Tag Archives: Brimfield

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Standard
Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I’ve been thinking for a while about this post.  If you’ve been following my blog for a long time or have looked through past posts and seen a Brimfield post or two (or three), you’ll know that I love antiques.  I’m not a collector of any particular thing, but I love items from the past that I can use in my everyday life.  I like a bargain and a little patina.  Wood, metal, glass, ceramic–those are the materials I like to look for, and many of them have been pressed into service for sewing.  Thanks to some special items from  family and friends as well as flea markets and roadside finds, I have some vintage sewing tools, but I also have some great storage solutions.  That is what I want to share with you today.  Maybe it will give you some ideas or maybe you have fun vintage storage solutions of your own that you’d like to share in the comments.

Let’s take a little tour of my sewing space.  I actually cleaned it up for you.  😉

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Here’s where I sew at one end of our living room.  Most of my tools and equipment have been gifts, freebies, or bargains.  The sewing table was my Mom’s and the chair belonged to my parents.  That cool old medical lamp was a side of the road find.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

It’s not very bright, but the head can be moved to direct light onto your project and you can make the lamp taller or shorter.

Here are a few more items I find useful.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

l

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

l

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

This is my fabric cabinet, found at a flea market.  Fabric is organized somewhat by color and somewhat by type.

Those are the big items, but I also have some very useful smaller organizers–wooden roast beef and cheese boxes.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Patterns go in the roast beef boxes…and tools (and other items like trim) go in the cheese boxes.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

l

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I also use cheese boxes in the drawers of my sewing table for organization.  That’s actually where I keep my box of cutting tools.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

l

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Other great containers for storage include cigar boxes,

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

l

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

tins,

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

and really any old container that you like the look of and that will fit what you are trying to store.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

l

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

l

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I also find old locker baskets useful, albeit somewhat pokey.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

For buttons and old, but beautiful spools of thread, I often employ glass canning jars, which look great whether they are vintage or new.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

And on my sewing table/desk, I’ve found that an old stamp holder (if it’s not too rusty) can be useful for holding thread and bobbins for your most recent projects.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I also use this old shaving mug to hold binder clips for pattern pieces, mini clothes pins for my pattern instructions, and post-it tabs to help me keep my place in the instructions when I’m sewing.  This one features New Hampshire’s “Old Man of the Mountain” who fell off the mountain some time ago, so…I guess it’s even more special now?

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Once you get started organizing with vintage containers, it’s not hard to follow that up with a few vintage notions.  Often people will give them to you if they are cleaning out and know you are interested.  I love having tools and notions that were loved in the past and knowing I can use and enjoy them and give them a second life.  It makes my own sewing that much more special.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

If you’re looking to add a little vintage flair to your sewing and/or your sewing organization, here are some of my sources.  I will tell you, though, that I’ve loved old things ever since I was little, so this collection of special odds and ends didn’t spring up overnight.  This is a great long-term hunt.  Patience will serve you well.

So, sources!  Number one for so many of these items has been family.  My parents and in-laws have often passed on things they weren’t using that I fell in love with.  Once I started to sew and knit, family and friends also gave me tools from family members who had passed away, which was really special.

If you are near Boston’s North Shore, my favorite flea market is Todd Farm in Rowley, MA.  It’s open every Sunday morning from approximately Easter to Thanksgiving.  I like early-morning antiquing, so I go before church sometimes.  If you are within driving distance of western Massachusetts, I highly recommend Brimfield.  The prices there are not as good (in general) as a small, local flea market like Todd Farm, but the selection is unparalleled.

For cigar boxes, you can often buy them inexpensively (or sometimes get them for free) at cigar shops.  They may not be vintage, but they often have that vintage look regardless.  And consider using any containers that you find useful and beautiful like clean jars or tubs from food or other items.

I also suggest yard sales, side-of-the-road freebies, thrift stores, and super junky bargain antique stores.

Of course all of this takes time, but I love the thrill of the hunt and the opportunity to use things with a history.  If you have any great tips for organizing or sewing with vintage items OR great sources for finding said items, tell me in the comments!

Recommendations

  • Have you seen the new “stickers” from the McCall Pattern Company for iOS?  It’s a free app with little sewing-related images that you can use on your phone (if you have an iPhone) or iPad.  They are super fun to text to your other sewing buddies.
  • So, here’s a website/blog that’s new to me, but could prove very helpful:  Shop the Garment District.  It’s about sewing and shopping for sewing goodies in New York City’s Garment District.  I heard about this site while listening to the Sew Forth Now podcast.  This is an old podcast that you can still listen to by Lori from the blog Girls in the Garden.  I’m finding some great resources through these.  Lori’s blog (which she is still posting to) is also a great source for sewing inspiration as she tries lots of different patterns and fabric.
  • Here is something I learned recently:  Everything is better with doodles.  😉

 

Finally Just Right: McCall’s 6848 Shorts

Standard

It may be September, but summer isn’t over until the first day of fall on September 22, so it’s been shorts-land over here lately.  Yes, Shorts-Land is a place, and that place has been my house, where I’ve been sewing up a ton of basic and not-so-basic shorts this summer.  Like many aspects of sewing, I’ve been putting shorts and pants off because I didn’t know how to fit them, but I also know that I really need to try if I’m ever going to learn.

