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Simple Directions in Needle-work

This needlework textbook from 1861, intended for girls' schools, was compiled by Mrs Campbell, mistress of the Central Female Model School in Dublin. The introduction states that 'The practical knowledge of needlework… must be regarded as very useful to all females, but particularly so to those of the humbler classes'.

The book begins with instructions for hemming and continues through basic stitches; button-holes; darning; knitting; more complicated stitches; lace work; and cutting out and sewing articles of babies' clothing. Worked examples, mounted on green paper, are bound in after the text. Although there are intricate small samples of stitches included, the most complicated item is the shirt pictured below. The directions for this are very general, rather than for a specific size. An italicised instruction advises '…then sew on the buttons carefully…'.

Shelfmark: OLS POL S 120

Helen McGinley

Helen McGinley has worked in the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections since 2004. She has a love of books in general, and children's and illustrated books in particular, and enjoys sharing her excitement through the department's blog and Twitter feed.