Thankfulness - From Mary Brooks Picken


If, deep in our hearts, we are grateful in proportion to the good that is ours, then we are sure to know a kind of peace and Thanksgiving that can make us kin to all the world.  

Mary Brooks Picken, 1924


  • Fashion Dictionary 1957  (first dictionary to be published in English, by a woman) 
  • Had published 96 books on the needle arts: needlework, sewing, & textiles
  • First woman to be named a trustee of the State University of NY: Fashion Institute of Technology  by Gov. Thomas E. Dewey in 1951
  • Founded, in 1916, the Women’s Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences in Scranton, PA . It was a sister school of 
  • One of five founders of Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

Her NY Times obituary cited "Mary Brooks Picken, an authority on dress, fabric, design and sewing, died Sunday at a nursing home in Williamsport, Pa. She was 94 years old."

But it is this quote that is most often cited on the WWW and social media with disdain:

"Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do. Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates. Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing. When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress. Keep a little bag full of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on. If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or hour husband will come home, and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing."

However, this sentence-by-sentence approach to vindicating Mary's suggestions is worthwhile reading.  It concludes with an additional path (with work) eventually leading to gratitude & thankfulness. Vintage Sewing Advice & Why It’s Not Stupid | The Sewing Academy

 "In addition to having a functional environment both for the continued sustaining of life and household sanity, and the sewing stuff, having a Functional Me is kind of amazing" 

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