Sunday, November 1, 2020

The New Perfection Tailor System of Cutting from 1901

Today I thought we could continue our study of antique tailor systems with The New Perfection Tailor System - by far the prettiest and most artistically appealing system I have yet had the privilege of studying.

This bodice & Skirt tailoring system is from 1901 and was manufactured by W.R. Williams of Lawrence, KS. Instructions are printed on the pieces for drafting and there is also an instruction booklet.

The system is complete when it contains a printed envelope, booklet, Bodice Front Rule, Side Form Rule, Bodice Back Rule, Dart Rule, Sleeve (designed to draft a two-piece sleeve), Skirt Guide, and Collar and Neck Rule.
This piece is more unusual in my collecting experience because it comes with a collar and neckband rule.

The text printed on the bodice piece says "Perfected March 10th, 1879" and then has several "Improved" dates (to allow for changing styles) after the fact until 1901.

As the shape of a bodice changed considerably between 1879 and 1901, the changes and improvements were quite necessary to stay with the current fashion.

The original is printed on fiberboard with perforations for the varying sizes, which include children's 20-26" bust, and women's 28-48" bust.

Using the skirt rule and drafting booklet, several skirt variations may be made to nearly any size.

This system fascinated me to no end, and of course, because of that, I was quite driven to make sure that it survives for the next generation to enjoy. It has taken long nights, weekends, and time that I definitely should have been weeding my overgrown garden, but I have finally created a complete reproduction of the system in both pdf and printed versions.

Furthermore, feeling that the original instruction book could benefit from some added context, I added more content from my collection of Delineator and Designer magazines from 1900-1901.

If even one of you, my dear readers, find some use for this set, it will have been completely worth the time spent making it possible.

Happy sewing!

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