There are times when you need a really good estate sale, but you have to settle for a mediocre estate sale. Luckily, you still manage to walk away with one good find, which would be this:
A 1949 Singer Sewing Book that I bought purely for the illustrations.
Just look at them. This is a page on shirring.
And this is a page on the wonderful things you can do with braiding (if you have the time and the talent to make lots of curliques).
And this one, maybe my favorite, is all about ruffles. Not that I sew a lot of ruffles. I think I just like the idea of ruffles.
I realize that I now have a "collection" of vintage sewing books. (Three of something is a collection, isn't it?)
This one, "The New Modern Encyclopedia of Sewing," also from 1949, had me at the cover.
See the little pair of scissors intertwined with the hearts? I did.
Inside, there are lots of wonderful how-illustrations, plus the bonus of dancing curtains. How could you not buy a book with dancing curtains?
And then there's the third book, "Sewing Made Easy" from 1950, It has a rather unattractive cover, which might be indicative of what's inside.
For instance, this is the "advice" offered in a section about choosing the right pattern for your figure type.
Are you pear-shaped? This "hippy" look is the saddest thing in life for some of us. But you can choose patterns which will conceal it. Always wear your skirt slightly flared, smooth-fitting from the waist to the fullest part of the hip, where the skirt spreads out to hide the fact that you have spread out! Have any decorations or trimming at the top of the dress, so that the hips will not attract attention.
So much for your self-etseem, right?
Still, there's a certain charm to all of these books. They represent another era, when the ability to sew was important and you took pride in what you created and wore.
The Singer book sums it up with its dedication:
This book is dedicated to women and girls and especially to teachers of sewing everywhere who enjoy the feel of fabric, the beauty of textures, the precision of stitches, the smoothness of seams, and who delight aways in appropriate fabrics carefully cut and made up for a happy purpose.
A happy purpose. What a wonderful goal to have even if you don't sew.