How dressmaking evolved from hand-sewing to machinery making

These days it’s simple to see whether a garment has been made by machine or hand and it’s easy to judge the quality of an item by the stitching. Construction in fashion has always been a sign of quality and one that is of utmost importance, even through the ages.

How dressmaking evolved from hand-sewing to machinery making

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Although hand sewing these days is considered something of an art form, and machines make just about every item of clothing you can imagine, there is a massive difference between a garment run up in a sweatshop versus one created in the finest couture houses. It’s interesting to note that recently there has also been an increased interest in arts and crafts, and sewing at home has become a very popular pastime.

Humble Beginnings

From stitching together flour sacks to make clothes, to creating leather garments using needles made of bone, sewing has come along way. These days, machines are able to manage even the most delicate of fabrics and stylish creations can be whipped up in record time.

In a celebration of style and to draw attention to the evolution of dressmaking, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has created a spring costume exhibition entitled Manus x Machina. This fascinating exhibition shows off masterpieces created by legendary designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, and shows off the handiwork of some of the greatest ateliers in history. The exhibition also highlights how technology has been used in dressmaking and how it has influenced fabrics and other elements over the years.

High-Tech Techniques

Sewing with linen look cotton, such as that available at is far easier than working with tulle, chiffon and other fabrics, and the exhibition highlights how fabrics such as these have evolved over the years. In the past, for example, rhinestones and other adornments may have been hand sewn onto fabric. Now, however, these sparkly additions can be printed in 3D directly onto the roll. Technology has played a huge role in how dressmaking has evolved, from the cutting of patterns to the creation of hi-tech fabrics.

Since the rise of haute couture in the 19th century fashion has evolved dramatically and so to have the sewing techniques that are used to create garments. Head seamstresses and tailors jobs have also evolved, as well as the way they sew.

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