The Culture of Sewing: Gender, Consumption and Home Dressmaking

Overview

This book is the first serious account of the significance of home dressmaking as a form of European and American material culture. Exploring themes from the last two hundred years to the present, including gender, technology, consumption and visual representation, contributors show how home dressmakers negotiated and experienced developments to meet a wide variety of needs and aspirations. Not merely passive consumers, home dressmakers have been active producers within family economies. They have been ...
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Overview

This book is the first serious account of the significance of home dressmaking as a form of European and American material culture. Exploring themes from the last two hundred years to the present, including gender, technology, consumption and visual representation, contributors show how home dressmakers negotiated and experienced developments to meet a wide variety of needs and aspirations. Not merely passive consumers, home dressmakers have been active producers within family economies. They have been individuals with complex agendas expressed through their roles as wives, mothers and workers in their own right and shaped by ideologies of femininity and class.. "This book represents a vital contribution to women's studies, the history of fashion and dress, design history, material culture, sociology and anthropology.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Sewing,as a fixture of production, consumption, femininity, gentility, home, and work, deserves the serious attention of historians and theoreticians ... the most interesting essays reveal how ... women actually served to integrate the home into commercial life ... This series(dress,body culture) attempts to move specialists out of their professional ghetto while infusing such theoretically "hot"subjects such as dress and bodies with some real material content.Both are welcome goals" —Business History Review

'A collection of well researched essays ... An interesting book to dip into as each essay is complete in itself. A student of dress would find it useful as it has personal accounts that you wouldn't find anywhere else." —Costume

"This seminal publication contributes to Berg's recent prolific impact on the field of costume studies, and this book will not disappoint those searching for the latest serious academic inquiry into new areas in the field of dress ... The editor's incisive synthesis of the issues underpinning this field of study, as well as those brought out by the authors of the various papers, provides a strong contextual framework for any further work that may be undertaken on this topic ... The extent of the complementary coverage of this topic from different standpoints adds to the strength of this publication." —Dress

'The Culture of Sewing aptly demonstrates the relevance of home sewing to our collective scholarly lives. Focusing on nineteenth-and twentieth-century Britain and America, it also shows that home sewing has a history far more specific and varied than my adolescent shortsightedness. ... I am not yet ready to take up home sewing. However, I urge readers to take up the best essays in this book. Together they urge us to re-assess relationships between paid and unpaid labor, work and leisure, and perhaps most important, the economy and everyday life.' —Enterprise and Society

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859732083
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Series: Dress, Body, Culture Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Edited by Barbara Burman, Winchester School of Art.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Notes on Contributors
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Home Dressmaking, Class and Identity
1 Patterns of Respectability: Publishing, Home Sewing and the Dynamics of Class and Gender 1870-1914 21
2 Made at Home by Clever Fingers: Home Dressmaking in Edwardian England 33
3 On the Margins: Theorizing the History and Significance of Making and Designing Clothes at Home 55
4 Making Modern Woman, Stitch by Stitch: Dressmaking and Women's Magazines in Britain 1919-39 73
5 Home Sewing: Motivational Changes in the Twentieth Century 97
6 There's No Place Like Home: Home Dressmaking and Creativity in the Jamaican Community of the 1940s to the 1960s 111
Pt. 2 Home Dressmaking and Consumption
7 Wearily Moving her Needle: Army Officers' Wives and Sewing in the Nineteenth-Century American West 129
8 Commodified Craft, Creative Community: Women's Vernacular Dress in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia 141
9 Creating Consumers: Gender, Class and the Family Sewing Machine 157
10 Patterns of Choice: Women's and Children's Clothing in the Wallis Archive, York Castle Museum 169
11 The Sewing Needle as Magic Wand: Selling Sewing Lessons to American Girls after the Second World War 193
12 Virtual Home Dressmaking: Dressmakers and Seamstresses in Post-War Toronto 207
Pt. 3 Home Dressmaking, Dissemination and Technology
13 The Lady's Economical Assistant of 1808 223
14 Dreams on Paper: A Story of the Commercial Pattern Industry 235
15 Homeworking and the Sewing Machine in the British Clothing Industry 1850-1905 255
16 The Sewing Machine Comes Home 269
17 A Beautiful Ornament in the Parlour or Boudoir: The Domestication of the Sewing Machine 285
18 Home Economics and Home Sewing in the United States 1870-1940 303
19 'Your Clothes are Materials of War': The British Government Promotion of Home Sewing during the Second World War 327
Index 341
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