After the civil war there was a division of labor in the factories in which factories began to have certain jobs for certain people and this was called specialization. As demand for ready-made clothing increased in the 1820s, shop owners found they could reduce their labor costs by cutting the cloth themselves, farming out the simple sewing tasks to women working at home, and paying them 25 to 50 percent less than male journeymen tailors. This innovation led to the rise of the garment industry sweatshop. The ready-to-wear industry expanded during the Civil War to meet the demand for uniforms. Garment manufacturers increased production by building factories and networks of seamstresses also developing a more sufficient production methods and a better understanding of sizing as they prepared to meet demands at the end of the war. .
Much of the work began to be done in sweatshops which were factories who employed only women and children because most men were at the war. Although many garment workers came to the United States with some tailoring experience, most entered the industry unskilled or with only the sewing skills they had learned at home. Many of the jobs were also done by immigrants from 1850 to 1880s the Irish dominated the sweatshops. After 1865, Swedes and Germans entered the industry, followed in the 1890s by Italians and Russian and Polish Jews. In Chicago, Germans, German Jews, Bohemians, and a few Americans and Poles established that city's garment center. They were joined in the 1890s by Scandinavians, Eastern European Jews, Italians, and Lithuanians. Some immigrants began working in small shops, eventually owning large clothing firms. Others succumbed to disease, malnutrition, and exhaustion, and never found the path from tenement sweatshop to a better life. From 1870 to 1900 the number of children from age 10 to 15 in the workforce increases from 765 to 4,064.Children often carried goods to and from shops and performed simple operations such as removing basting threads.