Bibliotheca July: Vacation!

July 2022: What Happens in Ise Stays in Ise

Nothing says seaside promenades like blue stripes! ❤ Image from The Victorian Dressmaker, vol 2

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! Or, if you’re here for the first time from the Bay Area Kei Bibliotheca blog circle – then just plain welcome! ❤ My application to join an incredible lineup of bloggers, fashion enthusiasts, and artists was just accepted this month, and although it’s not required, there’s a theme each month for affiliated bloggers to explore should they wish. I’ve been doing so many projects lately that I haven’t had as much time for the history side of this blog, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to make that happen!

Although I dabble in other periods, my particular era of historical interest is generally the 1800s or what’s known as the Victorian Era in England and the US (approximately 1837-1901), and the later part of the Edo Period and early Meiji Period in Japan (the entire Edo period was about 1603-1867, and Meiji ran from 1868-1912). There was so much growth and change during that time everywhere in the world, and the clothing was just fantastic. Additionally, the expansion of the middle class in these three countries in particular meant that many people had time for leisure – and therefore, vacations! So, where did they go? And – more importantly – what did they wear? 😀

1860s trekking and climbing gear. Image from The Victorian Dressmaker, vol 2.

The short answer is “everywhere,” and “clothing that made sense for the occasion,” just like today! 🙂 For a Victorian woman who wanted to indulge in new outdoor activities like hiking or rock climbing, this meant sturdy fabrics and skirts that were actually above her ankles. The scandal! 😀 For visiting the sea, she would likely wear washable linen or cotton dresses (salt spray would absolutely ruin silk) – and in the latter part of the era (1890s or so) she would change into a smart bathing suit to enjoy the waters.

There were even bathing corsets that were lighter-weight and more flexible! Image from Sporting Fashion.

Victorians absolutely loved to travel, and just like today it was recommended that they wear layers that were easy to add or remove to suit the weather, and to make washing easier after the dust of being in a carriage or train for hours – just like today when your clothes for flying overseas are likely to focus on comfort and ease of cleaning afterward.

How’s that for a photo op!? Image from Sporting Fashion.

And, just as now, sometimes Victorians simply wanted to stroll around a place and take in the sights. It was very common therefore for women in particular to wear an overdress/wrapper/coat to protect their clothing and allow them to worry less about the local conditions and more about what amazing scenery, people, or shopping there was to see and do!

I don’t know how practical that hat is, but I WANT it! Image from Patterns of Fashion 1.

In the late Edo period in Japan, very similar conditions were occurring as in Victorian England and America, and just like their Western counterparts the Japanese of the period absolutely loved travel. The most common form of travel used pilgrimage to a far-away shrine – or, better yet, a whole series of them! – as an excuse to leave town for months.

That poor horse… Image from Edo Culture

Clothing tended to be similar to what was worn in daily life – kimono (or kosode, the precursor to the kimono); usually several of them layered in the current fashion, straw sandals, and a sedge hat (particularly for women) to keep off the sun. Men might wear a type of pants or breeches beneath their hiked up kimono if they were of a laborer class, or if they were walking (to keep their kimono from dragging in the dirt). Whole industries sprang up around the popular tourist routes just like modern tourist traps, complete with overpriced restaurants touting the local specialties, and buskers and itinerant sellers lining the streets hoping to earn the tourists’ dollars. (Or monme, in this case!)

It’s not a pilgrimage without street musicians! Image from Edo Culture

Edo-period vacationers enjoyed activities in town as well – women queued up for rickshaw rides at the shrines in places like Nara, for example. Basically the same energy as Miami rickshaw touts today! Women almost always carried a parasol or umbrella if they didn’t wear a hat, but could wear finer zori rather than straw sandals when in town since they wouldn’t be expected to walk as far, or for as long.

These guys must have gotten tired holding this pose! Image from Japan 1900.

