Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A review on Seventeenth-century Women's Dress Patterns


My goodness and oh my! Buy this book!

Ahem. Seventeenth-century Women's Dress Patterns edited by Susan North and Jenny Tiramani arrived today. It's a wonderful book with patterns from V&A's costume collection. Though clearly heavily influenced by Janet Arnold's patterns books, this books goes further. For one thing, there are colour pictures! The book begins with a section on tools and techniques and some history. A how to on knitting, sewing and embroidery stitches. Then there are 15 patterns including bodices, jackets, mantle, gloves and a cap. There are pictures of every garment from several angles and, if possible, a portrait from the time. A description of the garment. Then there are several close-up, followed by the patterns. And then you get the construction! Some garment have extra suggestions on fastening and such and some have x-rays.

This is an incredible book! So informative and interesting. The only less good thing about it, and that is also mentioned in the foreword, is that V&A's 17th century collection is rather limited and most garments are from the first three decades. Not a plethora of styles unfortunately- I had high hopes on something from 1650-1680. Perhaps one can hope that this book will spark an interest for the 16th century and something else will crop up.

Aaaaand. This book is Book One. There will be more books. I wonder what is next. I hope there will be books on men's clothes as well. And I can't wait for the 18th century book.

9 comments:

Lithia Black said...

Oh, when the 18th cetnury book arrives, I'll sell my soul for a copy if I'm low on cash ;)

Cynthia Griffith said...

I'll have to keep an eye out for the 18th century one as well. Thanks for posting a review! Sounds so neat :D

LadyAugstaFredrika said...

Åh, den låter ju helt underbar! 1600-talet är dock inte min tid (jag är för insnöad på 1700-talet, på gott och ont.) Men jag känner att jag knappt kan vänta på versionen som täcker "mitt" århundrade. *Blir alldeles till mig.*

Tack för recensionen!

Lauren said...

yessssss!!!!

Isis said...

Oh yes, I'm eagerly waiting for the 18th century and salivates at the thought. :D

The Dreamstress said...

Oooh! Exciting! As much as I love 18th century, I actually hope they do another 17th century book - preferably later 17th century, before 18th century. There are already available patterns for almost every possibly 18th century style, but it's so hard to find 17th century patterns.

Thanks so much for the review too. I would have ordered it right away, but now that I know it is mostly early 17th century I'll hold off. Bummer.

Isis said...

Dreamstress: I wish for that too, but I doubt there will be one. :/ It seems the patterns are only from Victoria & Albert's own collection and their 17th century clothes lack scope. The foreword explian that with the fact that most of those were bought in the 19th century and then they focused on embroidered garments. This book is gorgeous, but there is only one garment that have a (tenatitve) date later that 1650.

I hope that this book will prompt more patterns books though- especially for the second half of the 17th century!

ZipZip said...

Dear Isis,
Thank you so much for the review. I was just about to order the book, because have been eyeing it for some months now and want to understand how the methods of the 18th century developed from those of the previous one...but on learning that the garments are mostly from the first three decades, oh, pooh, there goes that idea: it's after 1650 that things start really changing.
Very best,
Natalie

Isis said...

Natalie: Yes, that is a pity- I had hoped for the later 17th century as well. I think the book is worth having anyway, but then I have a very soft spot for the whole 17th century.

The good thing is that this is book 1, so I'm pretty certain that there will be an 18th century book alongthe way. Only thought of that makes me salivate...

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