A guide to researching Australian and international fashion, designs, designers, industries, textiles and fabrics, patterns, tailoring, dressmaking, uniforms, accessories, and body art.
Full size, fold-out paper patterns were introduced in the Journal des demoiselles in France in the 1840s. As sewing machines became more widespread, the number of companies publishing paper patterns increased, and they remained popular throughout the 19th and most of the 20th century. In Victoria, Enid Gilchrist's patterns could be obtained by redeeming vouchers printed from The Argus. Paper patterns were used for sewing everyday clothing so they can be a good source of information about historical dress.
To find journals and magazines on these subjects, search from any page of our website, choosing the Journals option from the drop down box. Enter search terms such as knitting or needlework or sewing or embroidery or lace, etc.
To find online articles quickly choose the Articles option from the drop down list. Once you have executed the search use the options at left of the screen to narrow your search.
A number of historic pattern books have been digitised and are available through our catalogue.
The Macquarie dictionary defines:
Embroidery as: The art of working, with a needle, raised and ornamental designs in threads of silk, cotton, gold, silver, or other material, upon any woven fabric, leather, paper, etc.
Lace as: A net-like ornamental fabric made of threads by hand or machine.
Tatting as: The process or work of making a kind of knotted lace of cotton or linen thread with a shuttle.
In line with the stage 3 restrictions announced by the Premier, State Library Victoria closed on Thursday 9 July.
We will advise when there is any update to this situation.
Our Ask A Librarian reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.