Sewing

Clothing for women and children, and some simple items for men such as shirts, were made in many homes across the social spectrum in modern times for private consumption. This has been concurrent with clothing made at home in poorer homes for wages in a regular or irregular way as self-employment or outwork. Both practices have existed alongside the increasing consumption of factory ready-mades, a situation that prevails in the early 2000s, although unwaged home dressmaking has substantially declined. Not all domestic production has been prompted by thrift or economic necessity: women have also sewn clothes for pleasure and as a creative act and in this same period skill with the needle has been prized for its association with leisure and femininity. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the domestic production of clothes also embraced the efforts of literate, middle-class women to teach their peers to make clothes for the deserving poor or to teach poor women to sew for themselves. The trend was reflected in a new genre of instructional literature, such as an 1838 publication called The Workwoman's Guide. Although philanthropic in some respects, this activity also served to provide a flow of skilled girls into domestic service. The introduction of reliable domestic sewing machines in the 1860s, for those who could afford them, accelerated home production of garments for both waged and unwaged purposes, as did the spread of well-illustrated mass part-works, books, magazines, and paper patterns that increased through the nineteenth century and helped to disseminate knowledge of home sewing, knitting, embroidery, and other handicrafts associated with clothing such as crochet. Home sewing included significant time spent on mending and renovation, in all

"[M]any women who have started home dressmaking as a means to economy have continued it as a[n] adventure in creative expression . . . . These days the only way to stamp one's individuality on a wardrobe is to make one's own " "[Y]ou don't have to be an expert to make a chic dress" (Butterick Publishing Company, pp. 2-3).

"[M]any women who have started home dressmaking as a means to economy have continued it as a[n] adventure in creative expression . . . . These days the only way to stamp one's individuality on a wardrobe is to make one's own " "[Y]ou don't have to be an expert to make a chic dress" (Butterick Publishing Company, pp. 2-3).

classes of household. "Make-do and Mend," a campaign introduced by the British government during World War II, encouraged clothing economies in the home at a time of acute shortages. It promoted many ingenious solutions but was not universally popular; it may have unintentionally contributed to the postwar move away from thrift to more throwaway attitudes to clothing. Home sewing was regularly taught to girls in schools until the last quarter of the twentieth century when it was replaced by other courses that emphasized design and new technologies.

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