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Month: June 2010

The Basic Conical Torso Block (Part 2)

Now that I’ve got all the photography done, it’s time to pick up where we left off in The Basic Conical Torso Block (Part 1).  We’re completing a basic torso block that we can use for the simplified, conical torsos popular in Renaissance, Elizabethan, Jacobean, Pompadour, Colonial, and all other eras between the Sixteenth and Eighteenth centuries.  (She says, throwing as many keywords into one sentence as humanly possible.)  One block, three hundred years of fashion – how can you lose?

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The Basic Conical Torso Block (Part 1)

For several hundred years, beginning where the High Middle Ages met the Renaissance and continuing through the eve of the French Revolution, fashion treated the female torso as something of an inconvenience.  The breasts were flattened, first by bands of wool or linen, later by corsetry and boned bodices. The sides of the body were straightened and the tum controlled.  The torso became a conic shape.  In some decades, like the 1590s, 1690s, and 1780s, it’s a very long cone.  In others, like the 1640s, it’s a very short cone that disappears into skirts below the bust.  During these times, a very basic conical torso block can be used as a basis creating custom patterns.

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Building Blocks: an Imprecise History of Pattern Drafting

My life, and probably yours, gentle reader, would be much simplified if, perchance, our predecessors of the fifteenth century had taken a few moments to write a book on their patterning practices.  Alas, they did not.  Nor did our predecessors of the sixteenth, seventeenth, or eighteenth centuries, gosh darn them.  I can’t tell you that I know how they did it, either.  (Sad, but true: though I freely admit to lying whenever it’s convenient, I’m basically an honest girl.)  What I can do is share the method I’ve worked out for my own use over the years.  Who’s in?  ;)

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