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Historic English Costumes and How to Make…
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Historic English Costumes and How to Make Them (Dover Fashion and… (original 1920; edition 2009)

by Talbot Hughes (Author), Kristina Seleshanko (Introduction)

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Member:jcmonson
Title:Historic English Costumes and How to Make Them (Dover Fashion and Costumes)
Authors:Talbot Hughes (Author)
Other authors:Kristina Seleshanko (Introduction)
Info:Dover Publications (2009), Edition: Reprint, 432 pages
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Historic English Costumes and How to Make Them by Talbot Hughes (1920)

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Oh woe! I own over 130 books published by Dover, but my last few purchases have included some serious disappointments. This is one of them. Originally published in 1913 as Dress Design: An Account of Costume for Artists and Dressmakers and republished in 2009 as Historic English Costumes and How to Make Them, it contains a minimum of information on "how to make them"--which is the reason I bought it.

According to the introduction, Talbot Hughes was a popular artist who painted historic scenes and began collecting historic clothing for his models to wear. Eventually he donated his collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Hughes, being an artist, included plenty of sketches, but there's no way of knowing whether he took them from period images or from models dressed in authentic clothing. He did take over 30 photographs, reproduced here as half-tones, of contemporary models wearing historic clothing, starting from the late 16th/early 17th century.

It has about 65 pages dedicated to "Patterns to Scale". Rulers on each page are marked in inches. The scales vary from about 1:12 to 1:5 (the book itself measures only 5 3/8" X 8"). And the patterns are not schematics; they are sketches. There aren't any corset patterns. There is no information on constructing the garments (beyond basic alterations for size).

Historic English Costumes and How to Make Them is probably best viewed as either a costume history book or as an addition to a costumer's library. (I am not a costumer; I just like to sew.) I would probably not have purchased this book if I had known that there was really very little information on how to make the clothes. I already have A History of Costume by Köhler. Given a choice between the two, I would buy the Köhler book, also published by Dover, and costing only a dollar more. ( )
  IreneF | Jan 7, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Talbot Hughesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Seleshanko, KristinaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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As an early-twentieth-century English artist with an interest in historical subjects, Talbot Hughes began collecting clothing for accuracy in his paintings-and the pursuit grew into a labor of love. His magnificent costume collection was eventually displayed in Harrod's and has become a permanent part of the collection of the venerable Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In this well-researched guide, Hughes traces the evolution of English fashions from the grass-cloth wraps of prehistoric times to the luxurious gowns of the Victorian era. Arranged chronologically and by British reigns, this splendid compilation includes over 300 illustrations of period fashions for men and women and 94 photos of historic garments. Pictured are tunics and tights from the thirteenth century, Elizabethan gowns with starched ruff collars, Charles I cavaliers with lace-collared jackets and breeches, a five-century array of boots and shoes, an assortment of elaborate wigs, embroidered waistcoats, quilted petticoats, plumed headdresses, and other dashing designs of the past. More than a history of British style, it's also a dressmaker's delight, with scaled-down patterns for 67 authentic costumes-and a perfect reference for fashion designers, stylists, and historians.… (more)

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