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CUSTOM PATTERN MAKER & PERIOD PATTERNING
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I spent years of "blowing up" Janet Arnold scaled period patterns by using an opaque projector on brown paper taped to a wall, moving the projector back and forward until the chest measurement was the size indicated in the book or what seemed like a logical size and then resizing those paper patterns to fit my client's specific body.

Some of the men's coats in Norah Waugh's "The Cut of Men's Clothes" were another compelling challenge. The scale in the patterns was not accurately produced in the book. The "scale ruler" on the page does not accuratley measure to depict the size it purports to be. One inch as it appears on the page is not actually 1 inch. The result is that there is no simple "blowing up" of a "xeroxed copy" to 100%.

It was the frock coat on page 145 that pushed me over the edge in determination to come up with a more facile method of making sure I could acurately size patterns to each side of the body. I had a portly actor. We had taken his measurements using traditional methods. It was only during the muslin mock-up fitting, that I discovered that his left shoulder area was severly different due to muscle loss from a car accident. This fact was not easily apparent unless you could see him without his T-shirt .

Custom Pattern Maker is not a "magic bullet".

  • Yes, you can digitize a scaled or full-sized pattern into CPM.
  • Yes, you can make those scaled patterns "full sized" in CPM.
  • No, you cannot just digitize a pattern in from a period pattern book, type in new measurements and get a resized pattern. I know that's what everyone wishes they had. So do I.

--- But ---

CPM makes the traditional process so much easier!

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When I am going to be "building" costumes from a particular historical time period, I know that I have to "get inside the heads" of the pattern makers from that time period. I have to understand how they were using the combination of grain placement and seaming to produce the period style silhouette inorder to be able to produce the same silhouette, porportional and posture illusions on modern bodies.

(NOTE: I've been working long enough now that I have been through this process for every know historical style period. When I teach advanced pattern making for costumers, this is the process I teach.)

I most often choose to recreate a pattern, using contemporary flat patterning methods, from my custom-fit blocks that are created with Custom Pattern Maker. It always gives me delight to discover that the grain placement comes out identical to the period patterns I have been researching.

I have read accounts of archeologists who have job specializations in moderns times that parallel artifacts they are looking at from the past. That sense of reaching though time, back to touching another artisan and seeing them solve a technical problem, seeing and understanding a kindred spirit, produces a feeling of magical awe. I get to have that sense also when I do "archeological pattern research".

The CPM makes the flatpatterning process much easier than standing up at a cutting table with a pencil, curves and angles, scissors and paper. Once I've been through the flatpattern process with a specific period "cut", I find it easy to know how to resize manually using CPM's editing capabilities to other bodies. The process, using CPM, is easier and neater than the traditional "slash, piece and tuck" method used in real time and space.

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