The Modern Maker

Journal

1630s suit for a client

I've been asked to create a fierce suit for a client with a fast turnaround. Since it makes the search for fabric much simpler, and its also SOOOOPER spanish-y, I chose to make the suit all black. I am using a TON of trim. I might use some embroidery on the outer layer. Not sure yet.

I have to do some timing trials of the embroidered detail to see if I can make it efficient enough to be worth the effort, The outer jacket needs to be very detailed and fancy. The occasion warrants it. If the embroidery doesn't prove sufficiently fast, I will just use a lot more trim and maybe some pinking. The doublet is already pinked and slashed and will be done in a day or two. 

I'm so excited to make the suit though. I don't get that many custom orders since my prices are so high. But when I do, I really want to go "full force" and stretch my skills as far as I can (within reason, of course).

 

 

Allan GnagyComment
Getting back to work

Those of you who follow my work on Facebook know that I am always busy. I don't spend much time idle or sedentary. Three years of working on The Modern Maker Vol. 2: Pattern Manual 1580-1640 have taken a toll on my creativity and passion for these clothes and the joy of making them. Each piece that I have made for the purposes of the book has been a technical journey rather than a creative one and that has left me somewhat bored with the 17th century as a whole.

I am choosing to focus on the details now rather than the garment shapes as a whole. In those details are dozens of skills that I have yet to master: bobbin lace, needle lace, embroidery, and braiding trim, to name a few. The Summer months are usually a time when I get back to detail work anyway (since many of those skills are small and transportable), so my need to go deeper with technique and study is in sync with my natural rhythms of interest.

The past two weeks have been spent teaching masterclasses in my studio in NYC. Teaching people about the finer points of hand-tailoring a doublet or drafting patterns using the Bara System has been invigorating. This year, Doublet week was among my favorite sessions. I was inspired, my student was inspired and we both made great pieces.

I have three jobs over the next couple of weeks. The first, is to continue the doublet construction series of videos for my Subscribers. The second is to make a suit for a new client....and make it really fast. More to come on both of those. The third is to find a way to reignite my passion and fan the flames back to full strength.

Allan GnagyComment
Announcing The Modern Maker Workroom!!
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At the end of February, I began monetizing my online knowledge. So far its been a success!

I am calling it THE MODERN MAKER WORKROOM. It is an online presence that functions much like a classroom with myself as the teacher and subscribers as the students. Lower level subscriptions can just follow along, higher level subscriptions can join a closed group format where I will personally help guide your process.

Using Patreon.com as a platform for subscriptions, I am creating videos, graphics and other content which help people make better clothing. The photo above comes from a 16th century Spanish wrap skirt called a Manteo, or a Faldellin. Throughout the month of March, I created videos that teach all the steps to make a simple version of one of these skirts. From layout and cutting, to all the hand sewing to stitch it together.

This skirt is a great way to start hand sewing as there are relatively few seams. A very long hem means there is plenty of time to practice and perfect the stitches, helping students gain efficiency in their movements and uniformity in their stitches.

If you'd like to join us in The Modern Maker Workroom, visit:

Patreon.com/themodernmaker and sign up!

As soon as you subscribe, you will have access not only to upcoming videos, but to past videos as well!

I can't wait to see where we go with this new format!

 

Allan Gnagy
The Modern Maker Vol 2: Pattern Manual 1580-1640

Its done and its released!! As of March 31, 2018, It is available to the public!

There is so much I could say about the stress and insanity of creating this nearly 300 page book, but suffice it to say, I'm glad its done!

Please pick up a copy and enjoy!

When you're using the patterns and have questions, you can always find me on Facebook at The Modern Maker.

Here is the link!

https://www.amazon.com/Modern-Maker-Vol-1580-1640-centuries/dp/1511881054/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522711748&sr=8-1&keywords=the+modern+maker+volume+2

If you would like to purchase a subscription to more in-depth information, you can sign up at Patreon.com/themodernmaker.

When you sign up for 10.00 or more per month,  you will get access to exclusive video lessons that are released every month. The long I have patronage, the more videos I will create!

