Females mail-order catalogue had been a significant catalyst when it comes to change from custom-made to clothing that is ready-made.

A hundred years ago a lot of people made their very own clothing or hired a tailor or dressmaker to create clothes for them.


Eaton’s Fall/Winter Catalogue, 1900-01, p. 3.

Imagine a clothes catalogue that features 2 or 3 drawings associated with forms of garments carried. To purchase a gown or suit, you might be instructed to spell it out what you need: the kind of garment, color, textile, design, and approximate cost. You need to suggest whether you’re young or “matronly, ” while having any “peculiarity of form. ” You might also need to send in twenty split dimensions of the human anatomy.

A hundred years back, you should have been delighted! Think about the choice: You will have to result in the clothes your self, or spend a dressmaker or tailor to do this at greater expense.

Today, not many of us have our garments designed and sewn for all of us independently. We buy clothes from the rack. But, before the mechanization regarding the clothes industry when you look at the belated nineteenth century, clothes had been created by hand to suit a person.

To custom-make a waist or skirt(blouse), Eaton’s required a description or illustration through the consumer. The catalogue illustrations served as motivation. Eaton’s Spring/Summer Catalogue, 1899, p. 12.

The mail-order catalogue had been an important catalyst for the change from custom-made to ready-made clothing. The very first catalogues competed with tailors and dressmakers by offering made-to-order products. 20 years later on, nevertheless, the mail-order businesses shut their custom dressmaking and millinery workrooms and began customers that are offering clothes produced by device within the growing variety of clothes factories. Each step for the process associated with the means, Eaton’s had to reassure its clients – who have been used to having their clothes custom-made with a dressmaker or tailor – that the mail-order catalogue had been an alternative that is acceptable.

“We Supply Everything to create Your Own Personal”

The Eaton’s issued its first catalogue in 1884 in response to an “immense increase” in orders from customers through the mail. The catalogue had been just a listing of the forms of product offered within the shop: carpets, blankets, textile, underclothing such as for example corsets and crinolines, and, needless to say, clothes accessories no lady should always be without: fans, gloves, handkerchiefs, parasols.

Eaton’s began as being a dry products shop, carrying materials, clothes add-ons, and home furnishings – as reflected when you look at the very early catalogues. Quickly it might add many diverse items much like today’s emporium. Eaton’s Fall/Winter Catalogue, 1884, p. 34 (reprint).

Eaton’s cautioned: “a girl goes pretty shabbily dressed before she’s going to walk the roads on a summer time without a parasol. Time” Eaton’s Fall/Winter Catalogue, 1893-94, p. 76.

A sizable area of the catalogue ended up being devoted to “dress items, ” or materials, such as for example flannels, velvets, black colored crape (for mourning), silk and im im printed cottons; needles, thread, buttons and other sewing notions; and, gown trimmings such as for instance lace and braid – every thing a lady will have to make her very own along with her family members’ clothes. Eaton’s also supplied patterns that are dressmaking.

Velveteen had been an extravagance textile useful for anything from fancy kid’s suits to night gowns. Eaton’s Spring/Summer Catalogue, 1898, p. 6.

Having a death when you look at the family members, females had been necessary to wear black colored for 90 days to per year. Eaton’s Fall/Winter Catalogue, 1889-1890, p. 15.

Eaton’s Fall/Winter Catalogue, 1897-98, p. 3.

Eaton’s Spring/Summer Catalogue, 1897, p. 9.

Clients had been instructed to spell it out their requirements, as an example, “I want one thing in grey for a travelling dress, not to ever meet or exceed 75 cents a yard, plus concept in appropriate trimming. ” Eaton’s would then deliver examples of materials and trim, from where a selection would be made by the customer.

Butterick had been a dressmaking pattern business and published a fashion magazine that is leading. Eaton’s Spring/Summer Catalogue, 1900, p. 193.

“Or We Are Going To Allow It To Be for you personally”

When a female received the trim and nude russian mail order brides fabric from Eaton’s, she’d then need certainly to result in the apparel. Nearly all women could make easy dresses to wear in the home. But, if she could manage it, a girl used an expert dressmaker to sew her formal costume, which, into the belated 19th century, ended up being elaborate in construction and materials. Frequently, it contains a tight-fitting bodice adorned with braid and buttons and a multi-layered dress draped with fringed velvet or silk. Women relied upon the unique abilities of dressmakers – or “lady tailors” because they had been often called – into the fitting and draping of this expensive materials.

Eaton’s competed with this market. In 1898, it established its “Dressmaking and women’ Tailoring Order Department” so that they can woo away customers – specially ladies staying in tiny villages or in the united states – from tiny dressmakers and tailors: “Ladies surviving in the part that is remotest of Canada have actually every advantageous asset of the newest fashions just as if staying in Toronto. All work of definitely the quality that is best, beneath the direction of this foremost Modiste in Canada. “

“Fit and Finish Guaranteed. Our company is practical Mail Purchase Dressmakers. ” Eaton’s Spring/Summer Catalogue, 1898, p. 5.

“Send us your purchase as well as your dressmaking stress is finished. ” Eaton’s Spring/Summer Catalogue, 1899, p. 9.

Elaborate trimmings included fancy ribbons, egret feathers, and also whole wild birds. Eaton’s Fall/Winter Catalogue, 1896-97, p. 15.

Eaton’s made hats to purchase, too. Since no girl would endeavor outside her home without having a hat, ladies had to own at the very least two caps – one for the fall/winter period and another for spring/summer. The enormous caps had been sustained by a foundation that is intricate of wires covered in fabric and draped with rich fabrics festooned with feathers or silk flowers.

When it comes to summer time, straw caps trimmed with plumes and silk plants had been popular. Eaton’s Spring/Summer Catalogue, 1897, p. 15.

Decoration regarding the dress associated with the fin-de-siecle lady ended up being surpassed only by that on her behalf hat. Eaton’s Fall/Winter Catalogue, 1893-94, p. 20.

By running a workroom that is large of, Eaton’s managed to keep rates down. Eaton’s Fall/Winter Catalogue, 1888-89, p. 18.

This important regarding the woman’s attire offered ratings of females with act as milliners, or women’ cap manufacturers. Numerous milliners, like dressmakers, worked in tiny shops with 1 or 2 apprentices that are young. Eaton’s had a unique millinery workrooms with “a tremendous staff. ” Eaton’s reassured perhaps sceptical clients if you are careful in ordering that it was appropriate to order hats by mail: “Millinery is easy to order by mail. Clever clerks devote their entire time and energy to anticipate the desires and wishes of mail purchase clients. “

Eaton’s Spring/Summer Catalogue, 1898, p. 27.

Clients had been encouraged to provide detail by detail explanations of this design, color, product, cutting, and cost of cap desired, along with information on how old they are, height, and fat. Hats had been matched to human anatomy kinds, and presumably women were more honest in those times, whether they certainly were “stout or slim. Simply because they had been expected to convey” pictures of test caps into the catalogues had been designed to offer clients a basic concept of just exactly just what Eaton’s needed to provide.