"Vintage Notions" Book Review

There are few things I enjoy more than learning about the yesteryears and giving context to the vintage fashion that I love so much.  While vintage fashion in its own sake is wonderful, I am exhilarated to learn the history behind it.  You know, things like why dresses had snaps instead of zippers, what archaeological discoveries influenced 1920s fashion, how certain silhouettes were created during specific eras, how clothing was a reflection of society at the time.

When my mother sent me the book Vintage Notions by Amy Barickman, I was immediately enchanted by its happy array of feedsack print flora on the cover and the subtitle-- "An Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion, and Fun"-- all of which I happen to totally adore, so..... I opened it up real quick and started reading!


I don't believe that I have ever run across such a wealth of information so perfectly tailored to my vintage lifestyle.  Truly, the subtitle did not lie!  The book is divided into the four seasons of the year and filled with old articles, essays, tutorials, and pictures that not only completely delighted my soul but are also easily applicable to my life.

Some other things included in the book are:
How to make a 1920s lingerie set (a draft at home pattern)
Setting the table for a Valentine's day party
How to make two aprons out of a man's shirt
Hankie monogramming
Character-building articles and poetry
Pockets to store my own inspirational clippings

The book is a collection of articles and lessons from a women's college that operated from the 1900s to the 1930s.  (There's a whole section on the history behind it that is ridiculously interesting.)  I personally really enjoy the mindset of Amy Barickman in valuing these articles and pieces of knowledge.  Some would dismiss the idea of a woman's college that focused on cooking, sewing, and the domestic arts as quaint and old fashioned, a relic of days when women were oppressed and relegated to strict gender roles.  But this was not the case at all!  The creation of this woman's college elevated the "womanly arts" to the level of a higher education institution, giving them validity as the fine arts they truly are.  Hundreds of thousands of women enrolled, and this education in sewing, dressmaking, cooking, etc. allowed so many of these women to generate income for their families.  This income gave women the independence to create businesses, to venture out into the world of commerce in a way that they couldn't before.  These "quaint" homemaking skills were the route to economic freedom and provision for these women and their families.

The only thing I wish was different about the book was the somewhat limited array of draft at home patterns.  Out of the 12 patterns included, four are aprons.  While I enjoy aprons immensely and they make great gifts, I would have liked more of a variety.  However, I must say that the aprons also didn't look similar to each other, so they truly were different patterns.  I can still see myself using those patterns as gifts in the future.

Overall, I highly recommend this book.  It was a joy to read, a feast for the eyes, and I will admit that it kind of consumed my life until I was done with it.  I just couldn't put it down!

You can find out more about the author and her book (as well as purchase it) here if it's something you'd like to explore further!

There are also full page excerpts to look at, if you'd like a better idea of the book's awesomeness!

I didn't collaborate with the author or publisher of this book for this post, and all thoughts are my honest opinions.


  1. This review definitely makes me want to pick up a copy. I love helpful hints and learning how it used to be done. Thanks for highlighting it!

  2. This book strikes me as being one of those titles where I'd be torn between rushing through each glorious page in one long, extended sitting (reading) or, conversely, slowly doling it out over the course of many days and trying to make it last as long as possible (like savouring and slowly eating a scrumptious dish). Either way, I hope I get to add a copy to my collection one day and find out which one proves to be the case in person.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. I love your quote "THE BOOK IS FILLED WITH PAGES OF MAGIC." Seems so appropriate!
    trishhunterfinds.com.au xx