Thrift Store Rescue: Sewing Notions Tins

They recently opened up a Goodwill Outlet nearby my house. Goodwill Outlets are where all the stuff they can't or don't want to try to sell in their regular stores goes. So there are often lots of oddities (and sometimes some really awesome stuff that just didn't sell)...the only catch, it's pay by weight--oh and you have to dig through these trough-like tables piled with stuff to find your treasures. Since the stuff is often just dumped onto these tables, you never know what you're going to get...maybe you'll find a left shoe and never be able to find the right. But it's a total treasure hunt!

So, on my recent trip, I saw these old tins. Tins don't typically weigh much, so if they are neat and old, I'll often at least pick them up to take a look at them. When I picked these up, they weren't light--they definitely had stuff in them. So I took a peak inside and saw sewing stuff--old sewing stuff. I figured a tin full of old buttons was totally worth it's $1.29 per pound, so I tossed them in the cart. They were each on different ends of the table, so I thought it an odd coincidence to find two and kept on shopping.

When I got home, I cracked them open to find not only old buttons and needles and spare pins, but also handwritten notes and an old envelope and various other historical odds and ends. It turns out that both tins came from the same house as they both had documents with the same lady's name on them.

The first scraps of paper I came across were notes with the lady's measurements documented in 1954, 1957, 1973, and 1981. She was tiny!   

In the other tin, I found instructions on how to make a tassel and how to thread a needle.

In one of the tins was an envelope with the lovely owner's name and address and postmarked 1954 with a 3 cent Thomas Jefferson stamp!

In the envelope were these patches indicating that she might have been a Dental Assistant. The envelope looks like it was from some dental association organization, so she might have received these patches in this envelope and then later removed them from whatever they were put on, since they appear worn, and put them back into the envelope.

This little brown bag had a fabric covered button and notes about what dress it belonged to. The bag was stamped with the name and address of a shop in Bronx, which is interesting since most everything else indicated this lady lived in Omaha. I imagine it was a special dress that the button belonged to!

So a little bit of a time capsule just from the scraps and bits of paper, but the sewing notions were all great too. Their were salvaged buttons and new unused buttons clearly ranging from mid century up to (the definitely not Bakelite) lightweight pink plastic ones probably from the 80s.

There were a bunch of stick pins, bobby pins, and needles floating around in both tins. This paper packaging with pins from the Diamond Steel Pins company was a fun shade of purple and still had several pins stuck in it..

There were also some neat longer pins with different heads--but clearly no complete sets--just leftovers.

There were also some snaps and clips floating around. It was interesting to see the cardboard with the company logos and prices. The snaps were 30 cents and the blue cardboard of hook and loop enclosures was 15 cents.

There was also a bunch of bits of elastic and clothing tags with care instructions that I didn't keep. There was even some needles stuck in a grocery list. Out the the bits and bobs, some of the neater odds and ends include some round paper clips, a small porcelain doll head, a scotty dog charm, some interesting round clothing snaps, a plastic thimble, and an odd little spatula.

I was stumped by the spatula, so I sought the help of an online group and they searched for the name on the handle. It turns out it's a make up wand (probably for cold cream or moisturizer) from Jacqueline Cochran's line of cosmetics. Cochran was a pilot who was the first woman to break the sound barrier. She also had a cosmetic line. Such interesting history for a little plastic (this one could be bake-lite) wand! 

So, I was expecting to get some pins and buttons, but in the end, I received a little time capsule of a woman's life. It was fun to try to learn a bit more about the woman who owned these tins while I was going through them. I look forward to making some craft projects with the sewing supplies in the future!


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