Who made our clothes?

Have you ever wondered how women got hold of dresses before the rise of ready-to-wear hit our shops? If they werent adept at dressmaking themselves then they would have employed a dressmaker to do it for them. These dressmakers would copy the latest fashions from Paris or London which they would get from paper pictures called fashion plates. The process would involve measurement-taking, a trial garment being produced called a muslin and of course, several fittings to get it just right.

These days were more likely to come across sewing professionals, people who earn a living from sewing, teaching, selling sewing supplies or writing articles about the craft. These professionals can custom-make garments to order, might specialize in childrens or womens clothing, formalwear, bridalwear or sportswear and be able to make alterations or restyles. Tailors generally cater to menswear requirements.

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Some designers, dressmakers and tailors can create a garment from a simple sketch or idea whereas others will use a paper pattern. A patternmaker will draft the shapes needed to make a garment onto paper using measuring tools or it can be done by computer using something called an AutoCAD software package. Fancy making your garments from patterns? Then think about using high-quality Dressmaking Fabric and visit http://www.quality-fabrics.co.uk/dressmaking-fabrics-14-c.asp

A seamstress might not have the ability to create an entire garment from the start but instead is employed in a factory setting with the responsibility to stitch certain pieces of a garment assembled along a chain. Before the Industrial Revolution, much of the work of a seamstress was done by hand. The modern term sewist refers to somebody who uses sewing to create works of art and combines the words sew and artist.

The first recorded signs of sewing in history go back 20,000 years with ivory and bone needles discovered. These were still most likely used to use sew together animal belts, which were humans first items of clothing. It wouldnt be for another 7000 years until evidence of sewing material appeared. When you look to the times of ancient Greek and Roman dress, the emphasis was more on the draping of material rather than items that had been sewn together. Togas would be tied around the waist or belted as opposed to finely sewn together.

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It wasnt until the Middle Ages that we begin to see the beginnings of embroidery and patterns emerge. Hand sewing and dyeing processes became popular, resulting in an emergence of personal adornment, accessorizing and decorating garments in a way not seen before. Materials commonly available to dressmakers during this time were wool, cotton and silk. Short tunics were made and paired up with a type of legging. They werent like modern-day tights though as clothes makers of the period lacked access to material with that kind of elasticity.

Most fashion historians agree that it wasnt until the 14th century that an awareness of fashion began to develop. It is during this period that we see buttons and lacing appear with silk being imported and impressive, expensive garments started to appear in the higher echelons of society.

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