I have been reading how after the Russian Revolution many emigres – the women came to Paris and became seamstresses. Their embroidery skills being especially appreciated.
Fashion thrived with the growth of cities across Europe during the nineteenth century. This weekend, I look at a selection of paintings showing both sides of the fashion industry as it grew in the last couple of decades before the end of that century. Today starts with the many women who sewed garments for money, those seamstresses and dressmakers who were paid a pittance to decorate the wealthy, and tomorrow I focus on milliners.
For centuries, garments were stitched by hand, and large numbers of women laboured with needle and thread. By the middle of the nineteenth century the first sewing machines were revolutionising the work of the seamstress.
Given the dramatic reduction in time to make garments, among the most enthusiastic early adopters of these machines were professional…
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