The business of dressmaking.

About the Minnesota Dressmakers Project

The history of women's work is often anonymous. Women's custom clothing trade as practiced into the 20th century is no different. In this work, we have an opportunity to document the names and products of twenty-five Minnesota dressmakers through the Minnesota Historical Society's museum collection. These surviving garments represent the more prominent dressmakers in Minnesota between 1880-1920. In this in-depth research about these businesses we follow the thread between the clients who purchased and wore the dresses, the dressmakers who ran the businesses and the seamstresses whose skilled hands sewed the seams and embellishments.

With support from Art and Cultural Heritage Funding, we were able to put together this new resource for students, scholars, and readers providing business histories and biographical information on the women engaged in this work.