My steinmetz presentation is taken from my senior thesis project, which looks at the industrial revolution’s impact on fashion and womanhood. Specifically, I examine woman’s magazines which were popular throughout the nineteenth century. This project is not a traditional thesis, since, in addition to a written component, I am also making a walking ensemble from patterns printed in Godey’s Lady’s Magazine in late 1880.
Lady’s magazines started to be published in the United States starting in 1783. Previously, the magazines were imported from Britain. While the first magazine appeared in 1783, the magazine didn’t cement itself in culture until the 1830s. The magazine's use was to define what a woman was. The magazines were for the upper middle class and displayed stories of fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and household crafts. Lady’s magazines reach their apex in the 1870s up through the 90s, when cheaper magazines were printed for the working and lower middle class women. The competition went from a few regional magazines to a plethora of cheap magazines. After the peak, came the fall, most of the early magazines started to cease printing.
Godey’s Lady’s Magazine is one of these early women’s magazines. The first edition was printed in 1830, and printed monthly for the next 68 years. Godey’s Lady’s Magazine, similar to other lady’s magazines, printed clothing patterns for women to sew in the home; these patterns followed the French magazines of the contemporary era. However, Godey’s printed a majority of the patterns between 1853 and 1861, whereas other magazines printed patterns throughout publication. Unsurprisingly, many of the clothing patterns are for children or undergarments, as a “good woman” took care of her family. With this though, only a few of the patterns are for grown women. For this project, the patterns are for a basque bodice jacket as well as a walking skirt from 1880’s September and October editions of the magazine, which was one of the few patterns found for a woman of the era as opposed to a child or an undergarment.
For steinmetz, I plan to display the garment as it is completed as well as explain the process of creating the garment. Being able to display the garment would give the chance to demonstrate some of the seams used in the project.