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Mrs Bowden’s top tip – Needlework Development Series (NDS)

Mrs Bowden’s top tip – Needlework Development Series (NDS)

Needlework Development Series or NDS part 1

A trip down memory lane…..


On occasion I get contacted in my capacity as the proprietor of a sewing school. It’s usually by people who have an interesting book or maybe some fabric they want to sell/donate or those just seeking some advice about a sewing related artefact.  I am always happy to help as it’s great for me to see what they are bringing to the table and also it expands my knowledge if the item is unfamiliar and requires me to do a bit of research.
A few weeks ago a lady contacted me as she was clearing her deceased mother’s house and had stumbled upon some resources for teaching sewing and embroidery.  Her  mother had used these in the 1940’s and 1950’s in her capacity as a Domestic Science Teacher.    The lady thought I might be interested in them (not ‘arf) as she didn’t want to throw them out but couldn’t think what else to do with them.  To say I was not only touched but thrilled to be given these precious things is an understatement.
Some of you may know that I trained as a Design and Technology Teacher back in the 90’s at Roehampton University and soon started to teach Design and Technology specialising in Textiles Technology.  As an aside, Food Technology was my second subject as Food and Textiles often got lumped together being thought of as ‘lady’s’ subject.  So I was the modern equivalent, in some respects, of a Domestic Science/Home Ecomonics Teacher.  I immediately felt a connection with the mother of the lady who was visiting me.
The theme of this week’s top tip is the Needlework Development Series (NDS).  I remember my mother using the books they published for teachers with me in the 70’s. My mother had also been a teacher and presumably used these regularly in her own classroom which is why she had such a good stash of them!?
The scheme was financed by J and P Coats threads of Paisley.  I do like this charming advertisement picturing Gulliver (on his travels) being secured by embroidery thread.  Having just had a quick root through my own sewing box I thought you might like to see the changing logo of P and J Coats or COATS as they grew to be known in later years.
The NDS brought together four Scottish Art schools; Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh who collectively amassed over 900 pieces of embroidery which they lent to Women’s Institutes, Art Colleges, Further Educations Colleges and Schools where embroidery was being taught or where teachers were being trained. The objective was to help facilitate the raising of standards in embroidery design.  Glasgow School of Art is pictured above and is the most magnificent building designed by Charles Renee Mackintosh. The restoration of the building after the dreadful fire in 2014 is due for completition in 2018 with undergraduates back in 2019.
With the outbreak of WWII in 1939 the NDS was disbanded and the collections went back to the four Art Schools for safekeeping.

Well, that neatly brings me to the end of this weeks missive.  I know it doesn’t contain a top tip as such but I wanted to share a bit of sewing history with you so take it as nourishment for the brain!  Part 2 will follow next week xx

I do hope you are having the most wonderful Summer.

Until next time,

in stitches,

Mrs Bowden x

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