Carrying on with the more pursuits of an accomplished Lady, it was understood during the 1800s
A lady know how to do fancy needlework.
There were many forms of needlework from cross-stitch, embroidery, lace-making, netting, and weaving which required great skill. Even the mundane sewing of knitting, crocheting, darning and mending were expected of women of all classes. Complicated techniques were a way for women to show off their skill. Many items in the home and dress were embellished with such handicraft; pillows, curtains, linens, baskets, shawls, baby clothes, and of course, dresses. Dresses were often sent out to seamstresses who specialized in the art. Yet there were women who prided themselves in making and altering their own elaborate dresses.
While, I adore the look of embroidery and lace, I cannot sew a button. If it counts for anything, I am the proud owner of a special needs cocker spaniel named Buttons. Sewing, I have found, requires a great deal of patience. I used to have it in spades as a child but increasingly lost it as I grew older. My grandmother tried to teach me to sew a basic shift dress. The result was abysmal. She assured me, it was “beginners” work. I did not want my clothes to look elementary; I wanted them to look refined. “A stitch in time, saves nine,” she soothed. Nine?! At this point, I was up to sixteen horrendous stitches, I had to pull out.
For someone with decent hand-eye coordination, my hand sewing skills and even my attempts with a sewing machine did not turn out well. I admire and envy those who have the ability to make their own clothes or know how to embroider. I believe there are “high-tech” sewing machines out there now that do superb embroidery at the touch of a button. How delightful! Technology, whatever will they think of next?