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Topic: Seamstress?

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Subject: Seamstress?
Date Posted: 10/27/2008 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 6,362
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Does anyone know if there is a disreputable connotation associated with the term "seamstress?" 

This came up on another list and someone said that they recalled reading an article that said "ladies of the night" frequently listed their occupation as "seamstress."  I'd never heard this but I thought maybe someone here might have heard of it.

Some of them don't like to be called "sewers" either for some odd reason ;-)

Date Posted: 10/27/2008 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I've never heard this, but that doesn't mean it isn't true. Interesting! I hope someone here knows more.

I can't imagine why no one would want to be called a "sewer". ;-)

Date Posted: 10/27/2008 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,456
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That's a new one to me Diana!

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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You know, now that I think about it, I do know a seamstress that is pretty "loose". Maybe her alterations shop is a front for a more lucrative business. :-D

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 6,362
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I don't think anyone found more on the subject.  Someone said they supposed they'd have to put something down on documents since "prostitute" was illegal.  I'd go broke at either trade, lol. 

Now I'm wracking my brain trying to think of what they pretended brothels were in books.  Aside from the ever-popular versions of the bar/saloon, I'm coming up with nothing.  You wonder how much we really know about some of these things and how much is imagination.  I mean even research might turn up a lot of imagination and who would know now? 

I always thought those Playboy things were made up.  Okay, I was CERTAIN those were made up but if there was something similar from the 19th century, would somebody think it was true?

(I now apologize for lowering the overall tone of this entire forum.)

Back to those veddy proper artistocrats ;-)



Last Edited on: 10/29/08 1:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/29/2008 5:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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There was a type of brothel called a "Dress House" ... perhaps this has contributed to legend/confusion?

They were also among the only jobs available to poor women, since they tended to be the only 2 commercial skill sets they posessed.

Beyond that, I dunno.

Cheers,

Catt

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 8:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 6,362
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Thanks, Catt. 

Some searching finally led me to this page, which is actual a British genealogy site.  I apologize for linking and not quoting but couldn't figure out how to accomplish it w/o plagiarizing.  I thought it was interesting.  It elaborates a bit on the "dress house" too, which I'd never heard.

Dressmakers&Seamstresses

It doesn't look like there is a definitive answer there, esp. since in the 1881 census some either listed or had their occupations listed as prostitute.  (Personal experience with the accuracy of the US census has made me wary.)



Last Edited on: 10/29/08 8:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1