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!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another Vintage Find

During our honeymoon, we did a little antique browsing. You know me, my eyes are always peeled for great sewing related finds. There's a little antiques co-op, not far from here that I love. I've shared finds from there with you before, including my beloved copy of Make Do and Mend. While casually browsing, my spidey senses began to tingle... literally, that's the only way to describe it... something made me look inside an old barrister's bookcase (you know, the kind with the glass cover panels to protect the books and documents) and I found the first seven books from the Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences course in "Complete Dressmaking and Designing With Pattern Drafting"! This course is the one headed by Mary Brooks Picken which so inspired Amy Barickman to write Vintage Notions (see my review here).

Anyway, ladies, I was so excited that my hands were literally shaking as I pulled these beauties from the case. They are in fabulous, near mint condition and they have already provided me with hours of enjoyment. My new hubby could see that I was beyond excited about these books, and he saw to it that I did not leave the shop without them. My only disappointment is that it is a partial set... the first seven in a seventeen book course!  I am dying to get my hands on the rest of the titles in the set. Seriously, if anyone would like to part with a set they own, let's talk. While I am far from a woman of means, I'd just love to have the rest of these, particularly if they were of the same vintage.

Each chapter in these wonderful volumes includes test materials.  Little quizzes on the contents presented, or instructions on what samples to create and mail in to be critiques by the faculty of the Institute.  There are a ton of projects to complete within these pages, may of which I will be sharing with you!

Included inside the first volume was a sheet detailing the course overview.  It also listed supplies that would be sent to each subscriber to the course.  These included a dressmaker's gauge, tape measure, answer papers, information blanks (I assume for notes), return envelopes and measure slips.

The books were sent out one at a time, so my assumption is that this subscriber decided not to continue in her studies for some reason. None of the books bore a name, or any other information, so I will never know why my historic friend stopped getting her books.

To commemorate this find, I'd like to share a little freebie with you! Here is a copy of the original Woman's Institute Measure Slip! Click on the image below and you will be redirected to download a fullsize PDF of the measure slip.  Print off several to use for your own measurements, or those of the people you sew for! Or, using PDF fill-in software, keep all the info on your computer. In any case, use it with my compliments, and thanks for your encouraging comments!


  1. What a great find! Those books look so neat!!

  2. Interesting. Is the second last image a list of the books? It's too small to actually read.. Would be good to know the titles you're missing that way if I come across them I can let you know.