I’m really excited to go the the Reigning Men: Fashion In Menswear 1715- 2015 exhibit at the Los Angeles County museum next week. I’m passionate about costume history and love to learn about old clothes and sewing techniques. If you are anywhere near the Los Angeles area you should try to go the the show. It looks really interesting. I am loving that windowpane check suit!
Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015 aims to directly challenge the equation of fashion with femininity in this survey spanning three hundred years of fashionable men’s dress. The exhibition highlights the dramatic changes that have shaped menswear from past to present, from the eighteenth-century male aristocrat who wore a three-piece suit conspicuous in make and style and equally as lavish as the opulent dress of his female counterpart; to the nineteenth-century “dandy,” who made famous a more refined brand of expensive elegance which became the hallmark of Savile Row; to the mid-twentieth-century “mod” who relished the colorful and modern styles of Carnaby Street; and, recently, to the twenty-first-century man who continues to redefine today’s notions of masculinity.
I was perusing the website when I saw that the museum is giving away free downloadable patterns taken directly from several of the costumes in the exhibit. Is that neat or what? The patterns are drawn on graph paper and do require you to size them up as they are scaled down on a graph, so you’ll have to work a bit for these. But what a valuable reference tool to any aspiring costumers or those interested in making their own costumes professionally or just for fun. As they’re made from the actual historical garments, the patterns are most likely smaller than most modern sizes, people have gotten larger in the past couple of centuries, but what a fun and totally engrossing sewing challenge this would be. Just imagine grading a pattern with over twenty pieces, ha! But free is free.
Here is a link to the downloadable pattern for this 1790 Redingote dress above.
Downloadable pattern for suit
This is just the sort of thing I love to read about when I’m lolling around in bed with my reader on the weekend. Give me a look inside a lovely 18th century man’s frock and I’m a happy camper! Even if I never do get around to making one.
I’ll be headed to Costume College,a three day sewing convention for historic costumers in nearby Woodland Hills at the end of the month and I hope to get my costume making wheels spinning at this exhibit, which runs in Los Angeles until August 21.