American primitives are harder and harder to come by these days. The handmade furniture and everyday objects from 1700-1900, a time before manufacturing, were made with purpose and care and meant to last for years.
These kinds of items have been popular among collectors for their history, craftsmanship, and beautifully aged looked. Younger generations of collectors know less about this era, so here is a short run down on a few pieces in the shop to spur some interest!
Below is a collection of primitive objects found on the top floor of the shop.
Here is a nice collection of wood carving tools, mashers, mallets, muddlers and pestles. These were likely made by a farmer or craftsman for personal use or trade. Most primitive objects that were used in the house were made by the homeowner. These items would be passed down generationally until they were no longer usable. Most primitive American pieces have been well worn, creating a beautiful aged patina.
These timeless tools have proven to be mainstays in modern everyday activity; so, next time you’re vacuuming or making mashed potatoes try to imagine your ancestors using these tools, and think about how easy you’ve got it.
For those of us who adore vintage clothing, whether for collecting, wearing, or both, there are some important guidelines to follow to be sure that you are getting the greatest bang for your buck, so to speak. If you’re new to the game, understand that it takes time and experience to truly realize a great piece of vintage clothing when you see it. To start you on your journey, or to keep you learning, try following these tips:
1. Although there are many reproductions out there, it is fairly easy to determine if the piece is vintage by looking at the label. Older labels are woven vs. printed and can tell you a great deal about the age of a piece. Vintage Fashion Guild has a wonderful label resource on their website that can help you in this area. Older garments often don’t have labels, so come in contact with as many pieces of true vintage clothing that you can before starting to purchase. You will quickly learn to spot an authentic 1950s house dress vs. a 1990s look-alike or a reproduction garment made last year.
2. Be sure that you check the piece for damage. I can’t tell you how often I bought clothing when I first started collecting without thoroughly examining the piece visually or giving it a good “sniff.” By skipping this step out of excitement in finding a great vintage dress, for example, I may not have noticed the musty odor coming from the piece until I had already purchased it and brought it home. There may be damage that you won’t be able to live with, so be sure to check that piece out completely before purchasing.
3. Quality counts! I am not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve learned to appreciate excellent craftsmanship and tailoring by having contact with many garments over my years of searching and by examining historic garments in collections. Look at seams, hems, button holes, fabric integrity, linings, and any other details that you can see that will help you determine whether or not you should purchase the garment. Keep in mind that one of the great things about vintage clothing is that it was just better made back then. Clothing was meant to last, not to be disposed of after one season. So, in addition to owning a unique piece of clothing that one cannot find at the mall, you’ll also enjoy the garment for years to come.
4. Finally, so many wonderful books exist that can give you visual and factual information about vintage and antique clothing that will indeed help you to become a savvy shopper, particularly if you combine your reading with hands on experience to increase your confidence. Again, it takes time, so be patient and have fun!
Do you love treasure hunting? Would you rather shop your grandmother’s closet than the mall for your outfits? If you enjoy looking unique and not like everyone else, then vintage shopping is for you! Shopping for amazing pieces to add to your wardrobe is exciting, fun, and challenging. When I first got started, there still were stores that sold strictly vintage clothing and accessories, but the market has changed. Although great pieces of authentic vintage can be found today, one often must scour thrift stores, consignment shops, and church charity shops, which means looking through lots of cast offs that are neither old nor desirable. At our store, Nostalgia, we have vendors who source true men’s and women’s quality vintage clothing, and they are quite experienced at knowing which eras are “hot” and, so, what the customer is looking to buy. At other antique co-ops, you may find booths or areas that contain vintage or a combination of second hand clothing and older pieces. Again, you often have to dig through or hunt for those can’t-live-without garments. But, I promise you, it’s worth it! The following tips will help you to shop wisely while in pursuit of that vintage gem!