And of course, the place to see and be seen was during hanami – cherry blossom viewing season. Hanami dates back to the 700s in Japan for the elite, but in the Edo period cherry trees were planted en masse at temples, shrines, along riverbanks, and in various public gardens so that they could be enjoyed by all. A particular pattern for kimono became extremely chic in Edo (Tokyo) itself, called edokomon – literally “Edo fine patterns.” It was a repeating pattern that from a distance appeared to be a solid or nearly solid color, but up close revealed itself to be myriad tiny dots or shapes.

“Please stop taking my picture” – these ladies, probably. Image from Japan 1900

I find it wonderful and astonishing that today, we’re no different from our compatriots of the past. We still love to dress up beautifully, travel to distant places, see new things, and spend time with people we love – or make new friends! Whether in the 1820s or the 2020s, we still love to go on vacation. I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief overview of fashion and vacationing in the Victorian and Edo periods, and I look forward to seeing you back here next week on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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Victorian Era Undergarments: The Chemise Sewing (Stage 3)

Project 7, part 5 – The Process of Becoming (Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 here)

Sewing down the gathers is so satisfying!

Welcome back to the Victorian Era Undergarments project! I took some time over the long weekend to get some more done on my chemise, and it’s hit that stage where it’s starting to look like a real garment instead of a pile of fabric. 😀 That’s my experience with almost all creative projects, actually – for quite a long time it just looks like a bunch of parts, or some blocks of color, or swatches of fabric, and then suddenly it becomes the thing it’s meant to be. It’s a pretty good metaphor for life in general! You don’t always know what your life is going to look like when you take the plunge on something new; you only find out in hindsight what effect it had and what you’ve become.

More French seams! Woo!

What this is becoming is an actual chemise! I enclosed the armhole seams in a French seam like the other ones, and removed the gathering stitches to reveal a lightly-ruffled sleeve. It looks odd, but the sleeve will cross over at the top and button there so the largest part is actually the part that goes under the arm. This gives a little more sweat protection, too!

SO. MUCH. PINNING.

Once I got the sleeves attached, I had to add the lace. It’s the same lace I used for my Milky-Chan waist ties, but without any added embroidery this time. It’s a perfect match in tone, thank goodness, and isn’t so long or stiff that it will feel odd when worn. Attaching this was a NIGHTMARE though. I honestly wished I had hand-sewn it because keeping it on the tiny little hemline while machine sewing was really difficult. It’s in no way perfect but it took me over an hour just for this and I was just happy to have finished!

I’m SO SORRY about the quality of this photo. My light and energy were both fading fast so I just took one picture and hoped for the best.

…And I was two centimeters short at the top of one sleeve! 😱 I left extra length of lace on the first sleeve, knowing it would gather up some, but I neglected to do so on the second and I had to cut another little section of lace to complete it. I could have not bothered if it were the back side, but the front laps over the back on the straps instead of the other way around, so I had to fill in the gap.

It’s hard to see the stitches, but that’s a good thing! 😀

I hand-sewed this, though. LOL.

OMG it’s looking like a real thing and I’m getting HYPED!

I went from being very dubious about this to extremely excited! ❤ There’s still a decent amount to be done, it turns out – bias tape on the neckline and lace/ribbon there, plus finishing the hem and adding lace, as well as the buttons and buttonholes on the shoulders. My heart really wants to add some pintucks at the hem as well, but we’ll see how ambitious I get! 😀 So join me next time here on Mukashi no Sewing to see how things progress! ❤

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Yagasuri Kimono Restoration: The Reveal

Project 12, part 3 – Taisho Roman (Part 1, part 2 here)

Ashleigh is the real star here, and we all know it! 💕

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! It was CRAZY hot here for a few days, and I was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t be able to take pictures of this kimono until next week, but the weather cooled just in time! Even though this kimono is unlined, and I bought a new linen juban (undergarment), it’s still pretty warm in full dress. 🥵 So I was grateful that we were down in the 60s today and I could show off my work!

