Roseland Cottage

Care of Clothing

A small sewing machine sits in the servants’ hallway on the second floor of Roseland Cottage, visible from Constance Holt’s room. It is a treadle Willcox and Gibbs from the 1870s. The arduous work of sewing, remaking, or repairing clothing in the 1800s became a little easier with its invention. Upper class women wore complicated clothing. Many garments were made of fragile silks and satins that were elaborately embellished with laces and trims. In a household like the Bowens,’ the cleaning, repair, and maintenance of these garments was the work of maids. Some of the many skills needed by a woman employed for this work were sewing, stain removal, and care of delicate fabrics. Jane Stuart was listed as a seamstress in the 1890 U. S. Census.