Nothing happens without my dear friend, and sister of the heart, Stephanie Smith. Together, and with the help of many others, we have worked diligently over the years to bring workshops and lectures on 18th Century clothing to a group of people here in New England, then branching out to other parts of the country and reenacting groups over time.
Our qualifications have been won thru many years of attending lectures, conference and workshops, presenting our own lectures and workshops and most importantly studying original garments. Many thanks go out to my traveling companion and wonderful friend Hazel Dickfoss of Wm Booth Draper, she and I traipsed all over England, not once but twice, visiting museums across the country, examining original 18th century clothing.
Steph and I have focused on visiting local museums and historical societies clothing collections, which we are so fortunate to have so many of in New England. The opportunity to have seen both English and American collections has been enlightening to say the least.
This is where the blessed part comes in. Many years ago I started a small collection of original 18th century garments, men's and women's, and it is this collection that is the foundation for the line of patterns we will be producing over the next few years.
The advantage to working with original garments include:
Did they get the scale right? What did they leave out? Is it really sewn the way they think and say it is?
Knowing what to look for.
Once you are familiar with 18th century construction, when you visit other museum collections, you know what is similar from garment to garment, what is different, what is a remodel and what is original.
You get to copy it.
This is a biggie. This is the first step. You pattern the original, make the original as it is. When the garment is right there, and you can visit it over and over as you construct the copy, it makes a huge difference in figuring out the order of construction and all the steps in between. You then have the freedom once you understand the construction to adapt it to the modern body and put into words how to make it.
So right now the pattern is being printed, the directions printed and bound, and we will launch on Monday or Tuesday, when I have everything in my hot little hands!
To be honest I feel a little lost now that it is done, so today's work will be starting to pattern the original of the next pattern. An English Sacque!