Sunday, May 27, 2012

Vintage Home Economics

A friend of mine recently gave me a vintage home economics text book. *Thanks, Cheryl!*  She said I was the only person she could think of who was interested in sewing. Well, I hope there are more of us out there, but I am glad she thought of me!

1943!! Incredible. Nearly 70 years old! Gracious! Let's take a peek inside, shall we?

This is the first illustration in the book: learning the sewing machine. Things have changed for sewing machines in the last 70 years, haven't they?

Here is another illustration that caught my interest...

Well, the picture AND the caption caught my eye...can you read that caption? My goodness, that sure is cheesy. It amuses me, you know? It's just so amazing that times have changed so drastically in 70 years. My mother would have used a textbook similar to this, perhaps. "Four little maids..."

And then, I found this word that I'd never seen or heard before: armscye.

I had to go looking for the pronunciation on this word, as well as a definition, although from picture and the paragraph below, it becomes rather apparent. The word is pronounced "arm sigh" and it means the opening in a garment where the sleeve is attached. Hmmm. I think armhole, the term I've always known, works pretty well.

Here's the passage explaining how to fit the "armscye."

Well, thanks for joining me in my trip down memory lane...although not my memories. My own memory lane consists of taking a lot of home ec in junior high and high school, and being a long-time member of 4-H. I loved the sewing activities. As a senior in high school, I made a winter coat, complete with bound buttonholes! A midi-coat, remember those from the 1970s? Believe it or not, I actually took a sewing machine to college with me!

Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. How fascinating - what a wonderful book. Did you notice the dress guard on the sewing machine stand? I loved that.

  2. I love books like that. You reminded me that I own one myself and need to pull it out for a laugh. I really liked the detail of the sewing machine. And I thought my Bernina was old! That machine was dated even for 1946. Unfortunately, when I took home economics in the 1970's I think my teacher learned from your book. We were told they were "arm sighs" and that's what the poor teacher got from us...lots of sighs. I did take a sewing machine to college and even took sewing classes there since I majored in textiles. I even took it over to my boyfriend's house. Since he's been my husband these last 28 years I suppose he learned to accept the habit.


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