Tag Archives: sewing

Hope Skillman Fabrics

I’ve been wanting to write about textile designer and manufacturer Hope Skillman (1908-1981) for a long time, but pictures of her—especially with any sense of what she wore—are hard to find.  This Vogue advertisement, featuring her fabric on a dress … Continue reading

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Domestic Scene, 1954

This snapshot evokes happy childhood memories for me.  Some of my fondest recollections of my grandmother are when she was at her sewing machine.  One Easter she made matching dresses for me, my sister, and my four cousins.  For an … Continue reading

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Imaginary Sewing

As a historian, I relish finding secret messages from the past—sketches in book margins, shopping lists and the like—that no one but the writer was meant to see.  I discovered several such notes in an old issue of Vogue Pattern … Continue reading

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Mrs. Exeter’s Fall Wardrobe, 1962

Do you remember Mrs. Exeter, Vogue’s older woman of fashion?  I recently came across her again in a Vogue Pattern Book from 1962.  By that time, she had all but disappeared from the fashion magazine.  Apparently editors believed she was … Continue reading

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A Sewn Wardrobe, 1978

In the 1970s, Vogue Patterns magazine did occasional features on women who sewed most of their own clothes.  As an added bonus, the editors asked the women why they had chosen particular styles.  What could be better for someone interested … Continue reading

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Tanaka Designing and Tailoring School, 1925

Although the banner in the background mentions ladies and gents, I see only women and children here. I suppose the students were making both women’s and men’s clothing. The photo possibly depicts some kind of open house or graduation ceremony.  … Continue reading

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Unruly Seamstresses in the 1930s

The Works Project Administration (or WPA) is best known for funding murals and highways in the Great Depression. However, it also started programs aimed specifically at women. One was the WPA sewing project, which employed thousands women creating garments for … Continue reading

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Holiday Greetings from Ida Arneson, 1957

Is anyone named Ida anymore?  It might be due for a comeback. This card was a lucky eBay find combing two favorite elements—an unlikely Christmas greeting and a sewing theme.  I suspect Mrs. Ida Arneson is a widow, since there … Continue reading

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Sewing for the Works Progress Administration, 1936

In the US, most of us have probably come across a bridge or a trail that was built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Depression Era government sponsored employment agency.  Not only did the program build bridges and sponsor … Continue reading

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Sewing for a Cause, 1959

Celebrity endorsements are nothing new.  Here’s a photo of Eleanor Roosevelt, then in her mid seventies, with a needle in her hand. She is meant to be sewing in the new label for the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union. It … Continue reading

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