IMG_9938

McCall’s 6848 is a pattern I’ve been tweaking little by little, and I think I finally have it right.  This is actually a pajama pattern, but after making my first pair of shorts from it (View D), I realized this it was going to be more of a summer staple than pajamas.

McCall's 6848

McCall's 6848

One thing I’ve found in the little bit of pants/shorts sewing I have done is that bottoms sometimes feel as though they are too high in the front and too low in the back for me.  This was definitely the case with my first pair of these shorts.  So, I got out the good ol’ Singer Sewing Reference Library books and looked up fitting, until I came up with some ideas.  For my second pair of shorts, I took a wedge out of the front and added a wedge into the back.  This got my shorts really close to what I wanted, but the front legs felt just a little…well, not tight, but not quite right–a little like they were pressing against me too much in the front of the legs.  So, for this last pair, I lengthened the back crotch point just a bit and…finally just right!!!

McCall's 6848

 

IMG_9981

They feel exactly like I want them to.  For this pair, due to my need for basics, I decided to try out the new Art Gallery Fabrics Denim.  I got it at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH (who, by the way, I’ve started doing some social media for, which is super cool).  I was kind of skeptical about this thin fabric.  I didn’t really believe it was denim, because the weight is closer to a quilting cotton, although it’s much drapier.  When you look at the weave, though, it really is a denim weave.  All that to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it.  I managed to make these up before the road trip we went on in July, and they were perfect in the car.  I guess it’s always a good day when you can wear something designed as pajamas in your everyday life.

IMG_8764-001

 

IMG_8774

IMG_8776

I even put a little lace flower in there as my back tag.

The one extra thing I did (besides that flower) was add some long bartacks at the sides.  I know from experience that these shorts can catch on things…and rip.  It’s no fun ripping a hole in the side of your new shorts.

IMG_8777

The only other thing I would change if I made these again would be to add pockets.  It’s pretty annoying not to have any, but I think, at this point, I want to focus more on fit than modifying patterns with extra features.  So, I’ll save it as a future idea.

Recommendations

  • I’ve got to recommend it again–BRIMFIELD!  It’s going on now, and if you are an antique-lover anywhere near western Massachusetts, I highly recommend you go.  Brimfield is the largest outdoor antique market in the US and it’s going on this week until Sunday.  You can find all the details at the above link.
  • I tried one of the best recipes EVER on Monday.  It was Bostocks from the Seven Spoons cookbook.  It’s an amazing combination of day old brioche (like challah bread), orange simple syrup, and almond cream.  It’s totally worth the work, and you can make the various elements ahead of time.  Check your library…I bet they have it!
  • How about more learning about fabric?  Here’s a link to another of the Cotton + Steel substrate series.  This time it’s all about their cotton/linen canvas fabric!  Interesting!
  • And finally, I’ve got one more video from Cotton + Steel about how their fabric is manufactured and printed over in Japan.  It’s pretty cool to see how it’s all made:

 

The Brimfield Report: May 2016

Standard

It’s Brimfield time again!  I love Brimfield!  What is it?  The Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, MA is the largest outdoor antique market in the United States.  It happens three times a year in May, July, and September from a Tuesday to a Sunday.  Usually my wonderful husband takes a day off to watch the kids so I can get up long before the crack of dawn to head out there for a full day of antiquing.  I love it!

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Unlike some people who go to Brimfield, I’m not a serious collector of anything.  I keep a list throughout the year of antiques I’d love to find, but I’m usually looking for things that are maybe mid-century, on the smaller side, and something I can use.  I save up Christmas and other money, but I don’t think I’ve ever spent it all.  I love to look at everything, hunt for treasures and gifts, and get lessons in both history and the psychology of Brimfield.  It’s never dull.  I walk all day, and then I enjoy some good food.

This year, for the first time, one of my friends was a vendor.  Laurel’s business is called Retromat Vintage and she sells vintage clothing as well as other things that are interesting and cool.  Here a just a few pictures of some of her goods.

Brimfield Antique Show

I vote for bringing gloves back.

Brimfield Antique Show

Or how about hats?

I got the chance to work for her for about 20 or 30 minutes and, despite my nervousness, it went well.  She gave me some sewing goodies that I wanted in return…and a lobster roll.

Brimfield Antique Show

I felt richly rewarded for my minimal work!  Thanks, Laurel!  Laurel also gave me this Necchi-Elna catalogue, which was fun to look through since I have a much-loved Elna.  I had no idea they were one company at some point.

