Today, I want to share with you one of my very favorite vintage books.
It isn’t the book I’ve learned the most from, nor is it rife with sewing inspiration per se. But I think this home economics textbook from 1935 is the most adorable, largely owing to the fantastic and numerous illustrations.
The color plates are absolutely gorgeous and remind me of my favorite vintage children’s books. I’m sure that’s no accident since this book is aimed at young ladies likely just beginning to enter adulthood. Something about that makes it feel very sweet.
While a portion of the book is devoted to matters of etiquette, most of the book is about dressing well. When you look at it from a modern view, the subjects covered are both surprising and refreshing: selecting color and fabric, “the science of sewing”, creating an ensemble, and caring for your clothes.
I certainly don’t feel any false nostalgia for the days when girls were taught in school the All-important Value Of Being Pretty. And make no mistake, being pretty and charming and well-liked is obviously the overriding value here. But I wouldn’t remind reviving the idea that any student is capable of making their own clothing, of understanding color, and of working with fabric. Not to mention values like frugality and making things last through proper care.
Boy, I sound like an old lady.
Finally, a couple of adorable admonishments:
There are several copies of this lovely book on Amazon right now, for those that are interested.