The history of Tailoring and Dressmaking

In Early Renaissance started history of fashion

From the early Renaissance until the second half of the nineteenth century, the history of Western fashion is marked by attempts of a growing middle class to imitate the styles of the nobility. And the efforts of the ruling classes to distinguish themselves from those below. During this period, how fashion was made and purchased remained essentially the same. For those with the resources, clothing was hand-made by female dressmakers and male tailors. Fabrics, undergarments, accessories, and trimmings were ordered separately and created by specialized craftsmen. The resulting garments were viewed as a reflection of the wearer‘s taste and income, not the vision of the designer.

Tailoring and tailors

The tailor, whose craft traces back to early medieval linen armourers, specializes in the cutting, construction, fitting, and finishing of men‘s garments and certain from – fitting women‘s garments (historically, outwear, riding habits, and walking suits). Within tailoring establishment, cutters are second only to the master tailor, who deals directly with the client. Tailors typically work with woven materials, foremost wool, that gives garment body; they also employ stiffeners, interlining, and interfacing as well as carefully placed seams and darts to sculpt fabric around the imperfect human form.

Bespoke tailors create made-to-measure garments, generally suits, for individual clients. By the end of the eighteenth century, the unmarked doors of Savile Row in London‘s Mayfair district concealed the workshops of bespoke tailors producing some of the finest menswear in the world. Today, despite competition from the Italian tailor firms that entered the scene in 1980, Savile Row remains revered for this flawless craftmanship, and designers such as Oswald Boateng, whose contemporary approach to tailoring melds refinement with flair, have attached a new generation of clients.

The counterpart to the tailor is the creator of women‘s dresses and other draped garments referred to variously since the seventeenth century as a maker, Modise and dressmaker. The dressmaker uses flat patterns or draping techniques to cut, sew and finish garments and works with more pliant textiles, both knit and wovens. Her value has lain in her ability to shape and smooth the female form. The next job is to add interest a garment through fabric manipulations and embellishments and to translate the latest fashions to suit the tastes of her particular clientele. The custom dressmaker thrived well into the twentieth century, especially in Europe, which sustained a culture of hand-craftsmanship for longer than did the British and American markets.