If you sign up for 45.00 or more per month, you can join a small group in The Modern Maker Workroom on Facebook and I will personally respond to your questions and guide you, step by step, through the process. You can lurk, or join along as I work through garments with videos and training tips.

 

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Allan Gnagy
The Modern Maker Masterclasses in Brooklyn, NY
 Back-stitching the side-back seam on a handsewn silk doublet.

Back-stitching the side-back seam on a handsewn silk doublet.

Good morning!

The masterclasses still have seats available. I  know a lot has been going on. But right now, I only have one student per week signed up. I will still teach these classes, and the students will have my undivided attention. It would still be great to have more than one person per week. When there are more people in the classes, more questions get asked and a higher level of learning can be achieved. 

Each class will take a trip to the NYC Garment district which I will personally lead. We will visit my favorite fabric  stores and notions suppliers. By the end of the week you should  have a completed (or nearly completed) wearable garment, all sewn by  hand. Yes, it is possible. In the weeks where we are making patterns, each day, we will make a complete garment pattern, including lining patterns and variations with the goal that by the end of the week, you have a complete set of patterns that work together for a variety of  ensembles. Most patterns will be made using The Modern Maker Vol. 2:  Pattern Manual 1580-1640. There will be at least two patterns which did  not appear in Vol. 2. 

Here  are the links for each class signup. Note, these classes take place in  my personal studio in Greenpoint Brooklyn, New York:

April 9-13: Pattern Making with the Bara System
http://themodernmaker.net/…/masterclass-1-april-9-13-patter…

April 16-20: Stays/Support Bodies and Hip Rolls
http://themodernmaker.net/…/masterclass-2-stays-and-hip-rol…

April 23-27: Breeches OR Skirts (student chooses one)
http://themodernmaker.net/…/masterclass-3-april-23-27-breec…

April 30-May 4: 1590's Kirtle Construction
http://themodernmaker.net/…/masterclass-4-kirtle-week-april…

May 7-11: Doublets (Student chooses man's or woman's)
http://themodernmaker.net/…/masterclass-5-doublets-menwomen…

May 14-18: Pattern Making with the Bara System (same as the first week)
http://themodernmaker.net/new-products/masterclass-6-pattern-making-with-the-bara-system-repeat-of-week-1-may-14-18-2018 

Allan Gnagy
At long last!

It has been almost three years since I began writing The Modern Maker Vol. 2: Pattern Manual 1580-1640. It is finally done. I have just sent my Kickstarter Backers their advance digital copies. There has been a good review already!

I am pleasantly calm after the insanity of the past couple of months of refining, correcting, finessing, and fussing. I'm ready to rest for a bit!

The book will be available for sale in about 2 weeks. I cannot wait to see what people make with it!!

 The cover of this 291 page pattern making book.

The cover of this 291 page pattern making book.

Allan Gnagy
A felt cloak

One of the least represented garments in the realm of historic dress is the Fieltro de Camino. It is a full circle cloak made of heavy felted wool. I have not seen a single image, surviving garment (there is only one) or painting that did not include an embroidered design of radiating lines on both the body of the cloak and on the hood.

I developed my pattern from the layout given in Alcega's manual of 1580. It is quite basic in its cut and easy to interpret. In the 16th and 17th centuries, felt was made and sold in pre-cut sheets so one was constrained to cut the garment with as few piecings at possible. The felt that I purchased was of a similar width (though ours is made by the yard now, not by the sheet). I was able to cut all of my pieces without need to join on extra fabric to complete any shapes.

 Pattern from Alcega's manual of 1580.

Pattern from Alcega's manual of 1580.

 Here is the draft I used to make my cloak. There are some slight variations for example the version in my construction photos is Bs in length rather than B though this shorter length really does appear in the manual. I just made mine longer to fit with Alcega's draft.

Here is the draft I used to make my cloak. There are some slight variations for example the version in my construction photos is Bs in length rather than B though this shorter length really does appear in the manual. I just made mine longer to fit with Alcega's draft.

