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published: April, 2002

© Archives & Museum Informatics, 2002.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License


Three Dimensional Models from Nineteenth Century Overlay Patterns
Allynn Wilkinson, Brown University, USA

Demonstration: Demonstrations 2

This is a pilot website for a project on nineteenth century overlay patterns from the University of Rhode Island’s “Betty Williams Pattern Collection”. These oversized pattern sheets (20”x32”) were included as supplements in the ladies magazine Harper’s Bazar. As well as clothing for the family, the pattern sheets also include designs for needlework and household items. After sandwiching the delicate sheet in plexiglass, multiple scans are taken. These are then stitched together to recreate a digital whole. Next, each pattern piece is traced to create scaleable vector files. This is analogous to the original method of using a tracing wheel to copy the pattern pieces onto plain paper. The resulting virtual pattern pieces are then digitally ‘stitched’ together in a 3D environment to create models of the clothing. One of the goals of this project is to create a library of useable patterns for designers and historians. Also, by offering virtual models of the completed garments comparisons can be made between the period illustrations and the actual patterns. This project demonstrates how technology can add value and accessibility to an historic collection.