Put on lipstick to sew? Really?

6 09 2012

This little gem has been making the rounds of the internet for a while — it was forwarded to me by my friend Bobbie. Supposedly it’s from a Singer sewing machine manual, dated 1949. I’ve transcribed the words below the image as the image and its font isn’t particularly clear.


Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you’re going to do… Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.

Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing.

When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress. Keep a little bag full of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on. If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home, and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing.

My comments:

A clean dress? I haven’t owned let alone worn a dress in YEARS. French chalk? Well, when I was a teacher, chalk was an absolute nuisance on your fingers — it transferred to your clothes, made your fingers really dry out and your skin flake. And French chalk? How is that different to any other chalk?

Hair in order? Oh, they mean brush/comb it in the morning after your shower and that’s it, right? Powder? I think I last wore powder when I was 14! Lipstick for sewing? Now really… Visitors dropping in unannounced? Not likely in this age of communication devices where you know in advance if someone is stopping by. Husband coming home? Well, mine’s always at home as he’s retired, but even when he was working, what does him coming home have to do with me sewing? And I can enjoy sewing just fine without being ‘neatly put together’. In fact, I sew much better when I’m relaxed — and that means loose, comfy clothes suitable for the activity and the weather… and no makeup.

Dirty dishes aren’t a problem for me — my husband does them 😉 and we don’t ‘make’ beds in these days of fitted sheets and doonas.

Sometimes “the good ol’ days” weren’t that good 😉



4 responses

1 10 2013
Dawn C.

How funny. But the underlying current is: you must have a clean home, you must always look good for your husband, you need to wear fashionable clothes at all times, etc. That was definitely a root of the “Cinderella Complex”, where a prince on a white horse would come carry you away, But Only If you filled all the requirements above.

12 02 2014

Haha, just what I needed this morning! Gave me permission to overlook daily chores and get right to it! One of the two perks of being a widow is having to please only myself.

21 11 2015

I LOVE this advise!! It reminds me of the time (when I was a very little girl) when women dressed up to go shopping and they care about how they looked and how clean their house was. I remember when my mom would dress up and wear heels to go shopping. It wasn’t like going to the mall today. It was downtown where the streets were bustling with shoppers going to JC Penny’s, the Knox, and the exclusive “Miller’s Dept Store” here in Knoxville. ALL the women were wearing their Sunday best. My mom would clean the house early in the morning right after my dad left for work. Then she would shower and put on a pretty “house dress.” Her hair was combed and neatly put up when my dad got home from work. Supper was ALWAYS at the dining room table. There was never a time I can remember when pots were left on the range but all the food was in pretty serving bowls and dishes on the table. We were dirt poor, but she always put out the best we had.

21 11 2015

I grew up the same, some of my best memories. Women were valued for motherhood and keeping a comfortable home. Parents always very present (no cell phones, limited TV), no fast food. Lots of family time.

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