Friday, August 17, 2007

Sweet Sisters' Sewing Birds





Catharine and Weltha were born into a New York family in the decade preceding the Civil War. Catharine was three years her sister's senior. They were inseparable throughout childhood.

When they were old enough it was decided the girls would attend a lady's academy. Here they would be taught the needle-arts, painting, etiquette... all the necessary functions to prepare them for marriage and running a household. The sewing birds were a gift upon completion of their schooling.

The sisters took their knowledge and opened a dressmaking shop. They managed the store for nearly half a century and spent all their lives together in the rooms above it.

Catharine passed away at 95. They were finally reunited in 1956 when Weltha died at 101. Their long lives had spanned across two centuries.

I can almost hear the softness of their needles passing through the fabric as the sewing birds held it in place.

Sewing bird (needlework clamp) - a fabric holder which functions as an extra hand to hold taut the fabric being stitched. (source: An Illustrated History of Needlework Tools by Gay Ann Rogers)

8 comments:

Suzanne said...

What a beautiful story! And I Love, Love that photo! It's nice to know that the sister's sewing birds have not been separated over time, they are just lovely as well. Thank you for sharing.

Rachael said...

sweet~ ohhh so MORE than sweet! 2 whole lives in history have been saved and remembered in these two sewing birds~ absolutely priceless! Thankyou for posting them~ AND for visiting the Lady's Repository Museum~ I do so much appreciate it!!!

Gigibird said...

I'm welling up.

Kimberlee Edgar said...

What a lovely Story...So Sweet!!

Kimberlee

FrenchGardenHouse said...

What a sweet and touching story! In my "other life" if I had one, I would love to do what you do.

There are quite a lot of antiques that make my heart beat faster, but there is something so special about handmade laces and textiles that connect us to the women who made them.

I love your posts, and will be back often to visit and get a "thrill"!
Lidy

Lana said...

You tell the most interesting stories! Thank you for sharing them with us. I hope to own an antique sewing bird one day... just waiting for the right on to fly into my life...

Lea said...

Oh the travels these sisters must have shared... and we... get a glimpse of their sweet story because of you! Thank you Miss Maddie for these journeys of the heart, leading us home!

Stacey said...

Be still my heart! Oh what a joy to come across your blog and website. A pure JEM!!! Your link was on Christe's blog~ I shall have to thank her for showing me the way. I love reading about our ancestors and their lives!