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Unread 08-01-2011, 11:55 PM   #1
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Favorite historical costuming books?

Does anybody have any great historical costuming books (Any era) to recommend?

I'm currently reading three good ones:

1. Costume in Detail 1730-1930 By Bancy Bradford
The sketches in this are amazing and beautiful and enough information is given to recreate any of the gowns. This book contains only female clothing.

2. Survey of Historic Costume Third Edition By Phyllis Tortora and Keith Eubank
This is the most wordy of all three books but there are still many good sketches, paintings/portraits and pictures of actual garments on people and dress forms. Figure 33 in the middle is a gorgeous Victorian morning gown.

3. Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail By Lucy Johnson
This has the most beautiful full color pictures of historical garments I have ever seen. Men and women's clothing but mainly focuses on women's clothing.
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Unread 08-04-2011, 07:51 PM   #2
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Unread 08-08-2011, 07:47 PM   #3
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I don't have a lot of historical costuming books myself (I've been mostly using online resources until recently), but I would definitely like to see what other people have to recommend!

My favourite "book" (which I actually only own in photocopies and pdfs) is the Cutter's Practical Guide. Parts 3, 4, and 9 (out of 10) of the 1898 edition can be found at the Costumer's Manifesto. Some of the other parts can be found in libraries, often on microfilm. Basically, the contents cover a complete measuring and drafting system form the end of the Victorian era, including a wide range of every day clothes. It's also the most comprehensive book I've come across on men's clothing in the Victorian era. The drafting system itself can be complicated (or at least somewhat foreign compared to modern systems) but there are lots of illustrations and tons of help on how to correct the patterns for different figures and postures. Just be prepared for math and reading tiny text, and sometimes deciphering what exactly that strange run-on sentence means.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 01:00 AM   #4
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I use the Survey as my main reference book. It depends on what I am working on at the time.

I also use the Osprey Military book series if I am working on uniforms or warrior outfits. Often I will use the info from the books to find the museums or collections they reference to get more detailed first hand information. It saves me time on the internet.
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Unread 08-13-2011, 06:50 PM   #5
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I really like the Janet Arnold books.
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Unread 08-15-2011, 03:27 AM   #6
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Definitely the janet Arnold books I disagree with a few conclusions of the very early costumes but that is with the advantage of what.. 30 odd years of further research Much of wich is now very readily available.

I also adore the Fashion book from Kyoto Costume Insitute. mainly for inspiration with Arnold et all as the means to understand the construction.

The "In Detail" series from the V&A are wonderful also for inspiration but also for the details of the fabrics and trimmings etc.

Alcega, the 16thC Spanish book meant to show tailors how to lay their fabric. With Arnold III you can refer back and forth to see how the final pattern pieces look and how you cut them.

Blanche Payen's History of Costume but only the first edition. I am boycotting all reprints that do not include the patterns. They are not of the same garments ast Arnold so they are a further amazing research tool.

Nora Waugh's Cut of Women's Clothing, Cut of men's Clothing and Corsets and Crinolines. She includes contemporary texts that describe how the clothes were viewed but those who wore them and those who wondered what this fashion malarky was all about But also patterns as well as cutting diagrams of the various times.

Harpers Bazaar 1860-1903 or so. It's a Dover reprint and is comprised of only fashion plates from those dates from said periodical. Great for really getting to grips with the insane changing fashions of the Victorian era.
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Unread 09-10-2011, 11:57 AM   #7
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I have way too many to list (mainly because I work in the costume shop at my university and we have an entire library's worth)!

My absolute favorite is The Costume Technicians handbook It has construction and sewing tips, how to make hats, and insight into lots of historical periods. It also has accessories like glasses and shoes! Plus in the back it has a huge bibliography with a ton of amazing books divided up by period and country.
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Unread 12-06-2011, 08:57 PM   #8
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Ironically my favorite books on historically costume aren't histories. They are books about collections and collections of photographs.
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Unread 07-15-2012, 08:25 AM   #9
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I am using online resources for these books and they are working great for me.

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Unread 08-14-2012, 02:11 PM   #10
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Costume Close-up by Linda Baumgarten
Fashions of the Gilded Age Vols 1 and 2 by Frances Grimble (actually anything of hers is great),
Women's Seventeenth Century Dress Patterns by Jenny Tiramani
Fitting and Proper by Sharon Burnston
Corsets and Crinolines - Norah Waugh
Cut of Women's Clothes and Cut of Men's Clothes - Norah Waugh
Blanche Payne's book on historic costume (I cannot remember the name of it but it has patterns in the back that no one knows about because it's not sold as such)
Jean Hunnisett's Costume for Stage and Screen books
Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques

I love costume history books
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