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Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns and Tailoring Techniques

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Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns and Tailoring Techniques
By S. S. Gordon. With a New Introduction by Kristina Harris. (Dover Publications, Mineola, New York: 2000. Pg. iv, 186.) ISBN: 0-486-41241-5.

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - June 6, 2005

Written by S. S. Gordon and originally published in under the title of The "Standard" Work on Cutting Ladies' Tailor-Made Garments, this book was for a long time the bible of professional dressmaking. This new republication is of the 1901 edition under the title Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns and Tailoring Techniques and is enhanced with an introduction by Kristina Harris.

This book was written for professional dressmakers, but it also served countless livingroom seamstresses and home sewers for years. The "Standard Work" had been in publication for years. However, by the time the 1901 edition came off the presses, paper dress patterns were beginning to become readily available and the need for enlarging and altering scaled dressmakers' patterns was on the wane. Nonetheless, this book still served countless professional dressmakers and tailors - and is still an invaluable tool for anyone wishing to reproduce the scaled dressmaker patterns found in many older books, magazines, and even in some modern fashion books.

What The "Standard" Work was, is basically a system that provides clear instructions and handy tips for taking any scaled pattern (useful for both men and women's tailored garments) and tips on how to measure out and adjust the pattern for any body size or type, and from there - how to cut the cloth and construct the garment.

This volume is a must-have for anyone interested in recreating authentic costumes from scaled dressmaker patterns. This technique can also be used to take just about any garment, and construct a new pattern - in any size, from the dismembered parts of the original pattern. This book presupposes that the user already is a skilled dressmaker or tailor, however even those with middling skills will find the advice and tips in this book of use.

Throughout, this book contains detailed instructions and instructive illustrations. Also included are a wealth of actual, early 1900's illustrious from a number of sources, showing a selection of ladies garments. These sources include The Delineator, The Designer, both women's magazines, and the 1900 edition of the Edward R. Grossman & Co. Catalog. The illustrations from these sources cover a variety of ladies' apparel including jackets, suits, capes, skirts, and coats.

In addition, within the pages of this books, patterns are provided for a range of costumes, including knickerbockers, bloomers, opera cloaks, a divided bicycle skirt, riding breeches, and a variety of sleeves, collars, and skirts, just to name a few. This book will make a wonderful addition to the bookshelves of anyone interested in the history of fashion or tailoring, turn of the 19th century women's fashion, or women's history.

Related Reviews:

Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns, edited by Kristina Harris .
A Complete Lady's Wardrobe - Scaled dressmaker patterns for fifty ladies' garments, circa the 1890's. Illustrations of the garments are included.

Historic Costume, by Tom Tierney.
From the Renaissance through the Nineteenth Century - 200 permission-free designs. Book and CD-ROM.

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