Help me help my wife: looking for pattern for “mantua(?)”

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Armando

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When we were in colonial Williamsburg one of the shopkeepers told my wife that the wrapped top she was wearing over her bodice was called a Mantua.

Does anyone know where I could find her a pattern for one of those?
 

Beau Robbins

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Mantua is like saying car. You can't get the right parts or schematic without giving me the make and model. Fashion changes drastically by the decade no matter the period, so details matter. The other problem with patterns are women's bodies. A size 14 waist with a size 12 chest or visa versa isn't uncommon, so which size do you pattern for? Neither, so drafting knowledge is usually required to alter a pattern to fit a unique woman. Of course measurements can't be taken until she's in the correct undergarments, the most expensive of which are the stays. Stockings, shift, stays, cap, underpetticoat, and hip supports (ie, panniers, hoops, pads &c) should all be acquired first so that a well fit gown can be properly draped. Anything else is a lesson in frustrating futility.
 

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