And my greyhound. Always her!

Look, let’s address the elephant in the room (not the greyhound!) right here – my juban sleeve is absolutely peeking out of my right kimono sleeve in almost every picture. I’m so sorry, Sparrow-Sensei! 😭 It is 100% not their fault – this kimono is quite small on me, in length, width, and sleeve length, and my juban (which is more correctly sized for me) kept wanting to be free. I should have taped it, but I was losing daylight and also the services of my photographer (thank you for your patience, Mukashi no Husband!), so I had to just roll with what I had. I’m sure I’ll improve on my ability to wear small vintage kimono as I keep practicing, but for now please forgive the wardrobe malfunction! 😀

Seriously this kimono looks brand new; I’m so happy with it!

My undergarments aside, I just couldn’t be happier with this ensemble! The green obi matches the green of the embroidered wisteria stems, and the obijime (the cord in the middle of the obi) I bought from Mamechiyo Modern is perfect.

Look, when you have purple hakama…

I couldn’t resist trying out a Taisho Roman coordination with these purple wool hakama as well! Girls started wearing hakama to school over their kimono in the Meiji era, allowing them to do all sorts of modern things like ride bicycles and play sports!

They look like they’re having so much fun!!

I’m a complete novice at wearing women’s hakama – we wear divided, men’s hakama in the dojo, whereas these are more like a skirt. So, again, my kimono teacher is not to blame for my errors! ❤

I can just feel the 1910s all-girls school energy emanating from this outfit. It’s delightful!

One thing I do like about the hakama is they are perfect for hiding any issues with a too-short kimono – so I definitely plan on playing around with these more!

Pictured: the extreme difficulty of light-balancing a very bright upper half with a very dark lower half.

I am SO happy I took the time to restore this kimono – its lightweight and breathable fabric will make it a joy to wear even in warmer weather, and the fact that it’s wool means I don’t have to worry even on days like today when it started sprinkling during my photoshoot. I have gained a lot of confidence from this whole process in my ability to deal with stains, and I hope you’ve found it inspiring and interesting as well! I’m still working away at a whole mess of projects new and old, so I look forward to seeing you back here next week on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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Review: Paradiso 2022

Review 2: A Beautiful Symphony

Image from Paradiso website

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! Last weekend I was away in Kansas City, Missouri attending Paradiso, a Japanese fashion convention. This was the fifth Paradiso (and the second that I’ve attended), but sadly it’s also the last one as pandemic pressures (both financial and logistical) led to the organizers to announce that they can no longer run the event. 😦 I was particularly glad, then, that I’d managed to win a Golden Ticket, and participate fully in all the activities this year, and I’m excited to share the fun with you here!

I tried to find a photo with everyone’s faces turned away. Everyone was also fully-masked which helps with both obscuring faces and preventing COVID transmission! 😀

I arrived at 3:30pm Friday, and was picked up at the airport by the fabulous Celestial from the Discord server! She was so kind, and took me straight to my hotel so I could change and head over to the venue for the pre-event swap meet! I sold a couple of things, but mostly used the opportunity to hang out with my friends. Afterward there was a VIP party that I spent about an hour at – the macarons were really good! 😀

Aahhhhh this venue is so lovely!!

Saturday was Day 1, and as a Golden Ticket holder I (and the other 3 people with Golden Tickets) got priority access to shop. My #1 priority was Neant Glass, who does beautiful pressed flower stained glass jewelry (that always sells out immediately online). I was lucky enough to be the first to her booth, and got the two necklaces I wanted – as well as a ring for a friend! I also bought a hat and headdress from Triple Fortune, and a couple of prints.

ARRRRRRR!

Some of the looks were incredible, and it was only day 1!

And mine wasn’t too bad either!

