Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Review: Draping Period Costumes

Sobel, S. (2013.) Draping Period Costumes: Classical Greek to Victorian. Focal Press. isbn: 9780240821337

Okay so last week I showed you a good book for draping basic things, this week we're diving into a book on something much more highly specified: historical costuming. Now for anyone who has looked into or done legit historic costuming, as in basing it off extent garments and/or using a historical pattern book which directs you how to make the patterns but doesn't give you 1:1 scale patterns, you know that this is a much more interesting process. Most historical costumes use different shapes (and shapewear) and seam lines that contemporary clothes so it can be a challenge even for an experienced cosplayer. Draping this sort of costume really helps to make sure it will actually fit (take it from someone who took eight tries to get a functioning mid 1800s sleeve). 

This book is best used by someone not completely new to draping but it does give a few pages for how to modify a dress form to fit you (or your friends) and some information on materials. She uses muslin for all of her draping which looks lovely but I'm more of a fan of something with lines myself (like gingham).

And here's what most of the book looks like. She shows the final pattern pieces as well as a fairly step by step process of how she gets there. She doesn't hold your hand nearly as much as Draping Basics does, however, a major part of why I wouldn't suggest this book for absolute beginners. But it is easy to follow along and one of the bonuses is that she shows how to drape and cut both women's and men's historical garments. She also shows how to adjust your dress form to be similar to a man's silhouette.

8/10 All in all a very good overview on historical costuming draping. It chooses major representations of each major time period so it is a good starting place for historical costuming but would be best paired with a historical pattern book if ultimate historical accuracy is your bag. Also not well suited for someone who has never draped before but still usable by someone of that skill level, it'll just take patience and a bit of trial and error.

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