The cost of hand embroidery supplies in 1930

I don't know about you but I find it fascinating to see how the cost of hand embroidery supplies have changed over the years. When I saw a list of equipment and supplies in Helen Whiteford's school exercise book from the 1930's I wanted to share it with you.

The prices are given in sterling: in pounds, shillings and pence, the form of money we used here in the UK before decimalization in 1971.

A pound was made up of 20 shillings in 240 pennies. A shilling consisted of 12 pennies. A penny consisted of two halfpennies or four farthings.

The symbols used for this kind of money were £ for pounds, s. or /- for shillings and d for pennies.

Let's start with the tools and equipment that she lists...

Tools and equipment Cost
Pins 2/10 a pound weight (almost 15 pence)
Needles 4 to a 1/- packet (5 pence)
Thimbles - plastic 1d
Thimbles - plated 3d
Tape measures 6d (about 2.5 pence)
Scissors - embroidery 4/- or 6/- (20 or 30 pence)
Scissors - cutting out 10/- (50 new pence)
Frame, round 3/-, 4/- (15 or 20 pence)
Frame, square 20" 13/4 (about 68 pence)
Pattern making paper, ruled 1/4" 5/4 (about 28 pence)
Tracing paper 5d a sheet (about 2.5 pence)
Indian ink 1/4 for 1oz bottle
Fabrics
Hessian 50" 5/- to 6/- a yard (25-30 pence a yard)
Oatmeal cloth 50"8/6 (42.5 pence a yard)
Cotton crash4/- (20 pence a yard)
Hardanger6/- to 14/- (30 - 70 pence a yard)
Linen 36 to 72", white7/6 to 17/6 (35 - 87 pence)
Linen, dyed 36"10/6 (52.5 pence)
Unbleached calico, 36"4/6 (22.5 pence)
Canvas(various)3/- to 7/- (15 - 35 pence)
Gingham3/2 (16 pence)
Felt14/6 (72.5 pence)
Net6/- (30 pence)
Threads
Clarks cotton, stranded4.5d a skein
Soft embroidery cotton4.5d a skein
Cotton a broder3d a skein
Embroidery wool, 4 ply3d a skein
Sewing cotton6d a reel
Tacking cotton2/2 a spool
Tape 36 yards1/5
Bias binding 1/5
Coloured cordfrom 2.5d a yard
Wooden beads 1/4 sq1/- each

To put the prices of the hand embroidery supplies above into perspective, a weekly wage at this time may have been about 30/- (30 shillings or 30 'bob') which would now be £1.50.



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