Is it true that you can’t make historically accurate garments that fit a modern body?
That’s exactly what I asked a historical specialist Kass Mc Gann and this is what she had to say :
Once upon a time, when I first got interested in historical clothing, someone told me that you couldn’t copy existing period garments because “people were shaped differently back then.” She fed me this line about how a reconstructed period garment wouldn’t fit a modern body, so we had to use modern patterning techniques to come up with a compromise.
I don’t like compromises. I didn’t want a dress that looked kinda like a period garment. I wanted a reconstruction of a period garment. So I looked further.
Shortly afterwards I had my first experience examining a period garment — the 16th century Irish dress known as the Shinrone Gown. Guess what. It was exactly my measurements — bust, waist, hips, and length! And I’m a pretty averagely shaped person. So out the window went the myth about modern people being different. This made me question other myths about historical clothing. And seven years later, I started Reconstructing History patterns to bring historically accurate patterns to the public.
Reconstructing History Patterns are different from other historic patterns in a number of ways. Instead of starting with a modern body block (a standard way of making patterns), I drape the garment on a real person just as it would have been done in period. Then I unsew the pieces, draft them on a computer, and grade them into all the sizes. This way the sizes are modern — based on pattern industry standards — but the pieces are 100% historically accurate. We also include both modern and period construction techniques in every pattern. This way you can make your outfit as historically accurately as you wish.
Reconstructing History Patterns also include extensive historical notes. We don’t just pronounce our patterns “period accurate” and expect you to believe us. We show you our research — step by step. When we make a pronouncement about what was worn and why it was done that way, you can trust that our statements are based on months and years of solid research and you can refer to these historical notes over and over again.
Additionally our patterns are printed on 20lb bond paper, not tissue, and shipped in reclosable 2mil plastic baggies so you can use them and abuse them over and over again.
Well thank you Kass for clearing up that Urban Legend!
To get your hands on these wonderful patterns filled with accessorizing instructions, historical notes and sewing suggestions for beginners and experts you should click here.