Fashioning Dress: Sewing and Skill, 1500-1850 – Call For Papers

Fashioning Dress: Sewing and Skill, 1500-1850
Conference and Historical Sewing Skills Workshop
University of Warwick
19 May, 2017

Keynote Speaker: Dr Chloe Wigston Smith (University of York)

Milliners, mantua-makers, tailors, stay-makers, dressmakers, and embroiderers – both professional and domestic – made up an a diverse, knowledgeable, and skilled workforce. Their handiwork lay behind the creation of magnificent court robes and elaborate embroidery, as well as shirts, shifts, aprons and petticoats. This conference aims to investigate the skills, techniques, and methods involved in manufacturing clothing – both for men and women. It also engages with the innovative methodology of garment reproduction, and will investigate questions around the usefulness of this approach, and how to present and disseminate such research findings.

The keynote and conference papers will be followed by an interactive workshop, during which participants will have the opportunity to examine reproduction garments at various stages in the making process, and to try their hand at contemporary sewing skills.

We welcome papers on topics such as:

  • The trades involved garment production (mantua-makers, tailors etc.)
  • Domestic sewing and production at home
  • Garment investigations
  • Women’s work and skill
  • Reproduction of dress as a methodology

Please email your 300 word abstract, along with a 100 word biography, to Serena Dyer at by 15 January, 2017.

This event is sponsored by the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Warwick.