Images from the Library
In the Home
Most women who worked for pay in Canada laboured as domestic servants for middle-class families. In addition to caring for other people’s homes, they also looked after their own households, cared for their children, prepared and preserved food, shopped at local markets and worked in the fields. They required practical, yet respectable, garments. Women were also responsible for making and managing their own, and their family’s, clothing. They practiced thrift by mending or altering existing garments when necessary.
Although women who worked outside the home had little time or money to spend on fashion, they still took pleasure in creating their own garments. A cotton apron from Napanee, Ontario depicts whimsical fairytale scenes handstitched with red embroidery. A pair of brightly striped, knitted mittens is a playful display during a period of relative formality in clothing.