My older daughter is a good hearted soul. She went to a recent fundraiser where a percentage of sales went to a child’s medical bills. She bought some cute things and spied some vintage booklets she thought I might like. And surprisingly, I did. Even though the publication date is 1948 these Old School sewing manuals have some good tips.
Here are 4 of the manuals and I swear they look familiar. Could I have used them in Home Ec in the 1960’s? Or maybe they all looked somewhat alike.
As I looked through them I found a section on buttonholes. Boy, I have never had to make them by hand. I have had various gadgets over the years to make buttonholes and a needle and thread were never among them.
Modern day buttonholes made by sewing machines are pretty cool also. And they are fast. So this one just interested me, I don’t find it overly useful.
Where you have buttonholes you will have buttons. I loved the section on how to sew on buttons. Look at the variety!
I was wrong, my own children did not know. I am a bad mom!
I taught my youngest and since she lives in Central Asia, it’s a good thing. The oldest doesn’t even live a mile away, I guess she doesn’t really need to know. But some day she might!
I am not giving back these manuals, she can check out my post on sewing on a button. It doesn’t get much traffic as there are so many posts out there on the same thing but it’s there just in case.
I also really liked the section on setting in sleeves. This whole concept of “easing” in a piece that really doesn’t fit is very useful in quilting. I used it when I made my Drunkard’s path quilt.
If you have never set in a sleeve, go try it. It’s fun and you will be so proud of yourself. I can remember in Home Ec people talked about setting in a sleeve like it was hairy and scary. Nah! Good skill.
I wanted to make copies of the section on how to put pockets into the side seam of a dress. Have you seen what a lousy job some manufacturers do with this? It is not that hard!
People did it in 1948, you can do it now! I have ordered dresses that I have sent back because the pockets sag out of the seams. Or the pockets are upside down, I kid you not.
I put pockets in the very first garment I ever made. Yes! I am ranting. Sorry.
Final fun tip was on hems. I just loved seeing the picture. I used to make all my clothes and I would stand in the hallway with my bedroom door open to my full length mirror.
My mother would mark the hem, telling me when to turn. I would stand there patiently and do it. The payoff, and it was huge, is that she would then do the hem for me. And tack down every facing and sew on every button.
I want to show this picture to my own girls and show them how to stand. They barely can tolerate it and when I get two pins in they want the process to be over. Having short daughters has resulted in this process repeating itself every time they had pants that needed hemming.
I bet they would have behaved for my mom or might have had a pin “accidentally” flick a leg!
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I published a post on how to do a buttonhole as well! Check it out here.