- About This Site
- Contact Info
- Copyright Info

- Links

- Projects Gallery 1
- Projects Gallery 2
- Projects Gallery 3
- Projects Gallery 4
- Projects Gallery 5
- Projects Gallery 6

- Design for Dummies
- Book Reviews

Odds & Ends
- Stuffed Lobster
- Non-textile related projects

About>Archives>Book Reviews

Reviews of selected books from the bibliography:

Max Tilke's Oriental Costumes -

Max Tilke has gotten a bad rap as far as most historical costumers are concerned. His one mistake, at least in my opinion, was collaborating with Wolfgang Bruhn on a book called "A Pictorial History of Costume; A Survey of All Periods and Peoples from Antiquity to Modern Times Including National Costume in Europe and Non-European Countries", published in London by A. Zwemmer [1955]. This book is a collection of redrawings of people in various costumes and may be placed right along side Racinet's and Peacock's texts as one of the worst historical costume books ever published. After looking at the rest of Max Tilke's work, I am convinced that Wolfgang Bruhn probably used him only as a periphirial resource. Comparing books authored by Max alone with this one collaborative between himself and Wolfgang, it is hard to believe that Max had anything to do with the Pictoral History of Costume text.

Max Tilke's Oriental Costumes: Their Design and Colors is in fact a very thoughtful book. Armed with some skepticism, I approached this book with a due sense of trepidation. A Pictoral History of Costume is so inaccurate as to be completely worthless. Oriental Costumes, on the other hand, is detailed and well drawn. Several of the examples contained in the book are still in existence and have been photographed and published in other texts. In comparing these photos to Max's redrawings, I am inclined to say that Max did a very good job.

One word to the wise, however, is in order. This book does not contain too many examples from prior to 1600. It can be used in conjunction with other resournces to extrapolate clothing from that era. As a secondary/tertiary source, it is excellent. It is not a primary source.

To quote Max from "Oriental Costumes: Their Design and Colors";

"We cannot reconstruct unless we can compare. For this reason it, was first necessary to gather as complete a collection as possible of new and old patterns of garments used by all nations. On journeys in North Africa, Spain, the Balkans, and the Caucasus the material found in the European museums and private collections was completed, and finally united into a collection. I exhibited my first collection in 1911 at the Lipperheide Costume Library of the Berlin "Kunstgewerbe" Museum. The heads of the museum were so much interested in my collection that it was purchased for the library with money provided by the state. Our illustrations of costumes, which are to be continued, only present a part of all the former and present types worn in the orient. But an attempt has been made to select the most conspicuous and particularly characteristic forms of each country, and thus at least to provide a general view of the general character of oriental costumes."

If you can get your hands on a copy, by all means do so. For an online version, please follow this link:

Back to the top

The Cut of Men's Clothes: 1600 - 1900 by Norah Waugh -

This is a great book but...

The first chapter is devoted to clothing from the 1600's and gives very good examples of period tailor's pattern books and extant garments. However, for the purposes of recreating 16th and 17th century clothing, the first chapter and parts of the second contain all the information on this particular subject. The rest of the book continues on through the centuries to 1900.

The pattern diagrams have no instructions included so this book is not for the faint of heart. However, if you know how to scale patterns or develope your own from body blocks, then the diagrams are wonderful. Patterns are taken from actual garments many of which are quite rare. The text also contains ancillary information on garment production.

The book itself is extremely well written and very much worth buying if your interests are not confined to the 16th and 17th century. However, at the stiff price of about $75 US, think twice if you're only looking for pre-1600's information.

Back to the top

Fashion in Detail by Avril Hart and Susan North, photography by Richard Davis -

I can't say enough great things about this book. Which is good since, at the rather stiff price of $40.00 US, it had better be a great book. The publisher, according to is out of stock, which also gave me pause on whether or not I should review it. My normal policy is to review books that people can get their hands on in one way or another, be it the book itself or (in the case of rare books) via a website.

UPDATE: October 2nd, 1999. The link to the book below takes you to where this book is available for roughly $26.50 US.

But this book is worth waiting for, buying, and having in your library.

Offering close-up photographic views of historical clothing from the 17th and 18th centuries makes this particular text a one-of-a-kind must-have. The pieces of clothing featured are housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum's collection, some of which are unavailable for viewing by the general public, either because of their fragility or because of space issues. The photography is so good that it captures intricate detail such as hand stitching, blackwork, embroidery, and several pleating styles as well as unusual techniques such as stamping, pinking, and slashing. With line drawings showing the construction of the complete garment and good explanatory text, this book is a visual delight and an essential resource.

And that scarlet red corset with the cream hand stitching... woof!

Back to the top

Cut My Cote, Dorthy K Burnham -

What a great little book. Especially if you are at all interested in rectangular construction.

Back to the top

site map | guided tour | contactOther sections: 16th Century | 18th Century
This site and its contents (c) 2006 Tammie L. Dupuis
Best viewed at 640 X 480 or 800 X 600