Tuesday, 9 July 2013

I Am The Wife Of King Lud

It seems yesterday the very helpful ista, who writes Costumes From A Shoebox, pointed out that I had made a mistake when talking about the Lady Macbeth dress. I referred to the actress Ellen Terry as Elizabethan rather than Victorian and I feel a bit silly for not checking my facts.

I thought I should probably try and make it up to the Victorian era, especially because one of the many things it brought us was the lockstitch sewing machine. Before then all clothing were sewn by hand.

The rich would pay working class women to make their clothes and the poor would have to make their own. A shirt would take a competent seamstress between ten and fourteen hours, which kind of renews my love for my slightly crummy Brother machine.

The sewing machine was pretty much the death knell for home sewing. Clothing could be manufactured cheaply in the factories and even though the woman who worked there were able to produce more clothing the price had also gone down and unscrupulous middlemen would often take advantage.

Even at the top end, personal seamstresses were asked to create more elaborate, ruffled clothing and were often offered less in compensation because women rarely knew how much hand finishing was still required as well as what could be done with a straight stitch machine.

It's worth remembering that fast fashion has always been around, and the infusion of technology into the process has only sped it up and made it more accessible to the masses.

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