Nothing makes a pant look as fantastically olde-timey as a fall front. Unfortunately, a real fall front is a pain in the patouty to sew (trust me), and it’s not something that can be added in after the fact in any sort of historically accurate manner. Fortunately, if you’re not 100% concerned about authenticity, it’s easy enough to add a mock fall to existing pants….
Happy Valentine’s Day! Let’s talk about something that makes my little costumer’s heart go pitter-patter: the Effigy Corset. I’ve had a major case of corset-brain lately (I think it’s a rebellion against that darned unfitted eleventh century thing), and I’ve been doing some research. You know what’s annoying about the Effigy? I don’t have a nicely gridded version of it drawn up by Janet Arnold. She spoiled us, you know…. I’ve no idea how to think without her beautifully scaled grids and neat technical notes. I so wish that the Effigy was covered in Patterns of Fashion. But it’s not, and I needed it…
I’ve been doing some background work for a project, and I had to do up a Conic Block for Lizzle. Her body is a leeeetle bit stylized, and she’s particularly got a relatively wide shoulder and upper back (like a swimmer), and she has a distinct curve at her upper back (a swimmer who spends too much time hunched over a desk, maybe?). Anyway, here’s an adjustment to the Basic Conic Block draft for situations where the upper back is significantly larger than the back bust measurement.
I realize that instructions are far more helpful when you can print them out and put them on the worktable while you’re using them. I also realize that pages upon pages of full color photos do not a happy printer make. I’ve made a not-so-chatty (yes, I actually can edit) PDF version of the Basic Conical Draft directions, redone with black&white line art.
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?
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.
This is one of my favorite Elizabethan era hats. It has style and panache, and it’s often completely over-the-top in stature. You can pull the wired brim into a lovely arc, which has always seemed to me to be the Millinery equivelent of a raised eyebrow. It’s a smart hat, extremely suited to the prosperous merchants and casual nobles. Women should be careful to make this hat a bit small, so it sits on the hair rather than the head and allows the caul to be seen.
The Floppy Pleated Hat, which I’ve heard called a ‘Muffin Cap’ is a hat comprised of a Soft Brim and a Pleated Crown. When made from a softer fabric, this hat has a very unstructured look apprpriate to lower class characters. From stiffer fabric, as above, it’s a rather charming style formiddle class characters trying to make their fortunes.
"Floppy Toque" is not the correct name for this hat. I don’t know what is. It’s a slightly untidy look that’s great for characters who are a little down on their luck, generally dishevelled, countrified, or who generally wish to convey that "aiming for fashion but missing" appeal. The following instructions assume that you have already made your Basic Brim Patterns. If you have not, you’ll want to follow the link and do so.
The Toque was a popular style in Spain and Italy. (Hence, “Spanish Toque” and “Italien Bonnet”.)