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Suggestions For Cutting Patterns

( Originally Published 1928 )



FOR a Houppelande.—Take a full-length dressing gown for a model and rip it apart. Cut the back long enough to drag on the floor and slightly gore the side seams on both front and back sections from waist down. The sleeve must be a long, hanging one. To get this effect cut it below the elbow in kimona fashion, making it long enough at the back to reach the floor. Extend on side of inner seam until the sleeve hangs about nine inches below the fingertips. This excess material is here turned back over the forearm, exposing a brilliant lining. The edges can be foliated or trimmed with fur. A high standing collar should rise up over the chin, then turn back for half an inch showing a lining to match that of the sleeves. Button down the front from throat to knees.

A Tunic.—Take material wide enough to reach across from shoulder to shoulder and well down over the arm. If a full-length tunic is desired, have the material more than twice the length of the body from neck to heel. The extra inches are to allow for drawing up through a girdle. Make an extra allowance for a hem. Cut out 'a neck opening in center of material large enough to permit the head to pass through. Sew up the sides to halfway between armpit and waistline. The opening should insure an ample armhole. Cut knee length for men (allow for hem). For the Anglo-Saxon and Norman tunic, cut the neck opening down in a V five inches long and face it.

For Anglo-Saxon and Norman shirts, use pieced material as the armhole should extend to the waistline and the sleeve must be long enough to lay in wrinkles on the arm from elbow to wrist.

Trim the tunic according to period. For a Grecian tunic, consult Chapter IX and note that the two pieces of goods, if of crepe de Chine or cheesecloth, must be six feet square to allow for shrinkage in width when the creased look appears.

For a Cote-Hardie.—Take a modern man's shirt. Cut off the neckband and cut out a square neck in front, five inches deep at center (a circular neck line is sometimes used). Extend back and two front sections to reach well over hip line; take in sides to shape the waistline. Stitch fronts to back portions from armpit to waist. Do not join below waistline. Open sleeve, cut off starched cuff and piece with soft material to extend well down over hand. Take sleeve in to fit securely from elbow to wrist. Button sleeve together from elbow to wrist. The neck opening is filled in by a lawn shirt gathered to a ruffled band.

The lappet, which is a band of material of contrasting color, is placed about the arm above the elbow and cut with a long streamer depending.

For a Doublet.—Leave the neckband on the shirt. Fit the sleeves and take in the side seams to the waistline. Gather the fullness to a belt which must dip a bit at the front. Then cut off the original shirt tails front and back and sew a series of square tabs below the belt, for the Elizabethan period. Place padded epaulets around the armhole. These and the entire doublet may be slashed and puffings of another color allowed to show through. A hanging sleeve can be suspended from the armhole over the tight-fitting under one. This should be left open down the front of the arm, and lined with imitation ermine or brilliant color. It may be caught together at intervals by jewels. To the neckband should be attached the ruff. For the Stuart period, cut the doublet with a much higher waistline and attach the tabs, which should be made much larger and fewer in number, to the doublet by means of points (i.e., tagged ribbons).

For Mantles.—Use very wide material and piece the goods to form a semicircle. Lay the center of the straight side across the back of the neck and bring the rest of the material forward over each shoulder. Fasten two large fancy buttons or pins near the straight edges at each side of the chest. Attach a piece of heavy cord or a chain to the material immediately behind each button. The mantle may be cut any length desired, and its edges bordered with fur. A contrasting lining is effective.

For a Hood.—Cut two pieces of material each one yard long as in Diagram E, Plate L. On one of them cut out the material inside the dotted line, leaving an opening about seven inches long by six wide. Bind the edges. The lower end of material should be scalloped or foliated, or all edges may be bordered with fur. Stitch the front and back together. The head is inserted through the shoulder opening. The hood may be made with a much longer liripipe, and its shoulder cape may be knee length, in which case the sides are left open to the armpit. For a jester, use the hood knee length and cut the lower edge in deep points, to which attach bells.

Shoes.—A pair of felt "comfy" slippers can be cut down and covered with velvet. If the Tudor shoe is desired, make broad toes with four slashes filled with white or colored material. For the long pointed shoes, carry the velvet out several inches beyond the foot, tapering to a point and stuffing with cotton batting. This will give a medieval effect.

