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Book Giveaway: “THE VICTORIAN TAILOR” by Jason Maclochlainn

You could win THE VICTORIAN TAILOR: An Introduction to Period Tailoring

The Victorian Tailor: An Introduction to Period Tailoring
(published by St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011) by Jason Maclochlainn is an incredible sourcebook containing a comprehensive introduction to the world of the 19th-century tailor. It’s filled with essential information about authentic techniques, tools and materials—everything you’ll need to know in order to recreate authentic menswear from the Victorian period. It’s ideal for tailors, costume designers, dressmakers, and all of those involved in historical reenactments encompassing the Victorian time period—or those who are simply curious about the era. You’ll even find a unique glimpse into the 19th century tailor’s shop and the people who worked there.

The techniques, materials and patterns found in the book were adapted from original Victorian pattern-cutters’ books, so they’re historically accurate. There are patterns for many garments including morning coats, waistcoats, frock coats, trousers, shirts, and hunting garb featuring outstanding designs from every decade of the Victorian era. Full instructions for basic tailoring construction techniques are also included. There are over one hundred illustrations to guide you through the sewing process as well as to describe the evolution of the primary wardrobe worn by a Victorian gentleman. Even if you don’t sew Victorian menswear, you’ll be enthralled with the information found within the book’s 160 pages.

The book also includes detailed instructions about how to draft and cut your own well-fitting patterns using any one of the 18 Victorian menswear patterns. Clear, concise, step-by-step directions are included so that you can create a beautifully finished garment.

Tell us why you want to learn more about Victorian menswear, and you could become one of our winners. Simply leave your comment on this post before the deadline—11:59 pm, Sunday, April 17—and you could be one of three lucky winners to receive a copy of the book. The winners will be randomly selected on Tuesday, April 19.

Good luck!


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  1. jennieMB | | #1

    i`m obsessed with the victorian period of dress... everything from Queen Victoria to Gone with the Wind. I`d love to see the techniques used and modify them to projects i have.

  2. shaniqua | | #2

    So many of the odd details I've been trying to figure out/add on my own are details found in Victorian menswear - and I never even realized. I can only imagine how much this book could help me.

  3. tomsmama2 | | #3

    How fascinating! I've often wondered when looking at period garments how they were constructed but as most displays are "no touchy, no feely" it's kind of difficult to discern.

  4. LoracC | | #4

    I think it's just interesting to see how things were done back then compared to how they're done now. How much has changed and how much as stayed the same.

  5. echevalierdesigns | | #5

    victorin mens wear book,could help with my costume design work that i have with off broadway shows here in nyc.i also have a dressmaking business that is based on the methods used during the late 19th and early 20th century tailoring and dressmaking .

  6. Rawksis | | #6

    I would love to learn how to tailor especially the Victorian styles because I am a fashion designer who thirsts for absolutely any and all knowledge of construction, fit, and techniques! This book sound so full of amazing techniques and will definitely help me grow as a designer and that's all I ever can want.

  7. User avater
    eeamende | | #7

    That is quite a sharp-dressed gentleman on the cover! I would love to learn more about Victorian menswear tailoring because of my interest in costume design. Also my knowledge of menswear patterning/tailoring techniques is lacking in general, so a book like this would be very useful!

  8. sarahsmom | | #8

    I have always been interested in "slow sewing" and menswear is especially fascinating to me. Already owning several books on the subject of the history of male attire, I was surprised to find that until fairly recently (probably late 19th or early 20th century) the man's dress shirt - which was always white - until even MY childhood) was considered part of the man's UNDERCLOTHING! No wonder I have always thought an immaculate white dress shirt on a man makes him look so sexy ! If it also smells like starch, I am ready to swoon !!! I have enjoyed sewing custom vests, for symphony musicians to wear with "tails" and enjoy sewing all manner of "classy" mens wear. My son will marry in May of this year and I would love to think I could talk him into wearing something I learned how to make from this book. He and his beautiful bride-to-be have their own ideas though; who knows? I would love to have the book and at least try.

  9. User avater
    mishapley | | #9

    I'm really interested in drafting as well as the history. I'd love to see this book.

  10. bekabug8 | | #10

    Tailoring is something my school does not go into, so I would love to learn it from this book. It would be cool to draft and tailor a coat for my boyfriend.

  11. User avater
    elizabeth001au | | #11

    This sort of information is not readily available and there arent that many books on it. Id love to expand my horisions and learn new techniques.

  12. User avater
    marinowel | | #12

    I would love to win The Victorain Tailor becquse I think that 19th century tailoring techniques are the bes of today"s tailoring and stil alive in saville row workroom for instance.
    I love the uniqueness of a hand made tailored garment and though aimed at men it is fully adaptable to ladie's garment construction. And with all the men inspired fashion seen on the catwalk lately, this book is perfectly timed.

