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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #1 
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Keep this to JUST antique patterning systems.  

This thread is NOT for discussion of mass produced pattern garment making. 
(If you want one of those, OPEN one)

DISCLAIMER:  I do not know a darn thing about this subject.  I am learning and I am making some progress.  I read it over and over, and have made a set of tools to use several of these methods.  As they suggest approaching any training, I am an empty vessel.  Feel free to learn with me.  

I am sharing what i have in this thread.  If folks think It would be better at some point to put the instructions out in the manuals sections, let me know.


I will be posting these in PDF.  I can convert PDF to Images for those who need it, but will not post them here, I'll email/PM them.

I have copies of

1888 Cornwells Method
1866 Devere's system (Centre point system, ladies costume garments, rulers)
1885 McDowell System (two versions of the brass tool and the manuals for both)
1898 - 5 volumes of the "Practical Cutters Handbook"

Let the discussion begin.


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J Miller

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Reply with quote  #2 
Steve,

I too know nothing about pattern systems and have so far never made clothing from any type of pattern.   However I am interested in the .pdfs.   My wife is also interested and would like them.  She's been sewing her own clothes for over 11 lustrums.

You have my email addy, could you email them (all of them) to me?

Joe

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Miriam

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Reply with quote  #3 
Sign me up for that email, too
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redmadder

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Reply with quote  #4 
Me too.

I had access to original uniforms of the 1880s cavalry uniforms.  Alas, that was 40 years ago.  Most of the antique patterns have to be modified because people in those days tended to be smaller.  I hear Bedford Forrest was 5'4".

The armholes were tight to the body and not roomy.  The shoulder seams slanted from the neck downward toward the back of the armhole.  There was a seam from the back of the armhole that curved down the back, so side seam, side back seam and middle of the back.  Uniforms didn't change much over the years.  The introduction of the sack coat made construction faster.

Frock coats, even the uniform frock coats, often had flask pockets in the tails.   I once saw a civilian coat with pockets that an entire whiskey bottle would have fitted into neatly.   Officers often had their uniforms made or custom tailored. 

Ever see a welted buttonhole?  I hope to never make another one.  Pockets were bad enough.

Unscrupulous contractors swept up wool lint from the production floor and felted it, creating something resembling fabric.  Those uniforms tended to melt in the rain.



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Miriam

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Reply with quote  #5 
I had to outfit a wedding 1776 style. I had one pattern for to men... One was a foot taller than the groom... Those sloped shoulders and fitted sleeves are a chore with out having to alter that much. It would have been quicker to draft a pattern. I have had an easier time making tents. If you screw up you just make the poles a little longer or shorter

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by redmadder
...The armholes were tight to the body and not roomy.  The shoulder seams slanted from the neck downward toward the back of the armhole.  There was a seam from the back of the armhole that curved down the back, so side seam, side back seam and middle of the back.  Uniforms didn't change much over the years.  


Honestly, that is not what I have experienced in reading and working from these documents.  Great care was made to make sure that movement was not restricted.  The process of pattern drafting involved the customers posture, stooped, erect, lean back, shoulders drooped, square, rounded, forward, back, it is truly staggering what a real bespoke suit involved.

I apologize.  Last night I started the upload and then forgot and went to bed without hitting the "post".  Here is the Cornwell's Guide from 1888 (6.5mb PDF)


 
Attached Files
pdf Cornwells_Victorian_Cutting_Method_-_1888_-_Trimmed.pdf (6.33 MB, 7 views)


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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #7 
This post has the Devere's method from 1866

 
Attached Files
pdf Devere_1866_v2.pdf (9.63 MB, 8 views)


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macybaby

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Reply with quote  #8 
I have plans to learn to use the McDowel system,  since that is the one I have.  
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #9 
Here is a great read as an introduction to the subject.  Scan is from the Smithsonian

DRESSMAKERS' DRAFTING SYSTEMS IN THE UNITED STATES
by Claudia B. Kidwell

Smithsonian Institution Press
City of Washington
1979

 
Attached Files
pdf Discussion_of_garment_drafting_systems.pdf (9.79 MB, 4 views)


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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #10 
and finally for now...  Here is the McDowell Garment system instruction set.  (I got lazy and downloaded a copy rather than scanning my own...)

Here is the diagram of the components of the brass portion of the system
01 - machine_SM.jpg 

 
Attached Files
pdf instructionbook_1885.pdf (2.89 MB, 4 views)


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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #11 
cautions from the McDowell System documentation
(sorry for the huge images, but they need to be able to be read...)

02 - caution1.jpg 

02 - caution1.jpg
 
03 - caution2.jpg







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Tom W

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Reply with quote  #12 
Arm holes high and tight make for more movement not less. Properly drafted, cut and sewn even a heavy coat should move like a second skin. Sack coats made construction faster and threw fit out the window. Deep arm holes and oversized sleeves and bodies make it possible to mass produce a cheap garment that sort of fits a wide range of people, none of them particularly well. It also makes shoulders and collars float and jackets pull at buttons. Properly fitted, raising ones arms will not raise the shoulder or float the collar away from the neck. I have make many a tailored garment for myself over the years and find it very difficult to purchase off the rack.
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Miriam

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom W
Arm holes high and tight make for more movement not less. Properly drafted, cut and sewn even a heavy coat should move like a second skin. Sack coats made construction faster and threw fit out the window. Deep arm holes and oversized sleeves and bodies make it possible to mass produce a cheap garment that sort of fits a wide range of people, none of them particularly well. It also makes shoulders and collars float and jackets pull at buttons. Properly fitted, raising ones arms will not raise the shoulder or float the collar away from the neck. I have make many a tailored garment for myself over the years and find it very difficult to purchase off the rack.

And very difficult to alter.

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #14 
Again the historical document come to our rescue.  They specifically discuss the amount of extra hem to leave and where for the purpose of being able to alter later!
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redmadder

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Reply with quote  #15 
There is the system and there is what contractors actually did.  Extra fabric was left in the sleeve cuff and the hem.  The common soldier's uniform was definitely off the rack.  Factories contracted out to home sewers to help meet the demand.   I've read that some women could produce a coat and pants in 16 hours of hand sewing. The southern armies had few sewing factories so many of the uniforms were produced at home. 

Not trying to make a point here.  Just some things I ran across in my research.  I constantly tried to improve the authenticity of the garments we sold.  There were few authentic patterns being sold 40 years ago, so we had to work from original garments.  This was way before the Internet.

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Miriam

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Reply with quote  #16 
I bought a waistcoat pattern drafted from an old one but the original,coat was misshapen so the new coat was, too. I always cut one out of muslin before I made it out of wool. I was doing an earlier time period.

On another note. We have som copies of letters from a family member who traveled from Vermont to Wisconsin in the 1830s and later settled in Wisconsin. He was saying ready made clothes were readily available in Milwaukee as they were back home. 1830 folks...

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phansen

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Reply with quote  #17 
Here is page with links to some older tailoring books. Many of them cover pattern drafting to garment construction.
https://bywayofthanks.wordpress.com/tag/tailoring-books/
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