Tailoring vs. Dress-making

I asked this earlier and got some good answers: “Pop quiz! What are the differences between tailoring and dressmaking skills? Extra credit for citations or explaining the history of the two traditions.”

Here is my understanding of the major differences in the 16th century and the implications for historical costuming. If I’ve missed anything or gotten something not quite right (or just mucked it all up), feel free to comment.

Continue reading

A Body Block for Bess (part 2)

OK – we did the front of Bess’s body block yesterday, and we’ll do the back of the block today. The back is a bit easier because 1) it’s less complicated, 2) there’s only one (waist) dart, and 3) we figured out the hard bits while doing the front, so doing them again here will be easy.

Continue reading


I have decided that I want to master patterning. This is┬ánot a small, short-term goal that I’ll accomplish this fall. I took a class with the School of Historical Dress in London last month on “The Art of Cutting Out c. 1600-2000,” taught by Melanie Braun, who probably knows more about this topic than anyone on the planet. It’s hard to summarize what I learned, but it made my head explode a couple of times. It also made me aware of many things that I didn’t know I didn’t know. Her class – two days long – was just a taste, but it was incredible, and I want to learn it all.

Continue reading