Do You Fill Your Sewing Room with Meaningful Mementos?

Because I see the sewing space as a very special place where I create, I like to fill that space with items that put me in a creative state. That includes items from my childhood. The richness of memories that certain objects invoke makes me feel nurtured and creative.

This basket holds a thousand memories.

In my early childhood, my father was a military doctor and we moved often, from Missouri to Hawaii to Washington, D.C., before I was 7. Not long after, my parents divorced and we stayed in D.C. for a while and lived in three different places there, and then relocated back to Missouri when my mother remarried. By the time I was 14, I had attended three high schools and much of my childhood items had been shed in the purging that moves always bring.  

Not having a childhood homestead I could return to, I have held onto a very few items that magically recall instant childhood memories just by looking at them. In my sewing room, I have a couple of those items carefully placed. One of them, a beat-up white wicker basket is probably the oldest object I own.  

It was purchased as a clever catchall for my baby toys. I recall it as early as age 3, the year that I turned from an only child into an oldest sister (ultimately the oldest of six!). Somehow, almost unfathomably, the basket remained in my possession throughout all of those moves and all of those years and on past the many moves I have made in adulthood.  

I have upcycled it from toy chest to sewing container and put it up on a shelf where it holds my fabrics. It's the perfect storage basket, deep and wide and stable, and I love the way that it has weathered over time. I remember when my mother painted it. She was on a big nesting binge prior to birthing my sister and painted almost everything in our basement apartment in Columbia, Mo.

I know that many things come and go in life, but this basket will stay with me, in my sewing room, to the end of my days, if I have any say in the matter, as a touchstone of inspiration.

For upcycling inspiration and more, check out the Stitch Auto-Ship Program in the Sew Daily Shop and be among the first to see the latest issue of Stitch.

Do you have any sentimental items in your sewing space? I would love to hear about them.

Happy stitching!



Other sewing topics you may enjoy:


Sew Daily Blog

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

10 thoughts on “Do You Fill Your Sewing Room with Meaningful Mementos?

  1. Amber, I loved & read with pleasure your story and it inspired me to actually put onto words what I’ve felt for over a decade! My mother passed, in 1999, and her spirit is with me, giving me inspiration, each time I’m in my sewing room. My mom was a avid seamstress and I admired her abilities to create wonderful works of wearable art! Being the only girl, I inherited ALL her sewing stash, as well as all of her nifty tools of the trade. However, it’s when I slide my fingers into her beloved Gingher sissors, my mind envisions her creative fingers guiding mine, which gives me great comfort. I have ALL of her things about my sewing space, but it’s her sewing room clock, which has a rather loud tick, and it’s sound takes me back to a time, that I didn’t realize would become fond memories! Isn’t wonderful to be so sentimental?!! Thank you, for this opportunity to share!

  2. What a neat story! I have some eclectic mementos in my studio too, including button boxes from my great-grandmother on one side of the family, and my grandmother on the other, and a framed cross-stitch sampler I made when I was 8. My kids tease me about the bears and outdated colors, but for me it’s a vivid reminder of my entire crafting journey.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story. I am honored to have items from 3 sewers from my family (mother, grandmother, grand aunt). The memories they left me are PRICELESS…FIESTA 🙂

  4. I so relate to this idea! I have, right above my sewing machine, an old print of a girl and her cat, their heads tipped together. My mom got it around 1970, when I was a little girl, because it reminded her of me. She had it in a frame she painted, without glass. When I worked at a framing shop in my 30s, I touched up the print w/ watercolor pencils, then reframed it (same frame) with archival materials and glass. Since the girl also looks like my daughter, who loves cats, I had it in her room for awhile. But now it’s back to my space, and makes the sewing corner so complete 🙂

  5. Greetings from Columbia, MO! Baskets are wonderful and yours is a treasure. In my studio I have my grandmother’s treadle Singer machine. It makes a lovely display next to the old wood ironing board from a friend’s mother. I also have a vintage hatbox from Parks Dept. Store, downtown – probably before your time. I have many memories of shopping for a birthday gift with my grandmother there, and at Greenspons. Both had millinery depts. The hatbox currently houses my vintage laces. Like PMPeters, I have many of my mother’s sewing supplies, including her shears and pinkers. It is nice to think of her hands using the same tools.

  6. In my studio I have the rocking chair I used when my kids were babies. It’s a great small size that fits the space and very relaxing to rock a little while i read. In desperate need of a slipcover but I just can’t seem to motivate to make one. Otherwise our home is filled with memorabilia from our ancestors. I love displaying family history in creative ways.

  7. I have a sewing machine that my grandfather repaired. He was a sewing machine repair man after he retired.

    I just want to thank you for sharing because it made me realize something about my daughter. We are a military family and she is ten and we have moved five times in those ten years. She always wants to keep everything and sometimes gets really upset when I tell her she has to get rid of a few thing. I thought maybe this is why. I stayed in the same area until I was 19.

  8. Love your story 🙂 I had radiation treatment for head and neck cancer, and on the top of my cabinet in my quilting room is the radiation mask that was used for my treatment. A lot of patients throw theirs out because they don’t want the memories, but not me! I’ll be covering that thing with fabric!

  9. I certainly can relate. I grew up in a military family also and went to 10 different schools in 12 years, all in different states/countries. Never got to know the few relatives I have and certainly only have a handful of items from childhood. Whenever my Dad got new orders, my Mom gave away many of my things while I was at school. My husband on the other hand, grew up on a 3rd generation farm and had never been out of the state. Thought we’d live the way he had grown up, but he now has a job that requires him to occasionally travel throughout the world! Occasional travel is waaay different than moving though! Funny thing is my husband is the one who has a hard time parting with things.

  10. Amber,
    My Mom was an artist & she became a master woodcarver when she lived in Japan. From the time I got married we never lived in the same city as our families. I’ve had my Mother’s artwork all over my home but especially in my sewing room. My grandmother taught me to sew & was one who insisted on finished edges on garments but all I have of hers is a small pair of scissors, that she had given me years before she passed away. When I got a new serger I decided to honor her by giving her name to the new serger as she would have loved one. I name all my machines. Sadly Mom is no longer with us but I have her art all around to honor & remember how much she loved doing it as I love sewing.