I wish I could say I could draw like this, but I don’t.
This page ^ is from one of my grandma’s old books on knitting and dressmaking. I was able to pore over them again this weekend when we stayed with our relatives for Undas Holiday.
When we were younger my sister and I loved looking through these books, not because we were crochet connoisseurs, but because we were in love with the drawings that were used to illustrate the patterns and garments.
Aren’t these pages so beautiful? I remember spending hours trying to copy the way these girls’ hair curled and how their eyelashes fluttered just so (before long anime aesthetic won over too much though). Before photography truly broke out, drawings were a mainstay in fashion magazines and instruction books.
Long, detail-intensive descriptions were also in vogue. Although I know practically nil about dressmaking, I love how almost-romantic the garment descriptions are. It’s as if reading about what you’re about to make automatically brings it to life.
These days much of fashion and trends is about shopping and collecting RTW, but at least during the time these books were made, it was still about owning something personalized and truly your own. But of course, on one hand, the times are truly different and women don’t necessarily have to be confined to making clothes! We are also preoccupied with other things like business or TV or saving the environment. And I think that’s also fantastic, the way fashion now is faster, less limited, and going beyond pure wearability or function (as these books decry).
But every time we stumble upon treasures like these, we realize how much of today’s present trends reference on a golden past. The fashion cycle lives on.
What was your first encounter with fashion history? 🙂