By her own account, after many requests from friends who admired her dress sense Johanna Weigel started to cut patterns from her own clothes and give them away. The easy-to-follow instructions for measuring, cutting and sewing made the patterns popular and their increasing success led her and Oscar to start their fashion business in 1877 in premises in Lennox Street, Richmond. They imported all their printing machines and tissue paper and soon established offices in central Melbourne and Sydney and agencies throughout Australia and New Zealand.
It was an 'elegancy' to which she clung through the leanest lean years . . . Mother always dressed herself and us by Madame W's paper patterns . . . Madame Weigel was to me a figure of legend as Mrs Beeton or 'The Ingoldsby Legends'.What impressed me most about the woman is the legacy that she left after her death in 1940. Amongst other beneficiaries she left the residue of her estate to the employees of Madame Weigel Pty Ltd, which continued until at least the 1960s. On the death of the last surviving employee in 1972 the final distribution of her estate was made to five hospitals named in her will.
How generous is that! I assume that money helped people keep their jobs, and kept an Australian iconic business going.
My web stalking has found this great pic of Madame Weigel's magazine.
|Pic here at Poppalina|
If you would like to make the koala tea cosy, which is way cute, click here for the pattern, It is considered to be in the public domain, and therefore OK to publish.
Here are a couple of good links to her story, Poppalina was as curious as I (But in 2006! Geez get with the programme Nick!) and this biography.
Sorry about the long post guys, I am tying to make them short and sweet, but then I start researching...