Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Arletan Sample.

Arletan Sample:

I've been working on copying a pair of stays from the Arletan Museum in France, dated 1750-60. It's a pair we've found
online in our research for HandBound Costumes and we are hoping it will appear in our collection soon.
As part of our product development process we make up the garment several times testing out the pattern until we get it's shape, fit and pattern just right. So we thought we'd post up our progress.
This is just the first sample and purely for interest, we've put up a photo of our original patttern and the adaptations we've made since working on the sample.
Here, to the right, is the original corset from the Arletan Museum - isn't it beautiful! It has that very bulky busk shape at
the CF which becomes more dominant as it goes into the bottom point. It has a wonderful shape to the decolletage and although you can't see them so well in this image, it has little side pads for the hips of the skirt. Also, what's interesting is that the straps don't appear to be attached to the CF panel. If you look very closely they actually sit behind it, which is most curious. This is a fully boned pair of stays but has been covered with the decorative floral linen layer. the tabs at the side are of, we assume, the under layer and we have tried to emulate this look in our samples.
It's also a fairly high-waisted pair of stays, the top of the tabs nearly sitting on the waistline and this could be for a few reasons. The lady it was made for was a short person or that it was for a young lady just coming out of childhood, or quite simply, it could be the beginning of the tide when the waistline did start to rise at the end of the century. 1760 is a little early for this but it's not impossible. The other reason why it might be quite high-waisted is that this could be a local fashionable shape particular for Arletan. This is not hugely unlikely, as from several paintings done by Antoine Raspal (and that also feature highly in the museum) show that there was a specific regional style to the area. But either way - it's a beautiful pair of stays.
Now, what is most important to each garment we try and replica, is not always the fabric. Getting the fabric correct just makes it more recognisable for the customer but there still a lot to replicating a garment that is more than the fabric. As you can see from these two images there is a shape and a style here which must be in the eye  when the finish garment has been made.
This kind of details for these Stays are:
- Long, broad and curved CF point.
- Long and High back, going straight into the straps.
- Scye (Armhole) and Bustline create a shape in themselves.
- 4 panels either side.
- Covered.
- White tabs uncovered. (long and getting shorter towards front)
- Hip roll on the side (not yet included in our sampling)
- There's also a specific shape about the front bust line that must be got right.
- It's not been totally decided yet if we're gong to replicate the heavy triangle busk look that curves the CF point so heavily - this is not a popular style to re-enact as it is rather unflattering. We might just replicate it without it and go in for a narrower CF point.
You'll probably be able to see straight away how ours needs working on!
Please see here:

Our Alterations:
- Bring in the curve of the neckline by about an inch.
- Slim down the CF point - we also need to perfect getting this sewn up in a smoother way.
- If we narrow the top width of the CF Point and bring in the sweeping Side Panel, we are hoping it might give our sample a bit more of a slimmer look.
- The CB needs to come down a little lower - by about 1/2 and inch and take away some of the angle as it rises up too meet the tabs = make this angle less so.
- Infact the whole CF panel needs to be made slimmer - adding to the narrower shape to the front - our cutting has made it look much broader than it is.
- Side front tabs need lowering and the angle of the Side panel section that goes into a point needs being made more severe.
- The height of the CB needs lowering a little - it sits a little high on the neck. Also, changing the angle slightly of the strap base.
- We didn't need to eyelet that far down the back either, we accidentally got a bit carried away.
- Scye needs re-drawing - it needs that sweeping look that carries on into the bust line.
All these alterations look like they've been met when we look at out original pattern but that's the secret about pattern cutting - always sample until you get it right!

Our First Sample Pattern:

And now here's our alterations:

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