How far has home sewing really come in the last 45 years?

At an antiques fair in Manchester I stumbled across a box full of old sewing and knitting magazines. I’m not a knitter, but if you are, there are so many patterns and instructions in these mags, and for £1 a mag, you can’t go wrong!

Despite the lack of sewing patterns, I was fascinated by the style, and the topics that were discussed, so bought a couple to read on my train home.

Ingenious way to print patterns

Ingenious way to print patterns

For the knitting patterns, there’s line by line instructions of how many stitches of what type to make up the pattern, and for the few sewing patterns, they use an ingenious way to avoid printing full sized patterns. You can draw the pattern out yourself, but creating a piece of paper with a 1 inch square grid drawn on it, and then copying out the shapes. I might try to make this one as I think the style is coming back into fashion again!

It’s also interesting how they portray the fabrics, given most of the pages are in black and white. It’s all about the contrasts and the explanations that go with them are much more detailed than you’d expect to see today.

I particularly like the reader’s views columns, with classics such as this from Mrs J. Bougourd of Isleworth! I feel like I’m not achieving the 1970s perfect housewife dream… the hubby is lucky if he gets his socks paired!

#HowToBeThePerfectWife

#HowToBeThePerfectWife

But interestingly you see that despite all our advances in technology over the last 45 years, our electronic sewing machines with hundreds of fancy stitches, the difficulties they faced with sewing back then are still remarkably similar today as this full page feature on “Sewing with Confidence” demonstrates. Fiddling with the tension, seams and hems puckering, how to sew with stretchy material, how to measure yourself properly… not much has changed! So maybe if we can take on board some of these top tips, we can start to overcome these age-old sewing nightmares!

Recognise these frustrations?

Recognise these frustrations?

P.s. If anyone is into knitting and wants to have a go at some of the patterns, let me know. You’re welcome to these mags

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