The convention photographer happened to have my exact same camera and lens, and we ended up chatting about camera stuff when I went over to have my picture taken! He was kind enough to attach his flash setup to my camera body, and take a couple of pictures of me with my camera as well! 🙂

Now THIS is a dress!

There was a break after the shopping, which I used to change and eat dinner, and then in the evening was the fashion show! I got to sit right at the end of the runway, and got some great photos!

The fantastic person with the pink mohawk will return on Day 2!
How much fun are they having?!
They look so dreamy in this Triple Fortune dress! ❤

Brilliant Kingdom also performed after the fashion show, and it was so much fun!

Sunday I got another Golden Ticket perk – brunch with Babi-san and Kaie-san of Triple Fortune!

They are SUCH kind and friendly people. I really hope to get to hang out with them again someday!

I gave them a cute purse with a Sasquatch on it, and they had never heard of Sasquatch! When they asked what it was, I explained that it was a kind of “Seattle yokai.” (Yokai are Japanese cryptids/spirits, essentially.) I was pretty proud of that explanation! Afterwards, it was time for the tea party and pageant contest:

The food and drink were not top notch I’m afraid. But it was a lovely venue!

The tea party venue was not air conditioned, and it was over 100 degrees F that day. ROUGH. Especially with layers of blouses, dresses, and petticoats! But getting to see everyone’s gorgeous outfits was so delightful. And once everyone had served themselves, it was time for the Ouji (“Prince”) Pageant!

Aren’t they lovely together?

Each prince had a set amount of time to woo their royal consort, and the winner was the fantastic Prince Olivier! They did a tremendous song and dance routine to “Take On Me” that got the whole room joining in. It was truly a worthy end to a glittering weekend!

My flight home on Monday ended up getting pushed back to later in the afternoon, so as a treat a few of my friends and I went to the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. It was SO COOL!

LOOK AT THIS TINY QUILT AAAAAAAAAH!
Pictured: how to make a teeny tiny violin!
Toy ovens changed a little bit over the years…

It was such a delight to get to see so many friends, and to make some new ones as well. I’m truly sad that Paradiso has ended, but hopefully you’ve had fun seeing some of the photos! And I look forward to seeing you back here next week for more history, sewing, and fashion! ❤

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昔のSewing Returns Next Week!

I miss it already!! 😭

Hi friends! I was away most of last week and part of this week attending Paradiso, a Japanese fashion convention in Kansas City, Missouri. I had a wonderful time, but was too busy dressing up and seeing friends to work on any projects, so I’ll see you back here next week on Mukashi no Sewing for more history, sewing, and fashion! ❤

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Victorian Era Undergarments: The Chemise Sewing (Stage 2)

Project 7, part 4 – Trust the Process (Part 1, part 2, part 3 here)

But seriously, I’ve been very perplexed by these squares until now.

Welcome back to the Victorian Era Undergarments project! The weather this week wasn’t great for my kimono photoshoot, so instead I got some traction on my Victorian chemise! My restoration projects are a lot of fun, but they’re really hard work because I have to do all the research, planning, and execution myself. With recreation projects like this one, I can just follow the pattern and trust the process, and it’s really relaxing and a lovely change of pace.

Oh! So that’s where they go! 😀

First up was adding the strap reinforcements. I wavered back and forth on whether or not I wanted to have the straps held on by buttons, or just be sewn together, but I think it will be easier to dress myself if they’re buttoned. So this meant sewing a little reinforcing rectangle folded over each strap, front and back. Later in the process I’ll get to pull out my buttonholer and give these utility, but for now they just need a little more fabric so they don’t shred just from hanging over my shoulders. …That makes it sound like I’m really buff or something, lol, but really – it’s just that the linen is pretty lightweight! 😀

Who needs an iron?!

Next up was prepping the sleeves. Again, I waffled on these because I do like the “tank top” look, but then I realized I could add a bunch of ruffled lace and the deal was sealed. 🙂 Pro tip: you do not need an iron to press seams into linen! It loves to hold its shape so you can crease it by hand if you don’t feel like breaking out your iron because it’s all hot and humid. For example.

