This section is from the book "Scientific Sewing And Garment Cutting", by Antoinette Van Hoesen Wakeman. Also available from Amazon: Scientific Sewing And Garment Cutting: For Use In Schools And In The Home.
There is no authentic history of the beginning of sewing, neither is there any detailed account of the various stages of clothing, although it is certain that the skins of beasts take precedence of all other material as wearing apparel. Skins furnished the winter garb of the Briton, and supplied the covering of the wild tribesmen that followed the hosts of Xerxes in his expeditions against Hellas. From those remote times until the present, the skins of animals have been used in various ways by all classes and conditions of men for garments.
The garments of skins worn by people in very cold countries are made to fit snugly; for not only must the cold be kept out, but the natural warmth of the body must be retained. The human body is like a stove with a fire in it; it constantly generates heat, and in climates where it is very cold it is important to conserve this heat. On the other hand, in very warm countries it is desirable to wear clothing which permits the heat of the body to escape. For this reason loose, flowing garments of linen, silk, or cotton are worn in tropical lands, as the wide trousers of the Turks and Persians, and the unconfined robes worn by other people of Central and Southern Asia.
In countries where it is either very warm or very cold most of the time, the same form of garment is worn year after year. Where the temperature is constantly changing, as in the temperate zone, the style of clothing is also subject to frequent change; and these varying modes constitute what is called "fashion."
While the primary use of clothes is to afford protection from the heat and cold, they should be made and worn with a view to pleasing the eye. It is essential, therefore, that they be carefully cut and neatly made, and they should be kept clean and in good order.
If for no other reason than because so much time and skill are represented in our clothing, Ave should take good care of it. Each garment we wear represents the work of several wonderful machines and a great deal of skillful labor. There are no more important industries than those which are connected with the making of clothes. In the article on spinning and weaving are illustrations showing some of the machinery which has been invented for weaving cloth. The other articles on the various materials of the sewing room give further data showing how much of the work of the world is devoted to the manufacture of clothing.