Pattern History

Patterns have only been commercially available since the late 19th century when companies began to produce patterns intended for homemaker use. But the history of patterns stretches far back through the centuries. As apprentices, tailors learned how to take a customer’s measurements and draft the pieces that would make up the clothing to be constructed. The patterns a tailor made during his apprenticeship would often stay with him throughout his entire career. Needless to say, patterns were closely-guarded commodities and were not shared for fear of losing business.

Patterns from before the reign of Queen Victoria are so rare as to be non-existant. A pattern does not have to be extant to know what shapes are required to make up a garment. When a surviving garment exists, we have the opportunity to take its measurements, note the shapes of its pieces, and make assumptions about other garments from the same time and place. Even without extant garments, the trained eye can look at a period picture or museum garment and determine the shape of the flat pattern pieces needed to create such a garment.

Luckily our resident pattern drafter has this trained eye.

RH301 – Shinrone Gown
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From the Viking Age to Shakespeare to Hornblower to Swing Time, with everything in between, we have the historical patterns you need to recreate the clothes of the past. Tired of working with ill-fitting patterns and confusing instructions? Sick of trying to improve on patterns meant for Halloween costumes? Had enough of buying a pattern, thinking it’s historically accurate only to find theatrical costume shortcuts? Weary of spending your valuable time drafting your own patterns from tiny illustrations in old books? Let Reconstructing History make it easy! Kass McGann has rummaged through time to provide you with easy-to-use historical patterns true to history.

Reconstructing History Patterns include:

  • Thorough research and documentation by Kass McGann, internationally-renowned clothing and costume history researcher
  • Some patterns contain enough for all garments needed for complete outfit
  • All patterns include multiple style and embellishment options
  • Complete size range for each pattern
  • Clearly written, easy-to-follow instructions
  • Durable, thick reusable pattern paper
  • Each pattern represents years of practice, research, and experience

Plus, with the widest range of historical patterns for men and women, we’re sure to have something to complete your historical portrayal. Contact us now!