Patterns of the Seventeenth-Century

Yesterday I stumbled across the two volumes of Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns by Susan North and Jenny Tiramani and I was awestruck.  It felt like a “best-of” book of sort, combining Arnold and Waugh’s pattern, with loving Fashion in Detail shots and then completely left everything else behind by featuring photographs from all angles, paintings of similar garments, x-rays, the occasional toile and even how-to’s.

Of course, the how-to part felt a bit like the authors taunting me. But then any how-to that mentions baleen and a complex embroidery that would take a person… a while, has to be a bit of tease.

Ironically the only thing I would really like to copy (aside from the embroideries themselves) is the 1660s gown. It doesn’t look that complic—- actually it does. And I would probably kill myself trying to source the right lace. (I have a thing about period-correct lace. It’s sad, tragic and probably worth a tutorial.) Time to go back to my faux peasantry.

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