Friday, February 26, 2016

From the Sewing Room: The Better Homes & Gardens Sewing Book

I owe my sewing interest to my grandmothers and my mom. I lived a childhood surrounded by hand-made clothes, fabrics, and the ever-popular pins stuck in the carpet. (Guess how we found them?) Sewing was a fact of life. It's just what moms did, and I really didn't appreciate how amazing that life was until I started college and got back into sewing. So many bloggers I follow talk about having to figure it out for themselves when I already have a pretty solid foundation to build on. Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert and I have a lot to learn, but I also know that I have two ladies to call on if I get stuck!

The hubs and I were visiting my parents last weekend when a book in my mom's sewing room caught my eye. It looked like an antique, and I started flipping through it just for laughs, to see what sort of archaic fashions it suggested. Little did I know that I was holding a gold mine in my hands! Behold, the Better Homes & Gardens Sewing Book!

Originally published in 1961, this is the 1970 release that belonged to my late Mema. I honestly was not expecting much from it, but, wow!

I wish I had a sewing room like that! All the vintage! 
This is Shifty Suzy, your guide through 70s sewing. 
I'm a bibliophile to start with, and I love reading through sewing books to learn different approaches and techniques for clothing construction. As a basic handbook, I haven't seen one more thorough or that does such a good job of explaining, and it really surprised me that the terminology and skills addressed here are pretty much the same as the ones on the blogs I read this afternoon! I guess that shouldn't have surprised me, but it did.

The first part of the book goes into measurements, alterations, fabric, and assembling, and the second half discusses the different wardrobe categories and what to expect from them.

The section on alterations is amazing! I have seen most of these explained umpteen times in multiple forms, but something about the way they were explained in this book, it clicked! Can't wait to try them out!
When the book discusses alterations, the reasons for these alterations are called "figure faults".
Figure faults? Really?  

It ever goes into how to cut your fabric based on the print!

This page is from the section on Sportswear, and I just love it because it shows you all of the different looks you can create from a basic shift dress pattern! I always get a little nervous at the idea of straying away from the pattern, so it's always nice to have someone holding your hand. 

It also has a treasure trove of fun 70s fashion advice! 

Get me a pillbox hat, stat!
Luckily for me, my dear mother let me bring it home with me, and I can't wait to dive into it! It will be a treasured resource in my sewing library. My mom and grandmother will still be my go-to, but I now have a little piece of my late Mema to help guide me on my sewing journey too!  

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