tudor ensemble 1

Kimiko Sews

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Designing and Decorating Clothes Pt.1
tudor ensemble 1
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(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2015/12/designing-and-decorating-clothes-pt1/)

So, last post, at the end, I mention the online pdf Designing and Decorating Clothes book, which is available online. I’m now in the process of reading that book, and some of the info is quite eye opening! Some of it is familiar, which means modern fashion books haven’t tossed out all the rules. They just may not know where the rules come from.


So, before I get into this, I am realizing that some of the info in this book, I have read in more modern fashion how-to books, that I had read back in college up to a few years ago. However, those book discussed how to use some of the simplified rules for buying clothes that will look good on you. I only found one 1970s book that discussed how to translate some of that info for actual sewing of personal clothing, but it was simplified, and not as helpful as I had hoped. I’ve not taken any formal fashion design courses, so I’ve no comparison to modern fashion course info.


Examples of design lines on the fashion forms. Examples of design lines on the fashion forms.


This old book dates to 1930, with its very tall, narrow fashion models, and outdated fashion style is going even further in depth than anything I’ve read before. And more importantly, it discusses how to do this with clothing design sketches, or even how to translate it to garments that are draped on the body! Btw, garment draping is a different, earlier course in the series. I will need to find a copy, although I do have my modern draping book already, and know the basics of draping on a form.


One Greek principle of proportion is discussed, and dissected in a clear diagram. I finally understand why the drop waisted dress is actually a thing, provided it ends where it looks proportioned right on the person, which in mass market garments won’t happen. I now understand where a blouse should end on a skirt in the right proportion, and it is not at your waistline unless you are doing something else to modify the proportions or style.


Just to give you a glimpse of the historical ideal model, this comes from page 20 of the book.


An outline of each of the various figures is given so that it will be an easy matter for you to obtain the basic lines. In Fig. 17 is shown the figure outline of the average type, representing a woman who ranges in height from 5 feet, 3 inches to 5 feet, 5 inches, and weighs approximately 120 pounds. Her bust measurement may vary from 34 to 37 inches and her hip size should be not more than 3 inches greater than her bust measure. The individual so fortunate as to possess such a figure is the easiest of all types for which to design garments. To a certain extent, she may wear almost anything for lines that run across the figure look as well on her as lengthwise ones, flared, straight-line, bouffant or princess silhouettes become her, and practically every sort of trimming detail is appropriate on her clothes. Yet, on her, as on any one else, falls the responsibility of avoiding the commonplace and of choosing right colors as well as garments that suit her type, her age, and the purpose and occasion for which they are desired.


I haven’t seen such measurements on myself since I was in jr. high school, and I know I won’t again. And I’m now wondering what exactly a bouffant style was. My mind thinks of clown costumes for some reason.


There are some aspects, like the height/weight charts, the fashion design model, and certain admonitions that are products of their time. I have to keep in mind that they had a different way of life then, and that we are given certain freedoms today, like wearing pants. But as I’ve mentioned before, the art principles transcend their time and historical oddities. I plan to draw on a copy of myself, and I’m no fashion model. But clothes for me would do best on a model of me, and this book does discuss how to design for the stout me.


I am finding the use of every single model, where the break point is at the hip level, rather annoying. Usually, even when they discuss trying to de-emphasize the hipline, they still put in a belt, pouf, blouse end, or something at that same line. It’s very much an historical style, but annoying while I’m reading and trying to understand the principles discussed.


But I am enjoying the different types of sleeves, and jabots, collars, cuffs, and various aspects of clothing design we just don’t see anymore, except maybe in evening wear. But pointed sleeve heads! Not round, pointed, and not to the neck like a raglan style sleeve, but just a pointed sleeve head, attached into a shoulder line that I presume would have to be modified from our usual round armscye as it goes up into the shoulder seam. What a fascinating idea.


I’ve finished reading the Designing Clothes portion, and at the end it seems to have covered how to adapt professional designs rather quickly. The various aspects of fitting for stout women, be they short or not, was also a bit short but informative. In their info, I think I fall under “tall stately”, even though I’m only an inch above their average. But while I’m stout, I’m not short. I’m going to have to digest and practice their advice for various aspects. It did remind me much of the more modern clothing books on how to wear purchased items, like scarves, to add to or minimize a certain area. I may just have to add more modern reading materials for my understanding, again.


The pdf is a two part book, and so I will finish up the commentary on part 2 another time. It’s on decoration and ornamentation, and apparently that is two different things, used for two different purposes. Another day.





Other Clothing, Product Review, Research, 20th century, book_review, research, WIDAS
(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2015/12/designing-and-decorating-clothes-pt1/. Comments can be posted here or there.)

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