Costume Books in Association with Amazon Com:
Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d: The inventories of the Wardrobe of Robes prepared in July 1600, edited from Stowe MS 557 in the British Library, MS LR 2/121 in the Public Record Office, London, and MS V.b.72 in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC Janet Arnold, the late, lamented goddess of costume research did this detailed study of every surviving garment, wardrobe record and portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, where she attempted wherever possible to match up the garments and portraits with the detailed wardrobe accounts kept by the government of the day. The only complaint to be found is that few of the pictures are in color. This large format book is considered the apex of detailed, stringent costume research work.
Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwoman’s Dresses and Their Construction: c.1660-1860 by Janet Arnold the late, great, goddess of us all. Patterns from museum originals drawn on a 1/8″ grid to 1/8 scale, plus line drawings and construction details telling you exactly how the beasts went together. Great scholarship put into a form that has instant application to reproducing costumes for theatre or reenactment in real life.
Patterns of Fashion : The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women C1560-1620 Like the above, but further off the ping board. Includes men’s patterns too, plus photos and essays on the clothes. You know this woman was truly devoted to her research the moment you start reading about the damage to the original costumes caused by the messy fact that most were once grave clothes
Period Costume for Stage & Screen : Patterns for Women’s Dress 1500-1800, Jean Hunnisett, Kathryn Turner (Illustrator) Worth every penny of it’s hefty price tag, this book is high on scholarship, illustrations, easy to understand text and diagrams, and is one of the best, most detailed how-to manuals for costumers ever written. I had been working as a costumer for almost 20 years when I first saw this book and still, I’d say lots of it’s techniques were a revelation. It shows in essence, how to reproduce costumes in this period in such a way as to make them indistinguishable from originals.
Tailor’s Pattern Book 1589 : (facsimile) by Juan de Alcega, translation Jean Pain & Cecilia Bainton. A connoisseur’s lust-object; includes a complete facsimile of the original, plus translation, definition of terms, and a scholarly treatise on tailoring in the 16th Century.
Tudor Costume and Fashion, Herbert Norris. A long out of print classic, heavily geared towards the needs of Shakespeare productions and people doing English History plays. Norris’ books have long been hunted through antiquarian booksellers by serious costumers.
Vecellio’s Renaissance Costume Book : All 500 Woodcut Illustrations from the Famous Sixteenth-Century Compendium of World Costume; Cesare, Vecellio. The first great costume book written (or to be more accurate, drawn), this work is absolutely indispensable for costuming Shakespeare or Ren Faires. It is most interesting in that it shows not only contemporary European Renaissance dress, but also what these same Europeans thought was the modern dress around the world, as well as Medieval and Ancient dress. This book is probably the closest image of what costuming in Shakespeare’s stage would have looked like, since plates in it are suspiciously close to the costumes shown in the Titus Andronicus drawing.
A Visual History of Costume : The Sixteenth Century, Jane Ashelford. Lots of mainly B&W reproductions of paintings with concise scholarly histrory, intended for the theatre costumer intent on greater historical accuracy.
Dress in the Age of Elizabeth I; Jane Ashelford. Lots of mainly B&W reproductions of paintings with concise scholarly histrory. Longer, and a bit more in-depth on the Elizabethan period than the above two series books, it is obvious that this is the must-have one for any historical recreationist intent on wowing their friends at Ren Faire.