"Make It Yourself"

by Sarah A. Gordon

Home Sewing, Gender, and Culture, 1890–1930

First Interview with Florence Epstein

Florence Epstein: I remember we…I mean, this was a class project. We made these middy blouses that we wore for graduating from grade school.

Sarah Gordon: Right.

Florence Epstein: And from then on, I started… You could pick up a piece of material for almost nothing… very little money, and I, that meant that I could make myself a dress any time I wanted a new dress.

Sarah Gordon: Right, right.

Florence Epstein: I didn't have to worry having money to go out and buy one.

Sarah Gordon: Right.

Florence Epstein: I could make one.

Sarah Gordon: Did you, were there certain, did you use pattern and things? Or did you just…

Florence Epstein: I always used a pattern.

Sarah Gordon: Yeah.

Florence Epstein: I, and the patterns always had detailed information on how to proceed.

Sarah Gordon: Right.

Florence Epstein: Specific instructions.

Sarah Gordon: Right. So you would just follow that.

Florence Epstein: And I remember, I used to especially favor Vogue – no, it was not Vogue. At that time it was Butterick.

Sarah Gordon: Uh-huh?

Florence Epstein: Butterick patterns.