History Of Sewing

Would you like to know the history behind clothes? How were clothes sewn millennia ago? History has it that when humans started wearing clothes, they were not more of what would be classified as clothes today, because they were made of animal skins and hides.

The people of that time did not know about sewing, and they simply wrapped the skins and hides around themselves. Primarily, it was not to cover their nakedness, but rather to protect themselves from cold. However, since necessity is the mother of invention, when humans settled in different parts of the world, they discovered that the pieces of leather that they used to cover themselves could be joined together using strings or thin strands of leather.

They made holes in the leather pieces with awls, which was a manual method of stitching. It is not different from how you can use a big needle to stitch the mouth of a sack manually. The awls were made of sticks and sometimes they used sharp stones to perforate the hides and skins.

History Of Sewing

Bone needles

Since it was tedious to stitch the skins by just making holes in them, someone thought of poking a hole in the rear end of the needle to make it easier to sew. Without the hole in the needle, that requires you to first poke the hole and then use your index finger to push the string through the hole. Therefore, you do two kinds of work, which is time consuming.

However, when the needle was perforated to make a hole through it, this made stitching quite easy and faster. When this idea was invented in Asia, it quickly spread across other continents. The needles were made of ivory and bone, and they resembled awls.

The technology of making threads was also invented and spindle whorls started being used.

Thread spinning

Later, West Asian people went a notch higher in spinning thread out of linen and wool, and they wove cloth out of them. Compared to leather, it was easier to sew clothes because they were not intact, and passing the needle through the fabric did not require straining.

Bronze needles

Humans are very innovative, and after discovering that bones could also make needles, they later graduated to making needles with bronze. These were high-quality needles that were lighter and sharper, not to mention that they were also more efficient to work with. Historical records have it that these needles were first used in TepeYahya, Iran.

When the fabric was first made, it was too precious to be cut or poked. People would rather wear the entire piece of cloth rather than have it sewn into a garment. The bronze needles were also too thick, hence destructive to the cloth because they would leave large holes in the cloth.

Bronze needles continued being used for a considerable amount of time, until later when the Romans invented the steel sewing needle.

What’s more?

Since when sewing was invented, it was always done by hand for millennia until the 19th century when the sewing machine was invented. Moreover, technological advancement also brought about mass production and exportation of fabrics. Until today, hand sewing is still practiced across the world, and it is an artistic display of topnotch sewing skills and tailoring; custom dress making and couture fashion.

When you get into wider scopes of sewing, this art is not limited to creating fabrics and clothes. Instead, it covers even other things like baskets, and ropes because they are also made in the same manner like fabrics. It is only that they are crude, owing to the fact that they are made using large items unlike fabrics. However, it is through weaving that baskets and ropes are made.

The year 1830 and sewing

The first working sewing machine was built by BarthelemyThimonnier in 1830, and he was offered a patent by the French government. He initially wanted to make an embroidery machine, but ended up with a sewing machine. It was a reliable sewing machine because of its efficiency. The machine integrated a barbed needle, and it was entirely made of wood.


Sewing began in a very primitive way, but inventions and innovations throughout human history improved it. However, sewing by hand has never been outdated, and there are high quality garments that are made by hand stitching.

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