Sunday, January 10, 2021

Weekend Review: New Encyclopedia of Fashion Details

London: Batsford, c2008.
304 p.

Another book I really enjoying skimming through, this one is from my local library, and I've checked it out a couple of times over the last year or two. It is full of sketches of -- no surprise -- fashion details from across the 20th Century. 

It really is about 95% sketches, along with some introductory and explanatory notes scattered among the drawings. It's divided into sections like collars, waistlines, hems, sleeves, pockets, gathers, insets, draping and more. There are sketches of closeup details alongside full body outfits with colour added. It's really aimed at designers who need to sketch their ideas for presentations and so on, but I find it's very interesting for home designers as well. 

Looking at the details in each section, there is sometimes a representation of how the idea was used in the past, for example, draping in the 20s or 50s. But they are not period drawings, just sketches showing how that detail might have appeared in say, a flapper dress or a 50s bodice. The overall feeling of the book is late 80s/90s to me, despite the publication date. I quite like that, though. 

Even if the particular full outfits wouldn't appeal, just the number of design ideas shared here makes this book fascinating to look through. I can imagine using one detail to change up a pattern and add something a bit extra -- extending your own pattern collection or self drafting with neat little extras like piping, tucks, insertions, yokes, gathers or pleats, and so forth.

There is also some basic reference to the actual drawing itself - fashion figures in the beginning pages, some suggestions for guidelines and techniques to draw an even flounce or collar line, things like that. And sometimes for the full colour images, the type of paper and pens/pencils used is noted. 

Overall, I find this a fun book to flip through -- mostly for ideas to add to patterns in the past, and now also for some tips on drawing. I find the line drawings appealing and helpful to imagine new details in my sewing. Great book for when you just want to relax with some clothing ideas.

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