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We want to purchase software to create historically accurate sewing patterns sized for individual bodies, not perfect ones.
We want to purchase software to create historically accurate sewing patterns sized for individual bodies, not perfect ones.
169 backers pledged $9,400 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

$9,400

169

***Because we have met our initial goal, we have added a stretch goal!***  

If we can raise $13,500, we can purchase a commercial pattern printer to print our patterns in-house for much cheaper! This will allow us to send EVERY BACKER an additional pattern in our standard sizing as well as their pledged rewards. Check the FAQ for details!

The Story:

Cassidy (Mimic of Modes) and Julie (Snapdragon Designs) have wrestled for years with how to turn their "big idea" into reality. That idea: sewing patterns taken from original historical garments and sized for modern bodies. The stumbling block has always been the extremely individualized fit of period garments: mass-produced patterns will never suit you properly without a great deal of fitting and specialized knowledge. Inspiration struck with the discovery of Wild Ginger's "Cameo" software and its "Made to Fit" module. By drafting the patterns in the software, we can select a series of landmarks within each pattern that will allow each pattern produced to match the measurements of the customer ordering it.

At last, we can offer patterns that fill the gap between standard sizing and painstakingly hand-drafted (and expensive!) options. Our first offering will be a pattern for the beautiful later 1860s evening dress shown here. The original gown, in the collection of the Albany Institute of History & Art, was designed by the eminent Parisian couturier Emile Pingat (1820-1901), who was considered the equal of the famed Charles Frederick Worth in his day. Precisely dated, it was purchased in 1867 by Mary deCamp Corning, a member of the American upper class. This will be the first time a full-scale commercial pattern is available for a gown of this quality and with this type of provenance.

The original Pingat gown in the collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art. Photo courtesy AIHA.
The original Pingat gown in the collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art. Photo courtesy AIHA.

 In addition, our partnership will benefit the small museums from which the patterns are taken. Our agreement with the contributing museums includes providing copies of each pattern at cost for them to sell in their gift shops, as well as publicizing their holdings, many of which have never been exhibited due to condition or space constraints,  to a wider audience.

In order to save money, we would like to take advantage of Wild Ginger's summer sale to purchase a copy of the Cameo software as well as the Made to Fit and Grading modules, which will allow us to also offer the standard, multi-size patterns that most home sewers are used to.

Risks and challenges

Risks for this project are minimal. The software has been tested in demo mode and runs well on the Snapdragon Designs studio computer. A large-format printer is also in place in the studio, and the 1860s evening gown patterns have already been graded up by hand and tested successfully in a completed garment, as seen in the photos above. All that remains is to load them into the new software and go!

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  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Handmade gift

    Receive a small handmade gift from your creators as a thank you for your support!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Original 1860s Gown Pattern (digital)

    A scaled-down digital copy of the pattern of an original 1867 Pingat evening gown held in a museum collection, the inspiration for our first pattern.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Custom bodice or shirt sloper

    One bodice or shirt sloper will be digitally drafted to measurements provided by you and e-mailed as a PDF, printable on 8 1/2" x 11" paper

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Custom bodice or shirt sloper (paper)

    One bodice or shirt sloper will be digitally drafted to measurements provided by you, printed at full size and mailed to you within the US.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Custom 1860s bodice pattern (digital)

    You will be one of the first to receive one copy of our first pattern, the 1860s Pingat evening bodice. It will be digitally drafted to measurements provided by you, and e-mailed as a PDF, printable on 8 1/2" x 11" paper

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Custom 1860s bodice pattern (paper)

    You will be one of the first to receive one copy of our first pattern, the 1860s Pingat evening bodice. It will be digitally drafted to measurements provided by you, printed at full size and mailed to you within the US.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Custom 1860s skirt pattern (paper)

    You will be one of the first to receive one copy of our stunning 1860s Pingat evening skirt pattern, drafted to your measurements, printed and mailed to you within the US.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Custom 1860s Pattern Set (paper)