I did not have enough Wonder Clips for this task so I fell back on the venerable pin.

I had to fold in each hem, then roll it under itself and pin it so that the linen wouldn’t fray. These are the outside edges of the sleeve, and are where I’ll attach some cute lace in a little while!

…it’s that easy? Ok, then. Guess we’re good!

Finally, two lines of basting stitches served to gather the inner part of the sleeve so I can fit them to the bodice in the next stage! My Featherweight only goes down to 6 stitches per inch, but it turned out to be totally perfect. I didn’t even have to pull on the threads – it just ruffled itself up perfectly when I was done!

I’m looking forward to finishing this chemise soon, and moving onto the drawers! I think it’s just attaching the sleeves, then adding lace in various spots and finishing up the hem. So join me next time as I continue laboring over linen here on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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Yagasuri Kimono Restoration: The Embroidery

Project 12, part 2 – The Fix is In (Part 1 here)

Wisteria will be relevant momentarily!

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! Having managed to remove most of the stains last week, I was left with just one on the right collar that – while much-lightened – was still problematic. I was getting tired of scrubbing at it, and at a certain point there’s only so much to be done anyway. So that meant it was time to pull out the big guns: embroidering something over it!

Pattern courtesy of Diary of a Northern Belle

The kimono pattern is so angular that layering another geometric pattern over it would just look really strange, and trying to duplicate the yagasuri itself would probably have made me even crazier than I already am. 😀 But because this is such a lovely vintage piece, and a very traditional pattern, I didn’t want to do anything too modern like an anime character or English script or something. So I decided on flowers!

It took several tries to get the tracing paper to transfer properly. I might need new paper lol…

I briefly considered the nadeshiko, which is a lovely pinkish-lavender carnation, but it was difficult to source an embroidery pattern. I definitely wanted something lavender though, so after much consideration I settled on wisteria! It’s native to Japan, and pictures of the Wisteria Maiden have even been considered good luck tokens for marriage so it fit this kimono perfectly. The one downside is that a seasonal flower like wisteria does tie the kimono to a specific time frame more, but hopefully the season-neutral yagasuri pattern overrides the flower if I want to wear it later in the year! 🙂

I couldn’t really use an embroidery hoop given the awkward placement so I just held the tension with my left hand and hoped for the best.

I found a decent wisteria pattern online, and pulled up a bunch of images of the plant itself for reference, and got to embroidering. I always forget how much I enjoy hand embroidery until I’m back into it. It’s so relaxing!

Having trouble with my colors again…I know the wisteria blossoms look blue here, but I assure you they’re more lavender in person!

I finished the leaves and vines in one night, and the next night started on the blossoms. They weren’t planned out in any depth, but rather, I just roughed in a shape for the overall sections of flowers and then set to work filling them in.

One flower done, one to go!

I actually started to get a bit nervous that I would run short of embroidery thread before I finished, but I managed to get it done with a little to spare! The worst game is playing thread chicken when you don’t have replacement thread to hand… 😀

Seriously I’m so proud!

All I had to do when I finished was stitch up the collar again, and the kimono was ready to wear!

The tiny bit of remaining stain is nearly invisible in the shadow of the wisteria when worn – and the crossed collars also help to obscure it!

I’m SO pleased with my fix – it’s turned this lovely old kimono from something completely unwearable into my own beautiful bespoke piece! Now every time I wear it I can enjoy the love and effort I put into it. And having some more colors added to the kimono for obi coordination doesn’t hurt either! 😀 So join me in the last installment of this project for the full reveal and photoshoot! ❤

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Yagasuri Kimono Restoration: The Beginning and Cleaning

Project 12, part 1 – Hoisting Wet Kimono is My Hobby

The benefit of my new kimono hangar is easier photos of kimono. The downside is that when they’re hung up it’s like having a Japanese scarecrow in the house! 😀

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! I’m still chipping away at my Edo Coat Restoration and Victorian Undergarments projects, but I recently acquired this vintage beauty that was in need of a little love and wanted to share the restoration process!

