I can't even tell you how excited this box made me. I've spent the last two evenings looking through everything and I am just in awe. Pretty much everything belonged to a Mrs. W. W. Hileman of Cottage Grove, Oregon. She had a subscription to The Workbasket and many of the patterns were mail ordered. She folded all of the pattern pieces up, tucked them into the instruction sheet and then tucked that back into the envelope. It makes me feel so ashamed of my file folders of jumbled patterns!
My Mom mentioned that her mother also had a subscription to The Workbasket. She often sees me getting excited about things like ribbon and new handstitches and says, "If only your Grandma Jensen could see what you're creating. It would make her so happy." It does pain me terribly that I don't have much of my Grandma Jensen's old sewing supplies, and I had just asked my Dad's mother about her old sewing stuff this past Friday. She told me, "I've been downsizing and gave all that stuff away ages ago." I feel sad that Mrs. W. W. Hileman's granddaughter doesn't have this box, but some other lucky ladies hopefully have my grandmothers' old things and are loving them just as much as I am loving these...
This handout on Concealed Slide Fasteners actually applies directly, but directly, to my Sew For Victory dress. I've encountered this side zipper before on my Martha Dress ('50s Simplicity 3613) and I don't love them. They make the dress really difficult to get on and off, so I was considering ditching it and making a regular back zipper. Perhaps after reading this I'll be more inclined to make it work the old fashioned way.
There was a variety of topics in addition to sewing, such as gardening and wood furniture refinishing. I basically get to take an authentic Home Economics course you guys!!
Can someone explain to me why the USDA used to print sewing material? I haven't had time to look into the history but you can bet I will be heading to the library this week. This booklet on dress fitting is from 1946!
"Other publications on clothing and textiles available form the United States Department of Agriculture"
There were also just a ton of iron on embroidery templates in this box. I know how you ladies love your kittenz:
There was even a pillow case template with Pansies that my Mom saw and immediately recognized as a pattern she had done when she was about 12 yrs old. She embroidered the pansies onto the yoke of a pinafore and wore it in a school picture. If she finds the picture, I'll definitely share it with you all.
The care with which these items are stored amazes me. Look at this lovely bundle of newspaper pattern pieces, tied with a blue grosgrain ribbon and secured with a pin:
And then there is the history! This is some sort of homemade newspaper pattern (one side says wool and one says lining) cut from a '60s Eugene Register Guard with a story about the worsening state of Laos titled JFK to Meet Mao. Wow.
And how thrifty was this lady to cut her own pattern pieces from newspapers anyway? I mean, look at this self drafted ovenmit!
There were also hand-drawn tapestry designs on tissue paper, little children's attempts at embroidery and so much more. If anyone is interested I can upload more pictures.
As for the patterns in this box, most are sixties style shift dresses, though there are a few fifties things mixed in. Mrs. W. W. Hileman was a size 12 which is just one size larger than myself, so I'll be able to use any of these I'd like. There are also a few boys and mens things in here. I have two nephews and my mother would like me to make them something. I'd be honored to make them school clothes!! And now for the pattern inventory: