Industry History

Early in the development of garment making, clothing was a team effort carried out right in the family home. Traditionally the husband would plant and process flax or raise sheep for wool. The wife would spin the fibers into yarns while the husband would weave them into cloth. These tasks were done in the evening by light of an oil lamp after daily farm work was complete. The wife would then make the patterns to cut and sew the fabric into a new set of clothes for each family member. Families usually had a single set of clothes to wear and did not get another until a new one could be made.

In 1846, the sewing machine was invented and patented by Elias Howe in America. The shapes of garment patterns before the aid of a sewing machine were quite square and very loose fitting. Before sewing machines, all clothing was sewn by hand dating as far back as 20,000 years ago!

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