Geometry is important in pattern making. I know I go off about that a lot, but it’s true, and it’s why I’m obsessive about squaring…
Take a look at the seam in this skirt from an Indian wedding that my boss turned up…
Ok, Internet, we need to talk something through… Remember back in the old days? Remember when it was all carefree fun and games? Oh, those wild younger days, when any old picture was a good picture? Put bodice on a hanger, chuck it on a closet door, and hey! Great! You put a picture on the interwebs! You contributed! This was back before the googles even searched images. Heck, we actually just called it “google”, back then, and there was a fight going on about whether to google or yahoo for searching. I feel ancient. Now it’s all “omg, use a neutral background when you photograph your demos!” (Oh, interwebs, did you forget that whole beggars/choosers dichotomy?) I’m not arguing that we should lower our standards. I am saying that not everyone has a professional photography setup just lying around, the space to dedicate to one, nor the money to get one. Since I’ve been Señorita Discount Home Improvement lately, I figured I could make a photography setup on the cheaps….
Here’s your 40 second visual rundown on just what an underarm gusset does in a simple smock/shift/chemise/shirt pattern. I have two very simple smocks here – one eleventh century style, a la Kohler, and the other more of a sixteenth century style, adapted from Arnold. There’s a drastic difference in the fit at the shoulder.
I had this horrible, recurring experience with some of my oldest costumes: I’d put a zillion hours worth of work into making something, right, and lace myself into a corset to make me skinnier, and put on enormous skirts that should have dwarfed my waistline, and the bodice and the yadda yadda, and, like, fifty pounds of tightly laced clothing later, my torso looked stumpier and my waist looked wider than it had when I started. That’s a lot of work to go through to look shlumpy, you know? Fortunately, there’s a simple little trick you can play with the waistline on an Elizabethan dress that will help…
Oh, that pesky Pfalzgrafin corset… It’s technically dated to 1598, by virtue of being found on the body of Pfalzgrafin Dorothea Sabina von Neuburg, who was buried then. It would be really-amazingly-super-conveneint if it was older, wouldn’t it? Seriously. I’ve really got an itch to do something from the middle of the 1500s. I’ve started the little chemise (I’m even trying to embroider the darn thing), and I’ve been messing around with recreating the Pfalzgrafin pattern based on the Basic Conic Block.
File this under, “Now that you mention it, it’s completely obvious…” Princess seams are long shaping seams often seen in women’s dresses. They create shape in a garment with curves that model the form of the body, particularly in the area between the bust and hip, and the area between the shoulder and bust. To work properly, these seams must run over the fullness of the breast.
I tend to theme my holiday wrapping paper/ribbon color scheme every year. I’m sure I’m not the only one. The problem is that every year, I end up with off bits of wrapping paper… The great thing is, wrapping paper makes dandy patterning paper!
I’m totally obsessed with the Alcega farthingale. I mean, I’m always a little obsessed with it, because it’s sort of the great rock candy mountain for costumers, right? But I’ve been working on an eBook about drafting gored skirts for period costumes, and I thought I’d throw in a little bit of a redraft for the Alcega farthingale. Oh, silly me… I went back through some of my old notes (mostly questions, like “Why aren’t the gores at the same angle?!”), and I’m struck by how much there is to know about the darn thing. So I’ve been in obsessive research mode since yesterday evening, and I’ve learned some new things….
How much is there, really, to say about skirts? They’re pretty basic. I’ve never really been one to make patterns for skirts, because, well, I’m lazy, and it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to whack out a rectangle. Somewhere back in the primordial fog of my early costuming experience, someone told me, “Gored skirts aren’t period. They waste fabric.” And I believed her, because it was easier than doing my own research or making with the thinkies. And shame on me, because it turns out that you can get through most of your costuming life if you know how to draft three basic skirt patterns. Ready?