"The basic premise of Subtraction Cutting is that the patterns cut do not represent the garments outward shape, but rather the negative spaces within the garment that make them hollow. Simply put, shaped holes cut from huge sheets of cloth through which the body moves."
-taken from 'what is Subtraction Cutting' on Julian Roberts' Subtraction Cutting web page
Good thing I happened upon Julian's Pattern School and fully downloadable notes about 4 years ago before he pulled up the free sign! Yes, I have the notes from a Master Class he taught and can attest to the fact that they are very worth reading. Would I buy the book? Yes. I wonder what else is in there.
So what's it all about? Well, an entirely different way of pattern making and garment construction. It's sculptural, a little mind boggling and a great way to avoid working with measurements and numbers. Take a look at the photos on his web page and see for yourself, but I'd say the results definitely lend themselves toward a 19th century look with lots of volume.
If I were a dressmaker or designing for the bridal industry I would incorporate this technique into my practice for sure!