This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
Costume Prints and Post Cards.
Traced from historic costume books in libraries and museums. For simple designs, from magazines, folders and catalogues from stores.
Samples, sample books.
Pencils, thumb-tacks, push-pins, paste.
Tracing paper and cloth (natural, white, and colored). Tissue paper. Pattern paper. Heavy drafting paper. Cambric. Cheese-cloth. Unbleached cotton cloth. White and colored thread. Cardboard and art paper for mounts.
Designing may be carried out in one of several ways: (1) Designs may be made on flat patterns (drafted or commercial, but preferably the former), which have previously been tested and fitted. The parts of the garment and decoration may be carried out according to the lines of the pattern. (2) The design may first be draped in some inexpensive material, such as unbleached muslin, cambric or cheese-cloth, on a dress form, padded so that a lining previously fitted to the one for whom the garment is to be made, will set 136 smoothly upon it. This draped pattern should then be basted, fitted, all lines and points for decoration adjusted to suit the figure and corrections made in the pattern preparatory to cutting the garment. (3) The worker may design directly in the material upon a dress form, or on the one for whom the garment is being designed, laying folds, adjusting drapery, or plaits, until a pleasing effect has been secured. Little risk of "spoiling" material will ensue, if one remembers never to cut into the material until sure that a satisfactory arrangement of the material has been made, and also when cutting, to allow generous seams.
Designs for early problems may be copied from fashion books, prints, etc., but later ones should have an original element. Creative artistic instinct must be stimulated and encouraged. Study of postcards, books, costume prints and visits to art galleries, museums, stores, and the frequent study and manipulation of fabrics of various sorts, furnish abundant material for this instinct to build upon.
At first, designs may be carried out simply as design, without regard to individual application. A definite motive should be embodied in each of these, however, some principle of design clearly worked out. In such exercises, when designing for the individual, care must be taken not to violate the principles of design in the arrangement of line, the distribution of spaces and areas, the adjustment of parts or the application of decoration; the worker must also have in mind fabrics for which the design, to be carried out, would be suitable. In later problems designs suitable for the individual wearer, and the occasion upon which the garment is to be worn, and adaptable to the texture of fabric, which has been selected for the wearer, should be planned.