Thursday, April 18, 2019

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Pre-Order is Open at American Duchess

Wow, where do we even start! There is so much new stuff this season!

You won't want to miss these! Men's and women's sizes for pumps, flat 18th century latchet shoes, and Hessian boots.
New MENS collection

We can all credit Albert Roberts for convincing us to finally (finally!) explore the world of men's historical shoes. We have three offerings from the last quarter of the 18th century and into the Regency period...

Albert Men's Georgian Pumps (1790 - 1820) - perfect late 18th century into Regency pumps to wear with stockings and breeches. Suitable for both military and civilian impressions. All leather with top edge binding and a vamp tie.

Hamilton Men's 18th Century Shoes (1770 - 1820) - Refined and elegant, our 18th century latchet shoes are lined in leather, have a common sense heel, and a sturdy leather sole. Hamiltons are the gentleman's shoe of choice.

Hessian Men's Georgian Boots (1790 - 1830) - The quintessential gentleman's boot of the late 18th century, Mr. Darcy and Beau Brummel would approve. Hessians come nearly up to the knee, feature the curved top, tassels, and slouched vamp seen in originals, and are suitable for military and civilian impressions alike. THREE calf sizes available - measure the broadest part of your calf, over your stockings and breeches.

Have a look at the new late 18th century men's shoes, also available in women's sizes!
These styles also work very well for ladies, so we're offering them all in women's sizing as well. If you've been yearning for a flat pair of walking shoes and 18th century latchet shoes for working class impressions, you can purchase these styles in your normal size. Cross-dressing and cosplay also benefit from these styles.

Bertie Ladies' Georgian Pump (1790 - 1820) - pretty little black flats with vamp tie and almond-shaped toe. These can be used for both day and evening and are a little more substantial than a basic ballet flat.

Schuyler Ladies' 18th Century Shoes (1770 - 1820) - Georgian era flats that work for a broad time period. These close with 18th century shoe buckles, have almond toes, and sturdy leather soles.

Linden Women's Georgian Boots (1790 - 1830) - tall Georgian boots with square toes, *tassels* and the fashionably slouchy vamp. Wear them for riding/hunting impressions, in cross-dressing, or with jeans this Fall because dayum they are that sexy. THREE calf sizes available.

Check out our entirely new line of performance-specific shoes.
New THEATRICAL collection

While we've often supplied historical footwear to operas, theaters, and other productions, this is our first stage-specific collection, featuring quick-rigging, flex-soles, and versatility in design. We have three offerings for our first Theatrical release...

Bernhardt Theatrical Victorian Boots - A great basic late Victorian design comes with an interior zipper paired with elastic laces for a perfect fit. You'll find our stable and curvaceous 2.5 inch French heel paired with a generous toe box, and well-fitted ankle.

Follies T-Straps - An excellent character shoe, our open-sided t-straps have unsealed flex soles (they're bendy!), well-balanced 2.5 inch Spanish heels, and an elastic loop on the strap to prevent stretching out. Quick-rig hooks in matching colors are available to purchase with the Follies (unfitted).

Garrick Theatrical 18th Century Shoes - Iconic Georgian style with none of the fuss. The Garricks have velcro latchets for instant on-and-off. They come ready to wear with gold slide buckles, and the ivory leather is dyeable. The Garricks have a comfortable toe box, our 2.5 inch Louis heel, and hidden elastic insets paired with unsealed flex soles for excellent danceability. Wear these incredible shoes for both performance and mobility-accessible costume shoes.

Gorgeous Garricks in black leather with gold faux buckles and Louis heels.
**All of our new theatrical shoes have unsealed leather soles. They are perfectly wearable and functional as all-the-time, off-the-stage shoes. We do recommend treating the soles with Mink Oil or having a rubber half sole applied at a shoe repair if you plan to wear them in wet conditions, though.

New REGENCY booties!

We have one new ladies-only release this season - the new Emma boots in bright red and Federal blue.

These new Regency boots are ankle-height, have round soft toes, and flat leather soles. Dress them up with rosettes on the toes, fringe around the top, you name it. These pretty little boots are perfect for c. 1800 - 1820.

New "Emma" Regency boots in blue and red - the blue are shown here with clip-on rosettes in ivory, also available in our shop!

