womansinstitutebooks

(Alas, the twig is the only thing in the picture that doesn’t represent a new beginning: it’s the end of its kind. I took it from one of the dozens and dozens of trees that have been felled around here in the past weeks. I was hoping for it to last a bit longer in a vase, but it’s already losing its needles. Soon nothing will remain of that very old tree but this humble photograph. Heartbreaking.)

It seems a bit silly to change direction when the blog hasn’t even properly taken off yet, but I’ve been thinking. And pondering. And cogitating. And ruminating. And the long and the short of it is, that this blog here will be focused on sundry creative projects, and everything else that happens to catch my fancy. As originally intended.

However, the history content will be transferred to a separate blog, called The Dragonhound. (The dragonhound itself will also migrate there from the sidebar!)

I’ve also been thinking – and pondering, cogitating, etc. – about the nature of my creative projects. On the one hand, I’d like to find joy and relaxation in this hobby of mine. I like sewing and stitching to be fun, and I’d also like to teach myself to crochet and knit, even if my progress is uneven and sometimes embarrassingly backward. On the other hand, I do like a bit of ambition; and more than that, I like it when the things I’m doing seem meaningful in some way. I like having a sense of direction.

I’ve been sewing for a few years now, but – inspired by my growing collection of vintage patterns and sewing books – I’d really like to re-learn the way I do things. It would be fun to make a 1930s’ dress with Dressmaking Made Easy by Laura I. Baldt, and a 1940s’ dress with Making a Dress at Home, a little booklet issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1945. But I’m most inspired by my near-complete collection of the navy blue sewing books in the picture above, from the Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences in the 1920s – beginning with First Steps in Dressmaking. These short books cover just about every sewing-related topic imaginable – with a perfectionist attention to detail that is rarely seen nowadays.

book_detail

There was a time when the most basic home-sewn came close to tailor-made. I’d like to see if I’m capable of that, with the basic tools that were available back then. My sewing machine is a simple Singer Tradition; I’ve got patience enough for hand-stitching. I don’t care if it takes a longer time to finish each item. I’m in no hurry.

First Steps in Dressmaking has a lovely little project to start with: called the ‘Magic Apron’, it seems to be entirely hand-sewn.

magic_apron

With this in mind, I thought I’d join the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge 2015. I’m not going to declare that I’ll use an X number of vintage sewing patterns from my collection; I’ll just say that I’m going to make some, and the ones I make will be made the way they ought to be made.

The Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge 2015

 

cloisters_elizabeth1

Source: Tor Gjerde

This post about the Cloisters deck and the royal figures on it has been moved to my separate history blog, The Dragonhound. Click on this link here to go to the post.