Old notions

The moment I peer into the box, I’m in another time and place. I’m looking at old notions—old friends—that give me immediate comfort. They represent rituals that introduced girls to the world of sewing. Believe me, this seems like ancient history now, repleat with stereotypical roles, and I’m glad the world has changed in so many ways. But, for the moment I’m taken back to the way it was, and I indulge in the memories.


In sewing class, you had to have a whole array of notions: red pin cushion, a tin box of Sucrets for bobbins, a seam ripper, a thimble, pinking shears and scissors, a button box, snaps, a can of very fine oil for your sewing machine, and of course the obligatory set of needles.

Good lord, I still have them all…from 1967. The Sucrets box has my signature on a piece of adhesive tape! They don’t make tape like that anymore. I take all of these notions for granted because I still use them.

I smile and shake my head at the three “Happy Home Rust Proof Needle Book” ladies!


And you know what? They ARE rust proof! The needles, not the ladies.


The buttons are my most precious notions. Who would have thought that so many memories could spill out of a button box? I rummage around the box, pull out a few, and this is what I see:


M grandmother’s fur cape with the large blue, braided button.

The anchor button: my dad’s heavy knit sweater he always wore sailing.

The tortoise-shell bob button next to the anchor button: my brother’s P-coat.

The yellow button: my mom’s bathrobe that she wore into tatters. The light blue button of my sister’s formal dance dress. And so many others.

I think it’s good to hold onto some old notions, whether a belief, an understanding, an impulse or desire, or even…old sewing stuff.

11 responses to “Old notions

  1. I am still sewing on the Bernina I have had since I was 11. It has sewn clothes for me, my son and then my shop for 20 years. It will see me out.

  2. Oh love these Nina, I always tell my Mum that she has to leave her button box to me as I played with those buttons so many times as a child. Gorgeous x

  3. I have a sewing box too. Pink and white check with ribbon edging and raffia trim and handle. Satin-like lined of course and a insert which brims full of buttons. If I was as clever as you I would indulge, swim around in some memories for they are surely there. But memories scare me somehow. I love the way you can write so beautifully and simply of your own Nina….I love your ladies too. And I hope their homes were happy.

  4. Beautiful…….I have my Moms sewing box, an old cookie tin container.. that she got one Cristmas..

  5. I too have those great memories….. amazing the flood of memories they always bring back. Love it.

  6. I used to have that same Happy Home Needle Book! I too love all the associations these little notions have when they’ve been around a long time.

Thoughts? Reflections?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s