Tag Archives: how to make dresses the modern Singer way

And now … vintage Singer sewing books for sale!


Gosh, I finally got it together to sort out a few spare copies of these wonderful Singer USA books and get them listed on the “Bits ‘n’ Bobs” page. They’re originals, they date from the 1930’s, and as far as I know they were never sold in the UK.  All three are fascinating reading – and if you’re at all into antique/retro dressmaking, they’re right up your street!

“Sort Cuts To Home Sewing” starts with a worthy foreword by the Singer Sewing Machine Company, who were obviously not big on paragraphing.  But no matter, because we then dive straight into it with the ubiquitous Mary Brooks Picken and her quaint way of wording things e.g. “Ever since I was a very little girl I have loved to sew myself”.  The mind boggles, but whatever toots your flute …

She may have been a strange child, but in later life Mary BP certainly knew her stuff.  There’s oodles of invaluable information on caring for your Singer, including stitch formation and tension, oiling, common causes of machine troubles and so forth, as well as how to sort out your bobbin thread guide by the application of a pair of pliers!  And after that, there’s everything (and I do mean everything) you need to become an expert user of the binder, the foot hemmer, the adjustable hemmer, the tucker and the ruffler, with plenty of excellent illustrations.

“How To Make Children’s Clothes” is perhaps more of a nostalgia thing, unless of course you’re into making costumes for Amateur Dramatics.  Having said that, though, it’s full of practical hints and tips which apply just as much now as they did 80 years ago – even if you don’t have an urgent need right now to rustle up a bloomer frock for a four year old.  Difficult to put down once you start looking through it, this is may well be an invaluable little book for fashion students.

“How To Make Dresses” is absolutely essential if you’re a student of fashion.  You have to have it!  You need it too if you’re a theatre costumier, or for that matter if you just have a thing about 30’s style.  Good stuff on seams, using and altering patterns, assembling and finishing dresses, hemming and so forth, including period gems like the bit on “Clothes’ Becomingness”.  Remember ladies, “a dress can rarely be smart that is not first becoming”.

Be that as it may, these three little books are now listed for sale individually, but we do also have a set of four (the above three plus “How To Make Draperies”) which are in remarkably good condition.   Quite frankly we’re as yet undecided whether to let them go, but if you’re interested in the set, you could do worse than send us an email …