Review and Giveaway: Creating Historical Clothes, by Elizabeth Friendship

(Anova Books Group, 2013; 242 pages)

To win a copy of Creating Historical Clothes: Pattern Cutting from Tudor to Victorian times, just comment below! For a more chances, post about this giveaway on your blog, Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook, and share the link in a new comment! You can enter to win through Friday, December 20th; winner will be drawn on Saturday.

I was pleasantly surprised to be sent and asked to review this book. (That's by way of being my disclaimer.) Giving my opinion is one of my favorite pastimes, so I was happy to oblige.

Elizabeth Friendship is a serious professional costume designer, and developed her methods of pattern drafting on the job. She imparts these methods to the reader with painstakingly detailed diagrams and instructions. The basic idea is to create a bodice block that fits you, which she then describes how to alter for period-correct seam placement, shaping, etc.

The whole book is divided into five chapters - one for the basic blocks, and four for the 16th through 19th centuries. Chapter one consists of patterns for the bodice, a straight sleeve, a fitted sleeve, a two-piece sleeve, basic skirt, and basic trousers, all of which could be used to create modern clothing. The historical chapters are replete with full-color reproductions of fashion plates and portraits, as well as accurate information about the changes in fashion during that century and numerous patterns with instructions. For example, to pull from everyone's favorite era, the 18th century chapter contains:

  • Corset 1730-1740
  • Basic 18th-century [fitted] bodice pattern
  • Basic pattern for sack-back gowns and jackets
  • Robings
  • Stomachers
  • Sleeves c.1700-1755
  • Bodices c.1770-1785
  • Sleeve with elbow dart
  • Cuffs
  • Two-piece sleeve and cuffs
  • Mid-century hoop petticoats
  • Panniers c.1770
  • 18th-century skirts
The one caveat I have as to accuracy is that the 18th century armscyes are placed a little far out on the shoulder. But 18th century sleeves are difficult to relate to modern blank patterns, I think, so it's very understandable.

Overall, my feeling is that this book would best benefit a costumer who is very familiar and comfortable with modern sewing techniques. If you frequently use commercial patterns and alter them for more accuracy and a better fit, then you might get a lot of use out of (and save money with) the basic block patterns and instructions for alteration in Creating Historical Clothes.

Comments

  1. This is such a cool giveaway, thank you!

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  2. Thanks thanks for th is posting! I am glad to see your review including the useful bits of information about the book, like what types of patterns she included. It certainly looks like a very valuable item to own indeed!
    Best,
    Nancy N

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  3. This sounds like a cool book! I'd love to read it!

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  4. This is a very exciting giveaway!

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  5. This sounds like an amazing book! I'm so glad you're doing this giveaway!

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  6. I have reblogged this on my tumblr http://seekthemagic.tumblr.com/post/69746204009/mimic-of-modes-to-win-a-copy-of-creating#notes-container

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  7. cool giveaway! seems like a great book to have.
    patricia.pruitt.sc@gmail.com

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  8. Sweet! I'm hoping I get this for Christmas, but since I haven't seen any packages from Amazon, I'm not counting on it.

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  9. Would love a copy of this book. I'm always on the look out for new costume books. :) Thanks!
    -Emily

    Emily's Vintage Visions

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  10. Yay! Books with patterns are always useful.
    You mentioned basic trousers, am I to understand that this book contains patterns for mens clothing as well? That would be awesome. It's so much harder to find information on those.
    Or is the basic pants pattern just used for bloomers and such?

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    Replies
    1. Excellent question! No, Friendship provides the trouser pattern just so that the basic pattern section can work to make modern clothes for yourself. It's not used for anything else in the book.

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    2. Thank you. I didn't expect there to be any men's patterns, but it's good to ask. Strange that they wouldn't even use it for bloomers, swimsuits, or cycling outfits.

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  11. Thank you for the great giveaway, and I'm delighted to discover your blog. Particularly interested in Regency/Empire clothes and early Victorian, but it's all wonderful.
    wwwdotlesleyannemcleoddotcom

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  12. I have just discovered your blog and I am in love. Can't wait to go through it all. This book looks very interesting. I am still quite new to costuming but would love to add this to my resources. xx

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  13. Also posted about this on my tumblr http://plaidjump3r.tumblr.com/post/69942536852/a-most-beguiling-accomplishment-is-giving-away

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  14. And tweeted about it! https://twitter.com/GabrielaSalva9/status/411707627874177026

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  15. Love your 18th century fashion plate pictures. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to win this book. www.BestVintagePatterns.com

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  16. Oh, I would love this book!

    rhramstedt@gmail.com

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  17. Panniers. you say? I have a pair in my future. This sounds like an interesting book; thank you for the review!

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  18. Holy cow why did you not tell me of this before?? I NEED THIS BOOK :D

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  19. Definitely looks like a book I need to read - are you sure you weren't sent a box of them to share around?!

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  20. Oooh, I've been looking at this one to add to the bookshelf! I would love to have it too.

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  21. Neat, looks like a cool book I need!

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  22. Tumbl'd: http://dramaticthreads.tumblr.com/post/70462338893/a-most-beguiling-accomplishment-review-and-giveaway

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  23. And Tweet'd: https://twitter.com/dramaticthreads/status/413534363645534209

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  24. And Facebook'd: https://www.facebook.com/dramaticthreads/posts/1445336659020166

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  25. Please give me a reason to expand my costuming bookshelf.

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  26. I would love to have a copy of this book!

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  27. I like how it seems to have an overview of all of the basic needs of each of the eras.

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  28. Shared on FB: https://www.facebook.com/karen.heim.758/posts/10200609827002533

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  29. Is it possible to participate if I live in Germany? :)

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  30. Good review. Useful comparison notes between period & modern construction.

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  31. I have this on my wishlist already! :) Glad to see it got such a good review!

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  32. Dear Cassidy,
    Make a flat pattern block to suit different periods? That's useful! Sure, I'd love to enter.
    Very best, and thank you for offering the giveaway,
    Natalie

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  33. i shared/reblogged about this giveaway on my tumblr. here's the link http://sweetteakisses.tumblr.com/post/70498418277/mimic-of-modes-to-win-a-copy-of-creating

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  34. shared this giveaway on twitter. here is the link https://twitter.com/pleahpruitt/status/413718430982746114

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  35. My daughter would love this book.

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  36. i shared this giveaway on my facebook. here is the link https://www.facebook.com/leah.pruitt.39/posts/10202428924951851

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  37. This book is on my wishlist!
    I posted on my FB page
    https://www.facebook.com/CorsetraDesigns/posts/447164175383375

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  38. Oh man, this would be an amazing addition to the bookshelf. Thanks for this opportunity to win!

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