Thursday, 5 September 2013

Old fashioned ponderings and treasures from the past

I love snail-mail.
Going out to my mailbox is kind of nostalgic, something that has always been a part of my day.
When I grew up, we didn't have a mailbox at our house, but we had one at our local post office, and as a little girl it was a big deal going there with my mum. She used to lift me up, so I could reach the keyhole and I got to turn the key and be the first to look inside. It was almost like a Christmas calendar all year round. Quite often there were letters from loved ones, my grannies that both lived far away often sent letters, and my aunties too. Around my birthday and Christmas was of course extra rewarding, mail-hunting-wise! But even letters to my sister and my parents were exciting. Letters from family were always read out loud when we got home.

When I got older, I found that I preferred writing my thoughts in a letter, rather than talking to someone. There is more time to choose your words and describe your emotions. I left home early, at only 16, but I remember writing letters to my grandmothers all the time. If I had a dispute with my parents, I often wrote letters to them afterwards, when I had calmed down and could think straight again. I was never good at confrontations.

And then there were letters of love :) Things you were too shy to say out loud just poured onto paper like water. The constant rephrasing and countless drafts, until it was just right. The thrill of finally letting go of the envelope corner and hearing it hitting the bottom of the mailbox, knowing there is no way back. He will receive it! The agonizing wait until you heard back, or got some clue that he had read your thoughts. Not to mention his replying letter. Or not. Love letters must be the most romantic thing ever...
Ah, youth :)

A lot of this is being lost in this computing age of ours. Emails are so quick, just a click of a button and it's at the receiving end. Before you can even say "receiving end". Sure, it is convenient for work and such, but for personal corresponding, I prefer that handwritten envelope in my mailbox. It saddens me a bit, that Christmas cards now are emails, and that people I know never send me postcards when they travel. Instead I get an email with photo attachments. There is something about that little piece of cardboard that you know comes from the other side of the planet. You can smell it, and hold it in your hand.
I still keep some of the letters my grannies wrote. They are sadly gone forever, but the letters are like little pieces of their life, conserved. The time they spent writing them, ARE those letters. The thoughts they were thinking are there, written on those very pages. When I read them, I can hear their voices in my head.

It's kind of weird, thinking about when I am old, or gone, there most likely will be nothing left that can tell my story. No old yellowing letters in a box with a ribbon around it. No handwritten diary. No old photo albums with stuff written on the backs of the photos. Best case scenario, there will be a computer, with some files on it. Electronic footprints. Imagine that... Can't even remember the last time I received a handwritten letter, and it's been over a year since a wrote a card... I guess I'm no better than anyone else, but I think I will write Christmas cards by hand this year ;)

This post was initially not intended to be such a philosophic one! If you're thinking "-Hey! This is not even remotely related to sewing!" you are kind of right.

But hang on!

I found this in my mailbox today! I almost forgot it was on it's way, from America! Although not handwritten, it still is lovely oldfashioned snailmail! 
A couple of weeks ago, the lovely Tasha wrote a great post on patterns and fabric inspiration for the Fall For Cotton-challenge. I had already decided on both a pattern and fabric, but the first pattern she listed in the post was purrrfect for a dress I need to sew for an upcoming event!
So, I scurried over to the Etsy-shop to check out the listing. It was both unsold AND my size!! What are the odds!??
Needless to say, I hit that Add-to-cart-button like I was on some quiz-show, and now it is mine!

It is a 1959 dress pattern from McCalls (#4987). It has a lined skirt with four unpressed pleats, front and back. Short sleeves cut in one with the bodice and a a contrasting panel down the front. And also supercute button trimming (and not so cute side zipper placket *gulp* ....yes, I have an issue with zippers.).

I can see this dress in so many different colors and print-combos. The variations are endless, and depending on the fabric, it can be both everyday and really dressy. Can't wait to sew it up!

Btw, while we were on the subject of writings from the past. Look what was written on this pattern envelope: "Momma's pattern". Don't you just love that?  :)


  1. Ahh. I love packages in the mail! Especially if it's fabric, patterns, or anything related to sewing! I love your pattern!

    Aside from sewing, I have to admit, I love a hand written note because it's personal, but I'm guilty of shooting an email or a text.

    I think you'll leave a lot behind for your children and future generations. May be a pattern or two of clothes you love to make. Plus I think they'll have this blog, and read about your sewing adventures. They'll be able to read what you wrote as well as see your work. I think that's precious as well even though it's digital.

    1. I am glad you are positive I will leave a "print", although I sometimes think "-what if the internet should break down!" Imagine the amount of info that get lost!! Oh dear..
      But there will be a pile of patterns and fabric after me, for sure :D

      Maybe we should just make an effort to preserve something non-digital. Write some cards when we travel, take up diary keeping, perhaps :)

  2. This is one of the reasons I love using vintage patterns- the little snippets and nots that come with them. A pattern I used for my daughter last year (I think it was her winter coat) had a note in it from a dressmaker to her customer: it means I know the name of the last little girl to wear that pattern!

    As I get older I've got far more sentimental about stuff like this. I plan on getting my daughter to help me do Christmas cards this year, probably with a drawing or something of hers sent with each one.

    1. Oh Ginny, I get sentimental too... But I think it is a good sign. Maybe it is so because we have such good memories of how things used to be? I miss the simplicity of how things was when I grew up. The slower pace, and the thought that went into things.

      I think it is a wonderful idea to get your daughter in on the Christmas card making! I am sure the recipients will be delighted :)
      I so love home made cards and gifts!

  3. Ooooh, now is that just so sweet. My heart always swells when I see people's lovely little handwritten notes on vintage patterns, books, magazines (most often on recipes - such, as "Good, but could use a hint more vanilla next time"), and any other yesteryear item I come across and add to my collection. It really helps you feel even closer to those who owned the item before you did.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Yes Jessica, I totally agree. It does make you feel connected:) It really is nice, and it always makes me want to take extra care of the items. You know, since somebody already has hung on to these for so many years :)

  4. The pattern seems fantastic! I love its details.
    I agree with you old fashioned mail has a lovely essence and it is sad that is almost extincted.