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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

Jewelry of Malaysia

Mohammed Kassim Bin Haji Ali

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Beads were one of the earliest forms of manufactured body ornaments worn by indigenous groups in Malaysia. Some beads found in Borneo can be dated to the Metal Age. Earlier glass and stone beads that came from as far away as Egypt and Mesopotamia through bartering have become very valuable and are much sought after in the early twenty-first century; in earlier times they were sometimes used as currency. The ancient tradition remains strong, and status and wealth are measured according to the numb

Miao National Minority

Gina Corrigan

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Today, the Miao ethnic minority live in southwestern China, their population totaling 8.9 million. Miao origins and migrations are controversial and poorly documented, but we know that attempts to subdue them have been difficult. Miao in remote mountain regions developed many garments, expressing cultural identity. In 2000 a book published in China illustrated 173 different styles of Miao dress. Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the female population in the countryside again adopted trad

Slovak Embroidery

Oı’ga Danglová

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

Encyclopedia entry

The oldest archeological evidence about embroidery in the territory of Slovakia dates to the third century b.c.e. In the Middle Ages, embroidery appeared on religious textiles and was worked by professional craftsmen. The first archive records about embroidery guilds in the territory of Slovakia date to the fifteenth century, referring to guilds of silk embroiderers in Košice and Bratislava. Inspired by the Renaissance penchant for luxury, embroidery was applied to clothing of the aristocracy and

The Pattern Industry

Carol Anne Dickson

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

Encyclopedia entry

The pattern industry in the United States and Canada had as its antecedents a number of earlier attempts to simplify the making of garments. The first patterns, made by cloistered monks, consisted of only two pieces. In the thirteenth century, French master tailor Charles Daillac began making his patterns out of thin pieces of wood. In the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, fashion journals began to appear, illustrating and describing the increasingly complex fashions of the times. In

Patterns and Pattern Making

Joy Spanabel Emery

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In the United States, Godey’s sold full-scale patterns by Mme Demorest through mail order in 1854. Frank Leslie’s Gazette of Fashions included full-scale, foldout Demorest patterns in the monthly periodical as well as offering patterns by mail. The patterns were one size only. Because they were offered through retail or mail order, Demorest patterns were the first commercial patterns in the United States (Emery, p. 1999). They offered a wide range of ladies, children’s, and men’s tissue-paper pat

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

The Structure and Form of European Clothes

Peter McNeil

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

Encyclopedia entry

Clothing is both a material covering and an enclosure for the body that in West Europe is generally constructed through draping or cutting cloth or through weaving or knitting it to shape. The structure of European dress is also bound up with abstract ideals of conduct and beauty. The aesthetic and phenomenological dimension of clothing moving in space is also significant. Some fashions such as women’s court dress from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were designed to be “read” from a fro

Home Production

Tone Rasch

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

Encyclopedia entry

Clothes are connected to necessity as well as to luxury. The production of them can be viewed the same way. Many clothes have historically been produced at home but in different contexts. Sewing and needlework have been paid work, hobbies, and a part of domestic work during the last couple of centuries. In the early twentieth century, many (if not most) clothes and garments were made at home. This situation has changed, although textiles and clothing are still important parts of housekeeping in t

The Textile Industry

Michiel Scheffer

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

Encyclopedia entry

The textile industry covers the sequence of production stages, starting from fibers through clothing assembly. Europe’s textile industry has been significant in both economic and cultural history. It was the first sector to industrialize and was therefore at the core of the pervasive economic and social changes that took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For more than a century, the advantages of large-scale cloth production made West Europe a world leader in this trade, but since

Technology and Fashion

Phyllis G. Tortora

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

Encyclopedia entry

Dress in the modern world is made from a wide variety of materials. Generally, the components of dress are created and assembled by some technological process. The development of and advances in technologies used to produce fashionable dress products, however, are rarely viewed as factors related to fashion change. By exploring selected examples that originate from the time of the Industrial Revolution up to the twenty-first century, technological innovations in materials and techniques used to p

Demorest, Mme.

Lauren Whitley

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Madame Demorest’s entrepreneurial success can be attributed to her astute understanding of the American fashion business as a combination of creativity, marketing, distribution, and brand identity. She claimed a number of innovative products, including a line of comfortable corsets, an affordable hoopskirt, the Imperial Dress-elevators (loop fasteners enabling skirts to be raised), and a sewing machine that could sew backwards; moreover, she developed the Excelsior Dress Model drafting system, a

Maya Dress and Fashion in Chiapas

Ashley E. Maynard and Patricia Marks Greenfield

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

A transition has taken place in Maya communities in highland Chiapas, Mexico, from a few traditional, defined patterns for each article of clothing to the concept of fashion, with its traits of change and innovation. This transition to fashion occurred as the communities moved from a subsistence and agriculture economy to one based on money and commerce. A notable example is Nabenchauk, a hamlet in Zinacantán, where research has been conducted by cultural psychologist Patricia Greenfield since 19

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