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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More books, more wonderful reading

Since my local libraries are light on for books about 18th century clothing I am a regular purchaser of books.

Among the latest to arrive is "Costume Close-up, Clothing Construction and Pattern 1750 - 1790" by Linda Baumgarten and John Watson with Florine Carr (published by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation).  I love the pictures of the insides of garments because I can see how they were put together and the types of stitches that were used.  I like that I can see where bits of fabric were pieced together to save cost and that sometimes edges weren't even, much like things I've made. It makes those people far more real to me, because the only real difference between us is time.  My only wish is that all the pictures were in colour rather than just a few.

The next book is "The Art of Dress, Clothes through history 1500 - 1914" by Jane Ashelford (published by the National Trust). I like the marriage of information from extant garments and portraits in this book. I like the snippets from people's letters, I liked finding out that even wealthy ladies went from shop to shop all over London to find the right fabric for a new dress - something I can relate to. Home sewing in Australia has been in decline for 20 to 30 years with a resulting drop in the number of fabric shops around Brisbane. I'm not a fan of Spotlight and that means trekking from one side of town to the other to the few shops that are still around.  I miss the fabric shops of my teens - they were wonderful even in my small town.

And if you want blisteringly good colour pictures with close-ups and less text there is "Fashioning fashion, European dress in detail 1700 - 1915" by Sharon Sadako Takeda and Kaye Durland Spilker (published by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art).  It covers quite a range of attire and the photos are sumptuous!

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