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Costume Close-Up: Clothing Construction and Pattern, 1750-1790 Paperback – 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; 1st edition (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896762262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896762268
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.4 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The patterns in the book are drawn clearly and show the distortion of the fabric through wear rather than being idealized patterns. Sometimes an ideal pattern is also shown alongside a drawing of the actual garment on the same scale.
The descriptions of the garments are detailed and include information about the fabric, sewing techniques and alterations that the garment underwent. They are accompanied by black-and-white photographs showing the whole garment and various details. These seem to be geared towards a an experienced costumer, whereas at least a part of the additional topics seem to be written more for a costuming novice or even a juvenile person. This makes for somewhat uneven reading. The general layout with many illustrations, line drawings and fancy borders aroud some texts, the lack of proper footnotes (there are some endnotes but these are not indicated in the text) and the absence of a bibliography also contributed to my impression that the authors deliberately avoided an academic or professional look.
That said, the scope of the patterns presented is excellent, there are patterns to make up three women's gowns from different decades, a jacket, a shortgown and petticoats so that clothes for women from different social strata are presented. The number of men's clothes is somewhat more restricted but includes one unusual item, the stock (a predecessor of the modern necktie). Undergarments and cloaks are also included so that one see what a complete outfit would have consisted of. I also liked the idea of including quilting patterns for the petticoats and a design for the knitted pattern on the stockings. Altogether a good book both for beginning and experienced costumers and for everybody who just wants to see "what people wore back then".
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Format: Paperback
Having recently entered into the realm of 18th Century costuming, I stumbled on this book "by accident". It is now the cornerstone of a burgeoning library. A must-have for anyone interested in the period - gives excellent details on fabrics, construction techniques, patterns. Superb photographs. Details on stitching, seams, etc. Since it deals with only a 40-year period, it can zero-in on various garments, for both men and women, and describe these garments in detail.
Patterns would need to be altered for 20th/21st century figures (our posture is all wrong!), but in general they give the general size/shape/shaping required to achieve the desired result. Couple this book with Avril Hart's "Fashion in Detail" (now being published in paperback) and you have an excellent start on how to look authentic for the period.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fortunately, I was able to get it from our library. I guess I'll have to be patient about actually owning it, but anyway....

This book contains excellent information, not only on pattern, but on the textiles used and construction methods on actual garments. I am fascinated with how these period items were put together and amazed at the detail the researchers were able to identify - so much better than iffy descriptions of fashion plates and contemporary paintings. It is also interesting to learn how patterns would've been used with particular textiles, given cost of fabric at the time. (Interesting to me, anyway, I'm a little obsessed.)

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is serious about re-enactment costume, or who just wants to learn more history about how things were made.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is geared for readers with sewing experience, although the front portion of the book has an excellent section on 18th Century sewing techniques that may help non-sewers. I successfully made the man's cloak (pictured on the cover)in an afternoon, a non-sewer may struggle with the diagrams.
Perhaps the most helpful aspect of this book is the garment measurements - knowing the bust and waist size of the garment you're looking at gives you a much better idea of the actual size.
Next to Fashion in Detail by Avril Hart, and Janet Arnold's excellent Patterns of Fashion series, this book is a must have.
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By A Customer on March 28, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like Janet Arnold's now-classic "Patterns of Fashion" books, this book takes existing museum garments and offers basic scaled patterns for them. It also offers great details about how the garments were original made, tips for using period techniques, and even a few short histories (like the history of pockets). I can't recommend the book highly enough.
The patterns are not, however, for beginning sewers; they must be scaled up to size and then made up in muslin for the best accuracy. However, even beginners can enjoy drooling over these wonderful garments (shown in color and b/w) and learning about period construction.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If only Linda Baumgarten would write more books like this!

This is one of my favorite costuming books, because its format embraces a lot of different styles and the combination is much stronger than any of them singly. The book presents information both in articles and text-box asides, and uses line drawings and period illustrations as well as photographs and patterns of the actual garments. BEST of all, the book shows clear photographs of the INTERIOR construction of these garments, which is lost in most other books. (Janet Arnold shows a few interiors, but Nancy Bradfield seems to be the best about remembering to include construction.)

I'm so very, very happy that Quite Specific Media decided to bring this one back into print!
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