  13. MariaKie | | #13

    I have gotten more and more into men suits altering, and understanding how they are put together would be wonderful. This book would be most welcome on my shelf, and collection of books.

  14. LivingHistoryFamily | | #14

    As a family hobby we volunteer to do living histories at local museums and also participate in reenacting the Civil War era and WWII. Because I have a house full of growing boys (young men now) the only way we can afford to participate is to make all of our own clothing. The field of men’s tailoring is often difficult to research and there have been times where I cannot find a solution that would be correct to the period, having this fantastic resource on hand would be a true blessing. I would love to win The Victorian Tailor.

  15. User avater
    HauteGoatCashmere | | #15

    I apprenticed as a master tailor during high school; my Sr. prom dress was a replica of a Victorian ball gown. In Apparel Design School Victorian fashions were my inspiration. I eventually focused on Charles Worth as inspiration for my undergrad thesis / final line. I always studied Victorian fashion from the outside - and haven't taken much time studying the techniques they used (I just adapted contemproary techniques to try to achieve the same affects). Now I have the time to study about the inner workings, and would love to win one of the books!

  16. Badnana | | #16

    As a relatively new sewer I am always looking to lear, and this book has a lot of great ideas. I have always loved the Victorian period dressing and this would be a perfect learning tool

  17. User avater
    WhidbeySewing | | #17

    From the time I first read Country Bunny and saw the bunny in a Victorian bustle dress I have wanted to wear Victorian Clothes. I started sewing at 12 and in my 20's I made my first Victorian dress. It was terrible. I've made leaps and bounds since then and now have a sewing business, but first love is Victorian attire. I have recently begun sewing for a gentleman who does Civil War events, and he has many friends who also need clothing for re-enacting. I have a reference library for my work, but it is sadly lacking in information about men's wear and tailoring. This book would be a great benefit to my business.

  18. Fripperie | | #18

    This is perfect - i'll be needing to do some mid-19th century menswear soon, for a group that will be performing minstrel music. A book on Victorian tailoring would be very handy!

  19. Roberta_Pitts | | #19

    I would love to have this book to read and look at! Clothing from this period was cherished, expensive, and took a lot of time to make. This book looks like a rare jewel!
    Please pick me! pick me!

  20. sewinggirl | | #20

    Tailoring has always been a fascinating subject for me. It would be exciting to learn more about techniques from the past.

  21. crafting_in_my_cave | | #21

    I'd be interested to see what techniques we don't do today.

  22. puntopunti | | #22

    The man and women in that era were so elegant. I really will like to have that book that will be a treasure for me.

  23. Lise_the_hobbit | | #23

    My husband is now after me to make him a proper frock coat to go with his favorite coachman's hat that he bought in Old Salem, NC - and of course, finding a pattern is only the beginning of getting it right - this is a fun period to create garments/costumes for, but finding the right menswear is harder than finding women's patterns

  24. Fey | | #24

    I want to learn to draft patterns, I am a costumer and love the Victorian era, period pattern drafting books are so hard to find.

  25. User avater
    rakijaa | | #25

    Tailoring (or sewing for men) is not something I have studied yet, beyond making a vest! Time to learn...if I can build a steel boned corset, shouldn't I be able to make my husband a frockcoat? I would love to have this book....thanks!

  26. LanternandShadows | | #26

    This book sounds great. What fun to make a period piece and learn techniques too.

  27. Garden99DIva | | #27

    This book would definitely be a plus! I created my daughter's costume for Dickens on the Strand held in Galveston, Texas every year at the beginning of December. I have had several requests to create additional garments. This book would give me more insight.

  28. User avater
    BarbaraSki | | #28

    I'm a cowboy shooter and for special events, I make Victorian costumes (1870-1900) for my husband and me. This would be a good book to have to help me with my Victorian accuracy!

  29. User avater
    TessaBear | | #29

    I am so in love with the Victorian period of time and fashion. The book would be useful to upgrade my sewing skills in that era.

  30. JoSquared | | #30

    I would love a book like this. I have been trying to find this exact information for quite some time as I am trying to make a frock coat for my barrel-chested husband. He also loves the look of this period, as it was his suggestion to wear tails for our wedding.

  31. NiniS | | #31

    I love to sew and would love this book. I collect Victorian picture buttons and have a salesperson's sample fabric book that I just love.

  32. snipsnipsew | | #32

    Tailoring to me is the ultimate art of garment construction and what better way to learn a craft then with fundamentals from the artist of the past. This book sounds like a real treasure.

