Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year resolutions, fabric records and new beginnings...

As the minutes are ticking away and before a New Year is ushered in, I thought about some goals for 2012.

Years ago when my kids were little, we would sit around the table after dinner with paper and pencil in hand and each of us would list three goals we wanted to accomplish in the coming year.  I would then take away the slips of paper, seal it in an envelope and put it away for safe keeping until the following year.  A few years ago I came across hidden secret goals (I guess we didn't open them one year and that tradition ended). The contents weren't shocking or earth breaking news; wanting to run faster, getting higher scores at a gym meet, or reading more.  Mine was about how many quilts I would finish. 

My goal this year is to be better organized, especially with my Etsy shop.  Better organization means a better shop. 

Thinking about goals and being organized reminded me of an estate sale I went to this past fall.   In a box filled with 1970'[s and 80's fabric was  a metal index card box.  Oh beating heart....are they treasured family recipes I can admire and adapt to my family?   How clever they were hidden in fabric to guard these family treasures.
I am going to digress a moment .... to ask you to admire my new cutting board Santa brought me! Okay, back to the box now.

So my jaw hung a little when I opened it up to reveal it was stuffed with receipts and index cards.

with all the seamstresses 1970's, 80's quilting cotton purchases recorded with amount and yardage.  I vaguely remember participating in the same activity and stopped when cotton soared to over $3 a yard.  Could you imagine COTTON at $3.00!  I then decided it was time not to have any evidence in the house of what I was spending on my "fabric habit". 

Fabric record keeping wasn't limited to this seamstress either.  At another sale, all the beautiful fine woven percale cotton yardage had sales slips tucked into each purchase or the original tags connected with a thread tack.
Beautiful organized fabrics from a well organized woman! 

Not only the sales receipt but a note to herself that she had washed the fabric and there was shrinkage.  The date was December 16, 1954 - 47 years ago - the fabric is as sweet as the day it was purchased.

I wonder if the fabric came from a household where sewing was done as a business and her accurate record keeping was a must with her potential customers?  Possible theory...or she was an economist tracking the home sewing industry - probably not. 

No mistake this fine percale is Quadriga Cloth produced by Ely and Walker.  These calicoes are making a comeback to the quilting scene with Barbara Brackman's line of prints called Old Fashioned Calicoes for Moda.  I remember these prints fondly as they were some of the first fabrics I used. 

Regardless, if these women could be organized, so can I.  Thank goodness January starts tomorrow and I can reform my ways, organize my sewing room and get working on a spread sheet. 

Happy New Year Everyone!


  1. oh mother, you wouldn't keep the new years resolutions sealed, you would read them then annoy us all year (ie. why isn't your dresser organized, katy? wasn't that one of your new years resolutions?!?!)

  2. Thank you for your objective voice to set the record straight! My mind has selective memory syndrome :) Happy New Year Sweetpea!

  3. I can hardly believe anyone would keep track of their fabric that way -- I would go insane!

    I'm drooling over that stack of vintage fabric. I have small remnants of those first two pieces, and I love them. If you ever put any of these in your shop, you must let me know. Which reminds me -- How about adding a sidebar link to your Etsy shop on your blog.

  4. Martha, sidebar link added; I appreciate all suggestions. If you could get me your email address though my Etsy mail account, I will be sure to let you know before I sell any of the percales. How big of a piece were you interested in acquiring?