historic sewing

Fact and Mostly Fiction about Buttons

For centuries, garments remained loose enough to be wrapped around one's body or slipped on over one's head. Then, early in the 14th century, clothing with narrow waists and sleeves turned this into something of an impractical ordeal. As a result, buttons, a fairly new invention at the time, grew in popularity.


Why Is There A Button Sewn There?  'Button Use' Folklore

As the 1500s gave way to succeeding centuries, buttons gradually gradually began to lose some of their utilitarian functions. The buttons didn't disappear, however. They became fashion statements. Some buttons that once served

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historic sewing

The Invention Of Sewing Zips, Velcro & Other Fasteners

In 1849, American Walter Hunt invented what he called the miracle fastener. We no know it as the safety pin. This was followed by another American invention, also called the miracle fastener. We call it the snap fastener.  
Whitcomb Judson decided to solve what he colourfully called gaposis. In 1893, he patented the Clasp Lock, shown on the left. In all likelihood, his reference to gaposis came along some time after he acquired his original patent. Instead of aiming at eliminating gaposis, Judson designed his clasp lock, which was a complicated and not very durable hook-and-eye fastener...

historic sewing corset sewing

British Seaman Invents Belt Buckle And Hook-and-eye Fastener

Many of the British, contending daily with the fierce island weather, still preferred clothing with eyelets and string. British seamen, however, faced severe handicaps when all cinched up with string, especially at sea, and even more so in the cold, drenching storms they encountered regularly. During these times, with their clothing water-soaked and weighted down, cold winds numbed their bodies and made it impossible keep warm. And in their frozen, feelingless fingers, buttons proved worthless.   
Sometime in the 17th century, an unknown seaman hit up an grand idea. He replaced the string,...

historic sewing

Athens Senate Outlaws Pins

Ancient Athenian women wore a loose garment called a peplos (pronounced pepless, as in having no pep). This was basically a simple rectangle of wool cloth that measured half again the height of the woman wearing it. It was folded over and wrapped around the body, and secured at the shoulders and side with lightweight, dagger-like pins. That is, secured with dagger-like pins until the year 570, B.C., when hundreds of grief-stricken women turned their fearsome pins into very real daggers. Following the incident, the Athenian senate immediately outlawed and strictly enforced a total ban on the use...