Tag Archives: First retoration sewing table

Shine on Bright and Mysterious Object: French Sewing Table

I’m home and all’s well. I was accident prone in Ottawa — (I haven’t mentioned that a Valentine’s Day candy pulled out a tooth,completing the Ottawa Trifecta of pain and humiliation.)

But apart from a broken toe, crochet elbow and the hillbilly smile, I was healthy like horse in Ottawa. I took a mile walk, on average, every day, and several of those days were a windy minus 20.  I shivered at bus stops. I bought a scarf, and remembered the true purpose of a scarf. I made myself — the beginning of my elbow prob — a cap. I lived through a Canadian winter and felt great.

Then I got on an airplane and I got sick. Flying does that to me — the ears don’t drain, the sinuses fill, post nasal drip and within a day I’m coughing up green pea soup, deaf, feverish and languid. Too languid to write a proper blog post.

So I’m going to show you my mother’s French 1820s sewing table. My parents got smart fast about buying antiques: they went to the same auctions their dealers attended and profited from the etiquette that precludes dealers bidding against customers. This table was an exception: they payed retail, mucho retail, at a shop. My father provided the explanation for this pricey purchase: “Your mother said if I didn’t buy it she’d never talk to me again.” (Note: After a day of shoulder-turning, my mother would have had plenty to say!)

It was, and is, the only table in the house that’s banned from plates, coasters and ashtrays because the original finish is still superb. It’s about a meter tall.

The pale green moire silk work basket is in perfect condition.

I just know that no Amish work table would feature a mirror on the inside of the lid, but those genius needlewomen had no cause to fiddle with a ringlet or practice a moue.

The interior. That pale green kid leather pincushion flips out. Please note the little bundle of slats, which fit into the slots at the upper edge of the table. Would the little compartments have held thread? Beads? Earrings?

I love the French bourgeoise who bundled her sewing into that silk work basket, admired herself in the mirror (or checked it for the entrance of a jealous husband) and I love the family who saved it so my mother could buy it and I could use it.

If I had her maid I’d tinkle a bell and ask for a poached egg on toast and afterwards loosen my stays and recline somewhere. As it is, I’ll poach and toast and pass out in front of the news.


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Filed under Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Collections, History, Home, How Cool is That?, Needlework, Worth it anyway