Mimi’s List of Costuming Books, One Of A Kind Doll Sale

Drowning in Mermaids:

We’re over run with mermaids. I made 14 of them for the DVDs, and I’m drowning in mermaids.¬† It’s time to clear some space in my studio. There are still four (as of this writing) left that are sale priced at $99, so if you want an original Mimidoll, take a look at the sale page: http://mimidolls.com/Dept-Shop/cat_ooak.htm

DVD and E-Pattern Sale

The DVD and E-Pattern sale is still going on. Visit http://mimidolls.com/Dept-Shop/XmasSale.htm to save 20%,

Costume Books:

I have over 60 costuming books, but these are the ones I use the most.
Most of the patterns are 1/8 scale. (Enlarge to double size for 1/4 scale dolls.)

You can download a printable copy of this list from http://Mimidolls.Com. The link will be on the front page for a while, but if it’s not still on the front page, look under the Downloads (Other Free Stuff) button, the Classics button, or the Free Stuff (Other Free Stuff) button.

UPDATE: 12/8/2011 – Most of these books are available at http://DramaBookShop.Com.

Most Useful Costume Books:

If you can only afford one, this is the one to get or start with:

Katherine Strand Holkeboer, Patterns for Theatrical Costumes – Garments, Trims, and Accessories from Ancient Egypt to 1915, ISBN: 0-89676-125-8

A collection of hundreds of basic pattern shapes which allows the designer’s creativity free range. Kathherine Strand Holkeboer presents the general characteristics of male and female dress from the early Egyptian to the beginning of the 20th century. Gowns, tunics, headdresses, jackets, robes, breeches – the patterns will produce an accurate silhouette for each time period, leaving the costumer free to explore variations of cut and surface embellishment within an historic framework. Plus – there are even patterns for Far Eastern outfits, ecclesiastical clothing, animals and fantasy figures.

This is also a “must have” book:

C. Willett and Phillis Cunningtom, The History of Underclothes, ISBN: 0-486-27124-2

In a well-documented, profusely illustrated volume combining impressive scholarship with an entertaining, often humorous style, two distinguished clothing historians consider undergarments worn by the English over the last 600 years. Beginning with the Middle Ages, the authors cover centuries of clothing history including the Tudor period, the Restoration, the Victorian and Edwardian eras and the twentieth century up to the eve of World War II. Drawing on extensive, well-documented research, the Cunninghams illuminate the role and function of underwear: it protected the wearer against the elements, supported costume shapes, served as an erotic stimulus, symbolized the class distinctions and fulfilled other social, sanitary and economic functions.

Get these next two only if you need information about costumes from these periods.

Jean Hunnsett, Period Costume for Stage and Screen – Patterns for Women’s Dress 1500-1800, ISBN: 0-7135-2660-2

A comprehensive guide to creating women’s dress through three centuries. As well as being historically accurate, Jean Hunnisett’s patterns have been adapted so that they can be readily made up using today’s fabrics and sewing methods, and to fit the modern female figure. The book includes complete scaled patterns for each costume as well as step-by-step instructions and 250 detailed working drawings. Patterns are also included for all the correctly shaped corsets, petticoats and pads which are essential to make each costume look right for its period.

Jean Hunnisett, Period Costume for Stage & Screen – Patterns for Women’s Dress, Medieval – 1500, ISBN: 0-88734-653-7 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.)

A comprehensive guide to creating women’s dress through five centuries. As well as being accurate, Jean Hunnisett’s patterns have been adapted so that they can be readily made up using today’s fabrics and sewing methods, and fit the modern female figure. The book includes scaled patterns for each costume as well as step-by-step instructions and detailed working drawings. Patterns are also included for all the correctly shaped undergarments which are essential to make each costume look right for its period.

Note: Diane Keeler buys the costume patterns by Butterick, Vogue, etc. when they are on sale and photo copies the layout on the direction sheet (not the pattern). Then she enlarges it to fit her doll.


