Monday, January 26, 2015

The Library

Before we had YouTube to give us guidance in how to do almost anything, sewing included, there were books for instruction. I've collected a few, shared a few, and now want to share some of mine with you. Starting with the newest, I have several copies of  Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing:

1978 edition
This is a nice introduction to sewing, including basic supplies and why you would need them, garment construction, home decor, and a small section of projects for your home at the end to put your skills to use. I like that it is not published by a particular home sewing group so they are impartial to brands of machines and accessories:

Types of bobbins and how to remove them
The illustrations are sure 1978 as well as the styles but the information is still sound and useful.

Next up is a McCall's Sewing Book:

1968 edition
This is getting funnier with "mod" illustrations with only black and pink for color. Quite a few pages are devoted to choosing the right pattern, but then McCalls could sell you one, if you wish.  Fabric and tools are included along with garment construction and a final chapter on home decor. No photographs, only those black line drawings but the skills and techniques are still correct:
How do you wear a dress for sports?

Let's learn to use a ruffler!
I wouldn't use them for fashion advice! The cover notes it features the "New Sizing" and this is something I recall as an improvement, something closer to what you would find in a store. The home decor section actually gives a good step by step guide to making slipcovers so maybe this book could come in handy sometime.

I think I stumbled across both of the above books at sales and were only a dollar or two but the following book was recommended through one of the sewing machine forums I subscribe to and I actually purchased it for $7-8. I was not disappointed:
1954 edition
This Singer Sewing Book cover is rather uninviting but it might have had a colorful dust jacket when new.  What makes it so much fun are the articles such as "Your attitude toward your machine", "Room of her own", and "Dressing your table" or bed, or closets.  There is information about using what was available for your then new, now vintage, sewing machine. Various hemmers and binders, and even a section on "fashion stitches" which turns out to be free motion embroidery. There are 12 double sided pages of color photographs, as the rest of the book is line drawings in black and white.

Using a buttonhole attachment
 Just like the other books on sewing, garment construction, mainly for women is featured with a section on home decor at the end. The projects are decidedly fussier with ruffles, and special bindings.

There are a few pages at the very end about zigzag sewing machines and how if you have one you "are in great good fortune, because a machine not only does plain stitching but it embroiders, monograms, decorates with motif and borders...The Singer Zigzag Machine is an example of modern engineering wizardry" and indeed it was. And it still is. I don't want to think about how far we have come because what was done in the past with these fine sewing machines was engineering wizardry that has not been matched with our computerized sewing machines. Those who sew with vintage sewing machines know they are beautiful as well as functional.  And there's always one calling your name.

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