Mom’s Sewing Box


Yes, this is a “tools” box. It is a metal, heavy duty tool box with a sturdy clasp.IMG_1019

Even the sound of that clasp is nostalgic for me. This is Mom’s sewing box.IMG_1020

It is photographed here on one of Mom’s embroidered tablecloths and yes, there is still thread left on the large spool.

Inside the box are the usual sewing supplies – thread, pins, buttons, etc. When I see a hook and eye I remember how well Mom could sew on those tiny clasps. It was not my neatest effort.


The spools are all wooden. They are various sizes and shapes.

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Here are some buttons from a sweater. Notice the date and name. That is Mom’s handwriting and that is SO Mom to have the documentation of this!

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This button card has the price. I do remember that wire clip that held buttons on cards. Mom saved those wires in her sewing box. The hand writing on this card is mine. I have no memory of who Janet is or what is Ardent Years. So I searched it – Ha!  Janet Stevenson is the author of a book titled Ardent Years. I may have to order a copy!

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This small box has small colorful spools labeled darning and mending. That is another skill I did not master – darning socks. Mom’s generation still did darn socks. I doubt if our grandchildren would even recognize that as a “skill.”


I do remember Mystik tape. When I do a search for it, the first result came up as a product for sale on ebay. It is called “Vintage Cloth Tape.” And there is another result that shows a newspaper ad in The Kansas City Star from December, 1960.


This seam binding was marked down from $.19 to $.15. (note – I cannot find a “cents” sign on my keyboard. Ha!)  With every skirt or pant we made, the hem had to have color coordinated binding. It was a rule!


Here are the infamous SHARP drapery hooks. I am not sure, but I do not think they have changed much. Mom made and re-made many drapes with all our moves from city to city.  How well I remember being stuck by that sharp point trying to hit the center of the pleat.  And the hem had to be EXACT to the floor. There was none of this ‘puddle-ing’ on the floor for that generation!


This little item I remember Mom crocheting and crocheting and adding the top net.  It goes on the end of a broom handle and is used to dust cob webs from corner of ceilings or wherever cob webs would appear. You hold onto the straw broom and wave the net at the cob webs. Funny!


This tiny little book was a gift I gave Mom at some time.

Quilting Quotations Celebrating An American Legacy, was compiled by Joyce S. Steward. The introduction says,  “Quilts tell many stories. Although it is an ancient art, quilting always has had special significance for American women. Recently, social historians have studied quilts just as they do diaries and letters, to learn about life among the pioneer families of early America and the western frontier.” (That reminds me of my last blog post of the JSSer’s show ‘n tell. I repeated the word “story” many times.)

The ribbon bookmark has a silver thimble attached.


TX Cat, Miss Pumpkin had to sneak up on the silver thimble!



Give it a LEFT.  Then a RIGHT!

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OK – All done.


Back to the sewing box.

Here is the instruction booklet for Mom’s sewing machine, the one on which I learned to sew. The oil is in a glass bottle.


There is no date on this booklet anywhere. When I do a search of the model number the result said it was made in 1953. I remember sewing maternity clothes on the machine when my Ohio Sis, Dort was expecting her first child, Steve who was born February 10, 1961. So that means I stitched on this machine in 1960. I was in the eighth grade and we still had sewing classes in Cincinnati public education.


Take a look at the prices on the price sheet!  Most are under $.50.  The hand wheel is $2.50, the motor is $8.00 and the light assembly is $1.50.


Read this page titled “Quilting.”  What a hoot!  The second paragraph begins “For genuine quilting over wadding…”  What-O-What is “wadding!”  The next sentence says “Place as many thicknesses of wadding…” so, is it the batting? As many thicknesses as….???

And the last part of that sentence says “…to insure the even pucker so desirable on comfortables or quilts.”  LOL! “Pucker” – who wants pucker!

But I do love the term “comfortable!”  more lol!


The slightly tattered envelope that holds the booklet and parts list has warnings:

“ALSO – NEVER operate this machine without material under the presser foot.”

CAUTION    (bold and underlined)

“Cut All Strings. Do Not Break Them.”


How fun to go through Mom’s sewing box. Do you remember your Mom’s sewing box or basket? Do you remember the first machine on which you stitched? How old were you when you learned to sew?

8 thoughts on “Mom’s Sewing Box

  1. Judy, How fun was this read!!! I do remember my first sewing: on my Mom’s Singer featherweight, sitting at the dining room table in Kansas City, probably about 1957-58. I also have my Mom’s metal sewing box, but hers was not quite as sturdy, nor nearly as neat and organized but many of the same mentioned items inside……even a wooden egg for darning socks!!! Her Sewing Box is in my sewing room pretty much as it was. What memories………………….makes me smile!


  2. Ok now I will tell on myself. I learned to sew on our Nanny’s treadle sewing machine in the basement. I don’t recall the sewing machine ever coming to the upstais living area. I don’t think “quilting studio’s” were even thought of “way back then”. But it was fun sewing on that treadle. Kinda like driving a standard shift car. I loved it…. Thanks TX Sis for sharing memories from our “younger” days.

    • O Phyl, thank you for those thought reminders! I DO remember Nanny’s treadle machine in the basement. It was a serious basement – concrete, where beets were pickled, where coal was shoveled into roaring fire, etc. Wasn’t there a silly kind-of light bulb hanging as lighting. No FINISHED basement, for sure! And I can remember the movement of the treadle although I don’t think I was ever allowed to try it. Somehow, I do not think we have photos of any of that, but I am grateful as well as curious as to why such memories stay in a young person’s heart. I pray precious memories for all our (and everyone’s) grandchildren!

  3. What a fun, fun trip down memory lane, Judy! I sewed my first quilt when I was five years old on my Memaw’s White’s sewing machine. You made it go by pushing a lever with your knee. She told me she bought that machine along with the cabinet for $25 and she paid it out in installments. I have it today in my guest bedroom full of quilts, including the last one she made which was totally scrappy and hand quilted. Precious, precious memories!

    • Sally, the Kenmore of Mom’s had the knee lever too. I loved it and always liked the knee control. My Bernina 930 has the knee lever to raise and lower the presser foot and the foot petal to make it go. When I had my first “big” paycheck from American Airlines downtown Chicago, one of the first things I purchased was a Montgomery Ward sewing machine. Years later when I started strip quilting I actually burned up the foot petal several times until Doug at Richland Sewing Center told me if I had to have a shoe on to sew, the petal was TOO hot!

  4. Oh, Judy, what fun to read your blog today. I did what all of the rest of you did – learned to sew on Grandma’s Featherweight which I now have – and practice when I got home on Mom’s Kenmore. I have Mom’s sewing box in my sewing room, plus her “tiny” sewing box which she kept the bare essentials in her room in the nursing home “for repairs”. I love looking through all those goodies and have such fond memories also – thank you for a few tears and a few giggles today! You made my day!!!!!

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