These three books are listed in the order I recommend that you read them:

Timothy J. Alberts & M. Dalton King with Pat Henry, The Art of Making Beautiful Fashion Doll Shoes, ISBN: 0-87588-561-6 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.)

The author began developing his techniques for making shoes in the early `990s, when he was creating his doll Chloe, and participating in the beginnings of the Gene project. Chloe is a doll that is dressed in the height of 18th century fashion. Since he was designing the clothes, buying the fabrics, and looking for accessories, it became very clear to him that he wouldn’t be able to find shoes to equal the quality of the outfits he was making. The obvious solution was to make his own… He researched how shoes are actually made and adapted the big foot methods for miniature feet… This book will take you through all the steps required to make beautiful doll shoes, starting first with lasts, after that, heels, and then the actual shoes themselves, with demonstrations on how to make both fabric and leather shoes. Along the way, he’s included lots of pictures of the shoes he’s made over the years and some of the lovely dolls that are now wearing those shoes… You will, simply by following his techniques, be able to produce shoes that are works of art in themselves. (This book is a must for most dollmakers.)

Iris Brooke, Footwear – A Short History of European and American Shoes, ISBN: 0-87830-047-3 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.) (For reference only. No Patterns.)

A leading authority on historical costume and particularly costume for the stage, Miss Brooke here produces a witty survey of shoe fashions enlivened by her own drawings. Beginning with actual Roman sandals found in the mud of the Thames River, through medieval samples, both practical and elegant, drawn from sculpture on cathedrals, to the diversity of Renaissance fashions and of every century since, she shows how footwear was fundamentally shaped by practical needs, by materials available and by methods of cobbling and manufacture. But she also demonstrates, sometimes with examples she has herself discovered, how footwear, like costume in general, reflects not only social and economic conditions – war, depression, peace, and prosperity – but architecture, painting and the other arts. She has combed the literature of each period for telling and often amusing descriptions of what was being worn. (Human sized shoes, but techniques for dolls are exactly the same.)

Sharon Raymond, Crafting Handmade Shoes – Great-Looking Shoes, Sandals, Slippers & Boots, ISBN: 1-57990-192-1 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.)

Make shoes that look and feel great. Once you create your first beautiful pair, you’ll want to make another and then another! The basic techniques are simple enough for beginners. Once you learn how to choose the right leathers – and fabrics – and the many decorative options, you’ll be ready to make shoes that are distinctively yours. From sandals to boots, these projects will introduce you to cutting and stitching beautiful colored leathers, adding simple binding to create interesting touches, and finishing your shoes with eye-catching embellishments. And once you know the secrets of pattern-making, every pair can be custom-tailored to your feet so that they fit perfectly. Now how many store-bought shoes can you say that about? (Human sized shoes, but techniques for dolls are exactly the same.)


Listed in the order you should read them:

Lyn Waring, Hats in Miniature, ISBN: 0-8069-4265-7

These charming miniature hats are perfect for dolls, teddy bears, and gifts… and just to show off! Only basic sewing skills are required to complete: elegant Top Hats and fancy flower-lined Boaters, whimsical Berets and sophisticated, close-fitting Cloches, extravagant Easter Parade and Race Day fashions, darling Peewees with over sized bows, baseball, jockey, golf, military or hunting caps, and even something for the chef. 18 different styles in all. Complete patterns, along with instructions on equipment, collars, seams, cutting, notches, batting – even directions for making a hat stand to display your lovely designs!

Edited by Clare Blau, Hat Making for Dolls 1855-1916, Revised Edition with Patterns and Illustrations, ISBN: 0-87588-141-6

Reprinted from old books and periodicals with additional patterns and instructions by Sandy Williams. This book contains a rich variety of 18 doll hat patterns with instructions sure to aid the doll’s hat maker in creating mid-19th century to early 20th century hats. The hat maker will find many illustrations with helpful hints and suggestions. Also included are additional illustrations and descriptions representative of children’s and adult’s hats which can be utilized by hat makers to trim and make their own period millinery.

