The Art of the Mantua-Maker: 1870 - 1879

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About the author:
I adore nineteenth-century fashion magazines. I love Victorian-era sewing books even more.

Learning to sew in the loose-fitting fashions of the later twentieth century gave me no hint of the intricacies of structured clothing, or of the amazing things women were willing to put themselves through to trim their gorgeous dresses. This jeans and sweat-shirt girl quickly learned to appreciate the techniques those seamstresses employed. After many years of collecting, I wanted to share their original writings with other historical-dress enthusiasts.

I'm the owner (and sole employee) of The Mantua-Maker, quality historical sewing patterns for the modern sewing artist, established in 1993. I fell in love with costuming when my boyfriend took me to BayCon's Masquerade in 1886, and I've been making historical and fantastic clothing ever since. You can see more of my work at

The Art of the Mantua-Maker: 1870 - 1879

Fashion, Sewing, and Clothes Care Advice

Authored by Deb Salisbury

Taste in dress is the sure guarantee of the lady. Nor is it mere money that makes a tasteful dress. It is principally a knowledge of the fashions, and how to adapt them to your style.
Peterson's Magazine, November 1875

The art of the mantua-maker was practiced by every woman who wanted to create her own wardrobe. Fashion magazines were studied and dissected, scoured for details on how each effect was created, how many seams were used, and where the pleats were used. They learned why changes were made, when they went out of date, and how to recreate the styles they liked.

This book compiles sewing and fashion advice given in those books and magazines during the 1870s, 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 Art of the Mantua-Maker: 1870 - 1879 Fashion, Sewing, and Clothes Care Advice" has three sections:
1) Sewing tips and fashion advice
2) Fabric cleaning and care.
3) Bibliography of magazines and books I found useful.

I've included over 740 black and white period engravings to help show the details of the changing fashions of the 1870s.

Publication Date:
1502832003 / 9781502832009
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5" x 11"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Reference / General

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