For the Elizabethan, Stuart, Jacobean and Georgian periods, pumps with Cuban heels are needed. To these can be attached rosettes, buckles, upstanding tongues and colored heels as desired.

Tights should be rented from a costumer.

Trunks can be made by covering a pair of bathing trunks with a bright material cut full enough to gather about the waistline and each leg. Over this loop vertical bands of another material of a darker color extending from the waistline to the lower edge of trunks.

Coats.—For the various coats of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a discarded dress coat or a cutaway can be ripped apart and used as a pattern. The sections should be lengthened for the end of the seventeenth century, and pleats can be inserted on the hips for the early years of the eighteenth. The tails should be widened and stiffened with crinoline for George II, the fronts cut away for George III, and so on. See Plate XXXIV. If silk and velvet are not possible, cheap fabrics such as rayon, sateen, or even cretonne, if used with judgment, may be employed. Modern vests may be made any length for a waistcoat pattern. Cretonne may be used. Decoration for both coats and waistcoats is lace applique, braid and buttons, according to date.

To Make a Gown of the Middle Ages.—Use the pattern of a modern bodice-top gown, in the desired size. The back gores of the skirt may be extended to form a train and the entire hem at all points must touch the floor. Gather this skirt on about the hips. The most graceful accompanying sleeve is tight fitting to within two inches of the elbow, hanging thence in a wide flare to the floor. Observe Figure A, Plate LI, which will serve as a model for the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries in France, Italy and Spain and for the age of draperies in England. On the inside seam of the sleeve cut the material off six inches below the bend in the arm, which will permit turning it back against the upper arm. A lining of brilliant contrasting color is effective. This sleeve may be seen on Figure B, Plate LI, which pictures a gown with bodice top and full trailing skirt used by Jane Cowl as Melisande. Made of long trailing chiffon this sleeve is most attractive. This material or georgette may also be used for the gown and veil, the bodice being fashioned without darts. When made in orchid, delicate green or blue, etc., over a slip of a deeper shade or contrasting color, this is a very charming model for plays of a poetic character dealing with the Ancient Britons or Italian, Spanish and English people of the Middle Ages. A tight-fitting undersleeve of another color may show from elbow to wrist finishing in a point over the back of the hand. Sarah Bernhardt affected these to her knuckles. Buttons running down the outside of this sleeve may be utilized to secure a snug fit about the wrist and hand. Another style loops the full gored skirt up in front by pulling it through a cord girdle placed low about the hips. This is the kirtle gown accompanied by the gorget which is pictured on Figure C, Plate LI. Under it a skirt of another color must reach the floor. One or both may receive border decoration. The long tight sleeve should have puffs of another color inserted at the shoulder and elbow; small puffs may also extend up the outer seam from wrist to shoulder. For the early sixteenth century, slashing may be used on epaulets placed about the armhole. The virago sleeve (see sixteenth century, p. 146), may be used with this gown.

With the hennin and steeple headdress, the bodice should be cut very low around the shoulders and fastened by lapping one front across the other at a high waistline. The trained skirt with the sleeves sweeps the floor.

For a simarre, fit the bodice to well down on the hips. Attach a skirt, which must be straight and clinging in front and trained at the back. Cover the joint round the hips by a girdle, which may pass twice about the body before being knotted low in front. An elbow sleeve that reaches the floor is always the prettiest. Observe Figures F and G, Plate LI, which may be selected as models for Anglo-Saxon and Norman gowns. The tunic pattern may be used (see Figure C, Plate L), the material chosen being the width of the hips.

Heart-Shaped and Horn.—With the horned and heart-shaped headdresses, use the cote-hardie and a trained skirt. The bodice pattern, well fitted, may serve as a pat-tern for the cote-hardie, which should be made in imitation of Figure I, Plate XIV. By using a fitted bodice top and full round skirt, a very pretty Spanish costume may be evolved.

For the tightly laced bodices and basques of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a well corseted figure is a first necessity. For a pattern let some attic yield up a fitted basque of the eighties. Ripped up, it will be in eight pieces. These must be carefully pinned together until a perfect unwrinkled surface is achieved. The slits in the front sections are taken in to form darts under the bust. The basque can be used on the Watteau gown and on all gowns from 183o to 1895. Sleeves and the neck line must be cut to follow the changing mode.



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