Timothy Alberts, M. Dalton King, and Pat Henry, The Art of Making Miniature Millinery, ISBN: 0-87588-616-7 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.)

The same basics, caps, toques, wide brimmed hats, turbans, berets, and hoods have appeared over and over again throughout history, one day the height of fashion, the next relegated to closets and drawers. This book will take you … through the hat making process, demonstrating, three basics: felt, straw, and, a buckram hat, plus one which is somewhat more complicated, a hat made on a wire foundation. This book will discuss why one foundation may be preferable for a particular style over another, how to find, make, or adapt head blocks for small heads. This book will talk about scale and even provide suggestion as to how to refurbish pre-existing or “store bought” hats. This book will cover practical hats, service hats, dress, formal, or occasional hats, and specialty hats or headdresses. This book stresses¬† a need for historical accuracy and understanding of time and place, paying attention to scale, knowledge of hat making materials and techniques, and we don’t want you to forget the creativity you bring to the process.

Stella V. Remiasz, Hats – Design and Construction, Second Edition, ISBN: 0-9617414-0-6 (This is a text book for Milliners.)

This book, presented as lesson plans, is used by many teachers as a basic textbook for teaching millinery classes. However, the making of hats is not just the designing of them. The actual experience of working through the lesson plans in this book should give you a working knowledge of the design and construction of the basic hat styles.

Denise Dreher, From the Neck Up – An Illustrated Guide to Hatmaking, ISBN: 0-941082-00-8 (A complete course in Millinery.)

From the Neck Up is the most complete and unique book on hatmaking to date. It can be used as a method of self-instruction, as a classroom textbook or as a reference guide. All of the hatmaking techniques are explained step-by-step and clearly illustrated by more than four hundred photographs and drawings. Professional methods, materials and equipment are described and illustrated in detail with substitutes and improvised methods included for those with limited resources and budgets. Even if you have never held a needle and thread before, you can, through careful application of the lessons , make a complete hat either with or without the aid of a sewing machine.

Children’s Costumes

Robert Harrold and Phyllida Legg, Folk Costumes of the World, ISBN: 0-7137-2056-5 (For reference only. No patterns.)

Folk costumes express both the character of communities and their ethnic origins. It is in the folk costumes of a people that tradition, in music, dance and ritual, is colourfully displayed; and just as climate and physical geographical features have influenced attitudes, they have also given rise to a wealth of variety in dress.

Ruth M. Green and Jack Cassin-Scott, Costume and Fashion in Colour – 1550-1760, ISBN: 0-7137-0739-5 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.) (For reference only. No patterns.)

These were turbulent times of war and intrigue, which spanned the reigns of some of Europe’s most memorable monarchs: Elizabeth I, James I, Charles I, Henry IV, Louis XIII, Louis XIV, and Philip of Spain. The fashion lead was taken up first by one country and then another, with Spain, France and England in the forefront, each leaving its mark on the costume styles it originated, and adding variety and flamboyance to contemporary fashions.

Estelle Ansley Worrell, Children’s Costume in America 1607-1910, ISBN: 0-684-16645-3 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.) (For reference only. No patterns.)

For the first time in a single volume, here is a comprehensive survey of three centuries of children’s wear in America. The book shows over 300 individuals in full-page group illustrations. Ranging in age from babyhood to the teens, they represent every period of American history up to the twentieth century, when commercial production of clothing began. The book also covers toys, furniture, carriages, sleds, and other equipment.

Albert Racinet, Illustrated History of European Costume – Period Styles and Accessories, ISBN: 1-85585-724-3 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.)

