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A History of the Paper Pattern Industry


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Table of Contents

Introduction Chapter 1 Tailoring and the Birth of the Published Paper Pattern Chapter 2 Development of Dressmaking Patterns Chapter 3 Nineteenth Century Technology Chapter 4 Early History of Pattern Companies 1860s-1880s Chapter 5 New Markets and Expansion 1880s-1900 Chapter 6 Shifts and Balances 1900-1920s Chapter 7 Blossoming Economy 1920-1929 Chapter 8 Surviving the Great Depression 1930s Chapter 9 The War Years 1940s Chapter 10 Shifting Trends 1960s Chapter 11 New Challenges 1960s-1980s Chapter 12 Reinvention and Renaissance 1980s-2010 Epilogue Appendix 9 Pattern Grids 1854-1968 Endnotes Bibliography Index

Promotional Information

Highly illustrated and accessible, this is the first book to offer an overview of the history of the paper dressmaking pattern industry from the 16th century to present day.

About the Author

Joy Emery was, until her death in 2018. Professor Emerita of Theatre and Curator of The Commercial Pattern Archive at the University of Rhode Island, USA.


With this volume Emery reveals important facets of American and women's history. She covers domestic and professional sewing from hand-drawn patterns to Internet- and computer-based creations [...] Her publication is profusely illustrated with 200 style and pattern drawings (mostly from period catalogs and advertisements). It features nine complete patterns, usable for readers/sewers, which cover fashion styles from 1850 to 1968. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. -- B. B. Chico, Regis University * CHOICE *
Students of fashion and historical-costuming enthusiasts will delight in this in-depth examination of the paper sewing pattern. The evolution of the tool is examined in full, from its inception as a cutting guide for minimizing cloth waste to the fashion-forward instructions sold today [...] Home sewing has seen a resurgence of popularity in the last few years, and although this is not the book for the Pinterest populace (though browsing the illustrations is both fascinating and hilarious at turns), serious costumers and designers will appreciate the depth and breadth of information and the easy-flowing narrative of this "home dressmaking fashion revolution. -- Genevieve Grove * Booklist *
It will be a springboard for students, collectors, curators and historians, and an appendix of nine patterns from 1854 to 1968 rendered for today's users will surely appeal to adventurous dressmakers. -- Barbara Burman * Costume *
Emery's deep knowledge of her subject makes this book not only a crucial reference work, but also an important pointer to numerous avenues for future scholarship in this neglected area of fashion industry. -- Lindsay King, Yale University * Art Libraries Journal *
[A] skilful examination of how home dressmaking changed expectations about and the means to be fashionable on a limited budget ... Well-chosen illustrations ... are an essential and well-integrated complement to the text and provide an extra layer of information on the evolution of the pattern-making industry. -- Valerie Cumming, Costume Society * Reviews in History *
This is an essential book for anyone interested in vintage sewing patterns and the home sewing industry, especially anyone seeking information about the pattern companies and their dates of operation. It could be useful to vintage pattern resellers, as well, in helping to date patterns. -- Stephani Miller * Threads *

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