Vintage Eyelet

One of the things I was hunting for at the flea market last weekend was eyelet, and I found lots of it. I use it to make lavender sachets like these:

And I’ve been selling them wholesale to a couple of local shops. Both shops are very feminine and Victorian in feel and they always request the all-white ones with tiny pearl buttons. But I like the idea of using a solid color underneath to make them a bit more colorful. I have a few listed on my site but haven’t decided whether I’ll continue with them there. They're a great lower-price-point item for craft shows and being able to smell the lavender helps—something you can’t do on a computer. Yet.

I thought I’d share some photos of my new finds. These are all machine-made, of course. If I’d found some that was done by hand I definitely wouldn’t be planning to cut it up.

In my scrapbooks I have an article that I saved from Piecework magazine (November/December 1997). It features a woman named Jennie Clarissa Galer and the opening page of the article shows a photo of an incredible example of handmade eyelet that she made for a pair of drawers. Can you imagine how much time this would have taken? And no one would even see it!

The caption reads: “A portrait of Jennie in her early twenties, pages of her letters, her ivory awl, and a pair of her cotton drawers. The undergarments are below-knee length with a finely gathered waist caught on both sides by button tabs. The decorative eyelet edging, worked in a simple scrolling floral motif, was made separately and sewn on by hand.”

Jennie was ill with tuberculosis for much of her life and had help with housework and childcare, so she had more free time than most women. And more than you and I have. I've said before that there's something therapeutic about needlework, and I'm sure it helped her during the bad times. But it wasn't uncommon for women to spend lots of time on needlework anyway. There was no time-sucking technology like television or computers. And the expectation of a full hope chest by the time you got married was incentive enough. I love to do embroidery and I know how to make eyelet but the thought of doing it makes my eyes hurt. I think I'll leave it to the machines :)


Anonymous said...

What lovely sachets. How wonderful to open a drawer and see and smell those. Now, that is luxury.

Anonymous said...

The eyelets are all charming and I love the story of Jennie and her incredible handmade eyelet.