Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Make do and mend

I've come by a bit of a family heirloom! The Book Of Good Housekeeping first published in 1944. A friend of mine lent me her copy which I think belonged to her grandmother. It's quite an amazing book which is packed full of info about how to run your home in the most economical way. It was written in an effort to help those who were due to leave their National Service and set up their homes after the world wars.

This book covers so much ground- I don't think there is an equivalent book to it now. It tells you how to choose a house, take care of clothes, budget, write shopping lists, buy cuts of meat, how to store food, how to look after your pets, good ways to organise your kitchen, how to repair things and it even instructs you in how to train your maid!

It also has a great little section about dressmaking, a bit like the booklet Make Do and Mend, which was distributed during the second world war. This section of the book tells you how to choose and cut the right fabric, make simple french seams and repair worn garments. The instructions given are quite easy to understand even though the illustrations are few and the lovely joined up handwriting is not the most legible of typefaces.

All in all a great little (but comprehensive) book which seeks to encourage families to reduce waste and promotes the recycling and re-use of all the things we consume and use each day.
I might just have a look for my own copy.


  1. Mmmm, I've seen it floating around on the internet (it must be that book!) and I really wanted one, it looks so... neat, and kind of complete. And I really like the illustrations, they are simple, but they just work.

  2. Yeah I've had a look for it but I can't seem to find this old edition- I'm thinking of scanning pages before I give it back!


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