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on 22 August 2017
Terrific :)
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on 13 March 2013
As a costume degree student I have used several examples from this book to make period undergarments to help give my costumes the correct foundation.

The examples are dated and cover the changes in style over 200+ years. You get a photograph, working drawing, description and a pattern to work from, though this is scaled down and will need to be transferred to pattern paper to be able to use. This does give you the opportunity to alter the pieces to fit different sizes.

A useful book for anyone interested in fashion history, but for anyone with an interest in making period examples it should be a staple reference. It was always in such high demand at the library that I ordered my own copy. I have not regretted it and know I will use it again once my course has finished.
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on 18 May 2016
This book is beautiful, I love vintage Lingerie, I would say this book is not for beginners, you do need good understanding and experience in construction of these Garments, as for the grading of the miniture patterns if your not sure just remember that each tiny square =.5cm. So 10 tiny squares equals 5 cm ( 2 inches) I hope this is helpful for anyone that is interested in buying this georgeous timeless book, a real treasure.
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on 16 December 2012
Interesting information about the history of lingerie. However, I was hoping that there might be more information relating to hand-sewing delicate lingerie from each era, rather than concentrating mainly on body shaping.
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on 9 December 2017
Regret it able to review my Wife’s Christmas Gifts
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on 18 October 2008
Corsets: Historic Patterns and Techniques

I'd heard some good things about it and managed to get a copy several months in advance of its release date.

Alas, for me it turned out to be a big disappointment!

For someone claiming to be a lecturer in historical clothing, Ms Salen appears to be lacking in both knowledge and the ability to reasonably hypothesise. What she does seem to be good at is hyperbole regarding her own talents. I'm actually wondering whether this was self-published because given that there are several excellent books on the subject, I can see no reason for a publisher to take this one on.

I'm not sure what this book actually has to offer beyond a handful of nice photographs (which can be found online or purchased from various museums). For the beginner the information is far too basic, and for the experienced it offers nothing new. In addition, certain information is missing from the 'patterns', e.g. grainlines on some pieces, tabs or straps on others. For the experienced sempstress or corsetiere this isn't a problem but a person with limited or no experience could well be left scratching their head.

The photographs, whilst clear and generally well presented, are selective at best. Some of the corsets aren't shown on mannequins, and almost all of them show only one view. Given that the accompanying copy in some cases describes certain design elements (one being that the left and right busts are different on a particular corset), one would expect the imagery to reflect and compliment the text. Certainly there ought to be close-up photographs of details. As for the cover image, one can only wonder why such a dreadful example of the corsetiere's art was used.

For a book that claims to inform and educate the reader about historical techniques, this book just isn't up to scratch. Granted there are a few sections relating to cording, gussets etc. but again, the information given is sketchy at best. My advice would be to spend your money on Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines, and borrow this one from your library.
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on 27 February 2012
I was disappointed. There is no explanation on how to make the patterns, no measurements of the patterns or a reference on using them. Usable as an inspiration , and I need more. How come there is no good book on vintage lingerie techniques? Drafting, working with patterns, sewing? If you know of one, please leave a comment.
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on 7 January 2009
I'm a profesional corsetiere and I found this book inspiring. This is less a book about how to make corsets, although that is covered, instead, it's a much more valuable deconstruction of several historical corsets. Each corset is dissected and presented piece by piece, so that we can recreate each one. Fantastic!
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on 17 September 2008
Corset making is a suprisingly large subject, and this book is a welcome addition to the range.
It opens with some thoughtful comments about dating corsets and how typical are surviving examples, among other subjects.
The main body is devoted to an interesting selection of corsets, including finely boned and half-boned stays, hand stitched corded corsets, and later ones with a 'zone' waist band or gussets as well as the usual vertical panels - not forgetting the underbust and ribboned. Each corset features a full page colour photo, half a page or more commentary, and two page pattern. The patterns are generally to half scale, and all on graph paper with balance marks, grain lines and boning etc. indicated.
There follows a section on corset construction, including step-by-step guides for two corsets and how to insert gussets, floss and cord as well as the usual binding and busk insertion etc.
The book ends with lists of references, museums and suppliers.
If you know nothing about sewing but want to knock up a fashion corset, then this book is probably not for you - until you've got the bug! However, if you can follow a sewing pattern and want to recreate a period corset, this is the best single book available due to the large patterns and colour photos and the wide range of construction tips, including some not published elsewhere. Yes, more could be written about construction (where does one stop?), the 'close-up' photos touted in the blurb do not zoom in on any unusual feature, and the photos of the black corsets could be clearer, but I am happy to recommend this book: it is a steal at full price. 4+ stars
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VINE VOICEon 4 September 2009
Having read the other reviews of this book, I was curious on which side of the fence I would find myself. The photographs are generous and some of the corsets are mouth-watering - Oh for the days of tight-lacing! - although as has been noted, the most beautiful corset in the range is not well-lit enough to show good detail. The patterns are shown clearly and with all necessary markings and the instructional text for the two projects is concise.

Having recently bought Robert Doyle's, 'Waisted Efforts', I prefer this book by Jill Salen. I find it clearer to follow and more 'real-time'. There is a practicality about Ms Salen's approach that is appealing and encouraging and her research, whilst full, is never merely academic.

The list of suppliers is helpful, too. If you are a beginner seamstress, you might struggle a bit with the sewing machine control needed to produce neat work, but that is resolved by practice. If you are new to corset-making, having a go at the hand-sewn project will clarify the logic behind the garment and the process.

Either way, give this book a go, have a try and enjoy yourself. That's what I mean to do!
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