Vintage Sewing Book Addiction: Constance Talbot and Mary Brooks Pickens

womansinstitutebooksby booksbw etsy

(image from Etsy shop BookBW)

My hoarding continues. I’m currently fiending on the old Domestic Arts and Sciences Institute books and found a few for decent prices on Ebay. I also discovered Constance Talbot’s The Complete Book of Sewing which, fortunately for us, was reprinted frequently and is relatively readily available on Amazon and used book sites for really low prices. It’s also available (here on archive.org) to borrow. You have to create an account but it takes all of three seconds and involves no spamming whatsoever.

Archive.org is a treasure trove. The Secrets of Distinctive Dress by Mary Brooks Pickens? They have it. For download. For FREE. (Pdf version here.) It’s part of the Domestic Arts series I’m trying to collect, and it’s a 280ish page gem of style advice and cosmetic tips from the period (1918). It’s like doing anthropology on your own culture. Bonus artifacts: the archive also has the Institute’s volumes on cookery, in case you want to cook a meal to match your period dress. Extra points for doing so on an open hearth. (Click here for the page links for all five volumes.)

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