Useful Resources for Vintage Sewing and Costuming

Experience the Elegance of Yesteryear

The following list is a very short list of links to books, pattern companies, repoduction goods, fabrics, trims, and notions suppliers, antique clothing dealers, museums, and societies to aid you in recreating and enjoying the past. Visit my Vintage Dancing Links page for sites helpful for vintage dance enthusiasts. I am trying to keep my link lists short and easy to scan through but they get longer every day; there are so many good sites out there.

Vintage Sewing and Fashion History related sites


Vintage Victorian
Vintage Victorian publishes books on authentic costuming for reenactors as well as for vintage dancers. Each July, Vintage Victorian hosts the Nahant Victorian Day Ball.
R. L. Shep Publications Books on authentic costume, fashions and uniforms from the Civil War, Edwardian, Federalist, Regency, Victorian and other eras. Authentic historic patterns and tailoring systems. Books on etiquette, customs, textiles, hats, corsets, sewing and needlework.
Patterns of Fashion,
Volume 2
Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen's Dresses and Their Construction C.1860-1940, by Janet Arnold. A book of patterns, taken directly from ladies garments of the period, in 1/4 scale. An excellent, accurate, resource. Volume 1 covers 1660-1860, and Volume 3 covers men's and women's dress 1560-1620
Hollis & Bell Publishers of Plain Needlework - A Guide to Nineteenth Century Hand Sewing and the online, eclectic Victorian magazine The Family Treasury, which contains articles on subjects from tight-lacing corsets to doll furniture to making a chemise.
Sally Queen & Associates Sally Queen & Associates and its product division Q Graphics was founded to develop connections for the clothing and textile industry. Their annual wall calendar highlights historic fashions in North American collections.
LaBarre Books Authors and Publishers of Vintage Clothing Reference Books: 1900-1939, a series of five reference books on vintage clothing.
Dover  Publications Inc. Publisher of period catalogues, books, and costume reference books, has catalog, no phone orders, also available in most bookstores.

Past Patterns Historical Pattern Company dedicated to accuracy. Publishers of 19th and early 20th Century patterns.
Patterns of Fashion,
Volume 2
Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen's Dresses and Their Construction C.1860-1940, by Janet Arnold. A book of patterns, taken directly from ladies garments of the period, in 1/4 scale. An excellent, accurate, resource. Volume 1 covers 1660-1860, and Volume 3 covers men's and women's dress 1560-1620
Patterns from the Past Patterns from the Past sells original, vintage and some recently out of print sewing patterns of all kinds, and older knitting, crochet and tatting patterns.
Folkwear Patterns Folkwear was started in the mid-1970s and has a selection of sewing patterns based on vintage fashions and traditional ethnic costumes.
State Historical  Society of Wisconsin A line of historical patterns which is also quite good.
Harper House Vintage sewing patterns of many eras for the costumer, the re-enactor and the hopeless romantic. Illustrated catalog of vintage sewing patterns, hoop skirts, costume findings, reproduction needle art implements and books.
Vintage Pattern Lending Library This library makes copies of all of their patterns, from the late 19th to the early 20th Centuries available (for purchase or loan) so they no longer languish forgotten in closets and on shelves.
Sense and Sensibility Dress designs for lovers of Romantic fashions who want sensible clothing that fits nicely. All dresses created with period details and custom designed to suit your individual tastes, making each purchase unique.
Ageless Patterns Reproduces patterns, mainly from Harper's Bazar Pattern sheets, 1867 - 1915. Also carries some other pattern companies' lines.
Amazon Dry goods Amazon Dry goods doesn't sell through their website, but they have four catalogs: a general catalog, shoe catalog, pattern catalog and a drapery catalog.
Laughing Moon Mercantile Purveyors of Victorian sewing patterns for costuming and high fashion enthusiasts.

Vintage Reproduction Costumes and Accessories
River Crossing Inc. Source for authentically-researched Old West clothing. Michael J. Guli provides buckskin leather garments to historians, re-enactors, movies and television programs, museums and SASS members, while Sharon Moore hand-crafts Victorian corsets and ensembles.
Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. A mail order company that supplies 18th and 19th century reproductions for living history.
The Vermont Country Store Not reproduction, but many useful vintage products, hair rolls, combs, stockings, etc...
A Cool Breeze A Cool Breeze, sells reproduction hand fans, from the simple to the extraordinary.
Veilled and Bejeweled Sells fine quality bridal accessories wholesale to the independent bridal retailer, nice tiaras.
Classic Jewelry Manufacturers of genuine Garnet Jewelry Original Bohemian Designs from the nineteenth century.
Jewels by Count Alexander Reproduction crown jewels for those with substantial budgets.
Russian souvenirs Russian printed wool shawls.

Fabrics, Trims, Notions
Greenberg and Hammer Inc. Supplier of sewing notions, including corset supplies.
Farthingales Supplier of vintage related sewing notions and supplies, including corset supplies, has spoon busks.
Thai Silks Imported silks from Thailand, China, Korea, and India and cottons from Indonesia.
Oriental Silk Co. Imported silks from China.
New England Quilt Supply A wholesale quilt supply warehouse, fabric, notions, batting and more.
Agelong Brands Maker of Faultless Powdered starch.
Lacis Offers an extensive selection of notions, books, tools and supplies for the textile arts to the wholesale and retail market. Publishes over 90 books relating to needlework and costume.
Charrette Supplier of tracing paper, excellent for tracing patterns. Search for "trace paper", comes in 12" to 36" width rolls.
J.R. Burrows & Company Historical design merchants. A great source for late 19th century reproduction fabrics, lace curtains, and wallpapers.

Antique Clothing
Karen Augusta - Antique Lace and Fashion Offers for sale 18th Century through mid-20th Century museum-quality antique clothing, lace, and textiles.
Antique and Vintage Dress Gallery This site sells antique clothing from the 1800's through today.
Vintage Textile This site sells antique clothing from the 1800's through today.
Charles A. Whitaker Auction Company Auction company which conducts regular vintage clothing and textile auctions.

Museums with Costume Collections
The Museum of Costume, Bath BATH, ENGLAND. The collection focuses on fashionable dress for men, women and children from the late 16th century to the present day. The Museum of Costume was opened in the Bath Assembly Rooms in 1963.
Kyoto Costume Institute KYOTO, JAPAN. Has a vast collection of costume from the early 18th century through the 20th century. great on-line collection.
The Costume Institute NEW YORK, NEW YORK. The Costume Institute, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, houses a collection of more than 80,000 costumes and accessories spanning five continents and as many centuries.
Department of Textile and Fashion Arts BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. At the Museum of Fine Arts, the collection contains examples of costumes and accessories from the 16th to the 20th centuries.
Les Petites Dames de Mode DANVERS, MASSACHUSETTS. John Burbidge has made a collection of 29" high dolls dressed in period clothing, 19th and early 20th century, there is no permanent gallery, but they are displayed in exhibitions throughout the country. Can subscribe to email list with schedule.

The Costume Society of America The Costume Society of America "advances the global understanding of all aspects of dress and appearance."
The Ladies' Tea Guild The Ladies’ Tea Guild was established in the spring of 2001 with the intent of providing an oasis for women who have a passion for the cultural history of the 19th and early 20th century and a love of tea in all its dimensions. They have 18 local chapters.


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Last updated: 21 January 2006/csb