Monday, October 4, 2010

the bishop method

Since my parents are moving they have been doing a lot of sorting and getting rid of excess items. I have benefited from this several ways, but one of my favorites among the hand-me-downs coming my way is the two book bishop method sewing book series. Published in the late 50's and early 60's, when homemade and self-tailored clothes were the norm, they provide many extremely useful tricks and tips for making professional, nicely-fitted clothing.

The sections with sketches and descriptions on how to alter patterns and clothing to fit a specific figure are perhaps my favorites. They will be invaluable to me, I think, as I delve more deeply into the world of refashioning and upcycling used clothes.

The photography and illustrations are clear and helpful.

I also love the sections on trims and embellishments. The bow on my own camera strap was made using instructions given in the second book.

I also enjoy the charming retro illustrations. I think that if I wasn't interested in keeping the books whole for sewing reference, I might cut out some of them and find a place to hang them on my wall.

Last but not least, some of the text is makes me laugh out loud as I gain perspective on what culture used to be and how differently we think now. For example: "What husband, what son, what man wouldn't enjoy a classic, well-tailored vest made by you? Choose tweed, plaid, wool flannel (a bright color such as red with brass buttons is always a favorite), or linen for daytime wear or spectator sportswear."

If you like to sew, and you find one of these books for a good price at a yard sale or second hand store, I highly recommend that you snap it up. While some of the fashion advice and language may be outdated, many of the techniques certainly are not. In my mind, at least, these books are a good investment.


Laura Railing said...

Hey now, I can completely see Ben sporting a bright red or yellow green vest complete with brass buttons to the golf range, or to work, or on an outing with the boys. He just needs the pipe, newsboys hat, and twirly mustache to go with it.

And now I am laughing even harder.

Funny comment aside, those look like books with helpful advice! What a fun find!!

Ben said...

Cheerio, good chap! Indeed!