Tuesday, February 17, 2009

17 February 1955 "Tv, Sewing Machines, Patterns, Etiquette, and Chocolate Chippers"

I thought the news for today could be an example of my 1955 tv viewing. Luckily these things are available in their entireity sometimes. It makes the viewing much more realistic and genuine.

This show from 1955 is in its entirety and you can see how commercials were more about sponsering the whole show. The total price of that singer sewing machine they advertise is equivalent to about $1100.00 today and the down payment of $15.00 makes it about a $100.00 payment. But when you consider all you will do with it for your family and home ,this machine is as important as your icebox or Kirby (or Hoover)! I think the story is really sweet and not to give away the end, what a darling conclusion, I think this story today would end very differenlty. Let me know what you think of it.

This lady looks like she was surprised while busy as a bee in her little sewing room. I have a similar version
of that lamp that I just bought at our local tag sale except mine also has a telescoping magnafying glass. I have not begun the project of kitting out my new sewing room. I cannot wait to be rid of this cold, as I am chomping at the bit to get to my projects and to get on top of my household chores again.
As I said, $1,100.00 is a lot for a sewing machine, but when it is such an integral part of the homemakers life, you can see why. Not only yourself and your families wardrobe would recieve the diligence of your creativity and your Singer, but your decor as well. This is a great layout of how best to make a slip cover for a chair. I am glad they use a wing chair in the example, as I have quite a few of these I would like to recover. I think it ingenious the use of the zipper at the back to hold in taut.
If anyone is interested in trying this pattern let me know and I can post the details that go with the chart I pictured.
Don't you love the pride on her face in the last photo. My experienced eye can also make out how well her girdle is helping her to achieve her lovely figure.
Actually, that chair and the striped fabric, if it were in pink and white, would look a treat in my fantasy sewing room. It is the one room I am going to be frilly and pink.

While we are on the subject of sewing and patterns I need to say that I love
my 1955 version of the mail order catalog: ebay. I was looking at Sewretro's blog today and she had this pattern and had made the dress, only her pattern number was torn off and didn't know what year/number it was. One of her commentors knew the pattern number and posted it. I saw it, went to ebay, typed in the number and there it was just waiting for me! It was only 4.99 plus shipping. This is gonna be perfect as I really need a good easy servicable pattern for a day dress. This will be nice for cleaning in and can go over my pajamas in the morning instead of my robe for breakfast with hubby. It is from 1953 so it fits in there as well. Thanks sewretro and thanks ebay, This little devil is on its way! By the end of this year, I may have to just go into 1956 as my closets will be full of nothing but vintage. Ahhh, what a loverly thought, eh ladies?

As I have been ill, which I am sure you are all sick of hearing (pun intended!) I thought I would muster up enough energy to make a good all-around yummy cookie. I was really craving a comfort food today and this fit the bill. Also,
tonight is a Gussie night, as my cleaning has been falling behind, so I thought a plate of these and some coffee would be a welcome treat for her after she sees the present state of the kitchen. Perhaps after cleaning up the mess it took to make these little lovelies, the dishpan hands won't seem as bad with these melting in her mouth.
I used to make my chocolate chip cookies with butter, but this vintage recipe from my much used cookbook, uses shortening, so I figured I should too. Here is my secret to making these extra wonderful. Follow the above recipe but add to it 1/4 tsp. of Almond extract and instead of the nuts had 1/2 cup of coconut. Then, after spooning them onto the cookie sheet with a teaspoon, press coconut into the top of each. This will get toasted to perfection as the cookie bakes. Put them in a 375 degree oven for ONLY 10 minutes. I know they will look doughy, but when you take them out they continue to cook, but will remain soft for days. These are sure to please anyone's sweet tooth. I may make a batch of these as my 'bring along treat' when our new neighbors eventually move into their new house. A nice casserole to be heated and a batch of these cookies, if they aren't my friends or at least good neighbors after that, then maybe I won't want to know them!
I think I will finish today with some etiquette from my 1955 "Home Makers Guide". This section starts off with a good little quote from Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe known as Lady Mendl was an American interior decorator, nominal author of the influential 1913 book "The House in Good Taste,"and a prominent figure in New York, Paris, and London society. During her married life, the press usually referred to her as Lady Mendl. She would have been known of in 1955 still.
"Be pretty if you can, witty if you must, but be agreeable, if it kills you!"
Here are some tips. These are only a few and I will list more in later blogs when the mood hits or if anyone requests more.
A man always walks on the outside whether he is with one or two women.
Keep your hands to yourseld. Do not poke or hudge, or fondle publicly.
Don't "put on" just because you are at a party. Be "yourself" at all times. This eliminates the crooked little finger when drinking tea or coffee.
Well, these are todays sage words of advice, now go out there and homemake!