Brimfield Antique Show

The pattern was a freebie from another vendor.  It has no instructions, but I’m working on tracking those down…

I also got to see my friend Maggie from my favorite fabric store in NH, and we had some fun checking out the vintage sewing goodies.

My strategy this time, since I wanted to be available to Laurel if she needed me, was to hit my favorite fields first, and then walk through whatever other fields I could get to.  All the fields have interesting names.  Because I love to delve into whatever I am really interested in, I started a notebook to record favorite fields (currently New England Motel, Quaker Acres, and The Meadows), notes to remember, etc.  Inside I have directions to Brimfield, a page for each field with notes, general notes about where I like to park (in the middle), and my wish lists for the current year and years past.

Also included are a few Bingo lists I’ve made.  My husband creative Brimfield Bingo when we went together one year:  think of the craziest things you can (because you never know what you might find at Brimfield), and then check them off if/when you find them.  While I didn’t play Bingo this year, here are a few of the weirder things I saw:

Brimfield Antique Show

In case you lose an eye…

Brimfield Antique Show

or become a cook in a giant’s kitchen.

My notebook started to get so full of vendor cards, that Scott got me a little accordion file so I can keep track of which vendors are in which fields.  Yes.  We ARE cool.

Brimfield Antique Show

Want to see what else I got?

Brimfield Antique Show

Owl scissors!  At $2 apiece, I wish I had bought a bunch more for gifts.  Maybe next time.

Brimfield Antique Show

A sleeve board for pressing sleeves.  Don’t worry–I’ll clean it up before using it on my sewing projects.

I also got some fun jewelry:

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

And I got some gifts, some of which have to remain secret, but here’s one that doesn’t:

Brimfield Antique Show

And finally, here are some pictures of things I saw as I walked around.

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

A Singer Featherweight sewing machine complete with case!

Brimfield Antique Show

Not everything is antique–some things are upcycled from antiques or are handmade goods like these jeans or supplies for making other things like the yarn below.

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

It was a great Brimfield, I have to say.  I had a lot of fun looking for treasures and hanging out with Maggie and Laurel.  If you’ve gone to Brimfield, I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips, or favorites.

For posts on Brimfields past, see these links:  2014 and 2015.

 

Field Trip: BRIMFIELD!

Standard

I have LOTS of pictures to share with you today.  I’m very excited.   After being sick last week, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t recover in time, but by the time Friday rolled around, I was fully healthy and ready to go on one of my favorite yearly pilgrimages (with my favorite antiquing buddy) to Brimfield, Massachusetts and the largest outdoor antique show in the US.

I need to hold myself back a little so I don’t write and write for pages on how much I love going to Brimfield, so I’ll try to keep to a few points.  (I have an entire notebook dedicated to Brimfield where I make notes on favorite fields, collect sellers’ cards, and note where to park and what to wear, etc., etc.)  Here are the basic details:  The show is three times a year (May, July, and September) from a Tuesday to a Sunday.  People come from all over the US and even other countries to find antiques, treasures, and “upcycled” goods made from odds and ends.  If you’re looking for something in that realm, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find it at Brimfield.  The Brimfield Antique Show is made up of numerous fields on either side of a one mile stretch of road.  Each field has scores of dealers.  Some fields are open every day of the show and some are only open on certain days.  You can walk all day long and, depending on your pace, still not see everything.  My record is 12 hours of walking (with breaks–let’s be realistic–walking all day allows you to eat like a Hobbit).  Friday we covered about 9 miles and walked about 10 hours.  We saw almost everything (if that’s even really possible).

Enough talking, though.  Let’s see some pictures.  One of my goals this year was to take ‘lots of pictures, so here’s your photo tour of the May 2014 Brimfield Show.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

If you’re looking to outfit your sweet loft with large-scale coolness, look no further.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Along with vintage goods, we came across the work of some seriously creative and fabulous craftsmen.

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Everyone needs a pink hair dryer for a rainy day, right? (Plus, check out the cool coral necklace I scored for only $10! One of the other dealers told me it was worth $150.)

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Can you imagine the time and skill it takes to carve something like this?

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

There’s plenty to decorate the outside of your place as well as the inside.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Brimfield’s not all about the shopping…it’s also an education.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

And my biggest purchase at Brimfield…….?????

The motorcycle jacket of course!  Did you think I got a motorcycle?

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

My friend Jo-Alice and I took a well-earned trip to Cracker Barrel after “hiking” through the wild and rainy antique fields of western MA all day.

My total haul for the day included the coral necklace you saw, a three-strand aurora borealis crystal necklace (Also $10.  Yes!), a large and healthy rosemary plant, a test tube rack and some test tubes to use as vases, my awesome motorcycle jacket (which I am wearing as I write this), and a secret stocking stuffer for my husband.  It may have been the best Brimfield yet.  Good company, good weather even with the rain, great finds, and lots of good pictures.  All in all a great trip.

Have you ever been to Brimfield?  Do you plan to go?  Have any tips to share with others or questions to ask?  I’ll do my best to answer!