    You will be one of the first to receive one copy each of our first patterns, the 1860s Pingat evening bodice and skirt. They will be digitally drafted to measurements provided by you, printed at full size and mailed to you within the US.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Any future Dragonrose pattern

    Receive a certificate which will be good for any future full Dragonrose pattern, when you choose to redeem it.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    1860s Dress Pattern + Sloper (paper)

    You will be one of the first to receive one copy each of our first patterns, the 1860s Pingat evening bodice and skirt, as well as a custom bodice sloper. They will be digitally drafted to measurements provided by you, printed at full size and mailed to you anywhere in the world.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Any Future Pattern + Sloper

    You will be one of the first to receive one copy of the Dragonrose pattern of your choice, as well as a custom bodice sloper. They will be digitally drafted to measurements provided by you, printed at full size and mailed to you anywhere in the world. The sloper will be sent to you by December 2016, and your certificate for the future pattern will never expire. If we make our stretch goal, we will add an additional pattern of your choice at standard size to this reward.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Embroidered wool bashlik

    Bashlik (hooded scarf) in black or red wool, made from an original 1880s pattern and machine embroidered in gold. Although historically accurate, bashliks are also incredibly practical and comfortable with modern winterwear, and we all know winter is coming!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    1860s + Any other + Sloper

    You will be one of the first to receive one copy each of our first patterns, the 1860s Pingat evening bodice and skirt, as well as a custom bodice sloper. They will be digitally drafted to measurements provided by you, printed at full size and mailed to you anywhere in the world. In addition, you will receive a certificate for an additional Dragonrose pattern of your choice, also drafted to your measurements. This certificate will never expire. If we make our stretch goal of $13,500, we will add an additional pattern of your choice at standard size to this reward.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Hand-stitched 18th c cap

    100% linen woman's day cap, appropriate for mid-late 18th century, entirely hand-stitched, starched and pressed and mailed to you.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    ALL THE THINGS

    You will be one of the first to receive one copy each of our first patterns, the 1860s Pingat evening bodice and skirt, as well as a custom bodice sloper. They will be digitally drafted to measurements provided by you, printed at full size and mailed to you anywhere in the world. In addition, you will receive a certificate for an additional Dragonrose pattern of your choice, also drafted to your measurements. This certificate will never expire. If we make our stretch goal of $13,500, we will add an additional pattern of your choice at standard size to this reward.
    We will also make and send you a Bashlik (hooded scarf) in black or red wool, made from an original 1880s pattern and machine embroidered in gold.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Pattern of the Garment of your Choice

    We will draft and grade any historical scaled pattern to your measurements. This can be a pattern of a garment you own that you can send us for patterning, one published in a book, on a website or in a period fashion magazine. If you can get a pattern or garment into our hands, we can adapt it for you, print and mail it anywhere in the world. *DISCLAIMER: this pledge pays for our time, not the pattern itself. You must provide the pattern or garment and it may not be sold unless you have the rights to do so. We will not infringe anyone's copyright.*

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Made-to-measure Victorian ballgown

    The "economy" gown. Your choice of 1850s, 1860s or 1870s. No train, no trim, but still made in your choice of silk taffeta, with a fully boned and lined bodice, made to provided measurements using a combination of theatrical and historically accurate techniques. Does not include corset or underpinnings and will come to you un-hemmed for adjustment over your hoop or bustle. Also does not include muslin mockup or in-person fitting, and thus may require some minor alterations upon arrival.

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    Custom Victorian Evening Gown

    Receive a completely finished silk taffeta recreation of the 1860s Pingat evening gown as shown in the photo above, in the color of your choice. The original model garment won the 2016 Costume Society of America's Designer Showcase, and can be recreated at any size with our software. Includes muslin mockup or in-person fitting (you must travel to Columbus, Ohio for in-person fitting), all labor and materials as shown. Any changes in materials or trim may incur an additional cost but are available.

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Funding period

- (15 days)