Sunday, March 07, 2010

Woven Labels (and who is Marjorie Bruce, anyway?)

While I was wandering around at Stitches last week, someone asked me where to get woven name labels, the kind your grandma used to sew into clothing. Usually, they look something like this:

I couldn't think of where I had bought mine, because it was so long ago. When I bought them, I was very pleased. And wouldn't it be great, I thought, if my handknit sweaters lived a long time, and got passed along, and some day, someone would ask, who is this person who knit my favorite sweater? My ambition: perplex future generations.

Well, it was a silly notion, but name labels are still pretty popular. The company that made mine is still in business:
Name Maker. They have many different designs, and you can even have your own design custom printed (not woven). The basic designs, however, are woven.

This is the design I chose (stock photo, not my actual label):
They started in 1938 -- your grandma probably used these labels! From their website:

Name Maker, Inc. was established in 1938 as a fabric label company in New York City. Bernie Bryan, president of Notions Unlimited, bought the company in 1950 and rebuilt all of the original machinery for an Atlanta plant. Bryan’s transformed brand first offered mass produced personalized nametapes, sewing labels, and custom made labels. Bryan’s daughter Cheryl Dorrell joined the business in 1990, working her way from marketing to president. She added and developed several new products along the way. In 1996, Bryan semi-retired to Las Vegas and Dorrell assumed direction of the company.

As president for over a decade, Dorrell has become the driving agent for corporate growth at Name Maker. The company continues to generate exciting new personalized packaging concepts including a wide selection of personalized gift wrap, personalized ribbon, gift boxes and a new line of sewing labels. Media coverage has created increased awareness of the product line and attracted celebrity customers such as Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, Dakota Fanning, Katie Couric, Tricia Yearwood, David Copperfield and Marcia Gay Harden. Name Maker is extremely proud of all its unique brands and strives to create only the highest quality products for its customers around the world.

And who is Marjorie Bruce? Well some of the labels on the website identify a needleworker named on the labels as: Marjorie Bruce. In the old days, ALL of the labels had that name. I really don't know why, and would love to know. If you know, please tell me. If I do find out, I'll post it.

And now for something completely different ...

A Wikipedia entry tells the tale of another Marjorie Bruce:

Marjorie Bruce or Marjorie de Brus (December, 1296 – 2 March 1316) was the eldest daughter of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots by his first wife, Isabella of Mar, and the founder of the Stuart dynasty. Her marriage to Walter, High Steward of Scotland united Clan Stewart and the royal House of Bruce, giving rise to the House of Stuart. Her son was the first Stuart monarch, King Robert II of Scotland.

Her mother, Isabella, a nineteen-year-old noblewoman from the ancient
Clan Mar, died soon after giving birth to her. Her father was then the Earl of Carrick, and her mother died the Countess of Carrick; she never became Queen. Marjorie was named after her father's mother, Marjorie of Carrick.

According to legend, her parents had been very much in love, and Robert the Bruce did not remarry until Marjorie was six years old. In 1302, a teenage
courtier named Elizabeth de Burgh became her stepmother. Elizabeth was about thirteen, only seven years older than Marjorie. On 27 March 1306, her father and stepmother were crowned King and Queen of Scots at Scone, Perthshire, and Marjorie, then nine years old, became a Princess of Scotland.

If you want to read more, go here. Oh, and if you find out who the Marjorie Bruce is on the labels, please comment.


KnitNana said...

No idea who Marjorie Bruce is (but thank you for the history legend).

I, too, use NameMaker!

Anonymous said...

Hillarious! I've been wondering this for a long time!! : ) [marjorie bruce]! I was actually shocked when I saw a recent catalog that had names OTHER than Marjorie Bruce on the labels!