This beautiful, charming little home economics text book from 1935 is one I was lucky enough to snag an actual copy of online, and it can be found available to read for free on openlibrary.org, here. My copy hasn’t arrived yet, but until then I am drooling over the contents at the link above!
While filled with the typical superficial messages about beauty and “looking good”, it also gives tips on taking care of your home, family, finances, menu planning, learning to sew, making your own clothing, and taking care of your garments, all in a very 1930’s way. It is also full of adorable illustrations.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I am!
Want to learn dressmaking as girls and women did in 1911? Want to learn how to draft patterns for clothing from 1911?! Then have a look at ‘Dressmaking Self Taught in Twenty Complete Lessons” by Madame Edith Marie Carens, who was a woman who definitely knew where it was at – check out this dedication:
She was a woman after my own heart for sure!
I will end this with a couple examples of patterns you will learn to draft, and, of course, a link to the book itself on openlibrary.org/archive.org, where you can read it online or download your own copy!
Necromancy (also known as ‘The Witching’) is a highly enjoyable (and trippy) horror/thriller film from 1972, starring one of my favourite 1960’s-1970’s horror actresses, the wonderful Pamela Franklin, oh, and Orson Welles. (!!)
After losing their child at birth, Lori (Pamela Franklin) and her husband Frank (Michael Ontkean) relocate to a small town called Lilith, where Frank has been summoned to work in a doll factory by the mysterious Mr. Cato (Orson Welles), who has not only a disturbing level of control over the entire town, but an outright obsession with the occult. I wouldn’t want to give anything more than that away, because the movie really is worth watching for anyone who is a fan of 1970’s horror, so I will leave you with a really great fan edit of the film. Don’t forget to grab some popcorn!
I promised my friend Jennifer that I would post some photos from another Art Deco book that I bought back in May, so here we are, with a promise kept!
This book is absolutely beautiful, boasting over 100 illustrations (19 in full colour) in it’s scant 96 pages. Other than the roughly 11 page introduction – which also includes illustrations! – this book is all posters and graphics. Note the third image is an illustration by Paul Colin of the fabulous Josephine Baker! There is so much to love in this book that I photographed about 28 pages/illustrations and couldn’t bring myself to cut any of them out of this post!
Well, after that last post, I thought that for a little fun I’d share some classic 1950’s home economics videos with you. I’m not gonna lie, I’d kind of love to be able to take these classes, even as an adult, because I love sewing, cooking and decorating.
Why Study Home Economics? (1955)
The Home Economics Story (1951)
And for laughs, here is the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang taking on “The Home Economics Story”!
I find vintage home economics books fascinating to read. While absolute treasure troves of information and charmingly outdated language, they also really highlight how much pressure was put on women from an incredibly young age to appear perfect at all times – often times disturbingly so. Part one of Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning (which you can read online for free here at openlibrary.org) is called “Personal Grooming”, and has some lines in it that gave me the creeps, to be honest.
Yes, we must always look pretty, neat and perfect to boost the “morale” of our male relatives, because that isn’t creepy at all! And don’t forget, your country needs you to look perfectly groomed at all times as well, because the reputation of the entire nation depends on it! Being neat and clean is fine, but the outrageous level of pressure to always be perfectly groomed is really unhealthy.
I’ll end with some other random tips and excerpts and a note that while I enjoy reading these books and taking a peek into the past, they serve as an important reminder to me of why though the 1950’s are an era I’d like to time travel to to buy clothing, fabric, sewing patterns, sewing machines, etc, I really wouldn’t want to have lived back then.
The present may be a very far cry from “perfect”, but we have taken some great strides since the 1950’s, and while there are people who are trying to strip away some of the important rights the women (and immigrants, people of colour, the GLBTQ community, etc) before us fought so damned hard for, we just have to double down and fight just as hard, if not harder than they did, to keep those rights and to keep progressing and move towards a better future for everyone.
I just wanted to share a couple of my favourite vintage sewing pattern finds – so far! I haven’t sewn any of these yet, but definitely will be once I learn how to do small bust adjustments without tearing my hair out.
Dope that I am, some of these pictures are missing the actual pattern company and pattern numbers, but if anyone is interested, let me know and I will pull them out of my collection and give all the details!
There is something so just so beautiful and wonderful to me about even just holding these in my hands, knowing that way back when, another girl or woman went to the store, bought them, sewed them and loved them. I’ve sewn vintage doll patterns and it’s almost the same sort of feeling. I think with these, it may be partly because I can imagine my mom wearing outfits like those shown in some of the patterns from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, when she was a young woman. I get the same feeling with vintage and antique sewing machines. There’s just something about the immediate feeling of connection with girls and women of the past that makes me feel so happy and complete – if that makes any sense.
This is why I’ve taken on the massive undertaken of restoring a vintage Singer 99-13 sewing machine. Speaking of which, since a storm is coming and I can now hear thunder, I’m going to shut down all the electronics, grab some sewing machine oil, and get to work on my old girl.
I bought this lovely book on Art Deco fashion illustration, published in 1976, last month while out and about with my sisters, and it is just so gorgeous I had to share it!
From the inside dust jacket: ‘Even for the most jaded eyes, the collections of 1911 must have been a dazzling spectacle. After hesitating at the crossroads of fashion since the arrival of the Ballets Russes, the most influential of the French couturiers plunged boldly down a new thoroughfare, clearly marked “To Mecca.” Paul Poiret’s harem pantaloons, lampshade tunic and simple, flowing gowns dramatically freed the fashionable woman from the shackling corsets of the Belle Epoque and, with Georges Lepape’s beautiful album Les Choses de Paul Poiret, heralded the Art Deco revolution in both fashion and fashion illustration.
This design revolution, which encompassed the whole field of fashionable life and the decorative arts, was promoted by the exclusive, limited-edition fashion magazines of the time in their skillfully written editorials and attractively presented illustrations. With the aid of extracts from these articles and 100 full-color reproductions of these increasingly rare, hand-stencilled fashion plates, Julian Robinson evokes the fashionable atmosphere of the period and captures the visual excitement of these creative golden years.’
If you love art deco and fashions from the periods of 1901-1939, and you find this book, it is definitely worth buying! Packed with information and absolutely stunning photographs and illustrations, it is a real joy to read and look at.
Art In Dress by P. Clement Brown was published in 1922, according to archive.org, where it is available to read and download here. Sewing and Dressmaking books from the 1920’s are so awesome to read and look through, and this one really is a treat, as it shows you how to draft your own 1920’s patterns with P. Clement Brown’s pattern drafting system! The 1920’s illustrations are awesome to boot! Check out some of these amazing illustrations, then hop on over to archive.org to read the book!
For fun I thought I would share some fashion history awesomeness with you! Professor Amanda Hallay has a fabulous youtube channel filled with lessons on fashion history, by era, from Prehistoric to today! I absolutely love watching these videos! Professor Hallay is a really delightful woman, with a great sense of humour, and amazing amount of knowledge – not only about fashion history, but history in general, which she definitely brings into the course because as she puts it, “Fashion is not an island, it is a response!” She takes care to not just feature pictures of models, starlets, etc, wearing the fashions of the day, but of regular people like you and me, as well, which is so cool. And she also takes a very inclusive and pretty darned feminist approach, to a great deal of the course material, which makes me absolutely adore these videos even more!
I have learned a lot from watching her videos and though I would love to take her actual fashion history course, these videos are really the next best thing for anyone who has an interest in the history of fashion.
I will leave you with a link to her youtube channel, The Ultimate Fashion History, but also, in keeping with my last post, her video on 1940’s fashion! Enjoy!