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Brown China Silk Bodice

Bodice and Fabric Reconstruction

by: Candy McClernan

Both the bodice and fabric were reproduced, as described below.

Fabric Reproduction

The fabric was printed by on their cotton silk blend after the pattern, repeat, and size of the pattern was determined.

Figure 1: Detail of original fabric Figure 2: Tracing of original pattern Figure 3: Color added to traced pattern

In order to reproduce this bodice's patterned silk, the pattern's repeat had to be determined and  reproduced. A photo of the pattern was taken and enlarged, as indicated in Figure 1 above after which it was traced. A grid was drawn to determine repeat pattern. (See Figure 4 below). The corners of the repeat were marked and a box drawn around the perimeter of the single repeat (See Figure 5 below). The center of the design was traced leaving a untraced border around all four sides of the repeat (See Figure 6 below).

Figure 4: Repeat Determined

Figure 5: Border Indicated

The tracing was then divided in half vertically and taped together leaving the untraced area of the repeat in the center (See Figure 7 below).  The center of the repeat is traced in connecting the upper and lower designs but still leaving the outer right and left margins untraced (See Figure 8 below).  The tracing was now divided horizontally and taped together leaving an untraced area down the center (See Figure 9 below).

Figure 6: Horizontal Center of Repeat Figure 7: Margins indicated Figure 8: Vertical  Center of Repeat

The gap in figure 9 occurred because it was not possible for the fabric to lay completely flat when the original photo was taken. Therefore, the center was traced to fill the gap, creating an even seamless repeat. The tracing was then taken apart and taped back to the original orientation of the fabric. The tracing has been completely cleaned up and prepared for the addition of color, which was accomplished by using Photoshop.

Bodice Reproduction

The bodice was recreated using a cotton silk blend and sized to fit a modern size 14.  The leg-o-mutton outer sleeve outer sleeve is supported by organza in the reproduction to help maintain the shape of the sleeve head.

Figure 9: Bodice Reproduction

© Candy McClernan, 2013