Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sewing Books 

A bleg:

Anna, Melissa, and anyone else with the masochistic desire to sew their own clothes:

What books have you relied on for your Medieval and aristocratic gowns?

Hi there!!

This is such a BIG question. There are so many books!! My favorites right now are "The Costume Technicians Handbook" (about sewing costumes), "The Tudor Tailor" (amazing information about sewing 1500 English gowns), "Medieval Costume and Fashion" by Herbert Norris, and "Patterns of Fashion" by Janet Arnold (there are two of her books that are a must for Renaissance and 18th century).

What periods are we discussing specifically? Do you want to read about costumes or make costumes? If you're wanting to sew, I can also recommend patterns.
Right now, I'm thinking Japanese or Chinese traditional, and yes, sewing my own.

In the future, American Revolution period (for women, as in, me), or Prairie dresses ala Willa Cather.
Hmm...check out these for patterns. I'm not familiar with any books on Japanese or Chinese traditional dress, but I'll let you know if I hear of any.

http://www.jpryan.com/ (Revolution Period)

(lots of patterns)

http://www.reconstructinghistory.com/patterns.php?c=8&w=103&r=Y (articles...including japanese!)

http://www.folkwear.com/asian.html (asian patterns...they also have prairie dresses).

http://www.simplicity.com/index.cfm?cat=4&type=19&sec=37&startrow=1 (GREAT civil war patterns. They have the undies and a prairie dress)

It sounds like you're enjoying the sewing and research, so I'll send more links and books your way as I find them. Let me know if there's ever a costume that you have to have but just don't want to make. I'm doing commissions these days. :)
Oooh, beautiful. If only I had more time. I'm like a goldfish - my appetite is bigger than my stomach.

How do you keep patterns, the tissue paper ones? I'm transferring them to cardboard, for use and preservation. Is that the best way?
Well, up until recently I've been very bad and haven't been saving the patterns (I just cut out my size, and ruin the pattern for any other sizes).

But, as I'm getting more and more requests to make costumes, I'm rethinking that bad habit. I hear that a lot of people use wax paper - you can easily trace the pattern using a permanent marker, and it holds up better than tissue paper.

I have recently discovered another option. Swedish "tracing paper" is great because you can trace the pattern, and then the paper is firm and flexible like fabric so you can sew it together. I make my 'mock-up' using the tracing paper and make any alterations directly onto the tracing paper. The final shape is what I use as my pattern piece, and it's very durable.

Hi there - check your junk email. I sent you a last minute party invite for Friday night.
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