This is the webpage of a group whose aim is to improve the kit and clothes of a UK seventeenth century Civil War reenactment group, using the most up to date references and research. Feel free to comment on any of the subjects raised here and return often as I want to keep the discussion lively and ongoing.

Please look at the extra tabs on the right hand side. The newbie section is the place for basic kit if you're just beginning to reenact the 1640s. Haberdashery has lots of detail about colours, buttons, tapes etc.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

17th Century Women's Dress Patterns

I've got to recommend this book, it's becoming my bible. It's a kind of follow on to the Janet Arnold series of books, but has built on those publications and has become something much better.

The book sets out to show several actual extant garments in the V&A Museum in much closer detail than you could ever see should you go and look at them in the cases. Each garment is described and shown in detail with photographs. In many cases there is an attached portrait from the period showing the garment or something very similar being worn. Following on you get a detailed pattern, cutting out guide and step by step illustrated guide to the making of the item in question. If it was decorated, you get close ups of the embroidery or lace and more details of the stitches used or a pattern of the lace edging or insert. A few examples also have been x-rayed to show internal construction detail, such as boning on the silk bodice on the front cover.

The clothes are all from the approximate date range 1600-1630, so the styles are early for our period, but you can take a lot from this book, especially from the introduction which shows the typical tools used and all the stitches needed for making the garments. They range from waistcoats and bodices through to jackets, a mantle, shift, caps and accessories. There are even patterns for embroidered gloves.

If you are interested in how clothes were made in the 17th century, you really need to see this book. The best part is that this is book 1.  Men's patterns coming soon? I hope so.

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