Saturday 14 May 2022

May Fashion Friday

Happy Friday!
For this months Fashion Friday we have a page full of fascinating info on just how one shopped for clothing during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
Obviously for people living in the West during that time things were far more complicated and until after the arrival of the railroad most clothing was locally and self made!

Victorian Society of Alberta

Shopping in the Past - Edwardian and Victorian Clothes

Shopping in the Victorian and Edwardian Eras

Today ordinary people all over the world obtain clothes from a very wide variety of global sources. We shop from the Internet, from mail order, from TV Channels, from the High Street or nearby outlet mall a few miles away. In the past shopping was more difficult. It was not until the start of the nineteenth century that a form of mass produced clothing developed. It was of a simple basic style, mainly for ordinary men and women and unsuitable for the high fashion market of the upper classes. It could not compete with high class tailoring and it was not until the 1850s that standards of making began to gradually improve as the century wore on. The only acceptable ready made items for the wealthy were free size garments like mantles, cloaks and shawls.

Partially Made Clothes

Until the 1850s all sewn clothes were entirely stitched by hand. In Britain partly made clothes were made by London firms and these were sold on to country dressmakers and drapers. The partially completed bodices or partly made clothes were then completed to ensure a good fashion fit. This was usually done by dressmakers or the customer herself. From early Victorian times this was very common and evolved into the skirt being fully made and the matching bodice fabric being sold for individual styling. Short notice mourning clothes had been sold in this manner since the 1860s and led the way for the concept of ready made women's garments.  

The Sewing Machine and Butterick Paper Patterns

Although sewing could be a sweat trade it was also considered a gentle art and a skilled refinement for women. The customer or her maid was often quite experienced at making up garments. The mid 19th century mass marketing of the domestic sewing machine by Singer successfully introduced the concept of hire purchase. Then the introduction of paper patterns by Butterick and later the McCall's Pattern Company, helped make home dressmaking more successful.

Continued at the site.
You are reading an original 'Shopping in the Past', fashion history article by Pauline Weston Thomas at ©.   

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