Monday, April 21, 2008

Put on mascara before you sew!

I read another blog recently that quoted from the Singer Sewing Book, published by McGraw Hill in 1954. The book must have been written at the height of the June Cleaver period of female subjugation, well before the bra burning feminist movement introduced more reasonable expectations for women. The quotes noted on the post are hilarious. My overwhelming favorite are tips on sewing successfully, especially the paragraph about physical appearance. It says, “When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Go through a beauty ritual of orderliness. Have on a clean dress.”

The manual goes into further detail:
“Looking attractive while you are sewing is very important because if you are making something for yourself, you will try it on at regular intervals, and you can hope for better results when you look your best. Again, sewing must be approached with the idea that you are going to enjoy it, and if you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband come home and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing as you should”.

If I am fearful that my husband will come home and I will not look neatly put together...?!?!?! Ha. The author would die if she only knew that I do the bulk of my sewing in mismatched pajamas with my hair askew and no makeup. Not even mascara. This got me thinking, and I wonder if the author would also be upset to know that my husband sees me on a daily basis first thing in the morning with bed head, before I have brushed my teeth, and when I am barefoot (I do not sleep with my matching shoes and handbag, although maybe I should. Do you think June Cleaver slept in matching shoes?).

The one redeeming quote that I read (although admittedly I did not read the entire manual, so there may be more redeeming quotes) is this bit on the value of handmade items. I think it holds true for all things handmade, whether homemade food, handmade clothing, crafts, or art.

"When the mind and the hands are occupied with the creation of something useful and attractive, there is no room for discontent, boredom, petty worries, fears and jealousies, and there are few pleasures to equal the sense of accomplishment of holding in one’s hands the skilfully finished product of one’s own efforts.”

This week I am finishing several sewing projects, including Sam's lemon shirt and my Butterick Walkaway dress. Keep checking back for photos, stories, and of course uplifting sewing advice. And don't forget to put on mascara before you log onto my blog, because heaven forbid your husband might come home while you are reading, and if you are not looking neat and pretty he may ask for a divorce! ;-)

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