Historical Sewing Patterns

The Mantua-Maker


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    The great desire of a fashionable woman of the present day, is to possess a costume which is like nothing ever seen before.
    Peterson’s Magazine, April 1865

The art of the hoop skirt was an everchanging ideal. During the 1860s the shape of the crinoline shifted from a simple cage-hoop to panniers, with styles updating almost monthly. Ladies of means seemed desperate to stay a la mode, and even middle-class women tried to keep up.

Fashion magazines were studied and dissected, scoured for details on how each effect was created, how seams were manipulated, and where hems fell. They learned why changes were made, when they went out of date, and how to recreate the styles they liked. And, of course, the American civil war intruded.

But the 1860s were difficult for dressmakers, since fashions changed so rapidly. Styles cycled between the ages, from Louis XV. to Marie Antoinette, and even tried forays into high-waisted Empire dresses.

The Art of the Hoop: 1860 - 1869
Dress, Sewing, and Clothes Care Advice

The Art of the Hoop: 1860 – 1869  offers fashion and sewing  advice given in books and magazines during the 1860s, 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 the Hoop: 1860 – 1869 includes over 960 black and white period engravings to help show the details of their work. It has 394 pages in an 8.5” x 11” format.

with over 960 B/W period illustrations.

Compiled and edited by Deb Salisbury,
The Mantua-Maker Historical Sewing Patterns

The Art of the Hoop: 1860 - 1869