The other day, I was trying to explain to my daughter what a mending basket was. You see, she lives in a world where clothing has become much less expensive and more readily available. She hardly has to iron, never mind mending and darning. That wasn't the world my grandmother lived in. She had a mending basket right next to her easy chair.
When a bed sheet began to fray she tore it into rag squares for cleaning and dusting. If she outgrew a dress, she carefully removed the lace collar and detached each button so it could be used as a replacement or in the construction of a new garment. I can still hear her saying "waste not, want not".
When she was a girl, every resource was valuable and every resource was used to the fullest extent possible. A few yards of fabric might spend their life in 4 different forms, beginning as a dress, then becoming a quilt top, then a pot holder and finally a cleaning rag.
With each transition, the fabrics take on a new kind of acquired beauty as they soften and fade. I think that's why artists are so attracted to them as art elements. These old vintage fabrics have a quality only time can produce. Visit Mamamotherlode this week to see the vintage fabrics and sewing supplies we have for sale and consider giving them just one more beautiful life as part of your art work.