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Here I have books on general sewing, historical patterns, and trim making.

Patterns | Fabrics | General Sewing

Theatrical Costuming | Embellishments

Books of Historical Patterns

Janet Winter and Carolyn Savoy
Elizabethan Costuming 1550 to 1580

Other Times
Paper
While this book doesn't include complete patterns, it gives lots of tips and tricks for construction. Well known amongst re-enactors and renfaire enthisiasts, this is a well-researched book that will help even a novice sewer put together a costume to be proud of.

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

Routledge
Cloth
A classic in costuming. This marvelous book presents text, line drawings, and best of all, scale patterns for women's clothing from 1600-1930. If you are a seamstress and adventurous, these clothes are make-able.

Norah Waugh
The Cut of Men's Clothes 1600-1900

Routledge
Cloth
The companion volume to The Cut of Women's Clothes 1600-1930, this book is slightly less detailed than the one on women's clothes, but it is still a classic in the field.

Norah Waugh
Corsets & Crinolines

Routledge
Paper
The finest dress will look like a sack without the correct underpinnings. Waugh's classic book covers women's under garments from the beginning of the 16th century to approximately 1900. While not so much a construction guide, this book is vital if you wish to understand how dresses work.

Janet Arnold
Patterns of Fashion 1560-1620

Drama Books
Paper
A three book series that is classic in the field. These large scale paperback book have fairly historically accurate scaled drawings of garments. The books also inlcude black & white photos of details from period garments and lots of explanations. If you want to make an historically accurate garment, start with these books (or The Cut of Women's Clothes). This volume includes men's and womens clothes, mostly for the upper middle and upper classes .

Janet Arnold
Patterns of Fashion 1660-1860

Drama Books
Paper
Spanning the years 1660 to 1860, this books features Englishwomen's clothing for the upper middle and upper classes.

Janet Winter and Carolyn Savoy
Victorian Costuming 1840 to 1865

Other Times
Paper
Another book by Winter and Savoy that follows the pattern of their first book. The purpose of this book is to help you as a sewer put together an accurate Victoiran costume. Focusing on women's clothing of the middle class, there are notes and sketches on making men's and children's clothing as well.

Janet Arnold
Patterns of Fashion 1860-1940

Drama Books
Paper
This part of the classic series covers women's clothing from 1860 to 1940.

K.S.Holkeboer
Patterns for Theatical Costume

Drama Books
Cloth
More useable patterns for historical clothing. From Medieval to Flapper.

Bonnie Holt Ambrose
The Little Bodice Book

Drama Books
Paper
A small book on building a basic bodice. Not historically accurate, but close enough for most purposes. Easy to follow instructions.

Bonnie Holt Ambrose
The Little Hatmaking Book

Drama Books
Paper
A small book on building basic hats. Not historically accurate, but close enough for most purposes. Easy to follow instructions.

Francis Grimble
After a Fashion

Lavolta
Paper
While not strictly a pattern book, this book contains information on altering commercial patterns, or using historic patterns. It also gives information on altering vintage garments. This is an excellent resource for those making their own vintage clothing, especially Victorian and Edwardian styles. The annotated source listings in the back for suppliers, books, patterns, magazines, and societies are killer.

Karen Dick, Editor
The Whole Costumer's Catalog, 14th Edition

CBTB Press
Paper
The 14th edition has been released! We recommend this nifty sourcebook. If you can't find that address anywhere else, it's probably in here. Patterns, fabrics, trims, costume supply houses, museum collections, seamstresses, organizations, in fact just about anything you want to find on costuming is listed here (including us). Highly recommended.

Books About Fabrics

Susan Meller and Joost Elffers
Textile Designs

Abrams
Cloth
Subtitled Two Hundred Years of European and American Patterns for Printed Fabrics Organized by Motif, Style, Color, Layout, and Period this big beautiful book has a wealth of fabric swatch style illustrations (1,823 in colour!). The book covers from about 1790 to 1997. If you really care about which fabric design happened when, this book can tell you. The authors are textile designers, so they tend to focus on the design elements, rather than the manufacturing elements, but the beautiful clear illustrations make this book worth the price, and there is enough info here for the costumer or historian to help date clothes accurately.

Bosker, Mancini, and Gramstad
Fabulous Fabrics of the 50s

Chronicle Books
Paper

The title of this book is misleading, there are wonderful fabrics of the 20s, 30s, and 40s in here as well. With a large variety of clear colour photos and brief informative paragraphs, this is the best book we have on the subject.

Joy Shih
Fun Fabrics of the 50s

Schiffer
Paper
No text, index, or commentary, but lots of colour pictures of assorted novelty prints of the 1950s.

