Before sewing machines were invented women spent a lot of time maintaining their family’s clothes. Middle-class housewives, even with the help of a hired tailor, will spend several days a month on this task. It takes an experienced tailor at least 14 hours to make a shirt for a man; a woman’s dress takes 10 hours; and a pair of summer pants take almost three hours. Most people only have two sets of clothes: a work outfit and a Sunday outfit.
Sewing machines reduce the time it takes to make a shirt to one hour and 15 minutes; time to make a dress one hour longer; and the time for a pair of summer pants is only 38 minutes. This reduction in labor leads to a reduced role of women in the management of the family, allowing them more leisure time and the ability to look for work.
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