ALL FREE Sewing Tutorials  -  DIY Crafting  -  Design & Make Your Own Clothes  -  Holidays & Home  - 

Quilting  -  Sewing Machines & More  -  Teach Others To Sew! - Just For Kids


Take a Sewing Class With Us!


What Sewing Machine Should I Buy?
We use Brother Project RUNWAY Limited Edition Sewing Machines.
Visit Love To Sew Studio's profile on Pinterest.


Sewing back music video a parady of Justin Timberlake's Sexy Back by Jamie Marie Harris at Love to Sew Studio.
We made this Music Video Just Because It Was Fun To Do!

Fashion History: A Brief Overview

Evidence shows the first sewing needle was made from bone and ivory many many years ago.

     The earliest clothing dates back from 20,000 B.C. as evidence by the discovery of sewing needles made from bone and ivory.  Clothing was made solely from natural products, like animal skin, tree bark, and leaves.

     People wear clothes because it satisfies physical,  psychological, and social needs. A physical need for clothing would be to keep warm in cold weather, or to protect the skin from the sun. But fashion is more than just a response to basic survival needs: fashion is when clothing is used to enhance appearance or to adorn, decorate, and form silhouettes on the body. Culture determines which types of adornment and physical features are seen as desirable--whether tattoos, piercings, corsets, or foot binding.  

     Fashion is used as a social indicator, which means that what a person is wearing expresses (with or without intent of the wearer) his or her social standing. Silhouette (or the overall shape that a garment gives the body), fabric, color, and sometimes even designer, combine to create a message about the person they adorn. 

     In some ways, fashion can be seen to separate people into groups: think about John Hughes’ classic film The Breakfast Club, from 1985. In the movie, five misfits from different social cliques befriend each other during Saturday detention. Viewers of the film are expected to immediately understand that the teenagers are not friends without the help of dialogue, because their different social standings are revealed through their clothing and hairstyles: the preppy princess in pastels and cardigans, the jock in his sport’s jacket, the brainy nerd in a large sweater, the punk-inspired rebel in denim and leather, and the recluse hiding behind her hair and oversized costume. Without fashion indicators, it would be difficult to tell the high-end executive from a melancholy Goth rocker. 

     Fashion, in addition to identifying people as a member of a social group (whether as one of the preppy kids in high school or as a working class all-American manly man) is also used to set people apart. People enjoying dressing and putting together outfits because it gives them a sense of unique artistic expression. Wearing something in an original way, or combing colors and shapes in a manner that one hopes will cause eye-turns, ensures a person that she or he has a unique sense of style and personal expression. 

     This duel concept of fashion, both as a group indicator and a way of expressing individuality was  first expressed by sociologist Georg Simmel in his 1920 essay On Fashion. Those interested in a more academic and theoretical understand of fashion may be interested in reading his material.

     So what then is the history of fashion? The history of fashion is the study of which silhouettes, colors, designers, and structures that were worn by a given people at a given time and what those things symbolized. Changes in style occurred more quickly with the advent of the industrial revolution from the late 1700s to late 1800s: with the invention of the sewing machine, and later synthetic fabrics, garments were produced at mass levels. Added to this was the invention of photography, and styles which could be viewed from all over the world, were now more quickly spread about. Different garments’ symbol natures began to rapidly changed, as well. 


     An example of how a garment can change throughout the years can be found in jeans. In the 1850s, jeans were worn by the working class, such as railway men, cowboys, and miners. Because of this, they became both a symbol of the west and of poverty. In the 1950s, teenage rebels began wearing jeans as a fashion statement. Jeans then became associated with the rock and roll adolescent subculture. In the early 2000s, designers began distressing jeans to the point at which the garment would unravel after a few wears and selling them for hundreds of dollars. Beat up jeans, in 150 years, went from being a symbol of the poor to the super rich. And now that the super rich has worn beat up jeans, the average American has too, and they are no longer a symbol of the poor. 


     Oscar Wilde is quoted as having said, “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” While you may or may not agree that fashion is ugly, the fact that it is altered rapidly is an axiom. 

     For many years fashion was understood as a cycle: first the nobility wore something or molded their bodies into a silhouette that, because it was wore by them, was considered in vogue. Later this style was imitated by the commoners. When the styles had finally reached the commoners, the nobility had found a new style to be in vogue, so that the nobility and the commoners would never be mistaken for each other. In certain cultures, like France up until the 17th century, there were sumptuary laws, or laws that indicated what a person of a certain social hierarchy could wear. 

     This cycle is still somewhat true to modern culture, although the styles go from nobility (or runway couture) to commoner (or H&M off-the-rack knockoffs) much more quickly. More about the modern fashion cycle can be read here (Stages of the Fashion Cycle)

     However, many would argue the opposite is true as well. Instead of average middle class people looking to the upper class for their clothing cues, designers look to the streets for more “authentic” fashions worn by adherents to various subcultures. This is true in the works of various high fashion designers. Punk, gothic, and bohemian subculture looks are repeatedly borrowed for the runway. 





Fashion Design

Learn About Fashion Design











Search Love To Sew Studio

Make a Dog Bandana
Learn to Sew a Skirt
Make a Raggedy Quilt
How to Price Your Handmade Crafts
Submit a Photo
Can an Online Business Degree Help Me in a Sewing & Fashion Career
Online Fashion Merchandising Degree
Personalized Sewing Labels
How to Gather Seams
Your First Steps in Learning to Sew
Techniques in Garment Construction
Recycled Jeans
Family Recipes
American Girl Doll
Choosing a Sewing Machine
Costume Design

Find Love to Sew Studio on:
Facebook for Love to Sew Studio, Judi Montgomery HarrisLike us on Facebook Pinterest boards for Love to Sew Studio, Judi Harris.See our Pins! See the tweets from Love to Sew Studio.Follow us on Twitter! Love to sew studio youtube videos on learn to sew tutorialsSee our Videos!
Etsy for Love to Sew Studio, Judi Harris, hand sewn itemsVisit our Etsy Shop! sign up for Love to Sew Studio's free news letterJoin our email Newsletter! Instagram for Love to Sew Studio, see lots of things that our students and readers sewed.Follow us on Instagram!



See Our Etsy Shop: Because we can't keep everything we make!


Learn to Sew

Learn to Sew Videos

Privacy Policy

Learn to Make a Raggedy Quilt

Learn to Sew Your Own Clothes


If you are redistributing content or photos from our site for another website or blog you must provide prominent link backs to the source pages used on  If you are using any content or photos from our site to copy, share, or use for any other reason, you need prior permission from the author. Most requests are granted. Thank you.

For further information or questions: Email us @ copyright 2003-2015 All Rights Reserved.