Simplicity in Clothing Design

As a girl I remember going to the fabric store and looking through the pattern books with my mom and grandmother. One company is "Simplicity" patterns. The idea, is that it would be simple enough for you to make it. When you look at some antique garments, though, you appreciate how simple designs can actually be. They were designed to use the least amount of fabric, to have an ease of fitting that would make the garment fit a variety of body shapes and to be simple enough that a girl could make it. But it could be embellished with trims, etc. to customize it as well.

In the mid 1800's there was a classic simple dress style - as in the pictures above and below that was basically made of rectangles with clipped corners. Here are a few examples from old tintypes. Both boys and girls clothing...

Here is a Guideline for making an 1850's dress.
Click the Graphic to go to a written tutorial.

Recently I was making a chemise pattern for a doll. I consulted my Coleman's Collector's Book of Dolls' Clothes for a mid century chemise pattern. It's design is so simple it is beautiful - kind of the under t-shirt of 160 odd years ago. Here's the pattern laid out.

And here are some antique versions.

Simplicity is a beautiful thing.


Heather said...

Oh, that photo is just too precious! I just love the dresses from this time...

Sandy Mastroni said...

wonderful posts ... and I liked reading Ben Franklin's too
I have to ask you a question
Where did you buy the O'Keefe's hand cream ???
I went to a few stores ... couldn't find it . It is on Amazon .
It sounds so good ! I would really like to try it

Anonymous said...

The little boy with the curl on top of his head. That hair style was still used over 100 years later, lots of babies, girls too, wore them in my generation of the 40's and 50's and not doubt the 60's too, because I remember my brothers with all that hair like that in baby photos.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden