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Pattern Cutting for Men's Costume (Backstage)
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2008
I was really curious about this book, which I hoped could give me some more insights, but I didn't expect much as I am so often dissappointed with patternmaking in costume books.

But as I received the book, I was amazed. It's on a nice, quality paper with colour pictures and text. To make everything clear, the book deals ONLY with pattern drafting for men's costume, so you'll find no history of costume or any pictures and descriptions of existing garments.

First, the book tells you how to take the important measurements and this is then followed by a large table with standard measurements.
Then there is a chapter on drafting the basic slopers (bodice, hose, simple and two-piece sleeve) that you will later use for creating all kinds of costume.
After that, there is a chapter on how to modify standardized (or reade-made) patterns.
The next and most part of the book deals with modifying the slopers to various kinds of garments of the 16th-19th century. There is actually everything you would need,I think the choice of the garments is pretty good, all typical garments are covered (various bodices, cloaks, shirts, hose (!!!),...) It is all sorted by period and for each type of garment, there is a short historical description and often a picture from a famous painting (Peter Brueghel seems to be the most favorite).

It is quite obvious that the author has some professional knowledge in modern patternmaking which she used to create a system for drafting historical costumes. The book is overall very technical, actually similar to modern patternmaking books but with the difference that this one deals with costumes.

Nevertheless, I was really hesitating to give it only 4 stars, but I finally decided that this effort to make a costume drafting guide must be appreciated.
So, what's the negatives? When I was reading a bit more further in the book, I got the impression that it was a bit - unfinished. The first few pages were very detailed, the author took care of explaining what this aims of this book are and made it clear how to use this book, but later the text was more confusing and some important information were missing. For example the instructions for drafting a bodice: It begins straightaway with things like "draw point A, then draw A-C=nape to waist, square out A-E=half back neck width..." The funny thing is that it doesn't say HOW you get the half neck width. Normally drafting manuals tell you how to calculate some measurements from those that were taken, but no calculations here. I later realized you're probably supposed to follow that table with standardized measurements, where all these measurements are, you just have to specify what "size" the person is and then use the given measurements. This is very confusing as it actually combines taken measurements and standardized measurements and the whole tailoring to measure process loses some sense. I'll have to try this out, but it is certain that the fit will be only approximate and not made solely after the person's measurements.

Nevertheless, this book is loaded with patterns and concrete, useful information that will surely make world a lot easier when drafting men's costumes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2014
I bought this book for starting at the theatre to draft historical costume patterns. I would have been better using my other modern pattern cutting book than this and then manipulating the pattern. The book itself is not bad but the layout i found quite stressful and confusing with many many typos and errors!! sometimes the diagram number wouldnt match up with the instructions or a letter would be missing or measurement would be typed wrong or letters in wrong places! if i didnt have the experience i have i would not of been able to cope. it is definitely not a beginners book but neither is it accurate enough for an advanced patterncutter.

I found it very annoying when it would tell you an exact measurement to hollow or raise a curve but then there would be no measurement for something else. Its left to you to decide what angle something is or how long. The body pattern turned into a coat pattern then turned into one of the various styles is also a nightmare. if you want to do an early coat you need to make sure you stop before you curve the chest on the basic body pattern as this requires a straight centre front. It felt like i had to do loads of blocks before i could just get started. the basic body block should be a straight centre front pattern then you begin your actual pattern for whatever style you are doing.

Perhaps i am being pernickity but when you are working on a 17th-18th century show and you have to draft patterns as quickly as you can in the various styles in a 50 year period, messing around with mistakes in your instructions is more stressful than it needs to be.

3 stars for the amount of info and styles you can do but i wouldnt recommend unless the mistakes are fixed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2013
I pattern cut and like to buy random books on the subject so thought I'd order this to fill a gap in a specific area.
The first page that fell open was a codpiece draft..hmmm, not sure when I'll make that one!
I bought the book as I like to manipulate original drafts and just use them as a base to my garments but this book is very specifically tailored to a theatrical costume designer.
There are peasant style shirts and Doublet and Hose patterns, capes and coats etc..
Interesting go to book for future projects.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2012
the most usefull book for making historical- 17th century- costumes. Very good paterns that you can adapt to every size and your personal style, a lot of good historical background. a good book for experienced designer or tailor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2012
I love how period costume is cut.this book can be used to make modern day clothes with a twist.
glad I bought it
jane
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on 24 January 2015
Very informative
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2014
i hoped that there would be a bit of all the periods but it's not...
nice book but limited...
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2014
Excellent book, very instructive
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