Recommended Reading

Making, Pictures, Queries, Resources

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Post Knight
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Recommended Reading

Postby Tuppence » Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:01 pm

Just replied to somebody saying I'd send them a list of decent costume books, and it's occurred to me that we have a list of links and things, and stuff on suppliers - what about research??

So, in yet another sticky :wink: , what about listing any good books on your period (if you have one).

They must be about costume etc (or have substantial costume info or sources in them).

(And I'll add some when I get chance after the re-enactor's market.)

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Postby Shadowcat » Wed Oct 25, 2006 1:13 pm

Books with patterns based on research or original garments (English publications)

"Patterns of Fashion" Janet Arnold 3 books from 1660-1930

"Cut of Women's Clothes" Norah Waugh 1600-1930

"Cut of Men's Clothes" Norah Waugh 1600-1900 (?)

"Corsets and Crinolines" Norah Waugh 1600-1900

"Tudor Tailor" Ninya Mikhaila 1520-1600 roughly

"Medieval Tailor's Assistant" Sarah Thursfield "Medieval"

"Period Costume for Stage and Screen" Jean Hunnisett 5 books Medieval - 1909 (Don't be put off by the title - researched from original garments where possible, paintings, sculpture where not.)

"Men's 17th and 18th Century Costume, Cut and Fashion" R.I Davis (slightly movie/theatre based, but well researched- no instructions on making)

"Men's Garments 1830-1900" R.I Davis (No instructions on making in the first edition, don't know about later.)

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Postby frances » Sun Oct 29, 2006 6:49 pm

Drool-worthy pics:

"Fashion" from the Kyoto Institute, pub.Taschen
£30 in bookshops, £35 from the Taschen web site.

18th century onwards, large photographic pics plus fashion plates. Two hardbacked books in a cardboard cover, recently published. Contains some of the photographs from the Kyoto Institute's two previous editions but larger size. The twentieth and 21st century fashions are rather arty, but the earlier stuff is superb.

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Annie the Pedlar
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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Fri Nov 24, 2006 10:36 am

I second the above.

Plus, for an overview of how fashion changed/evolved/developed/swung back and forth -

The Corset, A cultural History by Valerie Steele
Get your underwear right and you are 3/4 of the way there.

Costume 1066 - 1990s by John Peacock
Take this one with a pinch of salt. Look at the pictures to get a feel for what's in fashion then go to original sources to check them out. In the Tudor section I can see he's taken the bodice of one portrait and added the skirt of another and the sleeves of another........

The Evolution of Fashion , Pattern and cut from 1066 to 1930, by Margot Hamilton Hill and Peter Buckland.
I use it as a starting point when asked to make clothes outside my comfort zone. It gives you a pattern for each style of clothing.
Again please dig deeper as it's not the be all and end all of how to do it.

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Postby frances » Sun Dec 03, 2006 6:23 pm

Re: Evolution of Fashion - this is a book intended for the theatre. The pics are good, they give the correct silhouette and a good idea of what to aim for. But the patterns are very skimpy, and they do not give measurements. My Elizabeth I dress came out of this book and it was a few years before I realised that I needed to add another couple of widths of fabric to the skirt and another circle of fabric to the ruff to make them look like the paintings of the time.

The Journal of the Tool and Trades History Society is a goldmine of information. The individual researchers dig deep and produce woodcuts and prints from the times. So you can see fashions that artisans wore in their workshops as well as articles like combs and thimbles.

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Postby Tuppence » Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:01 am

pretty much anything by phyllis and cw cunnington.

the visual history of costume books published by batsford - not the single volume version (though that's good too, but condensed) the best are the seperate volumes - 14th & 15th centuries, 16th c, 17th c, 18th c, 19thc, and 20th c. different authors for each volume.
and if you see decent copies of the earlier periods going for less than a hundred quid, grab them!!!!

a short history of costume & armour - worth it for the pictures of brass rubbings and things that you don't see v often.

history of costume by carl kohler - IGNORE THE TEXT, AND ANY PATTERNS, (was written a LONG time ago, and has largely been discredited - but it's worth having for the pictures - again, unusual.

pretty much anything by aileen ribeiro (particularly dress and morality).

the fashion in deatail books - historical fashion in detail - 17th and 18th c by hart & north - 19th c (don't know author) - modern fashion in detail (for the drool factor :D ) - and dress in detail from around the world. loads of really cool close up pics of stuff in the v&a collections - and line drawings of the rest of the garment.

a concise history of fashion (also has other titles) by james laver (get e newer version cos it has corrections).

these are all off hand - sorry for not listing the authors

will add more when I get chance

"What a lovely hat! But may I make one teensy suggestion? If it blows off, don't chase it."

Miss Piggy

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Annie the Pedlar
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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:28 am

Medieval to Stuart - little books picked up in churches on brasses. I don't know whether each county does them but there are several covering Suffolk. They show rich but not super rich people. You have to work out for yourself whether the clothes match the date the person died or represent when they were alive, ie. they are old fashioned compared to the burial date.

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Postby m300572 » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:40 am

Woven Into the Earth - 13th C garments from Greenland, preserved in permafrost.

Wilkes and Liberty, Wilkes and the Forty Five

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Postby Dathi » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:43 pm

Has anyone got a copy of Janet Arnold''s article on Elizabethan and Jacobean smocks and shirts in Waffen-und Kostumkunde, Munich, vol. 19, part 2, 1977?

Or anything similar..?

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Postby frances » Sun Apr 29, 2007 6:44 pm

Dear Dathi, I have a really bad photocopy that Janet Arnold gave me. I also think that it is not complete. I can possibly find it if you are really desperate. However, there are now so many pics and so much guidance on people's websites and so much art is available on the web these days, that it is possibly not going to be as useful as it was when she published 30 years ago. Gosh, 30 years!!

