New exhibition exploring the history of home dressmaking has opened in Harborough

It features items of clothing, sewing equipment and dress patterns from Leicestershire County Council’s Museums Collection

By Red Williams
Friday, 4th March 2022, 5:57 pm
A stylish new exhibition exploring the history of home dressmaking has opened at Harborough Museum in Market Harborough.
A stylish new exhibition exploring the history of home dressmaking has opened at Harborough Museum in Market Harborough.

A stylish new exhibition exploring the history of home dressmaking has opened at Harborough Museum in Market Harborough.

The Cut & Create show will run at the museum at the town’s Symington Building on Adam and Eve Street for almost the next year until Saturday January 28, 2023.

It features items of clothing, sewing equipment and dress patterns from Leicestershire County Council’s Museums Collection.

And the exhibition uses the objects to tell the story of the home dressmaker and the equipment they used to make the job of creating the latest fashions more convenient and affordable.

Home sewing reached its height in the late 1950s and early 1960s with an increase in leisure time and on-going sewing instruction in schools, combined with the rise of easy to work with synthetic fabrics.

And the cost of making an outfit was much cheaper than buying one from a shop.

Dressmaking at home saw a steady decline from the late 1980s.

That was mainly due to the rise in global mass manufacturing of garments that often cost less than the price of a dressmaking pattern.

Cllr Christine Radford, the county council’s cabinet member for heritage, leisure and arts, said: “Many of us have memories of either making clothes at home or wearing homemade clothes.

“The new Cut and Create exhibition is a fascinating exploration of the history of home dressmaking which will appeal to people of all ages.”

The last decade has seen a rise in home dressmaking and crafting hobbies, boosted by popular TV shows and the increase of online tutorials and social media.

The Covid pandemic lockdowns of the last two years has also sparked a new national interest in home crafts and hobbies, including dressmaking.

Cut & Create examines all these eras and trends through the objects on display.

People are being invited to get involved by sharing their own memories and pictures of clothing handmade by themselves, their relatives or friends.

The museum is asking people to send in a picture of the home-made clothing being worn, along with a picture of the front cover of the pattern used to make it if possible.

The year the garment was finished and the name of the maker and wearer should also be included.

All submissions will be gathered together and added to the exhibition.

You can email your contribution to [email protected]

Entry to the exhibition is free.

Harborough Museum is open from 10am-6pm Tuesday to Friday and from 10am-4pm on a Saturday.

More information is available at www.harboroughmuseum.org.uk