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The Twelve Days before Christmas: Day 10, Four Hemming Birds
Occupying a ton of time this year, DH and I catalogued the parts of my collection of needlework tools between 1840 and 1914, and on December 7 we gave the catalogue and tools to a small collections library.
I kept a copy of this year's catalogue and decided to borrow from our photos and descriptions tools for
12 Days before Christmas.
Scroll down for photos and descriptions of four Hemming Birds.
A hemming bird clamps to a table and acts as a third hand to hold a length of fabric taut so that hemming is easier.
American patents for hemming clamps began to appear in the 1850s for various ways to have a bird hold fabric in its beak until the tail feathers were pressed to release the fabric. A similar clamp appeared in England about the same time.
On right: the classic Waterman patent hemming bird with a red emery on its back and stamped steel feathers to decorate the bird. Beneath is a heart-shaped turner to fasten the clamp to a table top. American, 1853.
This Holiday Season on Queendom Website: The Twelve Days before Christmas told in Antique Needlework Tools.
Here are 4 Hemming Birds.
Above: A variation on the Waterman clamp is in brass and metal with an abstract feather deisgn and a large yellow pincushion placed beneath the bird. American, c 1860s.
Above: A gilded version of the hemming clamp with coral emery and pincushion. American, c 1880-1900.
Above: A dark metal hemming bird with what was once a red pincushion in front. There are vestiges of red and black paint on the piece.
American, c 1870s-1880s.