How did the sewing machine revolutionize clothing?

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Before the sewing machine, most clothing was produced at home. It was stitched by hand. This was a long, slow process. Some clothing was professionally made by tailors who could make clothing designed to fit one person. New clothes were more expensive, and it was not uncommon for people to...

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Before the sewing machine, most clothing was produced at home. It was stitched by hand. This was a long, slow process. Some clothing was professionally made by tailors who could make clothing designed to fit one person. New clothes were more expensive, and it was not uncommon for people to patch their clothes rather than throw them away and get new ones.

The sewing machine brought mass production to the clothing industry. It could stitch together fabric faster than someone doing it by hand. It also did not require the training that someone would need to sew by hand as well. Clothing could now be mass-produced by workers whom the employer could justify paying less because they were only parts of the factory in a way similar to their machines. Women and children often took these jobs; this provided another incentive for factory owners to pay them less. While the rich could still go to tailors and get custom-made outfits, most people were content to go to a department store and buy clothing based on universal size standards.

The sewing machine made clothing cheaper. People were more likely to replace worn clothes instead of patch them. While hand-stitched clothing is still popular with some people, it is considered more of a hobby than it is a necessity. Clothing manufacturers became millionaires, buying large amounts of cloth and thread to employ a large mostly female workforce. As needed skill levels dropped, wages dropped for those working in the garment industry. This would in turn cause department store owners to pay workers in the clothing department less as they only had to be knowledgeable about the location of items in the store instead of how to make and modify clothing.

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