I've been thinking about my family history, seeking clues about my heritage that can be expressed in my doll making. The Mary Jane Garment Company is one of the early stories that I know about that involves the business of designing and sewing.
The Lincoln Overall and Shirt Company of Lincoln, Nebraska, introduced a line of garments for women and children in 1911. This was quite early in the history of the ready-to-wear industry. Until this time women either sewed clothing for themselves and their family or employed a dressmaker. This new line included aprons, kimonos, and petticoats for ladies and rompers and creepers for children. My great grandmother, Mary Jane McFall, an expert dress maker, designed these items for her son-in-law's company. The line was named in her honor: The Mary Jane Garment Company.
The family connection didn't end there. My grandmother, Ruth McFall, was employed as a typist at the Lincoln Overall and Shirt Company. She was also the model for the first catalog. Two of of the original photographs are below.
I am charmed by introductory page of the first catalog. These claim to be beautifully made quality garments. I'd like to think this was true! Note the final paragraph.
"Know Mary Jane and you will like her. No matter how
she appears, she is always the same dependable Mary Jane,
and her watchword always is Quality and Service."
The Mary Jane Garment Company was later sold and was still in operation, with some of the original machines in use, as late as 1970.