My Costuming Library



This week I’m going out of town, so haven’t been doing much sewing. So, I thought I’d make a post of some of the books I reference for my projects! My sewing library is constantly expanding, and I still have a lot of books on my want list, but this is my current collection.

IMGP4489The first three books I have are How to Dress Dancers by Mary Kent Harrison. This is a great book, and I plan to use it someday soon for a classical ballet costume. This book covers all different kinds of ballet and classical dance costumes, and has really good explanations of everything.

IMGP4490A History of Costume by Carl Koehler is also a pretty good resource. It doesn’t really have a lot of pictures, though, and the explanations provided are brief at best, since it’s covering such a long period. I got it at a discounted price, so I still think it’s worth it, but I’m not sure I would have paid full price for it.

The History of Underclothes by C. Willett Cunnington and Phillis Emily Cunnington is also a pretty good resource, but again, covers a very long period in quite a short book. However, it has quite a lot of pictures and diagrams, which can be very helpful.

IMGP4492Next, I own two of the Kyoto Costume Institute books.

IMGP4486I have nothing but good things to say about both of these. They contain lots of full color pictures of extant garments, and regardless of whether or not you sew, are simply gorgeous books. I love all the pictures and could probably drool over them for weeks.

IMGP4488Costume 1066 – 1966 by John Peacock is a republish of a book that is pretty old, which is why the book only goes to the mid 1960’s.


It is filled with line drawings of garments from different eras, and is a good resource and fun to look at. You can track changing styles pretty easily. However, it only covers English fashion, which means its use is limited.

IMGP4498I also own Costume Close Up by Linda Baumgarten. I got this book on sale on Amazon, but would probably have paid the full price for all the pictures and construction information.

IMGP4501Honestly I haven’t looked through this book as much as I should have. It covers a very specific era that I haven’t done much work in yet, but from what I’ve seen looks good. It contains a lot of photos of extant garments, which is interesting to see.


Lastly, I have pictures of The Great American Pin Up.



This is probably a slightly strange book to have in a sewing library, but some of the pictures provide great looks a fashion from the 30s to 60s. Also, there is great hair and make up tips for this era from looking at the pictures. IMGP4482This book is probably the most fun one I own, because it’s so colorful and varied in images.

I also have copies of the first Patterns of Fashion book, and An Illustrated Dictionary of Historic Costume (which I have photos of on my tumblr, so you can see those here if you want). I unfortunately lost my lighting and was unable to get pictures of them, though.

I’m back in town so I’ll be able to keep posting about a multitude of sewing projects soon. 🙂





2 thoughts on “My Costuming Library

  1. Lovely selection and variety of books and good idea for your blog. I too could read those books for hours.

Want to leave a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s