Historical Costume making books, my collection

I don’t have any books just for sewing however I do have a large-ish collection of books for making historical costumes. I thought I would share them because I know that when I first started trying to finds books on historical costume and books on making them it was extremely difficult.
Starting off with my favorite book which is apart of a series (of four) written by Janet Arnold. I have the whole series which I was given for my birthday and for placing 1st in drama for my year level (shameless self boasting I know) My favorite is ‘Patterns of Fashion, the Cut and Construction of Clothes for men and women c1560-1620’, I have referenced this book in earlier posts about the Young girls evening dress I am making which appears in this book. I adore the clothing of this era and with the skill and time I plan to make more dresses from this book.pfp3
The other book from the series are,
‘Patterns for fashion 1 Englishwomen’s Dresses and their construction
‘Patterns of fashion 2 Englishwomen’s Dresses and their construction c1860-1940’9780896760271
Patterns of fashion 4 The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, neck wear, head wear and accessories for men and women c1540-1660pfp4

I do adore the other books but they really are self explanatory based on their titles. All fantastic reads.
However, I wouldn’t recommend these for a novice sewer or someone who hasn’t drafted/scaled up or draped a pattern before. These books do come with patterns but either have to be scaled up or draped drafted making it a difficult task for someone relatively new to sewing. I have decided to drape and draft my patterns from theses books as at the moment I don’t have the materials or patience to scale the patterns up and then adapt them to my size. But again I will see how my  mock ups go making sure to TEST EVERYTHING.

‘Historic Costumes and how to make them by Mary Fernald, E. Shenton, Eileen Shenton’
 This book was first published in 1937 but was re-printed in 2003. And no my copy is not an original. I revived this book for Christmas this year and was pleased to find that it is full of pictures and diagrams of the costumes it offers patterns for. Again this book requires you to scale up patterns or drape and draft them (or any other method really). All patterns are labeled with each ‘raw edge’ of the patterns being labeled with a letter which then corresponds with the instructions on the previous pages. Which is a fantastic system which the ‘Patterns of Fashion’ series lacks which requires you to actually look at the patterns and figure out what goes where with the somewhat brief descriptions. The only negative thing I have to say about this is that I really wish the pages were bigger. I don’t have a problem with reading anything in the book but I just feel like it was a stupid size to be made into. If I had the book open on my work table and just needed to glance at a pattern to see how it needed to be pinned I wouldn’t be able to without squinting. And that’s all.

‘Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns: Book 1&2 (Dress pattern 2)’

I received these books for my birthday and decided to write about them together because I haven’t really looked into them that much. The books are divided into two parts: theoretical and practical then later going into patterns as well as drawings similar to Janet Arnold’s books.
These books also take a lot of note of the embroidery on garments often offering the original embroidered pattern on the pages in amazing detail which I found very interesting. The patterns are very clear and these books are well worth looking into.

And there you have it, my historical costume book collection. I do also have access to the books at my college library which are also helpful for inspiration and I found a particularly good one which clearly goes through the movement of historical men and women’s costume.
Apologies for the lack of ‘real’ updates on my costumes as all my recent posts have just been what I’ve been up to (along with that embarrassing story)  so I’m happy to announce that I will be going to London this Tuesday for fabric shopping ! Goldhawk Road here I come! I will also be going to the Victoria and Albert Museum before shopping because I recently figured out (according to Patterns of Fashion 3) That the dress I want to make, the young girl’s evening dress is on display there! I am a little doubtful as the book as published a few years ago but I will go there with hope and I’m sure I will leave feeling extremely inspired regardless if the dress is on display or not.
Tuesday night I will start work on my fabric haul post from the days shopping and if its not up that night I plan to have it posted Wednesday.

And that’s it for this blog post, I hope you have enjoyed reading.