"To increase the beauty of the female person, by a gracefully made attire, is not only not wrong, but absolutely commendable; and the woman who neglects it pays the penalty of being called a sloven, if not a fright."
Peterson’s Magazine, April 1852
During the 1850s, the art of fashion was studied by every woman who wanted to create her own wardrobe. Ladies magazines were scrutinized and dissected, scoured for details on how each effect was created, how many seams were used, and how the pleats were formed. She learned why changes were made, when they went out of date, and how to recreate the styles she liked. Most of all, she studied what the current rules were, even though they seemed to change monthly, especially for the most fashion conscious women.
You can find The Art of Fashion: 1850 – 1859
In paperback at Amazon.com
The Art of Fashion: 1850 – 1859 compiles sewing and fashion advice given in books and magazines during the 1850s, given in the words of writers of that time. Each entry shows the name and date of the periodical quoted. I’ve included as many pattern sketches as I could find.
The book has three sections:
1) Sewing tips and fashion advice
2) Fabric cleaning and care.
3) Bibliography of magazines and books I found useful.
The Art of Fashion: 1850 – 1859 includes over 490 black and white period engravings to help show the details of their work. It has 324 pages in an 8.5” x 11” format.
Historical Sewing Patterns
Compiled and edited by Deb Salisbury,
The Mantua-Maker Historical Sewing Patterns