1894/96 Walking Suit

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State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Patterns of History
About Patterns of History
Created in 1976 as a means to provide accurate period costume for The Wisconsin Historical Society’s historic site guides, Patterns of History is a series of 12 patterns--10 women’s dresses, one men’s suit, and a bustle--precision drafted from original nineteenth-century garments in the Society’s costume collection.

Guides wearing reproduction costumes at two of the State Historical Society's sites

Guides wearing reproduction costumes at two of the State Historical Society's sites

Guides wearing reproduction costumes at two of the Wisconsin Historical Society's sites: Pendarvis (left), an 1840s site, and Villa Louis (right), an 1890s mansion.

In 1992 Patterns of History improved its pattern format. Now step-by-step instructions are well illustrated with easy-to-follow drawings. The instruction guides lucidly describe historically-accurate sewing techniques, though modern alternatives are offered on some steps. The envelopes list appropriate fabrics, colors, and color combinations culled from nineteenth-century magazines. Modern fabric suggestions are also made. Information on the garment’s fashion era, as well as suggestions about appropriate hair and hat styles, accessories, and underclothing are made in the illustrated “Period Notes” that follow the instructions.

Seven of the patterns are now in this new format. The remaining five original patterns will be discontinued or reprinted in the new format eventually.

1896 Walking Suit pattern in the new format

1896 Walking Suit pattern in the new format


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©2002 Wisconsin Historical Society
Last updated April 02, 2002