the 70’s after being over seas for many years prior, she found an upgraded model to hook on the line as she had one of those “fancy” square ones that folded up.

      • I recall that hanging laundry was hard work, especially sheets. Nice of your dad to “help.”

  8. Oh, my god–that’s fabulous!! Of course, you knew I’d love it. I’d iron it and just hang it, like you have, on the wall in a sewing area. If you want to keep working on the stains, try a good measure of the Biz AND a good measure of Cascade dish powder in very hot water. Let it soak and soak. This has worked wonders on some of my finds. I just LOVE it . . .

    • I figured it would be up your alley. I’ll try the double dose soak (how long is “soak and soak”) and see if I can remove the stain.

      • I soak all day, overnight, then if the stain isn’t gone I soak some more. I read something about the water rehydrating the fibers so they could let go of the stain–not sure if that’s legit but I soak and soak. And it often makes a huge difference!

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