Books!! One can never have enough of these good friends.
You already know of the Top 10 Books I recommend. Here’s another lot for your bookshelf – to learn from, ogle, and share with friends (well… maybe). 🙂
The following books are not listed in any particular order as they cover a wide range of topics. Add them all to your library.
1 – Dressed for the Photographer by Joan Severa
Real photographs with detailed descriptions of average society members in the 19th century. Amazing details you can use for historical documentation. I am fortunate to have a signed copy and really want to add her other fantastic book, My Likeness Taken to my collection.
2 – The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff
Brilliant! The author takes basic muslin and transforms it into a HUGE variety of pleats, gathers, puffs, cordings, tucks and more. All while telling you how to make them. This will open your mind to all things Victorian trimmings.
3 – Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600 – 1930 by Norah Waugh
Pattern diagrams taken from extant garments along with text taken from period sources. Although it covers over 300 years of fashion, the diagrams teach us much about how fabric pieces were cut to various shapes to make clothing.
4 – The Victorian Tailor: An Introduction to Period Tailoring by Jason Maclochlainn
Amazing! If you are thinking of making menswear then you need this book! Seriously. The author has broken down all the various parts – and their construction – of coats, vests and trousers. I don’t do much tailoring and wish this book had been available years ago. Get it!
5 – The History of Underclothes by C. Willett Cunnington
Fascinating little book that covers the unmentionables that create historical silhouettes. Fabrics and shapes are covered as well as the importance of undergarments in society. Great research book for your shelf.
6 – Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper’s Bazar, 1867-1898, edited by Stella Blum
If you need a late 1800s period idea book, try this one. Ms. Blum has compiled original fashion sketches and plates into a beautiful volume. Pick a year. Pick a style, then create your own historical dress. (A hint on this one: get two copies so you can tear one apart and put into a binder for easy reference. You’ll be looking at this one a lot.)
7 – The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen
First, and you know me, I’m going to say that nothing is perfect. Even fitting. Even fitting while using a spectacular book on how to smooth out those wrinkles in the fabric. Although the book is approached from modern pattern shapes, the knowledge you gain is invaluable in how it translates to historical projects. I’ve been fitting this way for over a decade and find this book “perfect” in its presentation of the subject.
8 – Victorian Costume for Ladies 1860-1900 by Linda Setnik
Period photographs are simply wonderful for research. They are primary sources! This book is filled with them in all their glorious detail we like to study and reproduce. The accompanying text is worth the read too while examining the little accessories on the beautiful gowns. (I don’t have the 2nd edition here so can’t comment on the new edit – unless, of course, someone wants to surprise me with a copy.) 😉
9 – Shoes, Hats and Fashion Accessories: A Pictorial Archive, 1850-1940, edited by Carol Belanger Grafton
What better way to research accessories than by studying sketches from the period! Compiled together by years, this resource will have you learning basic shapes and styles of shoes, purses, headwear and more.
10 – The Edwardian Modiste by Frances Grimble
Ms. Grimble has a lovely set of books which are essentially edited from publications of the era. Each book is well worth a look. I selected The Edwardian Modiste as the book to represent her collection as it was the first to open my eyes to the possibility of drafting, to my measurements, period patterns. Hello, new wardrobe!
Of course this second set of books just barely dents the title list of my sewing library. But one can never have too many books, right? The stacks keep piling up…
What books would you add to this list? Do you have a favorite of the ones listed here?