Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Favourite Things

Hello, everyone! Thanks for stopping in! I hope this Tuesday finds you well and happy! As I snack on my early morning toast, I'm delighted to share with you a "Favourite Thing" belonging to Mollie of RoughMagicCreations and RoughMagicHolidays.

My most cherished possession? How to choose one item in a house bulging with beloved things? The answer jumped out at me: Look to those things I’ve carried with me all my life, toting them along from home to home, town to town, state to state. Those few possessions I’ve held onto long after they’ve lost their usefulness, monetary value, or ability to do anything except take up space and make me smile.

In my time I’ve called 23 different residences “home” – from the Arts & Crafts bungalow in Dallas where I grew up, to various houses, dorms, apartments and condos, until finally landing in this old jumble of rooms in Down East Maine. And for all my adult years I’ve tugged along the first piece of furniture I ever bought with my own money -- earned working for old Ma Bell. My little Lane Sweetheart chest has now settled itself comfortably in the bedroom, holding everything from my fake fur from 9th grade to Joe’s tasseled mortar board to my pink wedding dress. And way down at the bottom of that chest, under all the who-knows-what, sleeps a little cardboard box on which my mother wrote long ago: “Mollie’s Baby Clothes.” Inside, lovingly wrapped in ancient tissue paper, are two faded little bonnets, a tiny pair of white felt shoes, one crocheted bootie, and the item I’ve chosen to show you today.

My mother was a self-taught seamstress who, despite her natural talent, never earned a dime by sewing. The garments she created were for her own personal wardrobe, and for mine. Looking back at my childhood, I don’t remember ever owning a store bought dress, and even during my college years, Mother still kept me feeling chic and cheeky in her own often quirky interpretations of contemporary styles.

Mother collected dress patterns the way her friends collected souvenir spoons and antimacassars. Even today, just hearing the words “Butterick” and “Simplicity” sends me tumbling backward in time -- to the sewing notions department at Sears Roebuck, with its eye-tingling aroma of dyes.

Using only her thumb and forefinger, Mother could tie a knot at the very tip end of her thread, so nary a millimeter was wasted. And she could hand stitch a perfectly straight line through yards and yards of fabric on her lap, never once taking her eyes off the evening’s episode of “Father Knows Best.” When her scissors went wandering, she relied on her teeth; one of her incisors bore a permanent “J. & P. Coats” indentation.

Here then, is my cherished possession – a little cotton pinafore my mother made for me when I was about five years old. It’s still crisp with the starch she used the last time she ironed it, all those years ago, and the colors are as clear and bright as they were the day I first wore it so proudly.
It pleases me to think that my joy in creating handmade jewelry is a part of my mother’s legacy. I hope she would be proud of my efforts, even though I can’t so much as sew on a button without mishap.

A pattern similar to those my mother favored:


History of Simplicity Patterns:


Some info about Coats and Clark thread:

I don't know about you all, but I love Mollie's stories! Thanks so much for sharing your mother's fine work with us. I imagine she must've had fingers of steel after all that beautiful sewing.

--Katie :D
Have a Favourite Thing you'd like to share with the team? Leave a comment and I'll get in touch or contact me via Etsy and next Tuesday's Favourite Thing could be yours. (It's either that, or I'll hunt you down and wrangle something out of you myself.)


  1. Mollie, the way you tell a story makes me feel so comforted. It's almost as though you are singing softly. Thank you for sharing! You are so kind and sweet.
    Katie- you crack me up! wrangle something out of you! hahaha!

  2. Oh Mollie, what a beautiful pinafore. I love sewing, but I'm nowhere near as good as your mother obviously was.... It's such a shame that we don't seem to have the skills that previous generations used to these days. Mass-production has made life far too easy. Thank goodness for etsy & the like ;-)

  3. Awww...how sweet! It made me cry.

  4. I adore the stories Mollie tells, her way with words. This is a sweet little remembrance, and it found its way into my heart. Thanks, Mollie, and thanks, Katie!

  5. yes, sweet came to my mind.... you're a great story teller, Molly........ :D laura xxoo

  6. That fabric looks so familiar to me, but in a blue colorway. It seems my mom had an apron out of it. What lovely memories and thank you for sharing.

  7. a wondrous and beautiful story full of warmth, nostalgia and lots and lots of love: for your Mom, for a life led, for things that have followed you all your life. you have a remarkable storytelling ability mollie and i look forward to reading more of your insights in your upcoming interviews.
    and katie.....you, my friend, are an inspiring breath of fresh air and joy!

  8. just plain sweet mollie-- love your story and your starched little pinafore-- the wonderful box filled with mementos from your childhood-- thanks for sharing..