Close study of historic garments reveals the fine design and workmanship invested even in everyday clothing of the past.
Construction quality of such clothing repeatedly surprises me and the question arises: What happened? Maybe the answer is – mass production. Granted, ready-to-wear saved most individuals considerable time and was worth the money – but in the process of creating quantity to yield profit, some of the clever and beautiful construction techniques became forgotten and died out with the great minds of their origin.
To rediscover these construction arts has become one of my personal goals. Reading fashion history and studying patterns has been an enlightening education in the art of fashion design.
Granted, our modern textile innovations have eliminated the need for many of the construction elements once deemed necessary: stretch fabrics conform to the body, requiring fewer darts and seams.
Our active lifestyles, too, have streamlined the garments we wear. Think of the simplicity of a tee-shirt and leggings. They have no shape until we put them on.
But, there was a time when the clothes themselves were engineered to have structure – sometimes to the point of being freestanding.
With secret methods for rounding out the hip and bust or building up the shoulder, the modiste or tailor had the gift of refining the appearance of the client.
I want to recapture that gift… to learn how to build a garment that lends its wearer proud bearing and poise.