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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful
This book comes in a large format, A4 size, and is devoted to giving a practical and fairly detailed account on how to create patterns for historical clothing. I would not say that it gives a lot of help on the construction of the garments themselves, but focusses rather on the pattern construction, including how to take measurements and plan your outfit. I should say...
Published on 20 Mar 2003

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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Useful Starting Point
Ms Thursfield's book is a good starting point for those who wish to reconstruct medieval clothing. She makes useful points about sewing technique (some taken from the Museum of London: Textiles and Clothing 1150-1450 volume)and it is without doubt an improvement on clothing patterns sold by large dressmaking companies. However, several items are not at all similar in...
Published on 16 Sep 2003 by turtle worm


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful, 20 Mar 2003
By A Customer
This book comes in a large format, A4 size, and is devoted to giving a practical and fairly detailed account on how to create patterns for historical clothing. I would not say that it gives a lot of help on the construction of the garments themselves, but focusses rather on the pattern construction, including how to take measurements and plan your outfit. I should say that there is a section in the beginning that brings up how to put the pattern blocks together. From this follows that it probably helps to have some skills in dress making already.
The title says "making common garments 1200-1500" and what it means is that it covers the basic components of an outfit from these periods, not necessarily that the garments are simple or bland. The patterns deal with the basic building blocks of:
* smocks, shirts, braies (undergarments and body linens),
* cotes, kirtles, doublets, hose (main garments)

* surcotes, cotehardies, gowns, cloaks, frocks (outer garments)
* hats, caps, coifs, hoods, barbettes, veil, etc (head-wear)
* belts, purses, pouches, gloves, aprons, etc (accessories)
None of the patterns deal specifically with very fashionable designs, but are perhaps quite non-descript in those terms. This leaves much room for personalization and individual designs, e.g. embroidery, pattern adaptation, and so on. The book does bring up ideas for finishing touches like lacing, buttons, tassels, pearls and that sort of thing.
My own opinion of the authenticity of these patterns is that the author appears very serious and a proponent of historically correct methods, materials, and patterns. There is a timeline, although not terribly in-depth, of when different styles in clothing began to appear, and there are some references to historical resources such as paintings and plates. I would have liked to see more in direct reference to the individual patterns however. Also, it would have been useful if the information on material had been more in-depth, but then again, there is plenty of that sort of information for example on the World Wide Web.
Further, on the topic of the author's background: On the back of the book it says that the author is experienced and has a special interest in medieval dress. She has a City & Guilds Institute training in fashion, which is a vocational learning institute, and she has commissions that include medieval and Tudor outfits for museums and exhibitions.
If you are just beginning to explore the area of medieval tailoring, lets say you are a member of the SCA or some other living history organization, or if you are a re-enactor, I would say that this book is a very good start. Not to say it is only for beginners. I feel that you have to have an idea for an outfit, likely from doing research of art, illuminated manuscripts, and similar resources, and that then this book will be a helpful complement.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant resource, 18 Nov 2001
As a medieval re-enactor I recently looked through a mass of books on medieval clothing looking for ideas when I stumbled upon this at Oxford's Medieval Fayre I had a flick through the pages anf found that this was one of the best book I had found. IT gives well detailed explanations of how the clothes should be made and worn, and usuful information about adding detail for that truely authentic look. One of the best books by far on medieval clothing design....
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Useful Starting Point, 16 Sep 2003
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Ms Thursfield's book is a good starting point for those who wish to reconstruct medieval clothing. She makes useful points about sewing technique (some taken from the Museum of London: Textiles and Clothing 1150-1450 volume)and it is without doubt an improvement on clothing patterns sold by large dressmaking companies. However, several items are not at all similar in their construction to extant examples (kirtles) and those which are (the hose for example) are not pointed out and no documentation or references are given. Her technique for fitting a 'block' and for wide flared skirts are questionable and the skirts are wasteful of fabric (a serious consideration for reenactors and those who realise the cost of cloth). For those who wish to pursue this area further, the above MoL volume, 'Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince' and authentic illustrations, e.g. the Luttrell Psalter or Tacuinum Sanitatis, provide excellent research material. Online, I would suggest searching for 'versatile cote' and 'Robin Netherton', both of which would lead to detailed work on women's Gothic/fitted medieval dresses. In spite of these caveats, I have no hesitation in recommending Ms Thursfield's volume as a starting point, albeit one which requires a careful reading.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Medieval Tailor's Assistant: A re-enactors point of view, 7 Oct 2004
By A Customer
Sarah Thursfields book is excellent. I've met the author on a number of occasions and seen her actual work, which has helped me in my own medieval dressmaking. Despite having been a re-enactor for over a decade she's helped me and many others enormously. Our group treat it as a superb basic guide to kit.
I know Sarah wanted to include more detail and in-depth discussion on the costume, but for a basic beginer or a sewer that hasn't 'done' medieval before her book is a really good base.I think someone new to it would find more detail confusing. (Sarah was the lady talkng about costume on Terry Jones' Medieval Lives btw and had made/advised with alot of the kit on show)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Making Medieval Costumes, 15 Oct 2013
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Excellent for reenactment costumes,especially if you are new to it like me. Learn't so much and very easy to use.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Medieval Tailor's Assistant: Making Common Garments 1200-1500, 7 Jun 2013
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An useful book for seamstresses interested in making medieval clothes. Patterns are provided but need to be scaled up for use and not everyone can do that. It would be useful if the patterns were available as full size paper patterns ready for pinning onto the material for cutting out..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Replica Costume, 5 Feb 2013
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superb The very best book on medieval costume. Gives full instructions and excellent detail. Very highly recommended. A must have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Different!, 29 Jun 2010
This review is from: The Medieval Tailor's Assistant: Making Common Garments 1200-1500 (Paperback)
Really interesting book. Can be used to actually produce garments relelvant to the period, or - as I shall be doing - using it as inspiration for modern day design.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for the re enactor, 20 July 2009
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The Medieval Tailor's Assistant: Making Common Garments 1200-1500 If you a new to re creating costume of the medieval period, this is the best costume book I have seen so far. It tells you how to construct your own patterns, how to measure the body accurately as well as giving examples of types of dress mostly peasant common wear, male and female. I would highly recomend it.
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