Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Tucson thrift store find stirs a sewing secret

1958-1965: I was a sewer, a lover of fabrics and beads, a seamstress educated at the elbow of my mom. Mary Surfaro was truly an artisan of wondrous clothes and crafts. My eyes always followed her hands as she cut. It was a joy to watch her piece and bring fabric to life. I loved the craft and worked hard at mimicking her artistry. No matter that it was a necessity for us to make our own clothes in those days. For me, sewing was super cool.

When I hit college I grew impatient with myself and my sewing. There was no way that I could be the disciplined sewer that my mom was. My stitches did not follow her impeccable lines. Discouraged, I let my love and talent for sewing slip away.

Fast forward half a century. Here I am, nearly as old as the oldest mom of my memory. I love her and miss her as passionately as ever. In this period of my life, it would be a joy to sew with her.

I realize now that although I can't carry on my mom's meticulous seamstress skills, I can carry on her joy of the craft. I relish my fabric stashes and my sewing tools, as she did. As I sit to sew, the movement of fabric and the sewing machine hum envelope me in a strange peace. An hour will fly by and even the most crudely shaped purse or textile art gives me such satisfaction and energy.

If only bend the rules sewing had been a choice for me years ago! No matter. I have re-embraced my sewing passion and re-invented a path for myself in the craft. More photos of vintage sewing stuff on my Tucson Cowgirl blog.

Photo caption and comment: Staring at me, on a sundries table of a Tucson thrift store, were several of these perfectly packaged sewing and needle kits, circa 1950s Japan. I also scored some beautiful glass beads from "West" Germany, and needle kits from England. Posting some pix for the retro-loving designers among us. 

8 comments:

Miss Mary said...

where are you finding sewing things in Tucson? I try and try to find sewing items in thrift stores and would love to know where these gems live....

Monica Surfaro Spigelman said...

Mary - Speedway Thrift is where I located these items. Good luck in your searching, too!

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The Kinder Cubby said...

Monica-Loved this article...and I can visualize you and Mary together sewing. She was a wonderful person!

Monica Surfaro Spigelman said...

Kinder Cubby Thank you! Is this Christina? Good memories!

Pagano DesignWorks said...

We have LOTS of sewing and crafting items at 1st Rate 2nd Hand Thrift Store! Even meticulously bagged and categorized beads.
I'm Jenni, the manager

5851 E Speedway
between Craycroft and Wilmot on the North side of the street

Monica Surfaro Spigelman said...

Jenni - Thank you! Sorry so late in replying. I visit your great thrift store often and now am prompted to return again soon. Believe I got some great books there. I am not a fashion maven but I also think you have racks of good clothes too. Thanks for being here in our funky Tucson!

Chi said...

This is cool!