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From sempster +‎ -ess.



sempstress (plural sempstresses)

  1. A seamstress, a woman employed to sew.
    • 1842, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Lady Anne Granard, volume 2, pages 301-302:
      I am sure he might pick and choose amongst the best dowried dowagers in England; and, instead of making any thing of himself, he has actually been all the way to Granard Park to look at his wife's picture, and make his bow to all the people who knew him, as "Manuello, the emigrant Italian," hunting up his sempstress and washerwoman, to make their old age comfortable, and talking religion with paralytic vicars and learned curates.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XVII, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071:
      This time was most dreadful for Lilian. Thrown on her own resources and almost penniless, she maintained herself and paid the rent of a wretched room near the hospital by working as a charwoman, sempstress, anything.
    • 1982, Lawrence Durrell, Constance, Faber & Faber 2004 (Avignon Quintet), p. 950:
      They were composed of a heterogeneous collection of men and women of the lower layers of society, workmen, sempstresses, night watchmen, farm-hands, mechanics and railway-workers – a laic image in sharp contrast to the bourgeois image produced in the cathedral.