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2007/133/1 Garment drafting machine, consisting of back, side, underarm and front pieces, and instruction book, brass / paper / material, made by McDowell Garment Drafting Machine Company, New York, New York, United States of America, 1891. Click to enlarge.

McDowell Garment Drafting Machine and instruction book

Made by McDowell Garment Drafting Machine Company in New York, New York state, United States, North and Central America, 1891.

The McDowell Garment Drafting Machine was a significant invention that attempted to mechanise the drafting process for women’s garments. It was designed to replace various pattern making processes that seamstresses used in the late nineteenth century that were thought to be time consuming, difficult to use and imprecise.

This machine is also significant as it highlights the changing attitudes towards women’s bodies and the gendered workforce of the time. Seamstresses were paid about one-fifth ...

Summary

Object No.

2007/133/1

Object Statement

Garment drafting machine, consisting of back, side, underarm and front pieces, and instruction book, brass / paper / material, made by McDowell Garment Drafting Machine Company, New York, New York, United States of America, 1891

Physical Description

A garment drafting machine that consists of four adjustable brass pieces. Each piece is made of interlocking sections of thin flat pieces of brass, fixed at certain points, but hinged and adjustable at others. At several points, the pieces can be set by loosening a screw and sliding a rod according to measurements marked on the brass. Accompanying the machine is a instructional book made in paper and titled, INSTRUCTION BOOK FOR DRAFTING and CUTTING'. All parts are marked.

Production

Notes

The Garment Drafting Machine was made by The McDowell Garment Drafting Machine Company, 6 West 14th Street, New York, New York, USA in 1891.

It was first patented on March 18, 1879 and was later revised a number of times to respond to changes in fashion and improve its design. The machine was designed to replace previous pattern drafting methods used by seamstresses that were difficult to use, time consuming and imprecise.

The Garment Drafting Machine consists of four adjustable brass pieces which were used to measure the patterns for the back, side, underarm and front sections of a womens garment.

The detailed instruction book outlines the necessary number of measurements that had to be taken from the customer. The machine was then set in a particular order that is outlined in the instruction book. Once the machine had been set using the customers individual measurements, a customised pattern was created. The machine was then traced onto paper to create a permanent pattern that included darts, cutting lines and stitching lines.

History

Notes

This McDowell Garment Drafting Machine and instruction book was found by the donor's father when he was cleaning out a house, over thirty years ago. The hand written name on the instruction book is 'V.P Morrison', who was presumably the original owner. The donor's father gave it to her, as she was a home economics teacher. She taught for twenty-two years at East Hills Girls High. She used it to demonstrate historic methods of pattern making to her students, both to show them methods of pattern making and to demonstrate nineteenth century fashions and how they were made.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Elsie Bertram, 2007

Acquisition Date

2 October 2007

Cite this Object

Harvard

McDowell Garment Drafting Machine and instruction book 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 23 October 2019, <https://ma.as/362048>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/362048 |title=McDowell Garment Drafting Machine and instruction book |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=23 October 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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