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Madame Weigel : the woman who clothed the…
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Madame Weigel : the woman who clothed the Australasian colonies

by Veronica R. Lampkin

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This biography, 'Madame Weigel: the Woman who Clothed the Australasian Colonies', presents the story of Madame Weigel?s life. Madame Weigel was an important part of Australasian history. From her base in Melbourne, she developed an agency network that spread quickly with notable, early strength in New Zealand. Her influence was particularly strong in rural areas where women had to be more resourceful in clothing themselves and their families. Weigel?s pattern series was an outstanding achievement, a continuous series that ran for nine decades from Pattern 100 in 1878 to the end of business in 1969. Throughout that time, over 9000 of paper patterns were issued by Madame Weigel and her business, enabling women across Australasia to clothe themselves and their families. Madame Weigel supported women who sewed at home, either by choice or necessity, and was truly 'the woman who clothed the Australasian colonies'. Madame Weigel issued her patterns through her fashion journal, Weigel?s Journal of Fashion, known as Madame Weigel?s Journal of Fashion from September 1915 until the end of publication in October 1950. When Madame Weigel started her paper pattern business in 1878, she provided women with the missing link in the home sewing puzzle. Sewing machines and fabrics were readily available, but Australia had only glimpsed from afar the enormous paper pattern business that was, by then, thriving in America. As a business woman, Madame Weigel survived a hands-on decade in the 1880s; an economic depression in the 1890s; the changes of the Edwardian decade; the turmoil of the Great War; the liberation of the 1920s; then another depression in the 1930s. After her death in 1940, the pattern series struggled through wartime and production constraints during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.… (more)

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