Relics From the Age of Repair

Kelly went through some of my mom’s sewing notions this week and discovered a few relics from a pre-fast fashion era when people used to repair, rather than throw out, their clothes.

For instance, when you bought a box of White King Granulated Soap you got a set of sewing needles.

My mom saved a lot of these needles. On a side note can we please bring back this period’s handsome graphic design?

She also saved these hosiery mending kits that look like match boxes.

Inside was a needle and threads plus some match-like sticks that you moistened and applied to stop a run.

My mom was tall and had to shop for clothes and shoes in specialty shops.

When you bought something at the now defunct Over Five-Seven Shop you got this gimmicky miniature clothes line.

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  1. The “tell it like it is” era–The Over Five-Seven Shop!! Ha! (I’m 5’8″ and so I guess I would have been shopping there although it isn’t that tall)

  2. I remember using one of those sewing kits for mending the pantyhose (stockings) I wore to high school (1970s, Melbourne, Australia)

  3. I am over 5’7″ so I would have to go there. I love the sewing kit and hose mending kit.

  4. Those gimmicky clotheslines would be handy to take when traveling – just the thing for your handwashed brassieres and hosiery.

  5. My mother had a lot of these things that I inherited. Including the hose mending matches. She took very good care of all her clothes and always dressed up nice for church…hats, gloves etc. Her go-to pre soap for stains was Fels-Naptha which I still use. Nothing beats it for getting out grease stains from sweat shirts. And it still runs about a buck and lasts forever.
    I,also, still have her cakes of Bon-Ami that she used with water and newspaper to wash windows, and they are probably 40 years old! Or more as she stopped doing windows when she was in her 60’s but lived to her 90’s. But they are probably still useful if I run out of Windex!

  6. The Over Five Foot Seven Shop. I LOVE it. These are wonderful little treasures.

    I’ve lamented around the fire with my friends how much I wish we embraced patched and mended clothes for regular continues wear. There should be no shame in this, and yet…patched clothes are mostly relegated to wearing around the house or while on dirty/messy/household projects like painting and building. I want to be able to wear patched and mended clothes as professional wear. Alas. It is so wasteful. I mean, how many “garden shirts” do I really need?!

  7. Some types of mending can be beautiful such as sashiko stitching. I am turning a very favorite ‘work’ shirt into a rather ‘artsy’ garment because I have ‘mended’ it so many times with embroidery stitches. I love the shirt and can no longer find the style or quality and absolutely refuse to let it go.

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