I went shopping this afternoon at some of my favourite used book stores, and made some great finds.
The Complete Book of Sewing by Constance Talbot. Copyright 1943, revised 1949. This one looks to have just about anything you might want to know about fabric selection, construction methods, and sewing for the home. It's chock full of beautiful vintage illustrations and black and white photographs. Even if I didn't sew this would be interesting historically.
Vogue Fitting by the Butterick Company. Copyright 1984. While the colour photo gallery at the beginning is very, very eighties, the actual information is timeless, and helpfully illustrated. A cursory flip through has already turned up several fitting tips that will be quite helpful. I have a feeling this one will be open on my sewing table more often than on the shelf.
And finally, Needlework and Cutting Out by Agnes Walker. Fifth edition, dated 1907.
I doubt I will use this as an actual manual, but how could I resist an edwardian sewing book? It appears to be a book for sewing teachers, and has instructions on how to give lessons on different techniques.
The best part of this one is the hand scripted note in the front, presenting it as a gift to Mrs. M. Green.
It says "Presented to Mrs. M. Green by her co-workers as a token of love and respect toward her, owing to her leaving her native land for British Columbia", and is signed by eight of said co-workers and dated August 20th, 1908. I wonder who Mrs. Green was, where she had moved from, what she did (presumably something to do with teaching sewing, but who did she teach?).
Not a bad haul for just under 30$ :). I find it interesting that they are each separated by approximately forty years. Maybe I can eventually fill in the gaps, a study by decade of what was thought pertinent knowledge for home sewers.
Also, I finally decide on a pattern for the plaid shirt. In the effort of not ending up with too much bulk in such a warm fabric, I'm going with the '69 Simplicity. First though, to drag my sewing machine to the shop for a look over. After breaking a needle on my last project (and having to take the plate out to track down and remove the broken needle end), it has decided to make a not very happy sound when stitching, and I don't want to risk damaging anything even more by using it anyway. Should be good for some funny looks on the bus.