People often say to me “Oh, I can’t believe you do historic sewing. Â That must be so complicated!”. Â It really isn’t! Â Partly this is because it’s just a different skill set, but not a harder one, but partly because the shapes used for a lot of historic garments are actually pretty basic.
So what can you make with squares and rectangles and triangles?
The oldest extent garment is all squares and rectangles:
As is pretty much every tunic and chemise since then, from the middle ages to the early 19th century:
Most petticoats are just rectangles of fabric pleated into waistbands:
As are mid-19th century skirts, for all their tiers of rectangular ruffles:
Fichus and handkerchiefs and buffons and neckerchiefs and pocket handkerchiefs (what’s the difference? Â I’ll be discussing them in an upcoming terminology post.) are all made of squares or rectangles or triangles:
Muffs are essentially just layers of rectangles:
Many aprons are rectangles:
As are many reticules, purses and variants thereof:
Plus, there are all the ethnic costumes based on basic shapes (just remember if you make one of these is should still be pre-1938):
And all the Western clothes inspired by these costumes:
Vionnet loved to play with squares and rectangles, as in the ‘Chiton’ dress that I’ve replicated.
My Deco Echo blouse, while more historically plausible than strictly historical, is also made of squares and rectangles. Â And there is a full tutorial on how to make it if you want to make your own!
So there are lots, and lots of options to make something that is based on squares and rectangles and triangles. Â What are you making?