If you lived closer you could have come round to look in my personal 'library'. Let me know when you are next in south-east London.

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Postby Lady Wolfshead » Fri May 25, 2007 3:29 pm

I put together this list for our group for researching late Victorian and Edwardian costume:

Arnold, Janet Patterns of Fashion: Englishwomen's Dresses & Their Construction: 002 (Patterns of Fashion 2)

Blum, Stella Victorian Fashions and Costumes from "Harper's Bazaar", 1867-98 (Dover Pictorial Archives)

Cunnington, C.Willett The History of Underclothes

Cunnington, Phillis Occupational Costume in England, from the Eleventh Century to 1914 – useful for less fashionable and working class costumes.

Cunnington, Phillis and Catherine Lucas Costumes of Household Servants: from the Middle Ages to 1900

Ewing, Elizabeth History of Twentieth-Century Fashion. London; Batsford (1974)

Mansfield, Alan and Phillis Cunnington, illustrated by Valerie Mansfield Handbook of English Costume in the Twentieth Century, 1900-1950 (1973)

Hamilton Hill, Margot and Peter Arthur Bucknell The Evolution of Fashion: Pattern and Cut from 1066 to 1930– this is a good place to start but the patterns are for theatre not live interpretation

Johnston, Lucy 19th Century Fashion in Detail (2005) ISBN 185177439 4

Rothstein, Natalie Four Hundred Years of Fashion (1999) ISBN: 1 85177 301 0

Waugh, Norah Corsets and Crinolines

Waugh, Norah The Cut of Women's Clothes, 1600-1930


Victoria and Albert Museum ... index.html - Information on late Victorian corsets ... index.html - Information on Edwardian corsets ... robe1.html
Some examples of dresses worn by Queen Maud between 1906-1909.

The Antique Corset Gallery - lots of images and information, including an example of a working woman’s corset c.1900-1903

The Museum of Costume (Bath) – you can search the collection on-line and see examples of Edwardian accessories and clothes.

The Costume Gallery
This is a huge website with lots of information – some of it requires you to subscribe before you view. Nice primary sources (eg. 19th Century magazines)

The Costumer’s Manifesto - nice primary sources and images

A Century in Shoes - good general information and great but small images of period shoes

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Postby auldMotherBegg » Sat Apr 12, 2008 12:01 pm

'A History of Jewellery' 1100 - 1870'. by Joan Evans. Dover Publications.

This is a great reference book, and has very good original sources pictured, with good text.

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Postby Aislinn » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:11 pm

"Viking Clothing" Thor Ewing (2006) Tempus Publishing ISBN 0-7524-3587-6 - great book, in depth but easy to read.

"Dress in Ireland" Mairead Dunlevy (2000) Collins Press ISBN 978-1898256847 - An overview of clothing in Ireland up to the early 20th Century.

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Postby Kate Tiler » Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:36 pm

Link to image called 'Sedentary occupations of the peasants' taken from Holbein, of 1552, showing a man and a woman spinning with distaffs, with a child holding a wool-winder: ... fig065.png
"In art as in life everything is possible as long as it is based on love" Marc Chagall

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Re: Recommended Reading

Postby J. Maclochlainn » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:37 pm

The Victorian Tailor- An Introduction to Period Tailoring

This work is on beginning period hand-tailoring as reconstructed from period sources, extant garments and practical application of the techniques. It will not be released until 17th Feb, 2011 but it can be pre-ordered.

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Re: Recommended Reading

Postby bareb » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:04 pm

any reference regarding the history of costumes designs? I mean does it all depend on the general taste at that time? or there are some hidden purposes for it?

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Re: Recommended Reading

Postby ChaseAED » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:52 pm

Im not sure if this is what you're after, but I've just done a couple of articles on Middle-Ages costume that I think may be helpful to people. They're fairly comprehensive, evidenced, contain the Old-English of many components, and have afew helpful tips for re-enactors in there too.

Anglo-Saxon Costume -Overview
The dress of Germanic tribes during the early middle-ages was the basis of later styles, but also had a number of aspects greatly influenced by earlier civilisations, or contemporary societies elsewhere in Europe and beyond. In particular, many styles were carried through from the Roman period.
Although fashions varied throughout the period, the general trend is the integration of older, conventional styles with new ideas arriving through extensive trade networks, or through natural progress on a more local level.

The tunic (serc, tunece) was the basic garment. This was wool or, for the wealthy, of linen or nettle-fibre. It was belted at the waist, raising the hem to the knees and had long sleeves. The hem, sleeves and neck-opening would often be decorated by tablet-woven braiding (Borda) .......

Practical Notes
Reenactors and living history participants may be able to put together good quality costumes from the middle-ages quite cheaply. Items of clothing can be purchased from Reenactors' fairs, or online from sites such as Jelling Dragon (see links). Alternatively they can be made using simple patterns, natural wool or linen, and should ideally be hand-stitched.

As a matter of comfort, linen is probably preferable to natural wool. As most costumed events tend to take place in the warmer summer months, linen may be a better choice as it tends to be cooler and more breathable.

Possibly the greatest bugbear in period costume is the shoes ........ ... .html#more

Aed Thompson, Thegn of Merca

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Re: Recommended Reading

Postby Bamboozled » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:48 am

For newcomers like me, this is a great thread! :thumbup: I've looking through all of them and have ordered some on Amazon - looking forward to get to reading and learning, especially the ones about jewellery. (Good tip for people who frequent Amazon and eBay, by the way: I ordered this load with a voucher code from - might be of use to others, too :) )

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