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Historic Costumes and How to Make Them - Mary Fernald, E. Shenton, Eileen Shenton First of all, this book was originally published in 1937, so some of the terms sound a little archaic and of course, technology has changed so not all of the information given is still relevant. For instance, in the introduction the authors spend about 5 pages prattling on about what colors should be used in theater in combination with what lighting, which is not only boring but also outdated since lights have come a long way in 70 years. There is also a kind of hilarious part where the authors state that one must study period art to get accurate representations of people's dress -- "If it is not possible to pay a visit to the National Gallery or the British Museum to examine paintings, it is possible to buy accurate post-card reproductions which will be found to be a great help." Or, you know, nowadays we have these great coffee table art books with huge glossy photos. Also, the internet.

Anachronisms aside, this is an okay resource for beginners, but not that great. The chapters are broken up into the following:

I. Saxon to Norman (460-1066)
II. Norman to Plantagenet (1066-1307)
III. Edward II to Richard II (1307-1399)
IV. Lancaster and York (1399-1485)
V. Early Tudor (1485-1558)
VI. Elizabeth and James I (1558-1625)
VII. Charles I and the Commonwealth (1625-1660)
VII. Charles II to Queen Anne (1660-1714)
IX. The Georgians (1714-1837)
X. Victorian Costume

Each chapter is only about 5 pages long, and divided into sub-chapters according to each monarch's reign. The text discusses both men's and women's dress, but the descriptions are just so brief and the garments are usually not described in detail. There is also a serious dearth of pictures. Good drawings are a necessity in costume books to illustrate what the garments actually looked like; no matter how good an author is at describing something, the reader may picture a wholly different garment. I need pictures! The few that are in here are mostly turned sideways, too, which drives me batty.

The second half of the book consists of "patterns", but they're more like rough diagrams. None are superimposed on a grid to make them easier to scale up, there are no grain lines or crossgrain bust/waist/hip points, and there is some kind of weird letter code used to mark the seamlines that I've never seen before. Maybe patterns have changed a lot in 70 years too, I don't know. In some cases they're helpful to picture what the iconic period garments looked like (only if you're good at reading patterns, obviously), but I don't think I would ever scale one up and use it. I would find it easier to drape or flat-pattern from scratch based on a reference photo or drawing.