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Tailoring and the Birth of the Published Paper Pattern

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

Any method more simple or rudimentary than this one published by “A Society of Adepts” can scarcely be conceived. It is really the result of experience and differed scarcely but in name from the plan of cutting by “rock of eye.” It must be regarded as proof that a desire or necessity was felt for some method by which tailors could draft these patterns from measures. In default of any other guide, this work may have been of some assistance to the cutters of that time; otherwise it is remarkable t

Shifting Trends Postwar: 1950s

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

The exuberance at the end of the war was expressed by the Paris fashion designer Christian Dior. His New Look in the Spring–Summer 1947 collection is described as a sea change in fashion and had a marked impact on women’s postwar styles (see Figure 138). Anticipating freedom from the fabric restrictions imposed by rationing during the war, Dior emphasized a large bust, small waist, below-mid-calf-length full skirt, and a full peplum emphasizing the hips. The style became immensely popular. Howeve

New Challenges: 1960s–1980s

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

A common misconception is that by the 1960s women stopped sewing and making their own clothes due to the mass of inexpensive, readily available ready-to-wear options. However, the 1960s were actually a boom period. The Barron’s article “Profitable Patterns” (1958) reported that pattern companies were generally profitable, with the exception of Vogue. The parent company, Condé Nast, was publishing several magazines and running the pattern division, which operated at a loss. However, the losses “ar

Reinvention and Renaissance: 1980s–2010

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

The 1980s witnessed a burst of computer technological. The technology was incorporated in pattern companies’ business practices in manufacturing and marketing procedures. By 1991, when restricted commercial use of the Internet was lifted, pattern companies embraced it to rapidly market their designs. Companies began to use computer applications to trim costs, to improve inventory control, and to boost productivity. For example, Simplicity used an application to streamline procedures for processi

Development of Dressmaking Patterns: 1800–1860

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

Through the eighteenth century, methods for communicating the latest fashions were limited to word of mouth, fashion dolls known as Pandoras, fashion plates such as Galerie des Modes, and publications for professional tailors.

Nineteenth-century Technology

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

Inventors were experimenting with mechanical sewing by the mid-eighteenth century, but it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that a functioning, practical machine was invented by Barthélemy Thimonnier. In “A Brief History of the Sewing Machine,” Graham Forsdyke explains that Thimonnier’s machine was granted a French patent in 1830. By 1840, he had installed eighty of his machines in his factory for sewing uniforms for the French army. Parisian tailors, who feared the machine would put craft

Early History of Pattern Companies: 1860s–1880s

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

Demorest, the first to mass-produce retail patterns for the home sewer in the United States, took advantage of the expanded postal services selling by mail order as well as in retail outlets. Who the actual designer of the first patterns was is somewhat unclear. Mrs. Margaret Demorest (née Poole) is listed as Mme Demorest in Leslie’s Lady’s Gazette of Fashion in July 1854. However, it is believed that William Jennings Demorest employed Ellen Louise Curtis and her sister Kate from the early 1850s

New Markets and Expansion: 1880s–1900

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

By 1880, the six major U.S. pattern companies—Demorest, Butterick, McCall, Harper’s Bazar, Taylor, and Domestic—had positioned themselves in the market. Each published a magazine advertising their patterns for the latest fashions for women, a full complement of children’s clothing, undergarments for all, and shirts, trousers, and various other men’s non-tailored garments.

Shifts and Balances: 1900–1920s

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

A dynamic new figure entered the pattern enterprise in the first decade of the new century. Condé Nast was adept at promotion and was attracted to the pattern industry. He organized the Home Pattern Company and distributed dress patterns in an arrangement with Ladies’ Home Journal in 1905 (Seebohm 1982: 32). The Ladies’ Home Journal was an influential women’s periodical with a circulation of 1,000,000 (Mott 1938: vol. 4, 545). Nast had remarkable marketing skills and successfully promoted pattern

Blossoming Economy: 1920–1929

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

While the general economy was experiencing boom years in the period between the end of the First World War and the crash of 1929, not every sewing-related business benefited. Fewer women were making their own clothes or going to custom dressmakers. Since the turn of the century, an increasing number of women had been entering the workplace, and this trend continued after the war. They no longer had the spare time to lavish on making their own clothing, and the ready-made garment industry was offe

Surviving the Depression: 1930s

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

Pattern producers repudiate rumors that they enjoyed a boom during the Depression. Like most other businesses, theirs suffers when people are hard up; it recovers when people start spending again. Patterns hit bottom in 1932. Improvement began in the Fall of 1933, but not soon enough to make an increase for the year. Estimates place 1934 ahead of 1933 by about 10%.

