craft, Mary Frances sewing, sewing, Uncategorized

Chapter XXII: A Ruined Dress.

Let us all bow our heads, Craftsmas had come to a close. No longer are my days for all the crafts. I am back to my jobs. Now is the time for manageable smaller projects.


The last days of Craftsmas were spent finishing off another scrap quilt, it had remained 2/3’s finished after last Craftsmas. Now it needs batting and backing and I need a three day weekend and an audio book.


It’s also time to crack open the books and get back to Mary Frances!

Excerpts From: Fryer, Jane Eayre, 1876-. “The Mary Frances sewing book; or, Adventures among the thimble people.”

I’ve already made the Morning Dress from this chapter, twice, so today we shall focus on the plot.


Aunt Maria has just left, taking her backhanded scolding with her, and the Thimble Folk rejoice as the Sewing Bird sleeps. They banter in what must have been HIGH humor in 1915.

“Oh the Old Grunt had to go home,” said Scissors Shears, standing on one pointed toe. ”Why?” asked Tommy Pin Cushion.

“I don’t care a tinkle,” exclaimed Silver Thimble, ”why she went—I’m only glad we’re to have the little Miss to ourselves once more!”

“Humph!” exclaimed Ma Chine, “if Sewing Bird were awake, little you’d speak in so cutting a way about an old lady, Scissors!”

“Click! CHck! Chckety-click! Rip-her-up-the-back!” snapped Scissors Shears, making across the table.

“You old Thread Chewer, you!” he exclaimed, “everybody knows you have wheels in your head! You old Thread Chewer! You—! You! I double dare you to—”

“Zunmi! Zumm! Zumm!” Ma Chine began to whirl.

I lied about the humor. There is nothing deliberately funny in these pages.

Little girls were not allowed near humor in 1915 for fear they’d develop ‘a sharp tongue’ that would alienate gentleman callers down the road. They were instead encouraged to engage in the worst of wordplay to actively demonstrate how they posed no intellectual threat to menfolk.


Once more, Silver Thimble exhibits his red flags. If your thimble is jealous of the time you spend with family members and friends and actively isolates you from the company of others, please seek help.

I forgo the use of thimbles most of the time. Sure, it gives me the sort of rough hands that tip-off gentlemen callers that I am not as high-born as I pretend…but my sharp tongue already dooms me so who cares about my calloused fingers?

As the Thimble Folk trade words Mary is standing just outside the room, listening and hoping no harm will come from this spat. Mary, still passive AF.

Suddenly Scissors Shears stumbled and fell flat on the table, his feet being all entangled in the folds of some pink lawn.


This apparently is the downside to letting temperamental Thimble Folks prep and finish your work. Sometimes they stumble and SLASH your DRY GOODS into ribbons.

There on the sewing table was Scissors Shears looking woefully upon a pretty little doll’s dress carefully cut out and pinned together. All over it were gashes and slashes where his sharp feet had cut into the material.

“What shall I do/’ began Scissors Shears, ”oh, Sewing Bird, what shall I do?—There’s no other goods! I took such care to make that so perfect,—ready for the little lady’s lesson to-day!”


Now, if I were Mary I’d be livid…probably.

There are risks to having unpaid labor do your prepping and finishing and a few lost fabrics is nothing in comparison to a revolution. I don’t think Mary is properly compensating ANY of the anthropomorphic folks who help her. She never questions all this free labor and education.

At the least I’d make sure to craft a cosy for Scissors Shears… like a quilted straight jacket.

Oh! That reminds me. Ever since I wrote about the Sewing Bird I’ve started keeping a Pintrest page of lovely sewing objects.

But Mary puts Scissor Shear’s feelings first, suppresses her own, and acts ignorant.

“Come!” said Mary Frances to herself. “That’s enough! Poor old Scissors Shears!—I’ll pretend not to notice it.

Good-afternoon!” she said going into the sewing room, “I’ve changed my mind, dear Sewing Bird Lady—I think I’d like to use some other goods rather than that I left on the table for this lesson. I’ll just throw this aside in a little bundle,”—pushing the ruined dress aside,—”and may I use this pretty pink cham-bray gingham to-day?”

“The very thing!” exclaimed Fairy Lady, “much better than lawn, for a morning dress.”

Damnit, Fairy Lady. You know what she’s doing. It’s ok for Mary to be angry or to discuss her disappointment…

What’s that you say, Fairy Lady?

Not if she’s going to survive a 1920’s marriage?

Thimble Folks, sometimes I really hate you all.

Yeah. I know. Gentlemen don’t appreciate sharp tongued spinsters like me and Aunt Maria.

Anywhoozlebee…Mary pretends everything is fine and they set to work on the morning dress.

“That’s your week’s work,” said Fairy Lady, ”if you finish it for the next lesson, I’ll be so proud.”

“And so will I!” laughed Mary Frances, resolving to work hard. “Good-day, dear Thimble People.”

The Chapter ends with Scissor Shears continuing to be in his own feelings.

“I’ll help her if I dare,” said Scissors Shears.

“What could you do, now?” asked Tommy Pin Cushion. “You’re in disgrace!”

Little does Mary, Tommy Pin Cushion, or the Fairy Lady know…this is the least of S.Shears’ private shame and not even the secret he fears Mary will someday learn.


No…no one ever saw the Clauss Girl again.









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