Monday, June 27, 2011

A word about Madame Weigel

With all the well known international patterns of Vogue, McCall and Butterick etc, it's surprising to know that there were local pattern makers in Australia. One of note was Johanna Wilhelmine (Madame) Weigel, who settled in Victoria while travelling on her honeymoon from New York with her husband Oscar. They started a fashion and pattern making business in 1877 which grew to an Australian and New Zealand wide business. Johanna background at McCalls (as a cutter) and Oscars engineering background provided them with the essential skills for the pattern making business.

They started monthly subscription journal, Weigel's Journal of Fashion, in 1880 which was claimed to be the first fashion magazine designed, published and printed in Australia. The impact of her patterns and journal was said to be considerable especially in country areas. They introduced the fashions of London, Paris and New York to Australia and made it possible for people with modest sewing skills and income to make fashionable clothing. They revolutionised the appearance of Australian's, especially women and children, enabling them to make attractive garments and affordable prices.

As her patterns can still be found in various places, they are made all the more interesting by the history of the Weigels and their contribution to fashion in Australia.


1 comment:

  1. That kids' pattern is completely adorable! Interesting these days to think back to a time when Australia needed someone on the ground here to bring the world of international fashion down under. Otherwise we could have been years behind.


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