(This is an entry in the Annotated Bibliography.)
*Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction c. 1660-1860. New York: Drama Book Specialists/Publishers, 1978.
First published 1964. Along with the others in Arnold’s series, this is an extraordinary work of scholarship. Arnold’s beautiful and highly detailed schematic drawings and graphed pattern diagrams, along with her highly informative text, give detailed and extremely accurate information about the construction of specific historical garments. The background information on costume, and the general construction information, are also quite valuable. The garments included tend to be fashionable in nature, rather than ordinary or work-oriented, some periods are less well-represented than others, and there is very little information about undergarments or accessories, but ultimately, there is only so much that fit into any book. This volume includes excellent introductory information; a pictorial timeline; patterns for numerous gowns, as well as jackets, stomachers, riding habits, chemisettes, and pelisses; “Additional material on the cut of early eighteenth-century dresses;” information on metric conversions, and advice on “Using the patterns for full scale work.” Altogether, the usefulness and accuracy of the book can hardly be overstated. This book, along with others by Janet Arnold, is widely recommended by costumers both historical and theatrical. I wholeheartedly recommend Arnold’s books. The book is instructional. The images are monochrome. It contains a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. I personally own this book, and would highly recommend it.
Also by Janet Arnold:
- Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction c. 1860-1940
- (Arnold’s other books in this series focus on earlier periods, which I have thus far not focused on, and I have therefore not used or reviewed those books, but I know them to be widely considered reliable sources.)
- A Handbook of Costume