  1. I just sat down to have my morning tea and see if anyone had updated their blog " for a chat" and found your new post. My mother had a beautiful featherweight singer sewing machine. She bought it when she first married and used it for many many years. I learned to sew on it and assumed one day it would be mine. Horrors... she sold it to a dealer two years ago without asking me first. So sad.
    My auntie still has her original machine though she doesn't use it anymore ( she is 80 but still makes her own clothes, she has a modern machine now though).Hers is a Singer Sewing Machine Class 99/99K and had a knee lever rather than a foot pedal. It's a beautiful machine, all black and gold on a wooden base with a curved wooden cover.

  2. yum that recipe! old ones are the best. I have a vintage sewing machine, I think I dated it to 1958. Pretty good deal considering what I paid for it.

  3. What a sweet pattern! I hope you feel better soon, and this is such an amazing project you've undertaken...can't wait to see how your year unfolds! :)

  4. Love the little carry case designed for the sewing machine... I guess buying a new sewing machine in 1955 was like buying a new computer (fully loaded) today or maybe a big-screen TV.

  5. Oh my goodness...
    Aren't you the brave soul. It sure is going to be some year for you. I will have to drop in every now and again to see how you're doing. This is Fabulous! Have you ever visited Lidian @ Kitchen Retro? I have a sneaky suspicion, you would LOVE her blog.

    Thanks for sharing...bookmarked!

  6. I found a vintage 40's Singer in the original (wood) carrying case, with attachments and instruction book, at our local Habitat for Humanity resale shop. Forty bucks. I grabbed it so fast I almost threw my back out.

    I just love that housecoat. Do you mind sharing the pattern #? I might try to find that for myself!

  7. Whoops! I found it. Have you seen the vintage patterns Wiki?


  8. Jenny-funny as I found that same machine the 99k you were speaking of, also for sale on ebay. They both look like great machines. I miss my modern machine which I just purchased last year and has my favorite feature, it threads the needle for you! Oh, well, I am using my old 50's Husquavarner and it does the job and will outlive my new machine as it is heavy steel while my new one is only plastic!
    Jitterbug-I love the carrying cases!
    Louise- I will have to check out kitchen retro site, Thanks for the heads up!
    Shay-I am jealous of that old singer, 40 dollars it was probably thousands to the new owner! I see you found the patter, I should have thought to list it! I was so happy when I found it on ebay! I can't wait to get my hot little hands on it. I really prefer cleaning in dresses as I have greater movement. Yardwork definitely calls for dungarees though, although raking leaves is pleasant enough in a wool skirt, socks and loafers!
    I am going to check out that vintage wiki! I hope it still falls under the heading of research from my computer!

  9. Which lamp? The goose-neck lamp on the table?

    I'm REALLY hoping mine is in the basement in a box somewhere and that it didn't get thrown out when we moved from NJ to Indiana or from Indiana back to California. It needs to be rewired. My grandfather made it to match the bedroom furniture that he had made.

    I hope you're feeling better, Sweetie! See, if we were really a coffee klatch in real life, one of us would have come over and made you lie down with tea (well, I guess that would be recline...we don't want you drowning in the tea) while we helped out with some basic tidying so that you wouldn't have to worry that your house was falling apart.

  10. I am afraid I have done too much reclining today. Yes I do mean the goose neck lamp. I think I am coming to the end of my illness, but today my fever spiked and I felt really bad, but hubby said that is what he felt right at the end. I do wish we could all teleport to some lovely vintage coffee shop or mid-century decorated living room somewhere for coffee and sweets. It'd be nice, wouldn't it?

  11. 50sgal,

    May I suggest, for the sake of your health, that when shortening is called for you use butter in its place whenever possible. Hydrogenated fats are just so bad for you, so I would hate to see you using that when you could use butter...(just for clarification's sake, I don't think natural saturated fats are bad for us, in moderation, but man-made saturated fats are bad for us.)

  12. My great grandmother actually "introduced" Crisco to the midwest back in the early years. She traveled and demonstrated it in stores and shows! I have an entire book praising Crisco for all its "healthy" benefits, with testimonials from home economists. I just cringe when I read it; it is really a problematic substance but on the other hand, it really does make for good crispy cookies and fried chicken. Moderation in all things...I think you will be OK although the preferred replacement for Crisco was lard, not butter. And things cook in/with lard taste fantastic!

    That pattern looks like it was designed to accomodate the classic '50s "in the family way" time too...expand as needed, belt when not!

  13. PL-I know it is bad for me, but I really think for this one year I should be okay and I wanted to know how it tasted.
    Thoughts-I LOVE to cook with lard, as I tried it in pie crust since starting this project and it is a dream, so maybe my next batch of cookies will be lard based. I think that was suppose to be the design idea behind the swing coat as well. All 1950's styles are very form fitting, but with the increase in pregnancies, your coat would still fit, a major investment at the time. I don't think I am going to have to worry about that problem though! Although, since starting this project, my husband and I have actually talked about kids a few times, a decision we had thought was finally set in stone.