There is one surviving example from the 1570's belonging to Stephan Praun III. It is housed at the Germanisches Nationalmusem in Nuremberg, Germany. It is actually a 3/4 circle garment. Its hood is made up separate from the cloak body. In the one painting that exists of Mr. Praun in his pilgrimage clothing with which this cloak was worn, the hood is nowhere to be seen. The second layer is made of leather and is also made separately. From the look of it, though I have no definitive proof, the second layer appears to be heavily oiled for waterproofing. In Alcega's manual, as well as Burguen, and Freyle, the Fieltro is shown in two different layouts, one that is cut with skirting/second layer, and one without. Due to weight, cost and wearabiity, I have chosen not to use a second layer of felt. I may make the second layer with leather, but for now, I just need to finish embroidering this garment and move on to the next piece to make for the book. I'm running out of time as the final photo shoot is at the end of September...right before the book is meant to be finalized and sent to the printer.

 Pilgrimage cloak of Stephan Praun III, Germanisches Nationalmuseum--Nuremberg

Pilgrimage cloak of Stephan Praun III, Germanisches Nationalmuseum--Nuremberg

 Closeup detail of the front of the hood

Closeup detail of the front of the hood

Here is my progress on my copy of this garment so far.

The 100% wool felt is 1/8" (3.2mm) thick. I originally purchased some 1/4" (6mm) and found that it was much too heavy and cumbersome. A friend who actually viewed the original told me that it was approximately 1/8" - 3/16" thick. So, I reordered and got the 1/8" thickness. It was purchased from thefeltcompany.com they have many different kinds of wool felt and it is a really nice product to work with. This is the page with the product that is shown in my photos, Specifically the f3 quality material. When its pressed, you can smell that it still has quite a bit of the natural oils still in it. It is absolutely not suitable for people with Lanolin allergies.

 

 

 Front

Front

 Back

Back

 Side view of collar in progress

Side view of collar in progress

 Back view of collar in progress.

Back view of collar in progress.

The couching and embroidery is all being done in wool. It was a good color and somehow felt correct for this piece. I suspect for wealthier folks, the embroidery would have been made up in silk.

On the main body, I have used a couching technique with two strands of the wool and the couching stitches themselves in the same wool.

On the collar, the satin stitch for the leaves is worked in a single strand of the wool while the heavy line of the border is four strands of the wool that have been re-spun and plied to create a heavier cord. In retrospect, I absolutely should have used this re-spinning technique for the main body. It looks beautiful. But alas, I didn't think of it until after the body was done and there isn't time to go back and re-work it.

I am saving the embroidery of the hood for last since I really want to have all my design choices made and wanted to have my hands "tuned" to the proper stitching. The embroidery on the hood is quite elaborate in the surviving piece.

I'm pushing myself to complete this project because its standing in the way of so many others. I'm glad its almost done though.

Just so everyone knows what's going on with this book, the projected release date is October 31st 2017. I'm working VERY hard to make sure that date is maintained.

Be well, thank you for reading and as always, HAPPY STITCHING!!

Allan GnagyComment
Still here, Still plugging along

Its been ages since my last post. I'm not very good at keeping this web page updated, but I am more motivated now than ever before to keep it up.

There are interesting developments all around. The Modern Maker Vol. 2: Pattern Manual 1580-1640 is almost done. I have a handful of pages left to write and a lot of draft notes to put in. But otherwise, the final structure is complete.

Its bigger than I expected, It covers a lot more patterns than the original outline and nearly all of the garments have photos of completed pieces. There will be a few that don't. But they are garments that most people won't ever make anyway. I'm putting them in because they need to be there.

I wake up every morning at 5:30am. Have some coffee and work on the book until 7am when I usually eat something and get ready for work.

I walk to work, so I leave the apartment at 8am, arrive at work at 8:45am and start handling whatever the show has to offer me that day. If there is down time, I work on the book. That's usually an additional hour or two during the day.

If I have any energy left when I get home, I work on it some more, or I THINK about the next steps and make plans to implement them the next morning.

Somewhere in each day, I eat, sleep, live, watch a TV show or two while spending time with my better half.

Its a lot. I am tired, but I won't stop until this book is done. There is no more time to wait. I've had too many things on hold and they need the attention they deserve. There may be changes coming my way with my career, so I have to finish this work while I can.

 

 One of the many pieces of clothing I've made recently. I still have several more to finish up before this book can be completed.

