I have posted before now about how much I love Make Do And Mend: the book for housewives published by the Ministry of Information in 1943, when clothing was rationed. But here’s an even earlier book, which is less well-known, but just as useful. Also, you can buy a used copy from Amazon for next to nothing.
Sew and Save, by Joanna Chase, was originally published in 1941. The blurb on the back reads:
DEDICATED FOLLOWERS OF FASHION
When your passion for fashion is thwarted by your meagre budget:
Sew & Save!
I’ll go with that.
In true thrifty style there are no illustrations, save a few basic pattern diagrams – but there are densely-packed tips, instructions and ideas in abundance. I must be honest: at the moment the Sew parts are beyond me. I love my sewing machine, but I’m just about juggling baby and work and home, so right now the more demanding sorts of craft project aren’t really getting a look in. A shame, because this slim red volume contains everything: from A Dainty Matinee Jacket to Hats You Can Make Yourself. Soon, perhaps…
But Save? Ah, now there is something I can do, even when I am stupidly short of time. Apart from when Joanne Chase writes, “Allot a few hours one day each week to going over your wardrobe for cleaning and repairs”. In 2012? Ha!
Anyway, I have been carrying Sew And Save around in my little bag – truly, S&S is the size of an old Peter & Jane book – taking copious notes and launching various ideas on my unsuspecting household.
One of the ideas from the book that I really like is called A Bed-Time Routine For Clothes. It is short, sharp and easy, and it reads as follows:
A BED-TIME ROUTINE FOR CLOTHES
Your three great allies in clothes care are heat, steam and a good stiff brush. Always brush your clothes when you take them off at night, as dust left on overnight works it way into the material and is responsible for that grey “bloom” on clothes. Buy several twopenny wooden hangers, so that when you hang your clothes up they fall into their natural folds and retain their shape. Be sure to get the hangers wide enough, so that the shoulders of clothes do not sag over the ends. Never hang a garment on a hook by its neck. If you do that, you simply ask for bulging neck-lines and sagging hems.
CARE FOR HATS AND SHOES
Hats should be brushed before they are put away, and preferably stood on hat-stands…If, however, you haven’t the space for hat-stands, always lay a hat down on its crown to prevent the brim taking the weight of the hat and curling into curious shapes. Hats should be covered in tissue paper when they are not in use.
Shoes should always be cleaned and put on trees when you take them off at night. Metal and wooden trees may be more and more difficult to get in war-time, but little balls of newspaper pushed down tightly into the shoe will do as well.
That last tip reminds me of the wonderful Mr Straw’s House in Worksop:
Do you have a special bedtime routine for your clothes?