  14. What a neat project! Thank you for stopping by my blog. I am so glad to have found your's. Cooking with Crisco is not "that" bad... like someone said earlier, as long as it is in moderation.
    On another note, how I would love to dress from the '40-'50s daily! I imagine it could get old, but what incredible fashions.
    I will be checking in again soon!

  15. i'm using a 70's Principessa sewing machine... It works fine and does everything I need... I look at some of the new machines that are programable and do embroidery and thing and I just get a headache.

    Great etiquette tips :)

  16. 50sgal & Milinery,

    Of course, lard! Duh, I totally forgot about that. :) You're right, a little won't hurt you throughout the year. I responded before I thought about that. I guess I was thinking that you would just go on using it. Anyhow, just thinking about your health and wanting you to keep yourself healthy. :) BTW, I hope you're feeling tons better now.

  17. I think I am at the tail end of it finally. I feel guilty because I did not write a blog yesterday and here it is the end of today and not sure I have the energy. I do hope you will forgive if I wait until tomorrow.
    Thanks for all the comments.
    ava-it is exciting sometimes like when I meet the gals for tea or on our saturday nights to get more dressed up, but honestly, it is so natural now for me to slip on the girdle and hose and a skirt that sometimes I forget I can wear my dungarees and only do to clean sometimes. Of course, in a month or so when I can get out into the garden, I will wear trousers for that, but high waisted variety, I don't think I will EVER go back to low rise trousers again! I can't imagaine why they were ever invented except to make only rail think people feel good as even the slightes but of curve looks like a 'muffin-top' in them!

  18. I have a Singer that belonged to my grandmother. I'm not sure how old it is, but it is in a cabinet and has a knee lever. It's my only sewing machine and I used it regularly until recently. I'm having some trouble with it and I may need to send it to the repair shop. I'm thinking it's from the 60s.

  19. I want to be your new neighbour!!! :)
    I'll have to try your modificated cookie recipe, sounds so delish! "Shortening" is that "margarine"?
    I do so hope you are feeling better by now!
    Have a great weekend both of you. :)

  20. Btw: I think I have found a trick to post comments: I write the comment and then press "Preview" at first, and then the silly verification letters appears. If I don't press preview at first it never appears. Just so you know it, if there are others with comments problems.
    I have tried for almost a week again, so now I tried to be creative.

    Have a lovely weekend, dear! I will write a mail to you soon. :)

  21. Hi Sanne,

    Margarine is imitation butter made with hydrogenated fats. There are some now that are not made with hydrogenated fats, but most of them are made with HFs. Shortening is also a man-made hydrogenated fat, but used in baking, for the most part, in place of lard or other other natural saturated fats...coconut oil, palm oil, etc.

  22. I saw the sewing machine and said to myself, "yet another item that I grew up with. I am officially old!"

    I learned on that machine. My mom got it for 5 bucks in about 1962. I have it now. I just got it cleaned and checked over and the repairman couldn't say enough good things about it.

    I posted about my early sewing experiences with the machine in this post if anyone wants to walk down memory lane with me!:



  23. At the risk of looking like I'm drumming up visitors for my blog, I wanted to let you know that I have some (free) 1950's sewing patterns to download including a handbag, a two-piece housecoat, a skirt, and a summer dress.

    Actually, they're all on my Flickr site so You can go there instead if you want ;-)




    (if you go to the blog you will have to wade through ALL of the sewing projects, not just the ones from the 1950's ;-)

  24. wow, thanks shay. I am going to head over now!

  25. 'Keep your hands to yourself. Do not poke or hudge, or fondle publicly.'

    Oh, Lord, yes please!!!!! There are days I feel I should take a bucket of ice water with me wherever I go.

  26. Perhaps I'm not that bright ... can I use margarine when the recipe says "shortening"? I really want to try a lot of your great recipes but am in doubt about the "shortening"-thing!

  27. I noticed the plate you show your cookies on, was from a set of dishes my mom had (now age 79!). Then I went to a local thrift store to browse, and happened on these same plates. I got 4 of them for $1 each. I love the turquoise! I showed them to my mom when she came by, and she was so surprised they were still around, and that I remembered them!

  28. machines are many types,electronic machines,diesel machines etc.that's very impotent for our life.EOT Cranes every work do with machines.Today's modern vending machines are equipped with sensors that detect when product passes to the receiving drawer. Even the snack machines have these now. It's a wonder that someone didn't figure that out earlier.

  29. I will have to try that cookie tip! Maybe at night or in the early AM though, when it's cooler...Had a lamentable time with boiled frosting (marshmallow flavoured) last night! (Eventually gave up, will use it as ice cream topping, and made Nutella frosting instead.)

    Anyhow, that sounds a lot like the way my grandmother used to make her cookies. Of course she NEVER wrote the recipe down, bless her. :)

  30. Today is the first time I came across your blog, and it is very intriguing! Lately I've been thinking about dressing in many ways like we did in the 1950s (i.e., hats and gloves). Your goal is admirable, and I look forward to folling it.

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