Saturday, June 20, 2009

Working Women

I have a small collection of older "Workbasket" magazines. Each time I look through them, I am mostly fascinated with what made up the typical housewife at that particular time in history. Since it was a very popular magazine, I have to think that it "spoke" to the women of the day.

April, 1951, is the oldest copy that I have:

Just look at that doily on the front cover. From what I can gather, most women decorated their homes with doilies that they made themselves. I know my mom did. We always had crocheted doilies on end tables that she had made.

And look at this cute hat pattern. I can imagine many women quickly whipped up one of these when the magazine was hot off the press:

And of course there is an ad for new patterns. These dresses seem like they would even fit in today with the current popularity in "retro" items:

Besides patterns for knitting and crocheting, each month the magazine also featured tatting, sewing, and embroidering. The ads seem to range from making extra cash, polishing floors "without wax", and how to lose weight (some things just never change).

As this generation of women are passing on, the items that they spent so much time working with their hands to make their homes beautiful, are making their way into antique stores, thrift shops, estate, and garage sales. Besides doilies, there are so many beautiful embroidered linens with crochet or knit trim. Whenever I see these beautiful items, I typically pause and imagine the hours and hours spent making them, as well as their feeling of accomplishment when the project was done, and placed in the home to then be used and enjoyed. Can you imagine taking the time today, to not only embroider on your new set of pillowcases, but then to crochet a trim to be sewn all around the edge? Personally, I would love to be able to have the time to embroider on all of the pillowcases in the house. It just seems like it would add that special touch.


Anonymous said...

I think about that too when I look at vintage linens. That's why they have such a strong appeal to me! I imagine all the time those women spent in making their things beautiful.

I have some pillowcases that my mother embroidered and my grandmother crocheted a lace trim for. I'm working on embroidering some linens for my daughters, but it is taking awhile!

Those magazines are a real treasure trove!


Lisa @celebrate CREATIVITY said...

I love seeing vintage pages, patterns and magazines of all kinds. Nice post.

The Library Lady said...

I too appreciate the loving time and effort that went into all of those lovely linens. I surely appreciate the ones that I have that belonged to my mom.

The Library Lady
"Take surprise and delight in the little things"