Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday Ten: Victorian Fashion


I came across this article by Kris Lindquist in my Civil War reenactor magazine on fashion during the Victorian era and thought the info would be of interest here.
1) Demin trousers were introduced in the 1850s by the Levi Strauss Company. They made the first ones from brown tent canvas. Blue colored fabric and rivets were introduced later.

2) In 1865, John B. Stetson opened his first hat factory in Philadelphia. His family was in the hat making business and he designed a hat especially for prospecting gold. It had a big air pocket between the head and the crown, creating a cushion of air to keep the head warm, along with a wide brim to keep out the elements. The inside lining was waterproof and could double as a water bucket.

3) Between 1859 and 1860, 100 tons of hair was imported by the United States for wig making. Snow white hair purchased from poor, elderly women was most prized, because of the ease with which it could be dyed.

4) James Smith and Sons opened the first umbrella shop in London, England in 1830. The first umbrellas were constructed of wood or whalebone and covered with alpaca or oiled canvas. Artisans carved ornate handles from hard woods and were well paid for their efforts. Umbrellas were viewed as a women's accessory, but this implied the woman was too poor to own a carriage. Men who carried them were ridiculed by passersby.

5) The U.S. imported silk fabric until 1839, when silk was produced on a large scale in Patterson, New Jersey. By 1880, Patterson was nicknamed Silk City.

6) Americans purchased over 100,000 sewing machines by 1860. Ebenezer Butterick, a tailor, and his wife Ellen Augusta Pollard Butterick, invented the tissue paper pattern in 1863. This changed the face of home sewing forever.

7) Charles Worth, an Englishman, in the mid-nineteenth century, put his name on the label of the clothes he made. He changed his approach from having a client tell him what to create for them to producing ready made clothing from which a client could view, and approve or disapprove. His approach set a new standard for the clothing industry.

8) Jet was used in the manufacture of jewelry, particularly for mourning. Jet is a form of coal.

9) Wooden hangers didn't come into use until the 1880s. Prior to that, clothing was hung on pegs in wardrobes or on walls.

10) Flatirons were used to press clothing in the 1860s. They were a heavy mass of metal weighing up to 15 pounds. They were used several at a time and heated on the top of a stove.

Source: Kris Lindquist, Life As They Knew It: Fashion, The Citizens' Companion, August 2008

5 comments:

Christine Koehler said...

I'm thinking part of the reason flatirons worked so well was the weight!

Great stuff, Susan.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Wow! What an informative and fascinating list. I never knew the inside of a Stetson was waterproof, I wondered why you always saw cowboys scooping water with them in the movies, LOL.

Loved the part about the wigs, too, that was really interesting.

A great list, Susan, thanks for sharing!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Great information, Susan. I have a couple of those flatirons that I use as bookholders. They came from my grandmother and they are heavy.

Susan Macatee said...

Thanks, everybody!
When I read that article, I thought this is just perfect for the Victorian blog.

Skechers UK said...

I love fashion and shoes play important role in fashion