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Bast Recast Deep-Dive: Ladies Workwear Shirt 1880

One of the greatest problems facing historians of women’s work is the absence of reliable information. In the 19th century, women’s work was not always accurately recorded within the sources that historians rely on, due to much of women’s work being irregular, home-based or within a family-run business.

Women’s work was often not included within statistics on waged work in official records. Often women’s wages were thought of as secondary earnings and less important than men’s wages, even though they were crucial to the family’s survival.

Sometimes work was illegal (as with prostitution) or performed in unregulated sweatshops (a further reason for failure to record). Women may have also have preferred to keep their income earning a secret from their husbands.

Read more on Carved in Blue.

This article is one of a series on Rivet from Lenzing’s Carved in Blue denim blog. From conversations with the experts behind the mills that make some of the world’s most-wanted denim to the global brands bringing novel denim made with TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal to the market, Carved in Blue shares the stories of those whose roots run deep with denim. Visit