Now that I’ve got my mitts on PoF 1(updated) and 6 I can breathe a sigh of relief. The overlap in what I have been doing and what’s in these books reveals that yes I am in the right area of understanding.

Where I diverge is still of interest and still important. That’s a lot like where I am with my understanding of tailoring in the 16thC. Enough that matches that I can probably invest my time in what doesn’t rather than repeat it all.

It’s fun though when you name your “system” modular and finally read a snippet from a tailor who basically supports what you’ve been trying to express for 20 years. It’s also kind of funny to now have so many scaled patterns not just in colour but also with the fabric decoration overlaid. I’ve been using my old photocopies and prints of extant garments and tailoring and dressmaking books and colouring in each piece.

What I was doing though was to support my modular system so I have different colours for skirts, bodices, sleeves. It’s fascinating how fitted sleeves were almost unchanged from the 16thC right through to the late 19thC. And what that reveals, in much the way my work matching established work reveals, is how well they work. And you can then compare the extant pieces and the line art in manuals and recognise how far drafting takes you before individual fitting comes in.

I think I started all this because skirts tend to be the first thing recycled into church vestments or maybe cloaks and we’re lucky when the bodice and sleeves survive this process. It means my focus on frocks is heavily on how that happens. It’s one thing to be able to recycle fabric but how does the cut of the skirts influence how these new pieces are cut and assembled?

This also ties really deeply to my North Rhine research as gold yarn was a trade dominated by women. Said yarn was used for embroidery and passementerie and hand woven trim especially for said vestments. It was also exported to Italy in different qualities to be woven into fabric.

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