Retro Sewing Sunday – Streamlined Decorative Sewing

A 99p bargain from a charity shop a couple of years ago – this book was originally 90p when it was published in 1970.


It is a small hardback book, about A5 size, packed with ideas.  The intro explains…

“The idea of this book…. is to make sewing both easy and fun, an exciting challenge rather than an exacting task.”

It goes on to say…

“It not only shows ways of short-cutting traditional methods,  cuts out the usual inhibiting rule and avoids the complicated mumbo jumbo of old fashioned craft techniques.”

“…We will show you how to prevent your sewing becoming dull or boring, by always being on the lookout for new ideas, as this is part of what makes sewing exciting.”

So, sounds pretty good then…

I have to say, for someone who loves applique and embellishment, it is a little gem.  I am also rather obsessed with sewing in this period, so love the ideas and illustrations used.

Here are some snippets of the patchwork pages…


This is a close up of the “Fish-scale Patchwork” illustration.  I love the little prints, this box measures about 2″, so shows you what attention to detail there is.


I haven’t been able to find out much about the authors, but the book notes they both teach at Hornsey College of Art, and graduated from the RCA.  They wrote several books, and I am trying to get my hands on “Streamlined Sewing for Fun”.  There is a lovely quote inside the back cover from The Observer that says “They have done for sewing what Fanny and Johnny Cradock did for cooking”.

This is an illustration at the back of the book.  I love the early 1970s romanticised ideal it portrays.  I bet she shopped in Laura Ashley!


With the summer holidays, plus work, my Retro Sewing Sundays have been a little neglected for the last few weeks.  I have taught a class this afternoon, then got home and looked at the book shelf to see what would be suitable.  I am so so pleased I spotted this book.  I haven’t looked at it for a while and plan to take it to bed with me tonight for some sewing inspiration.  43 years after it was published, the authors are still achieving their aim.  Pretty good huh!


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