Stitches and seams

Do you remember Home Economics in school when you were younger? They don’t call it that any more, and boys are learning to sew and cook and girls can take shop, so I understand. I wish that had been true in the 1960s and 1970s while I was growing up. I still hammer like a girl.

When Mildred Ledgard, (born about 1910) attended Northwest School in Hartford about 1925 or so, she took a sewing class, and we have her sewing sample book. It puts me to shame when I think of my own sewing abilities! She has samples of flat felled seams,

 

Flat felled seam sample by Mildred Ledgard. Ms 101782.

Flat felled seam sample by Mildred Ledgard. Ms 101782.

 

blanket stitch and something called a catch stitch (the seam in the center),

Blanket and catch seams by Mildred Ledgard. Ms 101782

Blanket and catch seams by Mildred Ledgard. Ms 101782

gathering,

Sample of gathering cloth with stitches by Mildred Ledyard. ms 101782

Sample of gathering cloth with stitches by Mildred Ledgard. Ms 101782

hem stitching,

Hem stitching sample by Mildred Ledgard. Ms 101782

Hem stitching sample by Mildred Ledgard. Ms 101782

and an over-sewn patch.

A patch seen from the "wrong" side of the fabric for better contrast. Ms 101782

A patch seen from the “wrong” side of the fabric for better contrast. Ms 101782

I think I was an adult when I learned what a flat felled seam was (think of the outside seam on your jeans), patches were ironed on, not sewn, and my hem stitch never looked like Mildred’s. But at least I can thread a needle and sew. In fact, if I have free time I like to quilt. My dear sister-in-law never learned to even sew on a button (but don’t let her know I told you). Good for my brother he had a mother and sister who could sew.

Mildred’s sewing sample book is available in the Research Center by asking for Ms 101782. Like many of the stories we collect, we don’t have the “rest of the story” about Mildred–did she marry, was she an accomplished sewer, did she have a career or a family? If anyone can shed light on Mildred, please let us know.

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3 thoughts on “Stitches and seams

  1. I took home economics in school but I didn’t learn as much as the teacher taught. I wish my sewing skills were better. There are so many things that used to be common place for the household – sewing, canning, gardening – that were lost in my family and that I am desperately trying to create for myself as an adult. I love these pictures.

    • You are so correct that a lot of those “old” skills have been lost. I am glad I at least sew, and I do try my hand at gardening. I used to make my own jams and jellies and did some canning, but I simply don’t have the time now. I am just thankful I had a mother who passed along that knowledge. And we should all be grateful, I suppose, that historical societies like ours preserve that knowledge in one form or another.

  2. I took home ec and we definitely did not learn of these skills- my mom can sew and crochet and I wish I had taken a more active interest in learning when I was younger!

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