The weird thing about kimono is that, in Japan, there’s not a lot of differentiation regarding what era they’re from by secondhand sellers. Typically, they’re either “antique” (which means pre-war), or “recycled,” which means post-war. Some sellers are kind enough to date things by era, but that’s typically about as much as you get. The good news is, there’s nothing more I love than a good rabbit-hole of research! Originally I thought this purple and cream kimono that I bought from Yahoo Japan Auctions was of a more recent “recycled” vintage – Showa, most likely, but I was thinking 1980s based on the overall excellent condition.

“Overall excellent.” We’ll get to the these little nagging details in a moment…

It’s wool, though, which is quite unusual for a kimono with this pattern (more on that shortly) – and, in fact, is the reason I bought it! Silk is amazing, but not in the rain, and the Pacific Northwest gets a lot of rain. 🙂 It’s also got more rounded rather than squared-off sleeves, which is usually a hint that a kimono is a bit older as well. When I started looking into the history of wool kimono, I found that they experienced a major boom in the 1960s. Then I hit the jackpot – an organization in the Netherlands called the Textile Research Centre! They have the holy Grail for textile research – garments with proven provenance of a known date. ❤ And when I dug through their collections, I found a kimono that could be the twin of mine save for the length (mine is about 9cm longer) and the pattern:

Source: TRC

Victory! Mine is likely from the same period – mid-1960s – which, as a bonus, makes it very well-suited indeed to featuring on this blog. 😀 The pattern on mine is yagasuri, or arrow-fletching pattern. (It’s called yabane when it’s only a few arrows, and yagasuri when it’s a full repeating pattern like mine.) It’s been around since the Heian Era, but became popular as wedding clothes for women in the Edo period as a good luck charm to ensure that the woman, like an arrow, wouldn’t return. (In other words, it was hoped that her marriage would be a happy one and she wouldn’t need to go back to live with her parents.) In the Meiji period it was popularized with hakama for school uniforms for girls, and is still often used for graduations and other similar celebrations.

I usually have pretty good luck when it comes to second-hand kimono, but unfortunately in this case there were some undisclosed stains in various locations ranging from prominent to “totally hide-able.”

This one, and the one above, are two of the worst.

I’m fairly certain, given the splash patterns, that they’re shoyu/soy sauce. The problem is…who knows how old they are? Maybe they got stained recently…maybe not. But the good news is, this kimono being wool means I can immerse it in water with no fear! Well. Maybe a little fear. 😀 I always work from least-invasive to most-, so I started by trying out the vinegar method for stain removal from Silk & Bones:

Pictured: the surprisingly elegant process of saturating stains with vinegar.

After soaking the stains with vinegar and then washing the kimono, I had removed the “vintage” smell, but not the stains. I’m guessing vinegar works better on silk than wool? But I’m still glad I did this first, as it’s a good disinfectant and helped with the scent as well! Next up was another new product for me, Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover.

Not, in fact, recommended by my grandmother, but by one of the lolitas on Discord.

I had to wear gloves for this one, as it was labeled as a potential irritant, and I have pretty sensitive skin. No sense risking it! I tested it on an inside seam to ensure it didn’t affect the dye first, then saturated all the stains. Then…back in the tub for another full wash. I have to admit, I was getting pretty tired of hoisting a sopping wet kimono haha, especially because the water was cold! The stain had lightened up some though, so I decided to do one more round (except I only treated the two front stains, and didn’t wash the whole kimono afterward.)

Whoa!

