Dainty Work for Profit

In 1894, Addie E. Heron, the editor of Home Art, a journal dedicated to interior decoration, published Fancy Work for Pleasure and Profit (1894; reprint, Chicago: Thompson & Thomas, 1905). She devotes the last quarter of her book to profiting from fancy work, detailing for her readers how to begin a home business to sell their work.

She offers tips for getting started, accepting orders for designs, what to charge and collect, and where to locate their fancy-goods stores: “A good field for a lucrative trade may be utterly ruined simply by having the store on the wrong side of a street, or because it is located next to some objectionable place, that has been put under the ban of the fair ones of the town.” She details what stock to carry and provides a “List of Desirable Samples,” which includes “One-half dozen doyleys,” “Three center cloths—one square, one round and one long,” and “Three sofa cushions,” among several others.

We have excerpted portions of her chapter “Dainty Work for Profit” and provided the pattern for the Porcupine Stitch from her book. We’ve also included the Coral Pattern, Rose Leaf Lace, and Herringbone Stripe from The People’s Handbook Series’ The Ladies’ Model Fancy Work Manual (1893, New York: F. M. Lupton) and three doilies from Needlecraft Magazine, one from the December 1920 issue and two from the January 1923 issue. The patterns are printed exactly as they appeared in the originals. We hope they set you on your way to contributing to your own family’s exchequer!


“Dainty Work for Profit” is a subject that will appeal to the great army of women in our country who feel the need of adding their mite to the family exchequer, either as a wife, mother, daughter, or sister. These women may

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