There are 500,000+ websites related to sewing historic garb. It’s overwhelming. A good place to start if you have all afternoon is (my favorite) The Costumers Manifesto. She has an index listing time periods, each page containing many links to useful resources for that era.
Jennifer, of Cloak & Corset, has written what looks to be a comprehensive and invaluable tool for those interested in sewing history-based garments Modern Sewing Techniques for Historical Clothing Construction.
Places to buy historic fabric, patterns and notions:
Acme Notions A large variety of vintage, modern and unique sewing notions.
Burnley and Trowbridge Company have been hired by museums and historic sites around the world to create historically accurate garments. They have a track record of excellent work. They do classes, based in Williamsburg, VA. You can buy fabric, patterns, notions and tools here as well.
Elizabeth Stewart Clark, a long time re-enactor, has a useful site, including this free pattern page. She specializes in the “Crinoline Era” (1840s-60s).
Timely Tresses covers historic millinery from the Regency through Civil War Eras. You can buy original patterns and kits based on actual historic headwear. Many antique fashion plates also available for research.
Demode links to photographs of actual articles of women’s clothing in museums around the world, dating from 1600 to 1919.
Real Regency Are you a fan of Pride Prejudice and Zombies? I am. Check this site out for authentic manor wear, like that worn by those struggling against the “unmentionables”.
The Daguerreian Society is for fans of the history of photography. It’s a good primary source for fashion research.
And Dover Books is a great place to find inexpensive costume (and other kinds of art) reference books.
Today’s post focuses on authentic historic wear, but of course the Steampunk folks like to give history a personal twist, sex it up, combine eras, add tinkering elements etc. I’ll being posting a steampunk resource list later in the month, but this Threadbanger episode has a couple of good steampunk sewing projects (man’s shirt, lady’s bustle) to get you started
Renn faire related sites:
This is an active forum for Rennies with topics on sewing and garbing
Friendly tips for beginner costumers who want to partake in living history events. Answers the questions – what kind of fabric, how much do I need, what do I do now?!
If you don’t have time to sew your own, Pendragon costumes does very good work for reasonable prices.
Above is a picture of one of our mini-top hats accessorizing a lovely 19th century gown. Model is Tiffani, photo by our friends at Dim Horizon Studios.