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Mathew Gnagy has started to bring 16th-century to the streets. Wearing a hand-stitched, exquisitely tailored suit, whether inspired or patterned directly from historical sources, brings him not only the pride of a skilled maker and the comfort of perfectly fitting clothes but also a feeling of being "ten feet tall"—the satisfaction of looking terrific.
As a young tailor's apprentice with an enthusiasm for history, Mathew found the perfect combination of his interests in costume design. Learning to knit, sew, spin, and practice a variety of crafts as a child, and growing up in a family of artists and artisans, he is enthusiastic about mastering the techniques that have developed and been lost through the centuries. With his website, the Modern Maker Schoolhouse, and series of books, Mathew shares his methods for creating 16th- and 17th-century clothing, including handsewing, ironwork, embroidery, needle lace, and weaving trim.
In addition to historical clothing, Mathew is a knitwear designer; his contemporary knitting book, Knitting Off the Axis, presented garments with decidedly nontraditional construction methods. In his professional life, Mathew works in costume design for television, film, and theater, using his needlework skills to convey a characher at a glance.
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Mathew Gnagy's article "Handstitched History: Sixteenth-Century Tailoring and the Modern Maker" appeared in PieceWork Summer 2021.
For tutorials on stitching, needle lace, and sewing historical garments, visit the Modern Maker YouTube channel.