Severe economic recessions can be the impetus for considerable social change and the 2008 credit crunch and ongoing repercussions are said to have led to a revival in home dressmaking.
Two major UK retailers have recently reported massive increases in the sale of sewing machines, one by 50%, the other by 258% in 12 months.
We tend to forget how recent the availability of cheap high street ready-made clothing has actually been.
Historically, the industrial revolution, particularly the invention of power looms, and the two world wars are thought to have paved the way for the retail fashion industry that really began to blossom in the 1960s with the advent of designers like Mary Quant and Biba.
In previous centuries the bulk of the family clothing had been made by the women of the family, unless they were in the income bracket that allowed for fleets of servants to take care of the household sewing or the use of a professional tailor or dressmaker.
The wars led to a simplification of women’s clothing in particular, partly because women were drafted into factories to help the war effort and therefore needed clothes that allowed for ease of movement. That led to the acceptance of the idea of more women going out to work, which, of course meant that they had far less time for making clothes for the family.
As the ongoing economic crisis continues more and more high street retailers, particularly those involved in retail fashion, are disappearing. This also reflects the change to shopping online to save money and to the resurgence of home dressmaking.
However, it is unlikely that modern women, however cash strapped, will be able or willing to go back to the days of making all the family’s clothes. There is still the issue of having the time to do so as households continue to depend on two incomes in order to survive.
While home dressmaking can be enjoyable and satisfying not too many women – or even men – are likely to have the confidence or the skill to construct an outfit that is tailored or anything that is made to a more elaborate pattern for a special occasion.
This is where the services of an expert in alterations and in dressmaking will be needed.
The advantage of using a professional dressmaker is that they combine the services of style advisor, pattern maker and designer among their skills and in consultation with their customer can produce a truly stylish, beautifully-made and perfectly- fitted outfit for any occasion.