Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vintage Sewing Books

When I was thrift store shopping last weekend, I picked up a few more vintage sewing books to add to the library.

I bought the Singer book, copyright 1972, for the cover art alone, but there's a lot of good stuff inside as well.

And even though I've sewn for awhile, finding a proper fit is still my number one obstacle. I'm sure to gain some insight on the subject from these, especially Nancy Zieman's book (1989) and the Bishop Method of Clothing Construction (1966).

The New Encyclopedia of Modern Sewing, 1949 edition, is a treasure trove of information written in a friendly, instructive way.

Click to enlarge the photos and read a little of the text to get an idea. Love the pictures and graphics!

The Complete Book of Sewing has been in my family since the year it was published in 1972. I was just starting to sew when my mother bought this book.

Although it has a wealth of information on the subject of sewing, I used to just love poring over its glossy pages of photos. So many great examples of '70s style, including fashions for the home. How about this mod sewing room?

It even covered a bit of quilting.

And then there's the fabric of the era. What goes around comes around, huh?

It's fun to look at the clothing styles some 38 years later.

The caption on the page below cracks me up:
Here are two delightful suggestions for choose-it-yourself sewing projects for beginners. A very young lady, left, might like to learn to sew a bibbed skirt like the ones worn by Scandinavian milkmaids. Young teens have a strong fashion sense, and the kicky shorts, below, might well lure them into learning to sew for themselves.

Well, those shorts are sure to lure something!

And apparently the milkmaid look was popular in adult fashion as well. Or you could call it the storybook look.

Little Miss Muffet?

Little Bo Peep?

Little Red -- whoa! I think we've entered a different kind of fantasy land with Greta Von Riding Crop here! Check out those over-the-knee red pleather boots! Ms. Von Riding Crop demands to know if you've been very, very bad...

But back in '72, I wanted to grow up to be one of these girls:

So, did I? *Snort* Hardly! But I have made quite a few friends laugh!

Hope you enjoyed a peek inside these retro sewing books today. Thanks for visiting, and be sure to read the other great Vintage Thingie Thursday tales linked at Colorado Lady!


  1. What a great assortment of vintage finds for today. I am not into sewing, but enjoyed seeing the old things you found.

  2. What fun to browse through on a rainy day.

  3. I love that book with the wild cover. I like looking at old sewing books even though I gave up sewing long ago.

  4. It's fun to see what once was fashionable. Sometimes the fashions comeback and sometimes, it's just better that they stay 'gone'!

  5. Such a cool set of books! you'll always find some inspiration in those! :)

  6. OK, I object to calling the 70's book vintage - I made and wore most of the things pictured! And I had a pair of those red lace-up sandals, and the hot pants, and the sweater vest, and the hat..... oh my gosh, I'm old!!!! When did that happen??

  7. I enjoyed looking at and reminiscing about the fashions! Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed your post very much.

  8. Love it! Your comments are too funny. I like how you can see today's fabric designs in years past.

    The mod sewing room is so Austin Powers.

  9. Great post!! I would have purchased that book for the cover is amazing all the goodies inside these books!! Love looking at all the fashions...that is so fun! Have a great VTT!

  10. Greta Von Riding Crop--that cracked me up. Didn't Diana Rigg where something like that in The Avengers?

    Great books!

  11. Great books! I love old sewing books.


  12. Thank you so much for this wonderful retro fashion show and a couple of good chuckles too! Gosh, those boots-I never had a pair but a friend loved hers...she said she didn't have to shave her legs!

    Your sewing books are a true vintage treasure house!

  13. Great collection of sewing books. Very mod - unfortunately I wore a lot of those things.

  14. They say if you have worn (or even seen) a fashion once, it's not for you the second time around. Seeing those shorts convinces me they are right!
    The sewing room interior is awsome.

  15. What a great collection of old sewing books! I had several good giggles reading your fashion commentary!!

    Susan and Bentley

  16. I'm sure there is fantastic info in these books. Good info never goes out of style.

  17. Hi,
    I love vintage sewing stuff. The books are great and the patterns simply fabulous! I like the multicoloured sewing machine on the singer book best followed very closely by the red riding hood outfit!

  18. Wow..thanks for sharing. What a fun look at fashion and you're right about what goes around, lol!


  19. Loving the vintage fashions and cracking up over the kicky little shorts ... um, hanging head, I wore HOT PANTS in the early 70's. And peasant clothes. Too funny!

    Happy VTT!

  20. Now those are some fun books! I can see why you bought the Singer book just for the cover art. Love the flowered sewing machine.

    Okay, now while we might laugh at some of the older styles, some of those old style dresses have class, and yet are still shapely.

    I bet you do have a lot of fun perusing them.

  21. I could never be creative in that sewing room....I'd be too distracted all the time.

    Loved looking at all the fashions. I was just in my teens in the late 70's and had embroidered everything and a pair of those awesome shorts ...ahhhhhh memories.

  22. Wow, I sew too and I loved the fashions. I remember theses fashions well. I was sewing my own clothes and my daughter's at the time. a fun post. Thank you for sharing it today for VTT.
    Hugs, Jeanne

  23. What fun fashion images from our recent past. Would not ever wear those shorts even if I were a size two. ♣olive

  24. Love, love, love your finds. The cover to the first book would make a great image to hang on the wall in a craft room.

  25. I once shared a mcalls mag from the 50's they are so fun to look at! great post today...I will be back. I did enjoy my visit!

  26. Love the sewing books- Even though I can't sew a lick, I still think the graphics are cool. And your commentaries made them even more fun!

  27. Those books are wonderful! Funny how so many of the fashions look like what is stylish today! Thanks for sharing, and thanks for visiting my blog for VTT!

  28. How did I miss this post {scratches head}.

    Totally ROFL with the Little Red commentary. You ought to make Greta Von Riding Crop a running gag here {with links back to the original posts for new people who come later and want to be in on it too}. Hilarious.

    xo -E


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