One of the many pieces of clothing I've made recently. I still have several more to finish up before this book can be completed.

Allan GnagyComment
Client order 3242016-B

Today I am working on a suit for a client. It is a classic "Modern Maker" style suit consisting of a 1600's style doublet and breeches with a ropilla/sayo in matching colors. The construction is identical to the doublet in TMM 1 and will be left relatively plain with some simple contrasting band embellishment. The doublet will likely have a narrow velvet trim and the ropilla and breeches of hunter green wool will be trimmed with black bias silk bands.

The illustrations are some of my first using a new program for the iPad Pro called "Procreate" While I am not the best illustrator, the images give enough understanding of the suit to create it.

This suit will also have a cassock of beautiful brown striped wool. I will post additional photos as the process continues.

 

 The formed interlining with pad stitched wool felt in the shoulder and armhole

The formed interlining with pad stitched wool felt in the shoulder and armhole

 The linen doublet front, formed and basted in place

The linen doublet front, formed and basted in place

 Illustration of the doublet and breeches

Illustration of the doublet and breeches

 The unfinished illustration of the ropilla/sayo

The unfinished illustration of the ropilla/sayo

Allan GnagyComment
So many things are happening!

Today, I am pleased to announce a new product that we will be selling. Because of how it needs to be manufactured, it will be available as a "pre-order" only garment for the first few runs. If it proves to be a viable item to sell, It is likely that next year, I will have a larger batch produced in a factory instead of a small-run outfit here in NYC. I will be designing new patterns and new colors every year.

The inspiration for this jacket comes from European examples from throughout the 17th century. The height of their popularity was in the latter half of the century though there are examples from every decade. With over 50 of these garments in museums around the world, there is a LOT of information to pick and choose from for style, construction and detailing. The first 11 photos in the gallery are of several extant examples from which I took some details and overall concept. The next three photos are of charts from pattern books of the era that were widely circulated for creating knitted pieces, embroidery and weaving. The first photo after the screen shots of period manuals is my hand-knitted panel. The piece is knit on US size 0 needles with two strands of the silk yarn and one of the metal. Once I selected the motifs, and started knitting, I really had to come to terms with the fact that A. Many people would want and wear these if they were available, and B. there was no reasonable way that I could hand knit these with any regularity. So, I then set about charting the designs in the computer and then began working with a company that does machine knitting. The pattern motif is different in the Machine knit version, but it matches my hand-knit black and silver swatch. During the development process, we had to take a short break because the company was overwhelmed with work for New York Fashion week...thankfully, I too had other obligations so the timing worked out very well. Their swatches are beautiful. The first full sample has a few issues, but nothing tremendous. The sleeve just needs a little adjustment. Its both too wide and too long. But the next sample we make, I believe it will be perfect. During the heyday of these garments, they were worn by both men and women. For the most part, the differences between the two styles is minimal. Women's necklines tended to be more open and men's tended to be more collar like...in all cases, the necklines of the majority of the surviving garments look terrible....and I don't mean because they're old and used up...I mean, they're just horribly finished. I have never been able to figure out how these folks would spend months knitting something like this, and then have an atrocious neckline...but I digress. My version is intended to be an agender style which can be worn by both men and women. The neckline in its current form is a neat, though rather modern detail.  For a tighter fit, the back of the jacket can be pinned in place to follow the lines of the body. The sample is headed to a reenactor's event called Gulf Wars in Mississippi to be on display for pre-ordering. Samples of the other two colors of silk for this production run will also be available to view. Here on themodermaker.net, there will be a pre-ordering available if I can figure out how to accept payment in 2 parts. Deposit and final. In addition to this site, there will also be pre-orders available through Etsy.com which you can find here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/GnagyArts?ref=hdr_shop_menu

They will be wearable as modern garments as well. Something this pretty shouldn't be left out of sight! The very last photos show me wearing it with my modern jeans and Tee and ball-cap. I don't think it even looks that weird. I mean...a little eccentric. But overall, it gives you an idea of how it should fit even though the sleeves are too big. I'm delighted that the development is almost over and I can start marketing and selling these amazing beauties from the past!

Allan GnagyComment