29 June 2018

In Germany, tailors made women's clothes

For a long time, tailors made outer clothes for both men and women, while female seamstresses and home sewers made linen undergarments. Then in late 17th century France and Britain, female couturières and mantua makers got the right to sew mantuas and other women's clothes. The tailors continued to make stays, stiff-bodied court gowns, and riding habits for women, in addition to menswear.

Similar changes took place in Germany and Sweden too, but the tailors there hung on much longer to the privilege to make women's clothes, so the transition from tailors to dressmakers was delayed for a century or more. In the meantime, tailors in the German tradition continued to develop cutting methods for women's clothes as well as men's; J.S. Bernhardt's two-volume book from 1810‒1811 is the earliest and the most well-known printed example. Sewing techniques also differ between extant garments, depending on if they've been made in a tailor's or dressmaker's tradition. 

16 June 2018

HSM 2018 #3: A frumpy Swedish bedgown

My bedgown, folded in half along the center back.
There are several scaled-down patterns based on extant Swedish bedgowns. Some of them are in the popular book "Kvinnligt mode under två sekel" which can be found in many Swedish libraries, and there are a couple of free patterns online in Duran Textiles' newsletters (here and here).

In spite of this, I chose to spend $30 on a full-scale pattern, that is 15 years old to boot…