Medieval Costume in England and France: The 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries (Dover Fashion and Costumes) Paperback – 26 Aug 1996
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Top customer reviews
It is easy to follow the development of line and cut through the centuries. Many detailed line drawings, along with some coloured plates give a good indication of details of construction and trim. It is easy to create patterns of any size from these drawings. Many drawings of the effigies of deceased monarchs and their consorts give an especially typical illustration of their favoured clothing. We can assume that the folk of their period followed their royalty's tastes during the reign and for some time afterward.
There is a very good section on embroideried trims and fabrics, and some treatment of jewelry as well. The head coverings for women are especially well covered. Armor and chain mail, and some weaponry are well discussed and illustrated.
A particularly interesting point is that the reigns of the monarchs of England, France and Germany are presented in table form for each century, complete w/ dates. Having this information compiled in this fashion is invaluable when one needs to be very accurate in construction of period garb, and may have not much more to go on than the name of the monarch of the time.
It was researched and written in the 1930s, and is very much a product of its time. Although scholarship regarding medieval art has come on a long way in the meantime (which anyone who's studied medieval art will notice from the very beginning), this is still a scholarly guide.
And that, for me, is the great strength of this book. Houston has cited her sources. She tells you where the manuscripts and other artworks are which contains the illustrations she's used. She gives the details of the garments she herself has studied. She doesn't leave you guessing about where her information has come from, unlike many more recent histories of fashion that I could name.
For the re-enactor, LARPer, costume designer etc., there are very useful sections on pattern cutting and construction. Beginniners might need a bit of help, especially on sizing and how best to lay out your pattern on your fabric, but there are plenty on excellent free guides online to help with that.
In short, I'm really glad I bought this book, and I can see it coming in very useful.
Some nice images of tomb effiges make for interesting research. Not a good example for actually creating costume, have seen better. Certainly not for the novice seamstress.
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