It’s a LOT lighter! The stains on the body of the kimono (there were I few I didn’t photograph), and the one on the lower lapel are totally “good enough.” They’re light enough that with the busy pattern they won’t be visible unless someone is much too close for comfort. 😀 The one remaining on the upper lapel is much improved, but is still too apparent to be acceptable though. So join me next time on Mukashi no Sewing and find out what I’ve got in store for Plan B! 😀 ❤

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Spotlight: Original 1960s Featherweight Manual

Spotlight 10: Original Manual for the Featherweight!

It’s as much of a surprise to me as to anyone else! 😀

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing and our tenth spotlight here on the blog! First off, thank you so much to all my loyal readers for your patience with my hiatus. My schedule has had absolutely no extra time in it this last month, and I hate to put out sub-par work so I had to set the blog and my sewing projects aside for a bit! But I’m back and with a new acquisition that was a complete surprise to me! ❤

What an ominous trademark statement!

I’ve sung the praises of The Featherweight Shop many times, but this deserves an extra helping of song. 😀 A couple of years ago when I first discovered the site, I searched their shopping section for an original copy of my Featherweight user’s manual. They didn’t have one in stock (not surprising, really), so I clicked on the “alert me when it becomes available” button, then bought a facsimile and completely forgot about it. Just as I was going to bed last week, my mail alert popped up, and…it was an automated message from The Featherweight Shop letting me know they had somehow acquired a 1960s 221K manual (printed in Britain, specifically), and that it was available for purchase if I so desired!

EVERYTHING FOR THE WOMAN WHO SEWS. EVERYTHING.

Heck yeah, I desired! 😀 I bought it straightaway, and it arrived two days later (as their shipping is very fast and they also are located just one state away from me). It’s in fantastic condition – only a couple of light creases and some foxing, but otherwise it looks like new.

Of course it’s super fun to have the original of anything, but why spend the money when I have a facsimile already? Well, for one, they’re actually different. The facsimile that The Featherweight Shop publishes is based on an older version from the 1940s.

Oh, to live in a time when “the Best is the Cheapest” was actually true… /sigh

For example, you can see above in the chart showing the appropriate needles and threads for different types of fabric that the chart in the facsimile (on the bottom) only features three columns of information and five rows. Whereas my original has five columns of information, and seven rows – including one for the new space age “plastic materials” that had come into common usage by the early 1960s. Because this chart is intended for my exact machine, it’s far more useful to me!

Second, there’s a ton that can be learned from original material objects that simply isn’t available in facsimile. Don’t get me wrong – having physical (or even better, digital) facsimiles of historical documents (and other objects) makes history so much more accessible to everyone, and I’m incredibly grateful for that! There are, however, things that can only be learned from the originals. Sarah Chrisman, one of my favorite material culture historians, shared a story on her blog once about an archivist who was selecting documents for further study based on the faint scent of vinegar remaining on them, which proved they were written from a time and place where an epidemic was raging (as vinegar was commonly used as a disinfectant during that period). A digital version doesn’t preserve the smell (at least, not yet!). 😀 So for me, having even something as simple as the original version of my Featherweight manual allows me to learn more about the time when it was built and used, and to improve my skill with it as well!

I love the idea that screwing in a lightbulb is still such a novel thing that it requires instructions. Times were very different!

I am so delighted to have this little piece of history in my hands, and I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a peek at it with me! Thank you again for your patience, and I look forward to seeing you back here at Mukashi no Sewing next week for more history, crafts, and sewing! ❤

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昔のSewing Returns Soon!

Okay but can we talk for a minute about how completely awesome this kit is!?

Hi friends! I haven’t just been building Gundam models, I promise! 😀 These last couple weeks really got away from me – nothing major, just life and home maintenance piling up – and I haven’t had the chance to do anything creative. I did however start work on a Discord server for Japanese culture and fashion that I’ll be sure to tell you all about and invite you to join once I’m finished with the setup! I hope to have more time in the near future, so I look forward to seeing you back here soon for more history, sewing, and crafts! ❤

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