Readers, I own many sewing books. Probably too many. I try not to think about it.
But there is one sewing book I've wanted for a long time now, a rare old sewing book, around which something of a cult has formed. Can you guess which book this is?
Yes, that book!
Blogging buddy Gertie and I have so much in common. We both love vintage sewing, small, furry pets, and deep red lipsticks with blue undertones.
I know it reflects poorly on my character, but I often ask myself, What does Gertie have that I don't have, other than translucent skin (I've started exfoliating), a book deal (be patient), and youth? Some say I have borrowed too liberally from Gertie since launching MPB. But isn't imitation the highest form of flattery?
Anyway, friends, I decided I simply had to get my greedy mitts on Vogue's New Book For Better Sewing to see what all the fuss was about and perhaps to figure out Gertie's next move. So last week, when I saw a copy available on eBay for the bargain price of -- let's just say half what a used copy currently costs on Amazon, I jumped at the chance. At first I was resistant to spending so much money on another sewing book, but Michael convinced me that if I didn't like it, I could always resell it. I have even discovered that Gertie herself is looking for another copy, so I could sell my copy to her, with a minor mark-up, of course.
Long story short, I bought the book and it has arrived!
So what's it like?
Readers, VNBFBS is a lovely book. Does it include sewing techniques I wouldn't find in other vintage sewing books? Probably not. But the concept -- unusual in its day -- of moving the reader through progressively more challenging sewing projects, is a brilliant one. And unlike many of today's sewing books, it doesn't have you starting off with a pencil case, a sewing machine cover, or a tote bag (people didn't tote in 1952, they threw their packages in the back of their Chrysler Town & Country Convertible).
No, you jump right into a chic chemise dress, and the book assumes you have the skills to handle it -- though sewing techniques are outlined at the beginning of the book, along with a glossary of sewing terms.
One of the things about most other sewing books -- back then as well as today -- is that they are organized by specific technique. This makes them excellent reference books, but they are much less likely to be read from cover to cover. Nobody sits down and thinks, I'm going to spend today inserting zippers. You're more likely to be working on a project that needs a zipper, and after inserting it, move on.
VNBFBS focuses on projects, and walks you through each one in great detail. As you probably already know, the projects themselves are Vogue patterns the reader would have had to purchase separately. Thanks to the Internet, these patterns can now be collected (I believe Gertie has found all of them), but the process is time-consuming and potentially very costly. But there are zillions of vintage patterns out there that are similar to the ones in the book. In fact, only two days ago, for about $5, I picked up this vintage Vogue pattern on eBay that resembles both the "background dress" project and the coat project in the book. Lovely, no?
I think the bolero chapter, for example, would be helpful for any vintage bolero, not just the one discussed.
I think I'll be keeping VNBFBS for right now. It's charmingly written -- "Under the sun or under the stars, the portrait-neckline blouse has a way of making you your prettiest and most feminine." -- and beautifully art-directed, with excellent illustrations and period photography. I think any vintage fashion home sewer would appreciate it. I'll admit, though, the constant focus on tailor tacks to mark every dart line seems archaic to me, but it's obviously a couture technique others find valuable. I'll stick to pencil or chalk.
You can see more photos of Vogue's New Book For Better Sewing here.
Moving on, to be filed under "Solutions in Search of a Problem" I must share this cutting-edge June Tailor notion I recently stumbled upon.
Friends, how often are you in the middle of a complicated sewing project when you find yourself in need of a pin. You reach over to your pin cushion, only to discover dozens of protruding possibilities. Which to choose -- the glass head pin, the flower head pin, the blue, the red, or the black? Seconds pass, which over the course of one's sewing career could add up to countless minutes of precious life you won't get back.
Choosing a pin the old-fashioned way also requires casting one's glance to the periphery of one's line of vision or even turning one's neck, risking vertigo, whiplash, or worse. If only there were a solution to this potentially crippling problem!
Friends, look no further! June Tailor's Pintastic makes your pin choice for you! This battery-operated device automatically dispenses a pin -- as if by magic! No twisting, no turning, and, best of all, no thinking!
How much would you expect to pay for this amazing space-age convenience? $200? $100? How about just $59.99? It's true! But wait -- are you sitting down? -- you can now purchase Pintastic directly from June Tailor for the reduced price of only $29.99!! But hurry, quantities are limited. (4 AA alkaline batteries not included.)
And to think, Christmas is just around the corner!
Personally, I love the aerodynamic lines of June Tailor's Pintastic, which resembles nothing so much as a vintage 1950's toilet bowl -- in fact, my Aunt Florence had one exactly like it in the bathroom of her suburban ranch house in Clifton, New Jersey.
|Aunt Florence's toilet|
Friends, that's all for today. I have much sewing to do as I'm sure you do too. Right now, however, I need to pay a visit to my Pintastic, or the next closest thing (wink, wink).
Have a pintastic day, everybody!
Any owners of VNBFBS out there? What do you think?