"Make It Yourself"

by Sarah A. Gordon

Home Sewing, Gender, and Culture, 1890–1930

Interview with Patricia Gordon and Marian Goodman

Patricia Gordon: That’s an interesting point and you were [addressed to Goodman], you were taught to sew at home and I’m sure that… I was taught in that school, I started school in Ohio, we, they started sewing in the fourth grade. They taught sewing from the fourth grade up, this goes back, you know, time back, I bet they don’t any more, but I think they did this because, they didn’t like to send anybody out who didn’t know, you know. They felt that a girl really wasn’t going to make it in that country if she couldn’t sew.

Marian Goodman: If she couldn’t. True.

Patricia Gordon: She couldn’t keep house, she couldn’t... And you couldn’t tell when they opened those schools, how long a girl was going to stay in school. Sometimes a girl didn’t even think about going to high school.

Marian Goodman: True.

Sarah Gordon: Right. So they started early.

Patricia Gordon: Yeah, yeah! Yeah, I think that must have been how it got started that way.

Marian Goodman: Probably.