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This is the other book Thrud picked up at the Imperial War Museum in London some time ago, along with the cookbook from two days ago. (By the way, over in the Dreamwidth comments to that entry Zeborah has both made and reviewed those potato truffles.)

This one is about clothes: keeping them, mending them, making them, reusing them, and preventing them from wearing out. I suspect it of being a lot more useful than the cookbook to a modern audience, because knitting tips have not changed that much since WWII, but I also think it's a lot less likely to be of general interest, as it is quite technical. Large chunks of it boil down to 'to mend x sort of tear in x kind of garment you should use x stitch', and although I would consider myself at least intermediate at sewing (i.e. I have made entirely by hand garments which were worn in public by myself and other persons), and I live with at least one person who is professional-caliber at it, I have no idea of half what they are talking about. Stitch names may have changed in the interval, or across the ocean, is one thing; and also the fabrics that are common today are not the fabrics that were common then, but I also think the skill set of sewing has changed generally, at least in a local way.

I mean, I am not joking when I say I am living with a professional-caliber seamstress; Thrud has done everything from genuine eighteenth-century costuming to a wedding dress. We were just talking yesterday about the fact that no one in the house has the vaguest idea how to darn anything. The thing is, we don't have to. You can't darn synthetics and the other things are, like, socks, which are cheap enough to us that it would be worth more in labor to fix them than to get new. (If I ever knit anyone in the house socks, well, that is when we will learn how to darn.) And that is one of the major differences between Now and Then: labor, and our time, are by far the more expensive thing, and as far as clothes go, throughout history the reverse has been true more often than not. The skill set of a person who is very good at sewing, in our particular first-world academic-upper-class milieu, is centered around making things, and making them to look pretty, and also if possible to last. The skill set of this book is centered around making things and making things to last, and last, and last, and, if possible, to look pretty. So not orthogonal, but not overlapping much. This could therefore then be a useful reference book to me, assuming I can extrapolate from it to mending modern fabrics-- and assuming that I want to take the time.

Because I have that option. Of course, one of the things this book is good for is reminding one that other people didn't and often still don't.

Also, of course, it reminds one of many other things which are actually past as opposed to just not right here-- for example that women used to wear rubber corsets, and a whole lot of other garments which have gone out. The sections on the care and maintenance of corsets are sufficiently arcane and technical to be by themselves reasons I am glad I've never had to wear the things. I have seen small animals with less complicated life-cycles.

Oh, and if you have a lot of leather boots, you can certainly learn how to keep them in good condition from this. Mostly I have learned I am doing everything wrong.

I shall leave you with the place this book became not just history but living at me and basically kicked me in the stomach. This is a chapter heading:

Here are some ways in which a man's unwanted garments can be converted to your own use, if you are quite sure he won't want them again after the war.


I mean. Ouch.

You can comment here or at the Dreamwidth crosspost. There are comment count unavailable comments over there.
rushthatspeaks: (Default)
This is the other book Thrud picked up at the Imperial War Museum in London some time ago, along with the cookbook from two days ago. (By the way, over in the Dreamwidth comments to that entry Zeborah has both made and reviewed those potato truffles.)

This one is about clothes: keeping them, mending them, making them, reusing them, and preventing them from wearing out. I suspect it of being a lot more useful than the cookbook to a modern audience, because knitting tips have not changed that much since WWII, but I also think it's a lot less likely to be of general interest, as it is quite technical. Large chunks of it boil down to 'to mend x sort of tear in x kind of garment you should use x stitch', and although I would consider myself at least intermediate at sewing (i.e. I have made entirely by hand garments which were worn in public by myself and other persons), and I live with at least one person who is professional-caliber at it, I have no idea of half what they are talking about. Stitch names may have changed in the interval, or across the ocean, is one thing; and also the fabrics that are common today are not the fabrics that were common then, but I also think the skill set of sewing has changed generally, at least in a local way.

I mean, I am not joking when I say I am living with a professional-caliber seamstress; Thrud has done everything from genuine eighteenth-century costuming to a wedding dress. We were just talking yesterday about the fact that no one in the house has the vaguest idea how to darn anything. The thing is, we don't have to. You can't darn synthetics and the other things are, like, socks, which are cheap enough to us that it would be worth more in labor to fix them than to get new. (If I ever knit anyone in the house socks, well, that is when we will learn how to darn.) And that is one of the major differences between Now and Then: labor, and our time, are by far the more expensive thing, and as far as clothes go, throughout history the reverse has been true more often than not. The skill set of a person who is very good at sewing, in our particular first-world academic-upper-class milieu, is centered around making things, and making them to look pretty, and also if possible to last. The skill set of this book is centered around making things and making things to last, and last, and last, and, if possible, to look pretty. So not orthogonal, but not overlapping much. This could therefore then be a useful reference book to me, assuming I can extrapolate from it to mending modern fabrics-- and assuming that I want to take the time.

Because I have that option. Of course, one of the things this book is good for is reminding one that other people didn't and often still don't.

Also, of course, it reminds one of many other things which are actually past as opposed to just not right here-- for example that women used to wear rubber corsets, and a whole lot of other garments which have gone out. The sections on the care and maintenance of corsets are sufficiently arcane and technical to be by themselves reasons I am glad I've never had to wear the things. I have seen small animals with less complicated life-cycles.

Oh, and if you have a lot of leather boots, you can certainly learn how to keep them in good condition from this. Mostly I have learned I am doing everything wrong.

I shall leave you with the place this book became not just history but living at me and basically kicked me in the stomach. This is a chapter heading:

Here are some ways in which a man's unwanted garments can be converted to your own use, if you are quite sure he won't want them again after the war.


I mean. Ouch.

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