Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The cut of women's clothes


I recently picked up the book The cut of women's clothes 1600-1930 by Norah Waugh from the library. It's a total pattern geek/history buff read, packed full with pattern diagrams raging from the 1600's to the 1920's and also contains pretty through introductions to the styles, materials and assembly methods of each century. The thing that strikes me is how insanely elaborate the garments used to be, at least for the upper classes. No wonder they wore the same thing day in and day out. These clothes clearly cost a small fortune back in the days - a far cry from the jeans and t-shirt world we live in today. One dress in this book has four pages of pattern diagrams! It also makes it so clear what a revolutionary decade the 1920's was, fashion wise. Even more so than the 60's I think. It's pretty fascinating to see how the heavily darted corseted looks suddenly turns into square simple shapes in the late 1910's.




Janet Arnold has done similar books, that are also pretty impressive.

4 comments:

  1. Does the book make any conclusions as to how the change in clothing came about? It's fascinating that the elaborate clothing of the 18th century became the simple basically shapeless clothing of the early 20th. this book is in English?

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  2. >>Nancy: No it doesn't really, just notes that Poiret and some other designers started to simplify the shapes in the early 1900's. My guess is that the time was right, with all the modernity and industrialization that was happening in the society. We started to live rather different lives and for the first time clothes mass production was possible, hence the need for simpler shapes. And the book is in English!

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  3. whoa! That's so cool that they show the pattern shapes for all of these. I bet this would be a goldmine for costume sewers!

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