A little bit of vintage typography for a Saturday afternoon. For whatever reason, vintage sewing ephemera seems to show up more frequently than many other kinds. Perhaps it’s something to do with sewing itself: careful and small work that’s detail oriented might provide a safer environment for paper packaging than, say, a welding workshop. Perhaps sewing is a handiwork ubiquitous enough across cultures and time and with enough small accessories that it might for a particularly exciting business or marketing opportunity for many companies. Perhaps it’s a personality characteristic of those who sew: taking the time and care to make things by hand, often as a labor of love, might come with an appreciation for both the tools of the trade and the ways in which they’re presented. Perhaps it’s correlated with the specific donor population for sewing supplies that end up in thrift stores: we might be seeing the last vestiges of saving tendencies that border on hoarding of a generation shaped deeply by the widespread poverty and want of the Depression.
For whatever reason, I have my own small stash of sewing ephemera. While I do sew (haphazardly, infrequently), I’m drawn to these items because, as established, they’re available and because of how they highlight past graphic design, typography, packaging, and marketing. I’ve been wanting to share them more broadly for others looking for a little inspiration or beauty to jog their own creativity.
This box reads:
The Patricia Silk Dressmakers Pins
1/4 LB. BRASS — RUSTPROOF No. 17
Besides the typography, I’m tickled that the pins were sold by weight. It makes sense and I like to imagine that, besides these fancy-box pins, there is or has been somewhere in the world a deli-like sewing supply store where busy tailors of business suits, haberdashers, quilters, parents making Halloween costumes, and fashion students pulling all nighters take a number. They peer in at the pins, with all their different heads and lengths and materials while the harried be-aproned workers pull small piles of pins out of cut-glass bowls, weighing and adjusting them accordingly, before binding them up (in what?) and slapping a label on them. /fantasyworld.