Most helpful positive review
51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
First book of its kind
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.