Fitting & Proper (Anglais) Broché – 1 mars 2000
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For women, shift, stays, several gowns, petticoats and shortgowns are shown, including one shortgown with matching petticoat, and caps. For men, there are patterns taken from coats, breeches, a lovely shirt with a frill at the neck opening, waistcoat and coat. There are also some less usual items: a calash (women's hood with a collapsible framework), two banyans (men's indoor garments, similar to a dressing-gown), a man's greatcoat with for capes over the shoulders, and pair of pattens (overshoes - you'll need blacksmithing and woodcrafting skills to make those!). There are also accessories: embroidered wallets, pockets (one made from patchwork, see back cover for a colour picture) and pinballs, stockings, apron and mitts. Another nice feature of the book is the inclusion of children's garments - there are a baby's shirt, a toddler's skirt, a gown for a 5 or 6-year old and breeches for a 4- or 5-year old boy.
All patterns are drawn on a grid with 1" squares and are presented clearly and with sufficient annotations to make up the garment. The garments vary in difficulty: those items that would probably have been made at home are fairly simple (shirt, shift, banyan, petticoat, apron and maybe the caps); those made by professional dressmakers or tailors are more complicated. The clothes are mostly of Quaker provenance, which means that they are rather unadorned but, as the author puts it, "normative" for their place and time. Many of the items can be traced back to their original owners.
In the appendix, the author discusses clothes inventories of the 18th century and lists some original inventories, thus giving an overview of what the wardrobe of someone living in the 18th century would have looked like.
To judge from the text, the book is not aimed at a beginner but at somebody who has already done some research in this area; it assumes a certain level of expertise on part of the reader. The bibliography contains only those works that are mentioned in the book; a "further reading" list might have been a good idea. (Some tips: Two "standard" works about 18th century clothing are "_Patterns of Fashion 1: 1660-1860_ by Janet Arnold and _ The Cut and Construction of Women's Clothes_ by Norah Waugh, both with patterns taken from extant garments. A good book with drawing of clothes and many details of construction is _Costume in Detail_ by Nancy Bradfield. Also check out _Costume Close Up_ by Linda Baumgarten, which also shows historical garments from the 18th century and would be a good complement to this book.)
The only real drawback is that the illustrations are b/w. Some more photos of details would also havebeen a good idea. The only colour pictures are on the cover, the back cover shows some of the pockets and wallets, the front cover two of the gowns. The mannequins that the gowns have been placed on wear no wigs and have no lower arms, which makes the picture look somewhat disturbing. But don't let this deter you from buying this book, it is very good!
This book contains the following patterns for women:
2 middle class robe a l'anglaise gowns
a saque back gown
a pair of stays
a quilted petticoat
4 types of hats
3 types of pockets
a pair of mitts
2 wallets and 2 pinballs
This book also contains patterns for men and a few for kids. I would definately recommend this book if you are making 18th century men's clothing, but for women's clothing...not so much.
This book is good to add to your collection if you just can't get enough of the 18th century, but if you're just looking for the basic information, it's available in far better books.
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