Friday, 9 November 2012

Vintage Haberdashery Heaven - Christmas come early!

What an incredibly lucky lady I am. 

In this previous post I told you about the kindness of a stranger and how they had generously given me a collection of knitting patterns, including issue 1 of Needlewoman and Needlecraft.  Well, last week, the same amazing lady contacted me again with the offer of some knitting and crafting things.

Delivered this morning to a very excited household were two rather large heavy parcels.  I had been expecting them but what was contained inside them was far more than anything I had imagined.  The collection of items was so vast that it took me a very happy 2 hours to sort through everything.

It would be impossible to show you everything that arrived, such was the volume of items, but I have picked out some of the most pretty and colourful things and hope that you like them!  Here goes!

Along with lots of little squat balls of thread, there were over 120 embroidery silks which means my 1930's sweet jar is now perfectly full!

Some pretty pastel crochet threads, so incredibly fine.  In the central part of two of them I found some delicately crocheted edgings; stored away and forgotten about maybe?

A vast range of shades of the most beautiful threads.  I've never seen anything like them before.  They are delicate and fine yet have a wool like texture.  There were over 50 of them but the amount wound on the cards isn't great so I wonder what they were meant to be used for. 

Various mending threads including wool for Chilprute underwear, the needle still threaded and slipped into the wound wool by the hand of it's last user.  Stocking threads, darning wools and my favourite of all, the little green and navy Greenwoods card with the rather dashing sailor on the front.

Two items were still in the bags they were originally packaged in.  One still with the receipt from a shop in Hanley, close to Mr Y's old stomping ground from when he did his teacher training.

More amazing examples of vintage packaging, so much more appealing than the ones we get today.  My favourites are the two Newey's ones.  The blue one from the 1930's and red from the 1940's - stunning in both colour and design.

Numerous bindings, grosgrains, ribbons and lace!  All so pretty and many in shades that you simply cannot replicate today.  Matching binding to vintage fabric should be a whole lot easier now.

In an old cardboard box, there were crisp wrappers containing clean, white starched collars new and never used.  Delving deeper, I discovered four CC41 collars, again, unused.  Precious clothing coupons would have been exchanged for these simple pieces of white cotton yet they, too, look unused.

The most delicate of collars.  Dating from, I believe the 1930's, these collars are simply splendid.  So pretty, feminine and fine, obviously belonging to one incredibly petite person, so tiny in size.  I hope to have them cleaned and then frame them, they're too pretty to be in a drawer somewhere.

Last, but by no means least, a little collection of small, pretty things which were discovered  among the various paper bags and mountains of threads.  I love the little handmade flower pins, the green bakelite needles, the pretty box of pins, well, all ok it really!

The owner of this amazing collection certainly took great care of all she had.  Tiny pieces of embroidery silk wound round pieces of wrapper, carefully kept.  Threads shorter, I'm ashamed to say, than I throw away.  A mended stitch ripper laid alongside another, new in it's wrapper.  Items kept until they could no longer be used, because they had to be, the result of living through a period of great austerity and rationing, nothing like the throw away society that we live in today.

It was an immense gift from an incredibly generous, thoughtful couple and one I'm truly grateful for.  Some things will, obviously, be used to create vintage inspired pieces.  Others, like the packaging and collars, will be kept and used for display purposes, meaning that the items treasured by this amazing woman, can be enjoyed by many more people in the years to come. 


  1. Those cards look like the embroidery threads my daughter uses for beading :) I wonder if it was a sample of threads for something?
    But what an incredibly generous gift!

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I think you could be right with the sample threads idea! There were over 15 cards of the same green wrapped together, I bet they were sample cards - thank you for that :o)

  2. wow..... what a lovely collection! The packets are stunning :) x

  3. Goodness me, Lucy, what a wonderful gift. The couple obviously recognised they were going to a good home. I recognise a few bits as I've been trying to grow my own collection of vintage haberdashery recently. Last weekend, I bought a box of bits in Bridport and was delighted to turn over a Coats thread spool and see a sticker underneath declaring it to be a "Temporary Spool War Emergency". Nothing like real history?
    Hen x

    1. Hi Hen,

      I love to see all the things you pick up - Bridport seems to serve you very well :o)

      You are absolutely right, there is nothing like real history and true vintage. I love to hold something in my hand and wonder about the original owner :o)

      Lucy x

  4. This is such a treasure trove, amazing! I was lucky enough to get a small box of vintage sewing goodies from a friend last year whose elderly relative had passed away.

    So nice to have things passed on to someone who will use them - I dread to think of the amount of this kind of thing that ends up on the rubbish dump when house clearances take place.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Porcelina xx