Half Scale, Full Engagement: Uniting Art, History and Technology to Teach Patternmaking

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Ashdown, Susan P.; Phoenix, Kimberly A.
artifact description
We present a project designed to engage freshman students in a beginning patternmaking class using art deco and pochoir fashion art of the late teens and early 1920s, from Gazette du Bon Ton and Vogue. Students used half scale forms to drape silhouettes depicted in these graphic images. Dress forms were custom-made for the project from a 3D body scan. Students learned about the period and patternmaking techniques by examining garments from the period, looking at patternmaking books and Sears catalogs from the period, and lecture/discussion about world history and fashion history. Students created patterns and display models, pinning to the form. Results were positive, with student improvement in judging proportions, understanding body/garment interactions, and learning alternate patternmaking techniques. Students also gained confidence in patternmaking. Use of the half scale forms was successful overall, though students generally found the increased precision needed when working in half scale more difficult.