A Century of Crafts

We searched through the rich archives of Better Homes and Gardens magazine for images that evoke the spirit of the 20th century -- and we proudly share them with you.
1900-1920

From Hard Work to Handwork

One of the great joys of being a crafter is that our crafts can become heirlooms, remaining for others to enjoy long after we've made them. Crafts techniques and favorite styles evolve over the years; pride of accomplishment and the joy of making something by hand span generations. To honor the dedication of those who have created heirlooms for us, we take a loving look at crafts -- and some of the historical factors that influenced them -- over the past century.


Early in the 20th century, the world was changing. With the end of Queen Victoria's reign and the 1893-1897 depression, colors and outlooks were appearing brighter.

In America, President Theodore Roosevelt inspired the timeless Teddy Bear. Men considered home their castle -- while women were expected to keep it running smoothly. The typical family lived on a farm.

The first electric washing machine in 1907 would free women from arm-wrenching laundry -- as soon as they could get electricity. In the rare leisure moments between housework Meanwhile, well-educated young ladies learned to tat and crochet exquisite edgings. Other girls were leaving the farms for the city to work in the many burgeoning factories.

By 1910, crazy quilts were the rage, as women traded, patched, and embroidered recycled clothes and scraps. They also bought direct-mail, stamped embroidery kits, which offered sentimental sayings and mottoes to stitch.

Continued on page 2:  1920-1945