Saving the planet... one garment at a time!

... and one upcycle at a time... Welcome to my blog: A place to have an "over the fence conversation" about sewing, altered couture, upcycling, and all kinds of crafts using found objects, beads, ephemera and other vintage finds!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review: Amy Barickman's Vintage Notions

Vintage Notions was written by Amy Barickman as a tribute to the pioneering work of Mary Brooks Picken and her Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences.  During her career Ms. Picken wrote almost 100 books and texts on sewing and fashion.  She also brought the growing movement for correspondence education into the purview of women with the Women's Institute, enabling many women to learn skills as dressmakers and milliners, which would allow them to work from home in these trades.

The book's subtitle is "An Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing Fashion and Fun".  True to these words, there's lots of inspiration here, particularly for those interested in the thirties as an era.  Many parts of the book are taken directly from the curriculum of the Women's Institute in the words of the teachers themselves.  Ms. Barickman has annotated these to provide insights on when a modern update might work better for today's reader.

While I wish the book were heavier on sewing, because that is my particular interest, there really are some great recipes, and some very timely perspectives on beauty and grooming which still apply today.  The book is arranged by seasons and has cute little pockets inside to hold other bits of inspiration like pictures or fabric swatches.  All in all, a fun book with lots to do and try. 


  1. Dee, I realized in reading this post that I HAVE a book written by Mrs. Picken that I found on a trip to Scotland several years ago. I blog about it here:

    Happy Sewing!

    1. That is so cool! I'll definitely check out your post. I'd love to go to Scotland sometime.