Friday, October 12, 2012

Old school crafting

'Useful Crafts for Girls one considers: Knitting, Cutting and Sewing, Crocheting, Mending and Darning and Decorating. When pupils master these subjects they are able to make, decorate and repair all undergarments (and some outerwear).
To teach effectively, a course in each matter needs to be given, thus ranking the curriculum methodically, so that difficulties increase gradually. In an education plan the curriculum is allocated to the different apprenticeships. The dexterity and intellectual development of the pupils of Elementary School should thereby be taken into account.'

This is how the book Nuttige Handwerken (Useful Crafts) starts. It was written for teachers and this is the eighth edition, from 1961. I found it in an opp shop and it reminds me of an exhibition I saw on textile crafting in large and small households with little or no electrical equipment.

There's a pattern example under Free patterns above (English version on request)

It's a fascinating book: it shows how to knit socks for every size and gender, take measurements to make sewing patterns, sew button holes by hand and use darning-samplers. I also love that knickers are called directoires. And it shows that play pants, play aprons, crafting aprons and slip dresses are not as common as they used to be.

What impresses me most though (in this book just like earlier in the exhibition) is the amount of work women and girls used to have (this blogpost on socks illustrates this well), and how quality of fabrics and yarn changed when production increased and everything became disposable.