I like to think that everything I have created as a gift for someone will last forever, but the fact is that some items are more likely to be cherished and passed down than others. And sometimes it’s not what you expect at all.
For instance I made a massive multi-colored, multi-striped afghan for my niece when she was born, and my sister has it stashed away in a cedar chest. The quilted potholder that I made for her, maybe not so much. But it will definitely live a useful life.
I am not sure where an item crosses the line from useful to heirloom, but I know that it’s not a strict line. For instance, my mother embroidered dish towels for me years ago. They were simple and pretty, and very useful, but I could not bring myself to use them as dish towels. Into my cedar chest they went.
There is no doubt that many heirloom items are a prodigious undertaking. However, it’s just as likely that many simple handsewn household items can take on a trousseau-like quality: a simple embroidered set of pillow cases; upcycled vintage tea towels embellished with needle and thread; or a sweetly stitched skirt. Anything with beading, embroidery, or handstitching is always a good bet!
Most of the items that we sew for gifts are meant to be used, rather than set aside, but there’s always that occasional unexpected heirloom item, like my mother’s dish towels, which will live to be enjoyed by generations after mine.
Do you have a gift you made that turned unexpectedly heirloom on you? I would love to know! Leave a comment below!