Top critical review
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Not what I'd hoped
on 1 May 2013
I was very excited to receive this book, but I've come to be disappointed with it, I feel like I now have it just to have large, drawn images of these costumes. It starts with an overview of patterns offered in magazines - too small to properly use unfortunately as they look more useful than the main patterns in the book.
Costumes are drawn from a few angles, including what the inside of the bodice looks like and the waistband, which I do appreciate a lot and find very informative. However the information given on each costume is not enough for me, perhaps as an academic, but I think what I was looking for was real construction details. This is of course a pattern book, as the title states, but these costumes are radically different from what is worn today, there are a lot of details I felt were missing and sorely needed. Certainly tournures (bustles) weren't featured at all, which is pretty deceptive - someone trying to recreate the costumes detailed in the book would, after much work, find their efforts to not reproduce what is in the book. I'm myself struggling with supporting the weight of the fabric that's been raked up and there are no details in the book that show how seamstresses incorporated elements into the costumes so as to support the garment. There is very little in the way of balance marks or clear notes on how each pieces fits together to make the whole - which makes prior historical costuming and sewing knowledge very useful.
I feel this book is merely a pattern book of what you'd see looking at a costume, but that it does not give the whole garment. I feel this book is for the historically enriched user with access to much more information on costume and an experienced pattern cutter/drafter and sewer as well. I'm happy to have this book, but I feel that I may as well have stuck to the pattern cutting books I've found online for this period.