“Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisical attitude. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates. Never try to sew with the sink full of dishes or bed unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so that your mind is free to enjoy your sewing. When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Go through a beauty ritual of orderliness. Have on a clean dress. Be sure your hands are clean, finger nails smooth — a nail file and pumice will help. Always avoid hangnails. Keep a little bag full of French chalk near your sewing machine where you can pick it up and dust your fingers at intervals. This not only absorbs the moisture on your fingers, but helps to keep your work clean. Have your hair in order, power and lipstick put on with care. Looking attractive is a very important part of sewing, because if you are making something for yourself, you will try it on at intervals in front of your mirror, and you can hope for better results when you look your best. 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 as you should."
Now, before laughing at this advice and thinking it’s archaic, stop and read it again.
Written by Mary Brooks Picken in the Singer Sewing Book in 1949, this advice is as good today as it was then.
I have a hard time sewing well when my house is a train wreck, and I look like part of it. Taking care of my personal appearance and keeping the house in order frees me up mentally to focus on my sewing.
I’ve heard lots of people laugh at the advice about putting on clean clothes and makeup, and fixing hair. This was written in an era that most people took pride in their appearance and had the decency to clean up when they went out in public.
Maybe instead of laughing, you ought to follow her advice. You just might have a better day. I know I do.