Monday, August 17, 2015

Roaring Twenties

Along with vintage sewing machines, sometimes I come across vintage reading materials. I've reported on sewing books in prior posts and now I'll share pages from Needlecraft, a large format newspaper type of periodical. At the time of its publication it came out monthly in a non-bound set of pages that are 15" by 11". There were six editions folded neatly and resting in an oblong basket for only $2 at an estate sale and I was intrigued. They contain stories, patterns, advertisements, and readers questions and comments. My set starts with December 1919 and ends with January 1921 but not all issues within that time frame. Many of the articles emphasize that with the war going on they need to be careful, etc., and to remind women to support their soldiers.
Here's a portion of the leading page of one issue from 1920, over 95 years ago:
Needlecraft July 1920
That's a lot of reading! But it is interesting and a slice of life at that time: the need for high quality items in your hope chest, possibly because older women will be looking to see. There seemed to be a great deal of articles and patterns for underwear: making, embellishing, the importance of wearing underwear for hygiene purposes. Interesting...

Along with the actual patterns for crochet and tatting, there were fashion patterns you could send away for:

Needlecraft July 1920, pg. 18
 A reminder at the end states they are still twelve cents each. Times have changed and, thank goodness, styles have too. I can't imagine any of the above fashions were flattering (but probably cool and comfortable in their non-air-conditioned homes).

What magazine would survive without advertisements? There were some products that have fallen by the wayside like freckle cream, Del-A-Tone (hair removal), and cures for stammering or deafness but others remain: Bayer Aspirin (Genuine Aspirin), Cream of Wheat, and Borden's Eagle Brand. Here's a full page ad for Perfection Oil Cook Stoves and Ovens:
Needlecraft July 1920 back page advertisement
Each issue contained several contests you could enter and had a nifty list of prizes such as a manicure set, magnifying glass, or silk handkerchiefs for children. Some things never change and the human spirit to win something for nothing does also. Or maybe this is the American spirit?

I might enjoy sewing machines from earlier eras but I'm glad for electricity, central heating and cooling, and indoor plumbing. This look into the past is interesting but I'm not looking to live there!


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