Fashions, ideas about clothes, and approaches to sewing changed a great deal over the course of the 19th century. This makes it difficult to make accurate generalizations – at some later date I shall return to this post and go into more detail, but in the meantime, if you’re looking for research resources…
Specific eras of fashion in the 19th century get their own tags:
These books are all helpful for studying 19th century clothing:
Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction c. 1660-1860. New York: Drama Book Specialists/Publishers, 1978.
Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction c. 1860-1940. New York: Drama Book Specialists/Publishers, 1993.
Bassett, Lynne Zacek. Textiles for Regency Clothing 1800-1850: A Workbook of Swatches and Information. Formerly titled Textiles for Clothing of the Early Republic. Arlington, Virginia: Q Graphics Production Company, Product division of Sally Queen & Associates, 2001.
Beaudoin-Ross, Jacqueline. Form and Fashion: Nineteenth Century Montreal Dress (Formes et modes: Le costume à Montréal au XIXͤ siècle). Montreal: McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1992.
Blum, Stella, Edited and with an Introduction by. Fashions and Costumes from Godey’s Lady’s Book; Including 8 Plates in Full Color. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1985.
*Bradfield, Nancy. Costume in Detail: Women’s Dress 1730-1930. Hollywood: Costume & Fashion Press, 2009.
Clark, Elizabeth Stewart. The Dressmaker’s Guide; 1840-1860. 2nd edition, Revised & Expanded. Idaho Falls, Idaho: Elizabeth Stewart Clark & Company, 2009.
Cunnington, C. Willett. English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century.London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1937.
Dalrymple, Priscilla Harris. American Victorian Costume in Early Photographs. New York: Dover, 1991.
Ewing, Elizabeth. Everyday Dress 1650-1900. London: B. T. Batsford Ltd., 1984.
Fukai, Akiko, Ed. Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century (The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute). 2006 edition published by Barnes & Noble by arrangement. Köln: Taschen, 2006.
Ginsburg, Madeleine. Victorian Dress in Photographs. New York: Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc., 1983.
Grimble, Frances. After a Fashion: How to Reproduce, Restore, And Wear Vintage Styles: Middle Ages to Art Deco, For Men and Women, Updated and Expanded. 2nd edition. Illustrated by Deborah Kuhn. San Francisco: Lavolta Press, 1998.
Grimble, Frances, Edited, Translated, and with Additional Material by. The Lady’s Stratagem: A Repository of 1820s Directions for the Toilet, Mantua-Making, Stay-Making, Millinery & Etiquette. San Francisco: Lavolta Press, 2009.
Grimble, Frances, Edited and with Additional Information by. Reconstruction Era Fashions: 350 Sewing, Needlework, and Millinery Patterns 1867-1868. San Francisco: Lavolta Press, 2001.
Johnston, Lucy. Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publishing, 2009.
Lady, A (Anonymous). The Workwoman’s Guide: A Guide to 19th Century Decorative Arts, Fashion and Practical Crafts (A Facsimile Reproduction of the Original 1838 Edition). Guilford, Connecticut: Opus Publications with Old Sturbridge Village, 1986.
Leisch, Juanita. Who Wore What: Women’s Wear 1861-1865. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Thomas Publications, 1995.
Lynn, Eleri. Underwear: Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publishing, 2010.
Mackenzie, Althea. Hats and Bonnets, from Snowshill, one of the world’s leading collections of costume and accessories of the 18th and 19th centuries.London: The National Trust, 2004.
Mackenzie, Althea. Shoes and Slippers, from Snowshill, one of the world’s leading collections of costume and accessories of the 18th and 19th centuries.London: The National Trust, 2004.
Miller, Marla R. The Needle’s Eye: Women and Work in the Age of Revolution.Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 2006.
Montgomery, Florence. Textiles in America 1650-1870: A Dictionary based on original documents, prints and paintings, commercial records, American merchants’ papers, shopkeepers’ advertisements, and pattern books with original swatches of cloth. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2007.
Olian, JoAnne, Ed. 80 Godey’s Full-Color Fashion Plates: 1838-1880. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1998.
Rexford, Nancy E. Women’s Shoes in America, 1795-1930. Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2000.
Ribeiro, Aileen. The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France 1750-1820. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.
Salen, Jill. Corsets: Historic Patterns and Techniques. Hollywood: Costume & Fashion Press, 2008.
Severa, Joan L. Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900. Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 1995.
Severa, Joan L. My Likeness Taken: Daguerreian Portraits in America. Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2005.
*Shep, R. L. Civil War Ladies: Fashions and Needle-Arts of the Early 1860′s; Primary Source Material from Peterson’s Magazine 1861 and 1864; Additional Hair Styles and Hair Jewelry from Campbell’s “Self-Instructor in the Art of Hair Work.” Mendocino, California: R. L. Shep, 1987.
Staniland, Kay. In Royal Fashion: The Clothes of Princess Charlotte of Wales & Queen Victoria 1796-1901. London: Museum of London, 1997.
Steele, Valerie. The Corset: A Cultural History. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2001.
Takeda, Sharon Sadako, and Kaye Durland Spilker. Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail 1700-1915. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2010.
Tozer, Jane, and Sarah Levitt. Fabric of Society: A Century of People and their Clothes 1770-1870: Essays inspired by the collections at Platt Hall, The Gallery of English Costume, Manchester. Carno, Powys, Wales: Laura Ashley Limited, 1983.
Trestain, Eileen Jahnke. Dating Fabrics: A Color Guide 1800-1960. Paducah, Kentucky: American Quilter’s Society, 1998.
Waugh, Norah. Corsets and Crinolines. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1970.
Waugh, Norah. The Cut of Men’s Clothes 1600-1900. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1964.
Waugh, Norah. The Cut of Women’s Clothes 1600-1930. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1968.
Whitaker-Augusta Auction Company. Tasha Tudor Historic Costume Collection.Philadelphia: Whitaker-Augusta Auction Company, 2007.
Updated August 7, 2012.