USDA Sewing Pamphlets

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Feed sack material showing tracing of chain stitch across top of bag. To save money during the Depression of the 1930’s, my grandmother sewed boxers for her five boys using feed sack material.

An assortment of educational booklets from the United States Department of Agriculture specifically about sewing, tailoring, mending and what to look for when purchasing a coat or suit . Some are from the early 1950’s when the Agricultural Research Service was created. Its purpose was “to provide economic opportunities to rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole.” Most are accessible through the National Agricultural Library Digital Collections. The earliest one is from 1944 and it is at the Internet Archive.

Making a Dress at Home, Farmers’ Bulletin No. 1954, issued May 1944 by USDA, Agricultural Research Administration, Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics. Nice inverted pleat treatment and yet another way to make buttonholes.

Simplified Clothing Construction.  1959, 1965. Very detailed instructions on a variety of garments, including fly front and other plackets. The sequel to Making a Dress at Home.

How To Tailor A Woman’s Suit Home and Garden Bulletin No. 20. The “Press Aids” illustration is on the back of the pamphlet.


Fitting Coats and Suits, Bulletin No. 11. Very good photos, covers just about any fitting dilemma.

Buying Women’s Coats and Suits. What to look for when buying will make it easy to plan to sew that way.

Men’s suits, How to Judge Quality. Highly recommend. Great photo comparisons, what to avoid in home sewing.

Mending a Man’s Suit

Feed Sack Dress, 1959, from the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institute. “This dress was made by Mrs. G. R. (Dorothy) Overall of Caldwell, Kansas, in 1959 for the Cotton Bag Sewing Contest sponsored by the National Cotton Council and the Textile Bag Manufacturers Association.”




2 thoughts on “USDA Sewing Pamphlets

  1. Amazing that the Agricultural Board was explaining dressmaking.
    Diferent sort of inverted pleat – my ’30s pattern doesn’t have the extra bit of fabric.


  2. Now I can see how ribbon supports on either side of the pleat would stabilize it at the waistline.
    It was great to find all of those pamphlets in one place.


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