" Whatever the approach,
we must not overlook the fact that for many people in sophisticated
societies, dressing in fashion has been and still is a delightful,
if not frivolous, occupation pursued with great enthusiasm
in spite of satirical comment on all sides." -
Janet Arnold, A Handbook of Costume
In crafting historically accurate clothing, it is as important
for the pattern to be accurate as it is for the embellishment.
In tailoring, the pattern dictates what the end product will
look like far more than any embellishment or even fabric choice.
Extant Pattern Manuscripts
Currently, there are five extant examples of printed tailor's
pattern books from Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries.
No extant texts have been discovered from England or France
as of yet for this time period. There are, however, several
manuscripts available from German sources. Ingeborg Petraschek-Heim's
article in The Journal of Costume, Vol. 6, issue 3.
1972, gives a list of the various pattern books and where
they were located at the time the article was published.
Eastern European pattern sources include a Polish Tailor's
pattern manuscript, housed in the LA County Museum of Art
and a facsimile of four pages from an Hungarian pattern book,
found in an out-of-print museum handbook from pre-WWI.
Pattern Manuscripts Available on
Most 16th and 17th century costumers are familiar with the
now reprinted facsimile of Juan de Alcega, 1589. There is
also a printing of Alcega's pattern book from 1580, containing
some extra patterns left out of the more famous 1589 version.
The formats of the other spanish texts are very similar to
Alcega. Some, like Diego de Freyle's are smaller in size and
contain fewer patterns. Others, like Fransico de la Rocha
de Burguen's, contain litterally hundereds of patterns.
Each manuscript is given it's own section. Each section contains
thumbnails of various patterns from the manuscript, links
to larger versions of the thumbnails, tranlations of the manuscript
text, and fabric requirements in yardage. Click on the links
in the lefthand navigation bar to view each MS.
The translations of the Burguen, Freyle, and Anduxar MS are
my own and are therefore protected under copyright. All MS
sections contain information on how to obtain copies of these
MS. I highly encourage this. The sketches from the Polish
MS are my own and are therefore protected under copyright.
The LA County Museum allows viewing of this MS. The diagrams
from the Burguen MS and the Burguen MS photocopy itself is
copyright the V&A. Please be responsible when using these
translations, sketches and diagrams. If you wish to use something
for your own personal research purposes, you have my permission.
No permission is or will be granted for use of any of the
materials on this site in any commercial or for-profit enterprise.
Any and all other uses of the materials on this site not covered
under the fair use section of the US Copyright Law is hereby
denied. For more information on Copyright, click