Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Vintage Notions"


Mary Brooks Picken

Over the weekend I picked up this book, "Amy Barickman's Vintage Notions", an Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion, and Fun.  This book pays homage to an amazing woman named Mary Brooks Picken who founded The Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences in 1914.  She was also one of the original directors of the Costume Institute, currently part of the MET in New York.  Amy Barickman introduces us to Mary Brooks Picken in such a beautiful and thoughtful manor with charming illustrations and a collection of vintage embroideries and textiles.
The women in the 20's and 30's had very little voice, yet they continued to find resources to supplement their own incomes.  Mrs. Pickens started a movement in that time, in a addition to The Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences, she started a newsletter titled Inspiration, "a magazine devoted the advancement and encouragement of the students" (women at the Institute). As the author, Amy Barickman puts it- "I have recaptured a period of time when women used sewing as the springboard to independence, financial security, and self-esteem.  In the process they discovered self-confidence in their work, a wealth of resources and common bonds with women all over the world, and a simple philosophy for living a fulfilling life."
This book is filled with delightful recipes, monthly inspirations and fabulous fashion and sewing tips!  The more I read about Mary Brooks Picken, the more inspired I am in my own work, I am thankful to have met Mrs. Picken, even if it is only through the pages of this book.

Designers at work...

Vicki is working on a summer skirt, made of a seashell printed pique.

I filmed Elizabeth as she worked on one of her designs for the Teen Fashion show!

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