Montreal, Canada’s first garment manufacturing center. As early as the 1820s, clothing was made by hand in shops. However, the invention of the steam cutter and the sewing machine in the second half of the 19th century marked the advent of industrialization. Fabrics were now cut and pressed in factories, while garment assembly was carried out by a network of rural seamstresses. The industry underwent a major transformation in the 20th century, as work was centralized and factories were relocated to downtown and to the working-class neighborhoods of Saint-Henri, Hochelaga and Centre-Sud.
In operation from the 1890s to the 1970s, the Standard Shirt Co. specialized in the manufacture of quality shirts. Employees are gathered in front of the factory on De Lorimier Avenue for a group photo.
In 1951, Manhattan Children’s Wear moved into an industrial building at 2220 Parthenais Street. Stencils were used to mark the children’s wear boxes ready for delivery.
This box contained buttons manufactured by Canadian Buttons Limited. Founded at the end of the 19th century, this company was located in the Little Burgundy district until 1967.
In 1851, Isaac Merritt Singer introduced a new mechanical sewing machine. Equipped with a foot pedal, it was the most suitable for industrial and domestic needs. That same year, the entrepreneur founded the I.M. Singer Company and began large-scale production. The sewing machine quickly became an international success. Over time, the company developed more and more efficient models and at the end of the 19th century, the first electric sewing machine was designed. Produced between 1948 and 1954 at the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu plant, the 15-88 model was popular with housewives.
Skilled seamstresses use a variety of tools to make garments. Their sewing kit includes sewing machine instructions, needles, a measuring tape and chalk for tracing patterns.
Published by the Singer Company, this manual is a must-have not only for learning the basics of dressmaking, but also for making children’s clothing.
With the invention of the sewing machine in the 19th century, jobs were created in the garment and mechanical industries. In 1883, Singer opened a sewing machine factory in Montreal. Twenty-five times the size of the Montreal factory, the Singer factory founded in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in 1906 was by far the most impressive.
The female readership of Revue Moderne sought the latest fashions and trends. To this end, women consulted Chiffonnette’s column, who enjoyed “browsing through the splendours of the beautiful stores, to discover the little gems that no one spots at first glance, and which are nevertheless the ultra-chic trifles that finish and complete an elegant woman’s wardrobe.” With her, readers window shop at Fairweathers, Mappin & Webb, Holt Renfrew, Dupuis Frères, La Maison Gagnon, among many.
Located in the Centre-Sud district, the C. Lalongé boutique manufactured and sold ready-to-wear clothing for children. Their catalog featured a wide variety of spring and summer shirts, pants, dresses and coats.
Founded in 1869, T. Eaton specialized in retailing. More than a retail chain, T. Eaton also manufactured clothing, luggage, jewelry, furniture, building materials and more. In 1884, catalogs were published to facilitate the sale of these products. This initiative proved highly successful and was repeated over the years and adapted to different regions of the country. Eaton‘s catalogs were shipped to consumers for nearly a century. In 1976, they were deemed too costly and unprofitable to publish. That year’s Spring/Summer Catalog was the last issue to be released.