Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Bomi’s Sewing Stuff

heirloomsewing1tinyMy Bomi, Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE, was a seamstress. Bomi is Luxembourgish for grandmother. Bomi was always working in her sewing room whenever we visited her. It was her livelihood. After the death of her husband of six years, she used the trade she learned to feed her daughter and herself.

heirloomsewing7tinyAfter her death I wanted to have some of the tools of her trade. I didn’t take any of her sewing machines as I already had her sister-in-law’s. I chose small things, her irons, scissors, thimbles, darning eggs.

heirloomsewing3tinyThe tiny iron in the middle of the above photo was the one my mother used to “iron” her doll’s clothes. When she was old enough to help in the sewing room she used it to iron open seams for her mother.

heirloomsewing4tinyHow many people still darn their socks today? Bomi had a darning egg with a teeny tiny crochet hook to pick up runs in stockings and knitted clothing. Do you remember when you used nail polish to stop a run? We used a bit of soft soap so that the run could be picked up and fixed.

heirloomsewing2tinyBomi could turn an old coat or dress into a new piece of clothing worthy enough to visit a queen. When the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg visited Queen Elizabeth in England she took along her attending physician Dr. Emile Gretsch. His daughter accompanied him and in preparation for the trip she brought clothes to Bomi to be turned into new outfits. When they were in London the doctor’s daughter sent Bomi a postcard telling her jokingly “haute couture Fournelle” was well received in London.


Bomi was always prepared to fix a fallen hem or sew on a loose button with this cute leather sewing purse with embroidery scissors and a thimble.

I wish I had been able to keep many things from her large house, including her old front door, but we did not have the room for everything.

treePlease take a moment to visit Jessica’s blog Cutesy Crafts. She wrote Homemade Christmas Ornaments from Grandma’s Doilies, a post that fits right into our Heirlooms theme. I first discovered her blog and Family Tree Art Tutorial back in April 2013.

 © 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

10 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Bomi’s Sewing Stuff”

  1. I loved reading about your grandmother’s sewing and viewing her tools of the trade! Was it typical in Luxembourg to receive training in a trade and receive a certificate? Yes, I still darn socks and have a wooden egg to facilitate sewing them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What great sewing heirlooms of Bomi’s you have? I loved seeing the thimbles, as I am lucky to have one of my grandmother. She sewed all their clothes but don’t know if she darned, I’ll have to ask my mom. I have so many stories written out, ready to be tidied up with photos, but from all the new stories, they help me come up with even more ideas. Another great story. Yes, like you, I want to save so much – that door would have been a great save!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every heirloom post I read reminds me of things I need to write about. My list is getting longer and longer. Having the door would be the best! I’m going to have to ask my Mom if she remembers who took it. Thank you Jeanne.


  3. I love this post—those tools are fascinating! You are so fortunate to have such heirlooms—things that your grandmother must have used over and over and loved. Much more meaningful than jewelry or china, I’d think, though those are nice also!

    Liked by 2 people

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