17 hours ago
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Newly acquired costuming books
I got a couple of books from 'The Old Bookshop' (Felicity J Warnes) at the weekend - 'The Queen's Servants' and 'The Kings Servants' , both by the wonderful Tudor Tailor. I wish resources like these had been around when I was doing a lot of C15th and C16th costuming, like the outfit above, made for the Richard III festival at Middleham in 1985. All I had to work from at the time was 'The Evolution of Fashion' - it was good but basic. Not a book anyone could have used without some knowledge of pattern cutting, as the pattern pages give basic outline shapes only. This was before Janet Arnold's 'Patterns of Fashion' series included the C16th (and then only the second half of the century) and there was very little available. I used the patterns from 'The Evolution of Fashion' and took the details from various paintings of the time. I still have a print of one of the panels of Hans Memling's St Ursula Shrine in Bruges, bought because it showed the back views of the dresses, not something seen often in paintings.
Felicity also had 'Seventeenth-Century Women's Dress Patterns: Book One', recently published by the V & A. The detailed photos in this book are amazing and there are also X-rays of various garments in the collection. The detail photos of Margaret Layton's ornately embroidered jacket were excellent. As it is one of my favourite pieces at the V & A (now sadly not on permanent display to avoid further light damage), it made this book a must-have too, so I have just ordered it online - should have got it on Sunday!
Even though I haven't made any reproductions of costumes for these centuries lately, the cutting information is always useful. The differences in construction of pre-machined garments can be very interesting and often provides solutions for contemporary clothing.