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

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How to Scale Up Gridded Sewing Patterns with Adobe Photoshop

If you've been into historical costuming for any amount of time, you will be familiar with many a book featuring gridded (or scaled) sewing patterns. The Tudor Tailor, Patterns of Fashion (all of them), Period Costume for Stage and Screen, and The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking all have gridded patterns...but little to no information on how to scale these up.

There are a number of ways to scale up gridded sewing patterns. The most direct method is to plot the points on a 1 inch square piece of paper (buy large grid paper pads or draw your own on butcher paper). I've seen others use projectors. My particular favorite method, though, is to use the power of the almighty computer, and that is the method I am going to show you below...

How to Scale Up Gridded Sewing Patterns in Photoshop

1. Scan in the gridded pattern you wish to use. It's important that you get a good, straight scan with no distortion. Open the scanned file in Adobe Photoshop.

Open your scanned pattern in Photoshop. I am using the 1780s cap pattern from The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking in this example.
2. Using the selection tool, draw a box around 4 grid squares. Right click and select "copy" ( ctrl-C).

Select 4 of the grid boxes and copy (ctrl-C)
3. Create a new file (File > New). When the new file box comes up, it should have the dimensions of the copied portion of the grid already in place. Click OK.

You don't have to change anything on this new file box, so long as you copied the four squares - it gives the dimensions of the copied portion automatically.
4. The new file will open with a long, skinny aspect ratio. Paste the 4 squares (ctrl-P).

5. From the "Image" dropdown menu, select "Image Size."

6. The Image Size dialog box will open. Under "Document Size" in the middle, set the document width to 4 and make sure the unit measurement is "Inches." The 4 corresponds with the 4 squares you selected earlier.

The "4" in "width" corresponds with the four boxes you copied earlier
7. Still in the Image Size dialog box, click the dropdown arrow next to "Width" in the Pixel Dimensions box (the top box). Select "Percent." The number in the "width" box will change - write this number down. In my case the number changed to 206.19.

The "1200" in this screenshot changed to "206.19" after selecting "percentage" here. Write this number down! You'll need it later.
8. Going back to your scanned pattern file, click the "Image" dropdown menu at the top and select "Image Size."

9. In the Image Size dialog box, click the dropdown menu next to "Width" in the Pixel Dimensions box (at the top), and select Percent. You will see the number in "Width" change.

Once you select "percentage" the number to the left will change. It won't match the earlier 206.19. You have to do that manually in the next step.
10. Change the "Width" number to the percentage number you wrote down in step 7. Click OK.

11. You will see the file auto-scale. This is now at actual size and the grid boxes should be 1 inch.

How to Print Your Gridded Pattern

12. In order to print out and use your pattern, select "File" from the dropdown menu at the top, then "Save As."

13. In the Save As dialog box, select "Photoshop PDF" from the Format dropdown menu. Rename the file and save it.

14. Now open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat.

13. Select "Print." Set the correct Printer at the top (if you have more than one), then click "Poster" under Page Sizing & Handling. This tiles the image. Under "Tile Scale" it should say "100%" and there should be about a 0.005 Overlap. No other adjustments need to be made unless you want to play around with the cut marks, labels, or paper orientation. Click "Print."

Check these four places in your Adobe Acrobat Print dialog box.
14. Before you print the entire tiled document, print just one of the pages and check the scale against a ruler. Make sure those boxes are 1 inch. If they're not, make sure your printer scale is 100%, and/or revisit the scaling instructions above. Once you're happy, print the entire document.

Print one page out on paper and check the printed grid against a ruler. It should measure 1 inch by 1 inch exactly.
Final Tips and Thoughts

For a small cap pattern like this, it took only 6 sheets, but dress patterns can take many, many more. Tape the sheets together, overlapping the edges and getting the grid to line up in both directions.

Most gridded patterns in books do not have seam allowance. There may be enough space to add it on the taped-together pattern, or you may add it as you lay out and cut your pieces on fabric.

Lastly, simple patterns like caps don't need size adjustment, though you can certainly reduce or increase scale in Photoshop before printing. Dress patterns, on the other hand, are usually taken from real women's clothing and are not a one-size shot. Your pattern will need adjustment. Some of this can be done in Photoshop prior to printing, but in all cases, you'll want to do a mockup and futz from there.


While this is not the only method, it's one of my favorites. Please note I'm using Photoshop CS6 in this tutorial. Newer and older versions of Photoshop may have some functions in slightly different places, but generally speaking the Image > Image Size dialog box hasn't changed much in a very long time.

I hope you find this tutorial useful!

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