Behire Hakkı was the first female Ottoman dress-maker. She introduced the technique of modern sewing to younger women through her workshop in Istanbul and through at least 10 printed publications.
Although Behire was interested in sewing from her childhood days, the profession of the dress-makers of the Ottoman Empire was reserved exclusively for men. As western women, living in Istanbul, could import their dresses from abroad, the Muslim women were mostly limited on the traditional garments, designed and made by the opposite sex. Homemade dresses, made by women, were a sign of poverty.
In the beginning of the 20th century Ottoman women, mostly based in Istanbul, started following the western fashion and lifestyle, that became visually available through magazines, books and European inhabitants of the city.
It was only the approaching World War I, that offered an opportunity to Behire Hakkı. With many men being drafted, the job opportunities for women finally opened on the field of dress-making. Behire Hakkı founded her own atelier and school called Türk Kadınları Biçki Yurdu (House for Sewing for Turkish Girls) and authored approximately 10 books on the use of modern sewing-machines, pattern-making, crocheting, etc.
Our book was issued as the second in Behire Hakkı’s series of three separately published books on sewing and fashion (the first one being Biçki Nazariyat ve Kavâidinin Tedrisat-ı Âliye Kısmı (Higher Training Section of the Theory and Rules of Sewing), issued a year before by the different publisher, Matbaa-i Hayriye ve Şürekâsı).
The richly illustrated text includes instructions on the modern sewing machines, patterns for female dresses and underwear, children and baby clothing, decoration, crocheting etc.
We could trace two institutional examples of Biçki Nazariyat ve Kavâidinin Tedrisat-ı Tâliye Kısmı, housed by Bogazici University Library and Library of Congress.
References: OCLC 239551087, ÖZEGE 1995.