  33. squirrel_ee | | #33

    This would be such a fabulous book to have because learning the right way to tailor really makes a difference with the lay of the fabric. I would love to learn more of this as it is a great skill to have.
    There is an elegance to a finely crafted piece of clothing that one doesn't always learn when home sewing.


  34. Glitterati | | #34

    I love to incorporate old techiniques into modern clothing. My husband is very difficult to fit, because he is so tall. I make most of his clothes as he really can't shop retail. This book would enhance my tailoring skills.

  35. User avater
    GreigeGirl | | #35

    I would love this book. I worked at both a historic clothing collection, and a fine men's tailor, and I would love to combine my two passions, old practices with new styles. Thanks for the opportunity!

  36. marymary | | #36

    This book sounds like such an interesting read. I have been looking for a tailoring book that has the information about the way tailoring was done in the past. It would be a welcome addition to my library.

  37. ariesluv4u | | #37

    This book would be a great addition to any seamstress' libray. It would be enlighten to be able to exam how the drafting techniques for menswear has evolved from the Victorian era.

  38. Nimue325 | | #38

    I must be ready for the Newport Vintage Dance Week!

  39. queenellabella | | #39

    I'm intrigued by the structure of clothing and the details of dressmaking and tailoring in this time period. This book sounds quite interesting!

  40. User avater
    CZemke | | #40

    I have always enjoyed the Victorian period, in fact I have always believed that if I have lived another life it would be during the fabulous Victorian years. For years I read everything I could get my hands on: decorating books, fashion, victorian living, etc. It was through this that I began a collection of victorian valentines from the years 1890-1910. Currently I am a designer/seamstress as a profession and find it still to be a big source of inspiration. Their details in garments, the use of lace, and tailoring in not only menswear but womenswear was fascinating. I love to make suits and jackets. This book would allow me to incorporate the trend of menswear and tailoring in my designs.

  41. bryanroach | | #41

    As a young undergraduate at the University of Southern California studying music, I have not had very much exposure to things sartorial, but I do have a great appreciation for them. This book would do me well so that I can pick my formalwear with discrimination and have them cut just as they would have been made at the turn of the last century.

  42. J_Maclochlainn | | #42

    If someone told me about this, I would have autographed them.

    Hopefully people will read this since I see a lot of people talking about jumping right into making a frock. The secret to successful tailoring and well executed garments is in a solid foundation. Take your time, sit down and do one stitch over and over again until it is perfected and then move on to the next stitch, rinse, repeat. Even then, you want to start with a pair of trousers, make a pair, run your shears though them and toss in a bin and do it again :) This is how you learn to tailor.


  43. WaiKit | | #43

    I am enamored in the wide tapestry of how menswear is made. I would love to see the techniques used by generic tailors in the 19th century. I would like to be privy to the secrets of tailoring and I might even be able to tailor one next time!

    I'd love to have this book.

  44. earthmag | | #44

    I alter womens and mens wear for a high end Department store and I also enjoy making costumes for my family and friends. It would be a great resousce book to have plus it would also be interesting to see how construction of menswear has changed since the victorian era

  45. SewistStLouis | | #45

    I think this is a wonderfully historic topic. We should always be willing to learn from the past even as we rush forward into the future with technology.

  46. User avater
    Cheriezel | | #46

    The 'big 3' pattern companies costumes for menswear is very limited and usually lacking in historical details. I would love to add this book to my costuming book collection and try and make something for my hubby!

  47. User avater
    Annemari | | #47

    The human knowledge - and sewing knowledge among all other fields of it - has been building up in layers, and its both very intriguing and useful to dig something up from previous eras. Just to look at it, or use a bit of it, or save it somewhere in your mind. Or to find out what has outlived until our days and what's forgotten and why.

  48. User avater
    EvaDress | | #48

    Learning more about tailoring Victorian menswear will help me when drafting patterns of just about any kind. Also, having the knowledge will assist me when bulding any kind of garment, be it contemporary or from any passed era for men or women!

  49. Rabia | | #49

    I have the book The art of Millinery" from the fin de siecle period, and that was fascinating; I expect THIS would be just as fascinating! I am sure there is useful information to be had from it, and so I would like to win a copy of this book!

  50. User avater
    ajohn075 | | #50

    I would love to add this book to my sewing library.

  51. User avater
    patience71 | | #51

    I would love to have this book. My son and I reenact the Civil War era but are branching out. Would be a great help to dressing him in a period correct fashion for places where he wants to be a civilians instead of a soldier.

  52. Stitchintheditch | | #52

    Hi! I would love to have this book. I am writing open source software for "scientific" methods of sewing such as this book represents. This software will be presented at Libre Graphics in Montreal in May, 2011, and has been covered in an article in Linux Pro magazine. I will not be remunerated for this software as it is open source and will be available for download for free from the SourceForce website sometime later this year.

