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Medieval or Rennaisance clothing.

BernaWeaves | Posted in General Discussion on

Has anyone made Medieval or Rennaisance clothing?  Not costumes, but reenactment quality.

Can you recommend any books?

Are there any books I should stay away from?

I’ve ordered “The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant” by Sarah Thursfield, and “Textiles and Clothing” by Elisabeth Crowfoot from The David Brown Book Company (Oxbow Books), and “The Tudor Tailor” by Ninya Mikhaila from Amazon.com but have not received them yet.

Just as a note, David Brown has “The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant” for $45 and Amazon has it for $148.  It was a no brainer.


Thanks, Berna


Edited 1/31/2008 2:52 pm ET by BernaWeaves


  1. nmog | | #1

    I got "The Tudor Tailor" for Christmas and am finding it quite interesting (not that I have the time to do anything with what I'm learning, of course!). I'm finding a few of the pics confusing, but I don't have a background in this. I'm sure it's just the vocabulary. Good luck with your hunt!

  2. Kilroy | | #2

    Janet Arnold's "Patterns of History" The earliest period covered is in your period of interest. There is a wonderful book that comments on Janet Arnold's book, called "The Annotated Arnold" by Robert W. Trump. He is a theatrical costumer and member of the SCA who is very serious about reproducing period clothing exactly, and he describes the problems he had trying to work from Janet Arnold's patterns. The book is self-published and hard to find, though.
    This line of historical patterns has pretty good instructions that help with more than just sewing, but also making the garment look very authentic.
    And if you join the Society for Creative Anachronism, nearly every branch has a sewing guild, with *very* knowledgeable members to help you.

    1. BernaWeaves | | #3

      Thanks for the info.

      I'd read some negative stuff about Janet Arnold's "Patterns of History" which is why I bought the others instead.  The Patterns link is very interesting.  Thank you.  I've bookmarked it.


      Thanks, Berna

      1. Kilroy | | #4

        Arnold is very good for getting the authentic shape of the period garment. Just don't expect to be able to take her gridded patterns and be able to expand them to lifesize and have the front and the back pieces match in length when you sew up the side seams... I treat her patterns like I would a pattern from an off brand commercial pattern, good for the general idea, but not necessarily tested thoroughly like the big four patterns are. If you really do want to delve a lot deeper, there are some wonderful links available from this site:
        http://www.costumes.org/And if you can track it down on Google the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has quite a collection of older costume pieces, and their books from the Museum store can be quite good, although they tend to be a little past the period you are interested in, just because there is little clothing still extant from that far back. This bookseller has been a source for some real "guilty pleasure" costuming books for me:

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