What We Really Learned From a Stitch in Time

a stitch in time vintage amber butchart

Forget the contradictions of the Arnolfini dress – BBC4’s A Stitch in Time revealed another significant truth about historical costume that affects everyone interested in it. The series presented by Amber Butchart explores the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore. But standing out more than the Hussar uniform in the back of Ninya Mikhaila’s … Read more

The Captivating Power of Elizabethan Miniatures

The great miniature painter Nicholas Hilliard declared that his method of art ‘excelleth every other art form whatsoever.’ Miniature painting or ‘limning’ held a far more interesting position in the Elizabethan world than traditional painting. Precious Jewels The pieces were jewel-like works made with precious metals. One example in the V&A shows a lady’s pearl … Read more

Lookbook: The Miniaturist

miniaturist

Many viewers were left disappointed by the ending of the BBC’s adaption of Jessie Burton’s novel the Miniaturist but costume fans were utterly absorbed in some incredible clothes from late-17th-Century Amsterdam. Johannes Brandt was clad like a handsome musketeer in an array of coats, jerkins and a wide-brimmed hat as if he had wandered out of a Rembrandt … Read more

Rigoletto Stuns the Royal Opera House

rigoletto

David McVicar’s acclaimed production of Verdi’s tragedy is a triumph with costumes supervised by Mary Fisher as the expert cast inhabit a post-apocalyptic set with a medieval mystique. The opening is a feast for the sartorially-inclined as an orgy spills from a sheet-metal facade and drapery swirls over farthingales and flesh tears out of dresses … Read more

Five Rather Sexy Facts on Elizabethan Ruffs

Sexy to another plate-swallowing bird maybe but nonetheless from our earliest history lessons to advanced costume studies the ruff is an incredible work of art almost totally lost to our present-day culture and yet ingrained in the Early Modern period in Europe. One puritan Philip Stubbes recorded his highly critical views of the frivolous fashion in … Read more

Lookbook: Elizabethan Courtier

Elizabethan

The Elizabethan period was certainly a dramatic one when it came to dress. That is despite the suggestion that it was an age of artistic decline after Henry VIII’s patronage faded and the Reformation brought conflict and division to England. But the menswear of the Elizabethan court is truly a feast for the eyes with … Read more

How to Use Instagram as a Costumier

instagram

Instagram is one of the most powerful tools for costume professionals and fans to connect, share ideas, promote their brand or Etsy shop and keep up with what everyone is up to. If you are not already using Instagram to promote what you do or simply enjoy seeing people with similar interests then have no … Read more

Janet Arnold’s Incredible Pattern Books

Janet Arnold

Janet Arnold’s publications are some of the most popular guides in the costume world. Her drawings are taken from original garments in collections throughout Britain and are supplemented with details of their construction and laid out on grid paper with construction comments and fabric details. From wrapping gowns, riding habits, pelisses, and chemises to sack … Read more

Costume sales: Is First-come Fair?

sale

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s eagerly anticipated costume sale on September 23, 2017, saw thousands of costume fans queue for hours to get hold of unique treasures. But many towards the back of the queue were left with a gutted warehouse as though a hurricane had torn through it. The winners were the hardcore who had … Read more