Friday Freebie of Awesomeness

You might want to have a fresh pair of undies ready. Just sayin’.

I was conferred my PhD last week (or fortnight, or thereabouts-which, by the way, is not the reason for the above suggestion, although in a perfect world it would be) so I thought I’d post a really awesome Friday Freebie to celebrate. And the Library kindly delivered Practical Dress Design by Mabel D. Erwin. There are so many reasons why this book is awesome (not the least of which is the fact that its copyright of 1954 has not been renewed, thus putting it in the public domain-yayfreeforall! This sort of thing brings to mind images of Scrooge McDuck doing the backstroke in his swimming pool of money-although in my case it would be pattern magazines and books not dollar notes, and lying on a couch reading instead of swimming, but I digress). Other reasons for this book’s abso-fabulousity:


Propah fitting instructions (yea, but every sewing book has those-waaait for it..)

Pattern-less garments, oh my!

Vinta-riffic collars (feeling light-headed yet?)

I’ve never seen dart manipulation principles explained quite like this. Usually diagrams concerning this topic are instructive but boring (you know what it is I speak of, that circular diagram with bodice-front blocks showing dart manipulation via rotation). Also, some fool (actually, more than just the one fool, as evidenced by the various types of markings) went through this book putting ticks and crosses on the diagrams and colouring in (the f*ck?) some of the diagrams (my total lack of super powers means that instead of enjoying travelling back in time and delivering a swift kick to the head of the offender just prior to said act I’ve had to go through the book erasing sh*t like that so if you do come across it (as evinced in image 2 above). I’m pretty sure I’ve removed every single one of those marks (from the pdf version) but if not I’m sorry, it’s been 3 days and I’m really over it XS.

If you’re printing this out, do a couple of pages at a time to check; the thickness of the spine has caused a lot of variation in the margins post-cropping. Unavoidable, because I don’t have one of these yet.

What she considers ‘basic designs’ and by 4 she means 4 million 24 (pass the smelling salts sister)..

And the gratifying, heady feeling of pure validating awesomeness that overwhelms you when you read sentences like:

Modern methods should free one’s time without sacrifice of professional finish. Who wants to spend two hundred laboratory hours making a padded, taped, interfaced tailored suit that looks like $29.50?  

Exact-a-f*ckingly sister!

Also, you can now make all the acid-trip styles and silhouettes from the covers of vintage patterns that’d otherwise set you back a couple of Gs online. So what’re you waiting for? Get it!

Want more of this sort of thing? The internet archive has gems like Clothing for Women (1919, pdf, Kindle and other versions) and Complete Home Reference of Sewing and Needlework  (which contains Sewing for Everyone by Mary Brook Pickens. 1944 and The Needlework Library, by Elizabeth L. Mathieson, 1949), the latter requires a login but it’s well worth the 3 minutes it takes to register and activate your free account. More recent open source awesomeness that is only tangentially related: Reproductions of model gowns exhibited from 1913 (Model 1 pictured below. Pwaoarrrh I’d wear that. As is.). 

Well I did warn you.

Well, I did warn you. In advance and all.

Previously on Friday Freebies. Featured image: Modes Royale pattern D-15 (which you don’t give a sh*t about because now you can make it. I’m being super awesome today so here’s a clue).

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