The War Years: 1940s

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

With the onset of the Second World War in Europe, prosperity began returning to the U.S. and Canadian economies. Both North and South America became major suppliers to Europe, which meant expanded production and therefore more jobs and more money for the consumer to spend. Pattern sales for all the existing companies increased noticeably, except for Butterick, which was still struggling from the problems that began in the late 1920s and were exacerbated by the bankruptcy reorganization in 1935. T

Introduction

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: A History of the Paper Pattern Industry. The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution 2014

Book chapter

When Western clothing began to reveal the shape of the body in the twelfth century, cloth needed to be cut into shapes and the shapes became more complex in each century, thus requiring guides or patterns to form appropriate shapes to fit the body. The paper pattern ultimately became that guide; however, as Frieda Sorber observed in the exhibition catalog Patterns from the MoMu in Antwerp, “The history of the paper pattern is almost as elusive as the ephemeral nature of the object itself” (Heaven

Fashion Designers, Seamstresses, and Tailors

Cynthia Amnéus

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Throughout the nineteenth century, North American fashion followed the dictates of French design. American dressmakers and tailors looked to Paris for the newest silhouettes and adapted them to the American lifestyle. It was not until the 1930s that independent fashion designers emerged and rejected the idea that all fashion must be inspired by Paris. These early designers created a unique “American look” that was predicated on comfort. This design tended to be more casual, with an air of sophist

Tweed

Fiona Anderson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Tweed cloth originated in Scotland in the early nineteenth century. At that time, it was only made from woolen yarns in the twill weave. From the 1820s to the present, tweed has been characterized by a huge range of color and weave effects. The main account given for the origins of the name tweed is that it is based on a misreading of the Scottish word tweel or twill (which was the weave characteristic of Scottish woolens at that time) for tweed. By the 1840s, tweed was established as a term used

Savile Row

Christopher Breward

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Tailoring

Alison Matthews David

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, tailors were responsible for making a variety of outer garments including capes, cloaks, coats, doublets, and breeches. They gave shape to them by using coarse, stiff linen and canvas for interlining, horsehair cloth and even cardboard stiffened with whalebone for structural elements. Imperfect or asymmetrical body shapes could be evened out with wool or cotton padding. Luxury garments were often lined with satins or furs to keep their wearers warm. Tai

Explore
London as a Fashion City

Edwina Ehrman

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

London is part of a global fashion system, known in international circles for its fashion heritage and diversity, its hybrid sense of style, its vibrant consumer culture, and the creativity of its fashion graduates. It is equated with originality and experimentation and with styles that draw on a wide vocabulary of cultural references. The media tend to the innovative and radical, and the exposure given to designers who embody these qualities weights perceptions of London. The city plays a key ro

The Apparel Industry

Jan Hilger

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Before the mid-nineteenth century garments were produced manually. With the invention of sewing machines, mass manufacturing became possible. In just over 160 years, business complexity increased from one-man companies, dominated by artisan tailors, to multinational corporations. In Europe and in the United States the first apparel factories following the Fordist model were established. A new unskilled workforce replaced skilled craftsmen. With growing distance from the consumer and decreasing in

Czech Urban Dress, 1948 to Twenty-First Century

Konstantina Hlaváková

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus 2010

Encyclopedia entry

After the Communists seized power in Czechoslovakia in 1948, political change affected all areas of social life. The Communist regime considered fashion and styles of dress as effective ideological instruments through which it could exercise its control of society. The nationalization and liquidation of prospering small firms and the destruction of a network of services that had grown up over decades on the basis of natural need caused immediate economic problems. The new production structure and

Migrant Workers, Production, and Fashion

Sandra Klopper and >Fiona Rankin-Smith

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

South Africa’s migrant labor system first began in the 1850s when African men from rural communities flocked to the newly discovered diamond and gold fields on the Witwatersrand in search of work. Originally miners brought their own clothing to work in the mines, primarily shorts. Eventually the mining companies, to protect their human resources, decided it was in their best interest to provide rubber boots, coveralls, and hard hats to protect miners working in a very dangerous occupation. By the

Fashion Designers

Peter McNeil

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Fashion designers are associated in the popular imagination with haute couture (high fashion) and famous individuals. Fashionable clothing requires a concept and also fabrication; sometimes this process is symbiotic, as in the work of many twentieth-century fashion designers. Fashion design can also be linked to aspects of the trades and seen as a vernacular activity with a much longer history. The development of the idea of the fashion designer requires an understanding of the history of making

Fashion in Belgrade, 1918 to 1941

Bojana Popović

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In the wake of World War I, Serbia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (from 1929, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia), and its capital city, Belgrade, was proclaimed the capital of this new state, which was ruled by the Serbian Karadjordjevic dynasty. Despite economic and political tensions, the kingdom kept pace with the process of modernization that was in progress in the rest of postwar Europe, and Belgrade’s appearance and the routines of its inhabitants were changing very quick

The Production and Retailing of Fashionable Dress in Russia, 1700 to 1917

Christine Ruane

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In 1700, the tsar Peter the Great decreed that the court, government servitors, and urban residents must replace their traditional form of dress with European clothing. While this revolution in dress had an immediate social and psychological impact, it also created a serious economic problem. While the court could rely upon artisans in the Kremlin workshops and Moscow’s foreign quarter to create their new wardrobes, there simply were not enough individuals trained in the art of European design to

England

Naomi E.A. Tarrant

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In 1800, the people of England dressed in the general West European clothing style that was worn by all fashionable people. Wealth determined what a person could afford to wear but not the style. There was no folk dress, so the general impression was that wealthy people wore the same styles as their workers, with only the quality showing the difference. The poor acquired garments from secondhand clothes dealers or as gifts from wealthier family members or friends, charities, and employers, as wel

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