In a recent exchange on the 'mending' topic, someone suggested that this fascinating read by Sarah Gordon be moved to a main topic. Here it is:
There is a fascinating book (actually a Rutgers University PhD history department dissertation) by Sarah Gordon on women and sewing entitled "Sew It Yourself--Home Sewing, Gender, & Culture 1890-1930. Embedded in the online.pdf are oral interviews with a number of women sewers who recall their own sewing experiences in their youth or their mother's or grandmother's. You can find it here:
At 5 chapters it's on the long side, but I think many of the responders to marymild's thread would enjoy it.
P.S. My grandmother, beautifully skilled in needlework but *not* a quilter, got her master's degree in home economics in the late 1800s--the title of her thesis was "The potential for the Use of Electricity in the Home." Another era for sure.