The book starts with "Requirements for Rewards," "Equipments," "Parts of Machine," and then launches into sewing samples: selvage edge, grain of material, machine stitching, diagonal stitching grouped, turning corners, plain seam, French seam (first and second process), flat fell seam (first and second process), bag seam, fraction of an inch/yard, gauges, hems, cutting bias, bias binding (first and second process), facing (first and second process), placket (first and second process), two piece placket (first and second process), self finished placket (first and second process), button hole, notches, gathering and shirring, setting on a band (first and second process), v neck (first and second process), round neck (first and second process), square neck (first and second process), hemmer attachment, free hand tucking, patch pocket, circular hem, French placket (first and second process), hand embroidery, French piping (first and second process), extension fly, sleeve placket, setting on a cuff, hand sewing, pleats, trimming with lace/piping, mitered corners, bound button holes, tailored pocket, use of commercial patterns, tailored button hole (first and second process), use of dress form, sun burst tucks, dart, embroidery machines (hemstitching, hems, lace, two needle machines, applique, zig zag straight/points, hems with mitered corners, zig zag turning corners, applique cording, tucking, hand crocheting, overlock, one needle machines, blind stitched hems), the handling of electric iron, smocks, opening of windows, use of dress forms, power machines, scissors, hair nets, sleeves, blouse, bloomers, kimona sleeves, setting in a needle, cap sleeve.
I haven't tried a lot of these techniques, so recreating this book would be a real educational experience. I don't have the time to do the sewing right now, but I could start transcribing the book and photographing the pages.
It's actually a really useful idea, to have physical samples of different sewing techniques. Sometimes, when you read sewing books, the information can feel so abstract, trying to infer three-dimensional processes from two-dimensional pictures. With the samples in this book, you can touch them and see them and turn them over...and presumably have a teacher to ask questions of and model techniques. There's definitely a sense of absence with this book; the absence of the teachers who made this book. Their signatures are in the book, their work is in this book, their knowledge is in this book, but where are they? I've tried to Google these names, but I haven't been successful in locating these women or their school. I don't even necessarily think I should have this book, it's so interesting and unique, but I don't know what institution would want to preserve and share this. So right now it rests on the top of my sewing books and bides its time.
Lessons Learned fits in perfectly with my other meditations on education. This book shows effort and thoughtfulness and care...who were these women? Who were their students? Did they inspire learning, and how? What do their students remember about them/class? What can I learn from this book now? Is it a useful model for sewing instruction? The book is dated with references to the students needing a "spirit of healthfulness" and a "quiet and workmenlike attitude," but it's also a nice example of community memory, with the different instructors supplying sewing samples. It would be lovely to have someone to work on with this, to engage in that spirit of community. Luckily, I am working at the Hunter College costume shop right now, so if I have questions, I can ask the head of the costume shop for help.