When I saw this book on Amazon I knew I had to get it. I had a quick scan through the reviews online and decided to purchase.
I adore vintage styled lingerie (total Kiss Me Deadly addict) but it doesn’t come in cheap. If you want quality, you’re most certainly going pay for it.
When it landed through the letterbox with a comforting thud I tumbled downstairs, pulled apart the packaging and gazed and the beautiful front cover.
I was aware of the author, Jill Salen, as my cousin’s (then) girlfriend (now wife) had lent me her fabulous book on corsets a few years ago when I was first foraying into making my own burlesque costumes. While the book was amazing, the thought of making a corset was very daunting and I loved reading through but it was packed up and shipped back to the lovely Sarah (thank you!).
But, I digress….back to Vintage Lingerie: Historical Patterns and Techniques.
I am more than happy with its stylistics. The book is laid out in an easy to read way, spaced out generously (I find books that are “too busy” very confusing due to my dyslexia) and sleek and stylish. It covers 30 pieces from 1890 to 1970 and is set up for each piece as follows:
- The first page devoted to a beautiful piece of vintage lingerie, photographed beautifully and simply.
- The following page with a description of the year or era, detailing on the fabric, techniques, measurements and embellishments used.
- Following this is the scaled down pattern, each reproduced on graph paper for ease of scaling up separately.
While this book as an absolutely beautiful addition to my collection I really should say that it is definitely not aimed at beginners.
There are few (if any) instructions for actually making the garments but it really doesn’t feel daunting to me to consider starting to reproduce any of these items, after all using the internet to find clarity on certain sewing techniques is old hat at this point for me!
There are two comprehensive projects contained in the back on this book, with full detailing and step by step instructions:
- A black brassiere (1930s)
- A petticoat (1905)
Neither of these grabbed me as items I would really like to crack on with; there were far more gorgeous offerings in the previous pages (corselette or the Dior style longline bra for instance) but I am sure that is just a matter of personal taste.
At the back of the book is a handy chapter about embellishing and finishing techniques such as scalloping, making button loops, fastenings etc.
I would definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for good a resource of vintage lingerie. I have been looking for something like this for a while now and everything else seemed to fall short of the mark.
I can’t wait to get cracking with my first project from this, although I will definitely be making a toile, sewing in a cheap fabric and then making the final in something a little more luxurious!
Oh and I am very tempted to purchase Jill Salen’s next book Vintage Swimwear Patterns: Historical Patterns and Techniques, but that’s for another time when my purse is a little fatter I think!