Good Housekeeping Home Dressmaking by Mollie Mordle-Barnes, June McCallum, Anna Harvey, illustrated by Pauline Rosenthal, 1977-1978

This 182 page book is crammed with useful information about sewing and dressmaking for sure, but today I’d like to highlight the fantastic illustrations by Pauline Rosenthal. I’m not entirely ashamed to admit that these illustrations are the main reason I spent months hunting down a copy of this book, because though the information on sewing is very useful, it can also be found in a plethora of vintage sewing books that are just as good, if not better and more comprehensive than this one – such as Constance Talbot’s The Complete Book of Sewing, which I posted about awhile back. As you have probably noticed, I have a major weakness for vintage illustrations that spans multiple eras and styles. It’s a bit of a problem.

Pauline Rosenthal’s illustrations are really interesting and lovely. I love that she goes into a lot of detail with the close ups of fabric and adds adorable touches like heart shaped buttons. Her drawings of women are really cute as well – for the most part (see note at end of post).

Now, onto the illustrations! Also included are the contents pages, in case anyone is thinking of buying this book and would like to see what the chapters are all about!

Note: The 1970’s were definitely a different era, to put it mildly. There are some illustrations of Asian women, for example, that would probably be considered problematic today but weren’t out of the norm at the time – I’ve seen similar ones in other books from this period and they always make me cringe. Other women of colour do not seem to be included in this book at all, which is also typical of the time. With the problematic nature of such illustrations I don’t know which would feel worse – being included or excluded. As a white woman, it’s not my place to even attempt to answer that question.



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