Domestic Scene, 1954

Found photo

This snapshot evokes happy childhood memories for me.  Some of my fondest recollections of my grandmother are when she was at her sewing machine.  One Easter she made matching dresses for me, my sister, and my four cousins.  For an eighth grade dance, she let me pick the fabric (green taffeta covered with lace!) for my dress.

If I am not mistaken, the woman is using a Singer treadle machine.  What is she sewing?  Given the voluminous light colored material, perhaps it is a dress for a special occasion.  I love the domestic details here—the piano with beginner’s music on the stand, the porcelain dish, the girl with her doll.

The grandmother wears a simple gingham house dress, but it is dressed up with white piping along the front and sleeves.  I’m assuming she made it herself. It looks like the sleeves are cut on, making it easier to construct. Doesn’t it look like the doll’s dress might be made from the same fabric as the grandmother’s outfit?

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2 Responses to Domestic Scene, 1954

  1. Judith says:

    I see a couple of other things that are so evocative for me. The little girl has a bobby pin holding her hair back from her face. Ah, bobby pins – haven’t seen one of those for decades.

    Also in the hair department, it looks like grandma has on a full hair net, even though a whisp of hair has escaped over her forehead.

    And lastly, check out grandma’s arthritic knuckles…not that it is unique to “back when”! Plenty of arthritic knuckles at sewing machines even today, and contrary to knees and hips, there’s no replacing them.

    (When we downsized, I had to give away my treadle sewing machine. Though I didn’t use it, I always felt good that I would be prepared for the zombie apocalypse.)

  2. Rhoda K says:

    This reminds me of my mother, especially with the piano in the background. She sewed for me and and two cousins and also made us mother/daughter dresses as well. I still have her treadle cabinet but she replaced the machine with a New Home electric. She also taught piano lessons for years then added organ lessons later in life. I learned to sew on her treadle Singer.

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