    With this software each designer or sewist will be able to create their own patterns and run it through this software and the output is a full-sized .pdf file.

    Many Victorian patterns and sewing books have great information, but none of them have *all* the information needed to create the garment (lining, padding, pockets, etc.) Each book has something more to contribute. Each bit of reference material is useful!

    In any case, I love Threads. It's been very helpful to me over the years. I've been reading my mother-in-law's subscription, or buying at the grocery store, but this year I finally subscribed. Don't know why it took me so long. The Threads CD's are awesome, I have those and they're very useful.

    Susan Spencer Conklin
    Madison, Alabama

  53. Megrims | | #53

    This would be a fantastic source for steampunk costuming, as well as a great reference on tailoring in general.

  54. beth5646 | | #54

    I love to sew tailored clothes. A period tailoring book would find a welcome home here.
    Beth in OKC

  55. Bobbie1 | | #55

    I have this book and can assure you it is fantastic! Not only is this information hard to find in print, but much of tailoring has been passed down orally, so has never been written down. Until now. Don't let Jason's warning discourage you - tailoring takes practice, but is also great fun! Just remember that a frockcoat is a difficult tailored garment. Just start with simpler tailored garments, and work up to more difficult garments.

  56. Gizzette | | #56

    I love to sew in traditional ways. I adore hand sewn interfacings. I make doll clothes and I would like to read this book to assist me in the hand finishes done in the victorian times. I would rather not use a serged hem, or seam covering,, but a nice hand sewn tailored finish.

  57. djackman | | #57

    This book looks great. I make and sell costumes. Both Renaissance and Gothic Victorian. Several books are available on Renaissance clothing and sewing. this is the first I have seen on Victorian tailoring. It would be great to have to expand my Gothic Victorian costume line with true techniques.

  58. User avater
    auntiequiltie | | #58

    I really do need extending. It would be so good to sit in my studio now that the weather is turning chilly and stoke the pot belly stove and do nothing else BUT SEW new clothes!!!!!!

  59. puffykaat | | #59

    Lord Maclochlainn rocks! That is my reason for desiring his book.

  60. fiberfunfan | | #60

    I'm working on 19th century dress for my senior honors project in college and would love to have this book! It seems to be a valuable resource!

  61. marcela05 | | #61

    I am fascinated by period fashion and clothing and am determined to devote my career to this passion!!! I am a beginning tailor and I believe that if one can master this art, they can take on anything!!!!

  62. JJSobey | | #62

    I want to learn more about Victorian tailoring because I adore the garments of that era, and the skill set would translate well to today's menswear. Plus - My husband would look outstanding in a frock coat. :)

  63. broselee | | #63

    Oh my! I'm a victorian studies major hopefully going into costume design. this is like a dream book.

  64. beckandcall | | #64

    I am currently working in costume shop theaters and we are getting ready for our Shakespeare Festival. there are many techniques that would be helpful to me. I also have friends that attend "Ren Faires" and it would be so great to be able to share this book with them.

  65. daria53 | | #65

    Who doesn't want to learn more about Victorian menswear?! I would love to have this book. It looks like a wealth of amazing information.

  66. Nat1964 | | #66

    With my great great uncle a tailor of the time I would love to see the types of clothing he worked on and the techniques he may have used.

  67. zybet | | #67

    This book can be great helper for every one who likes to make costums but not only.

  68. Runa | | #68

    I would LOVE to use this book as a reference for creating steampunk costumes for my husband. Since it contains patterns, it would simplify research into drafting patterns for Victorian style men's garments.

  69. moorerhys | | #69

    I am a drag king and as I tailor my own costumes and have a special penchant for Victorian and Belle Epoch men's fashion, this would be an excellent addition to my historic tailoring library.

  70. User avater
    Designlady53 | | #70

    I have been trying to make hand worked buttonholes. When I saw the illustration I wanted to have this book right away.

  71. GraceED | | #71

    Men's tailoring is an art that is practically dead. Young people such as myself need to learn these techniques and make sure that the sill doesn't disappear completely. I'm also in a business that enables me to pass knowledge easily to others and I think this would be a valuable tool to teach myself about period techniques as well as others.

  72. mrschicken | | #72

    Nothing says happiness like tailoring.

  73. melhope868 | | #73

    As a professional costumer in Equity theaters, I'm often called upon to tailor suits in this period. Learning to draft patterns as they were done in that period would go a long way to make my suits look as authentic as possible on stage.

  74. mrthickett | | #74

    As a costume maker I am always looking for new reference material for period garments. The authentic pattern drafts would be so useful. This book looks great, with costume reference, patterns and making techniques all in one volume,I'm sure it would be a wonderful addition to my library.

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