Apr 20, 2011

Why I Love Vintage Sewing Books

Love those prints!
 The reason I love vintage sewing books is not because they are helpful. In general, I find them to be pretty useless. There aren't pictures to correspond with the explanation of complicated techniques (like sewing a welt pocket, for example) and the instructions assume a great deal of knowledge that would likely presuppose you reading "The Complete Book of Sewing" (pictured here, published in 1972). If I need to know how to do something (today I'm sewing a fly, for example) I turn to online tutorials. But if I need a laugh, I crack a sewing book. I'm sure it's copyright infringement to publish all these pictures here, but I consider this a public service:
This book predates "Annie Hall" by five years. Maybe the costumer was inspired by "The Complete Book of Sewing?"

Sure, some of the looks are quite timeless, like the photo above. But most are not. Because this was the '70s. Remember the '70s? All those weekends spent fishing with your family in matching overalls? Wait, is that Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys?

 And some looks are just so incongruous, I have to wonder what was really going on in America at the time. Like this braless Holly Hobbie. Is this some early version of what we now call a Slutoween costume? "Little Whorehouse on the Prairie"?
The '70s were a costumey period in fashion, alright. How cute is this?
 Off topic, my husband thinks this following picture was shot at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. I don't think so. Any New Yorkers care to weigh in? Whenever we go by that fountain, Ryan says the exact same thing: "This fountain was in the opening shot of Angels in America." And then I say, "I never really cared for Della Reese," which never fails to exasperate him no matter how many times he hears it.
 Moving on, I love the advice in this book – and there's plenty. For example: "For a fashion conscious teenager, make a tote and suspenders to match. Sets like this are great moneymakers at bazaars!"

Actually, that's kind of cool.
Can anyone tell me what a "vestee" is?


  1. gorgeous pictures! i love the style in all of them.

  2. I know...I totally want those lederhosen-style suspenders!



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