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Seamstresses offer an important service to society, but they are rarely considered elite. This has not always been the case, however. In most civilizations, those who were able to create attractive clothes and fitted garments were originally in very high demand. In mercantile societies, garment creators were and sometimes still are some of the best-paid members of society.Before clothing could be created on assembly lines and in low-cost factories, seamstresses were often the only people with the skills needed to help people look their best. In the 17th and 18th centuries, skilled seamstresses were often prized, and wealthy families throughout Europe and the industrialized world made a practice of retaining talent to live and work on their estates.