Joy Shih
Cool Hot Colors, Fabrics of the Late 60s

Schiffer
Paper
Another in this nifty series of picture books. Photo swatches of the text and accompanying (minimal) blurbs. 112 pages.

Joy Shih
Funky Fabrics of the 60s

Schiffer
Paper

Companion volume to Fun Fabrics of the 50s. once again, no text, index, or commentary, but lots of colour pictures of assorted novelty prints of the 1950s. Although I thought Funky was more an early 70s word.....?

General Sewing Books

Reader's Digest
Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing

Reader's Digest
Cloth
A classic all around sewing book. This book has a wealth of sewing information. Especially useful for the beginner.

Dorling Kindersley
The Complete Book of Sewing

Houghton Mifflin
Cloth
Lots of clear photos make this book very useful for beginners as well as more experienced sewers.

Taunton Press
Sewing Tips & Secrets

Taunton Press
Paper
The fine folks who put out Threads magazine compiled this book. It has page after page of sewing tips sent in by Threads magazine readers, interspersed with information from the pros at Threads.

Therese de Dillmont
Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework

Running Press
Paper
A reprint of the original 1884 edition. This book is a fantasic reference book for the hand sewer. It contains instructions for everything from straight hand sewing to fancy embroidery., crochet, knitting, macrame, cord making,tatting, lace making, and knotting.

Theatrical Costuming

Rosemary Ingham & Liz Covey
Costume Designer's Handbook 2nd Edition

Heinemann
Paper
A comprehensive guide to theatrical costuming, from analyzing a play to creating designs to getting a job. An excellent text on theatrical all aspects of theatrical design.

Rosemary Ingham & Liz Covey
Costume Technician's Handbook

Heinemann
Paper
This classic book shows you how to design, prepare, and alter original patterns and how to fit, shape, and construct stage costumes that are attractive and versatile. Filled with time-saving sewing tips, this book reveals budget-stretching ways to make period and style alterations, demonstrates such techniques as fabric dyeing and painting, and offers valuable suggestions on using glue, clay, and papier mache in the costume-making process.

Jacquie Govier
Create Your Own Stage Costumes

Heinemann
Paper
This book explores all aspects of costuming for the theater. Sewing, trimming, repairs, storage, and trimmings.

Phaidon Theater Manual
Costume & Make-up

Phaidon
Paper
A concise overview of the many aspects of stage costuming and make-up. From design to creation.

Embellishments

Deborah M. Dryden
Fabric Painting and Dyeing for the Theatre

Heinemann
Paper
Although this book bills itself as a theatrical resource, it really is for anyone. Filled to the brim with clearly explained techniques for painting and dyeing fabrics. If you are interested in this subject, we highly recommend this excellent book.

Peter Owen
The Book of Decorative Knots

Lyons & Burford
Paper
Beautiful knots from around the world. Button knots, flat knots, Turk's Head knots and Frogs. With clear, easy to understand illustrations.

Roderick Owen
Braids 250 Patterns from Japan, Peru, & Beyond

Interweave Press
Cloth
A great book for the costumer and artist. Easy to understand instructions for making a variety of braids. If you are looking for the perfect trim for your Victorian costume, consider making your own unique braiding (then you can make knots with it).

S.Dickens
The Art of Tassel Making

IPG
Cloth
This is a gorgeous book! If you like tassels, this is the book to get. It has clear instructions for a lot of tassels. And its mix and match tassel pattern feature gives you the oppurtunity to create your own unique tassels.

Nancy Welch
Tassels the Fanciful Embellishment

Lark Books
Cloth
Another wonderful book that can be used for costuming. This book includes a history of international tassels and instructions on making your own.

Threads Magazine
Distinctive Details

Taunton Press
Paper
Reprints from articles in Threads Magazine about trims and embellishments. Crocheted and fabric covered buttons, ribbon trims, and several other useful embellishements. This is a pretty nifty book.

Sherri Haab and Laura Torres
The Incredible Clay Book

Klutz Press
Paper/Board, with 8 blocks of Sculpey
Polymer clay is great! If you have a certain historical button, or decorative metal piece you need to duplicate, this book may be what you need. The text is very elementary (the book is aimed at kids), but the clay makes it worth the price. You get 8 blocks of Sculpey (as far as I can tell, they're only a little smaller than the regular blocks you get in the stores for $3.99@) and simple instructions on baking as well as a few instructions for embellishing your clay with foil and paints. I found this clay useful for creating a snake bra for a late teens Theda-Bara-style outfit I made. Another plus with this stuff is its lightness after baking. You could probably make a breastplate of this, but that would be expensive.....

 

 

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