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Re: [CostumeHistoryClass] Costuming a Victorian/Edwardian Play

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  • Tara Maginnis
    That definitely sounds fun. I ve got to try it while I m on sabbatacal this fall for kicks and giggles. Claudia Hill wrote: Dear Dr
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 27, 2006
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      That definitely sounds fun. I've got to try it while I'm on sabbatacal this fall for kicks and giggles.

      Claudia Hill <sunshadowlady@...> wrote: Dear Dr Maginnis,

      It's really quite simple, at least for the package I
      use. After you put in the measurements and made a
      fitting shell or sloper, which you only have to do
      once for each person, you go to the pattern drafting
      screen. There are many choices for each design
      element. For example, in a dress, these would be
      Bodice, collar, sleeves, skirt, and pockets. Each
      element has an extensive menu of choices, as well as
      input fields to tweak the numerical inputs (amount of
      ease, length of skirt, etc). When you have made all
      your choices and saved the pattern, you can print it
      out on regular computer paper, tape it together at the
      alignment marks, and cut it out.

      If the pattern needs adjusting for the period, you can
      load it into the Pattern Editor, an easy to use CAD
      program, and change anything, whether it involves
      adding to the pattern, subtracting, putting new seams,
      or whatever. The program keeps track of necessary
      adjustments (for example, if you change the sleeve, it
      adjusts the armhole and cuff to match. For example,
      the program offers leg o' mutton sleeves, but let's
      say they are not as puffy as you would like for an
      Edwardian costume. You can easily add a lot of puff
      in the pattern by moving the cutting line over while
      the program takes care of the details.

      The program will make cutting layouts and gives
      yardage estimates, but I don't use this feature. It
      also labels the pieces with the name of the piece, the
      date drafted, and the name of the person whose
      measurements you used, and/or whatever text you want.
      It does not supply directions for construction, so
      either you need to be at least an intermediate
      seamstress or provide yourself with Simply the Best
      Sewing Book
      or the Reader's Digest The New Complete Guide to
      I have both books and they are starting to look like
      they have been loved to death--they fall open to the
      section on zippers of their own accord.

      Really, though, the best way to get a feel for the
      programs is to download the free trials which many of
      the manufacturers offer--complete versions of the
      program except that they won't print out the pattern.
      I might add FYI that Wild Ginger also offers a
      professional pattern drafting program, Cameo. I don't
      know anything about it; it's way too expensive for me.
      This link should take you to the page to download the
      free demo.

      As far as adapting a pattern, (and incidently allowing
      you to custom-fit it without actually having to divide
      any fractions)you could simply choose the menu
      items--length and flare of skirt, for example--closest
      to the pattern and tweak it in the pattern editor if
      the result wasn't quite right. I didn't have any
      trouble drafting a pattern for "my" garment, the
      Edwardian summer tea gown, and I'm certainly no

      There are other pattern-drafting software packages out
      there, and some of them also offer free demos, but I
      rejected them because they didn't seem to me to be
      flexible enough--this was three years ago, though. For

      I hape this helps.

      Claudia Hill

      --- Tara Maginnis

      > Tell me more about using pattern drafting software
      > for making period patterns. I've always been
      > interested in it for technical reasons, though I
      > don't actually NEED it for practical reasons (I
      > learned pattern drafting long ago, so I don't need
      > it, it just sounds like a fun tech toy). How would
      > the software work with, say, trying to adapt a
      > pattern from something like Janet Arnold?

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      ----Tara Maginnis, Ph.D., Costume Designer, Professor and Chair
      of the Theatre Department of the University of Alaska Fairbanks
      Website: "The Costumer's Manifesto" at http://costumes.org
      Theatre Department Web Site: http://www.uaf.edu/theatre

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