Viva Escritora

Reporting from the bleacher seats …

tl;dr? Poetry in the form of prose is found in the oddest places.

Although this post would seem to be about pockets, it is about expertise. Celebrate the trades and the arts which may seem simple but benefit from repetition, skill, and experience — in this post, I consider pockets.

“The less I know about what you do, the easier it is for you to do it.” – Anonymous

A hobby An obsession of mine is sewing. A dear relative tripped across and sent me the Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, Scranton, Pa.:Tailored Pockets booklet, Copyright, 1916, by INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING COMPANY. Copyright in Great Britain. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.

And on opening the booklet, this piece of poetry in the form of prose is on the back of the front page, (my bold):


When a garment is ready for its pocket, or pockets, it has arrived at the first door of destiny, for upon the success of the pockets depends the care and deliberate pains with which the remainder of the garment is completed.

There is a feeling of responsibility when a pocket is to be made — to the skilled worker a delightful responsibility, to the less sure, an anxious one. But the moment the stitched slash is cut and the edges turned, pride take the place of concern; and from that stage to the last, the work will be interesting and painstakingly done. So skill should be at one’s command at this vital moment. Pocket-making should be happily anticipated, and pockets, no matter how simple or elaborate, should be so perfectly done that they will always prove a genuine satisfaction.

-M.B.P. , Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, Scranton, Pa.

Wow. The pocket has arrived at the first door of destiny, and we are responsible, and skill should be at one’s command at this vital pocket construction moment. And wait. What? But this is just a pocket. Yes, this is a pocket so lightweight but it is loaded with the gravitas of tailored construction. Who knew it weighed so much before it is even loaded with our marbles?

Tailored pocket sample provided with the instructional booklet for Tailored Pockets, Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, Scranton, Pa. I presume this pocket was constructed by students of the institute as they practiced professional pocket construction.
I’m not going to load it with marbles. It is a thing of beauty.

A reminder that 1916 predated women’s suffrage (1920); a woman’s value was still vested in her home-making skills; WWI was underway. Over 100 years later, the attention to detail for construction of a pocket seems other-worldly. But today for this OCD sewing enthusiast, I celebrate the expertise and the painstaking construction and … the documentation!

Tailored pockets. Flap variations.

Should I need to recreate any of the above flap pockets or some patch pockets or welt pockets, I have the detailed instructions. All 37 pages. I just need to turn the page and step through that first door of pocket destiny.

For today, please consider your hobbies, activities, career, and or interests. Revel in that which causes time to stand still and “always proves a genuine satisfaction” upon completion for you.

Writing this blog is one of mine and I smile.


Post-script: I’m dropping a couple more photos from the booklet. Hands-down I would flunk the exam laid out below.

Tailoring is serious business. Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, Scranton, Pa.: Tailored Pockets, Copyright, 1916.

Question (15): What determines the width of stitching on a pocket? Answer: Duh. Well, I do!

Which is likely the wrong answer. I haven’t read close enough to find the answer but then, I have never even ever questioned that something other than me determines the width of stitching when constructing pockets.

The Table of Contents itself is an illustration of “the less I know about what you do, the easier it is [for you to do it].”

Table of Contents, 37 pages of pocket construction. Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences: Tailored Pockets, Scranton, Pa. , Copyright 1916.

3 thoughts on “Pockets! Who knew?

  1. Ann says:

    What a difference 100 years makes.

  2. Gay Ruby says:

    My almost-three year old granddaughter is a big fan of POCKETS ~ who knew we’d need 37 pages of detailed instruction?!?

    1. Sweet. Where will we carry our findings without pockets. And 37 pages of clear, detailed instructions are so far _beyond_ the simple in-seam type pocket. Wow!

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