From the formal apparel of the Middle Ages to the fanciful women’s fashions of 19th-century France, the Illustrated History of European Costume presents and describes the wide variety of costumes worn by all sections of society, male and female, rich and poor, civilian, religious and military. The book traces original and revival styles – for example, ancient Greek and Roman dress and their reappearance in the Neo-classical fashions of the 19th-century. It includes detailed coverage of accessories such as head-dresses, shawls, shoes and jewellery, with examples from antiquity to the 19th-century. A “patterns” section presents illustrated guidelines on the cut of some of the most important costume styles covered in the book.

Men’s Clothing

Norah Waugh, The cut of Men’s Clothes 1600-1900, ISBN: 0-87830-025-2 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.) (This is the best men’s fashion book.)

This book traces the evolution of the style of men’s dress through a sequence of diagrams accurately scaled down from patterns of actual garments, many of them rare museum specimens. The plates have been selected with the same purpose. Some are photographs of suits for which diagrams have also been given; others, reproduced from paintings and old prints, show the costume complete with its accessories. Quotations from contemporary sources – from diaries, travelers’ accounts and tailors’ bills – supplement Miss Waugh’s text with comments on fashion and lively eye-witness descriptions.

John Peacock, Men’s Fashion – The Complete Sourcebook, ISBN: 0-500-01725-5 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.) (For reference only. No patterns.)

Charting the development of fashions for men, this encyclopaedic survey covers every area of clothing and appearance: day wear, court and evening wear, leisure and sports wear, underwear, knitwear, accessories and hairstyles – from the unkempt, earringed “incroyables of late eighteenth century France to the American hippies of the 1970s; from Victorian top-hatted gentlemen to the sixties leather-jacketed rockers; from the plus-foured golfers of the 1920s to the tracksuited joggers of today. Over 1000 full color drawings.

David Page Coffin, Shirtmaking – Developing Skills for Fine Sewing, ISBN: 1-56158-015-5 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.) (Modern – today’s fashions. For human shirts, but excellent for learning to make really good doll shirts.)

With the skills you’ll learn in Shirtmaking, you can create elegant, custom-fit garments for a woman or man that look like the best money can buy. And, even more important, once you learn to make and fit a shirt – whether you’ve sewn for weeks or years – your sewing skills will be dramatically improved and changed forever. You’ll learn how to create, with a few simple changes in pattern and detail, a wide variety of garments that are entirely different from the classic dress shirt on which they’re based – garments as varied as dressy silk blouses and rugged woolen overshirts. You’ll find full-scale patterns for collars, plackets, cuffs and pickets, and complete instructions for developing custom-fit shirt patterns.

Jim Harter, Men – A Pictorial Archive from Ninteenth Century Sources – 412 Copyright-free Illustrations for Artists and Designers, ISBN:0-486-23952-7 (For reference only. No patterns.)

Over 400 carefully selected illustrations of men in an enormous variety of poses, costumes, attitudes and activities: playing baseball, dancing, roping steers, mining coal, playing chess, hunting, flirting, courting, wrestling, shoveling, running, reading, talking, praying, thinking, gesturing, fencing, etc. Spanning a variety of geographical locations and historical periods, these delightfully old-fashioned renderings depict: Eskimos in kayaks, medieval knights, Roman gladiators, magicians, firemen, soldiers, miners, beggars, fops, dandies, Prussian generals, shepherds, artists, acrobats, bullfighters, doctors, mythological and religious figures, monks, prisoners, and more, representing nearly every masculine occupation and activity imaginable.

Douglas Gorsline, What People Wore – 1800 Illustrations from Ancient Times to the Early Twentieth Century, ISBN: 0-486-28162-0 (For reference only. No patterns.)

Spanning nearly 5000 years of clothing styles, this splendid sourcebook presents a fascinating panorama of wearing apparel, beginning with the ancient Egyptians and continuing through the early decades of the 20th century. Over 1800 drawings depict garments ranging from diaphanous gowns of Egyptian royalty, ornate robes of Byzantine dignitaries, and elegant dresses worn by 18th-century Parisians to picturesque outfits of American frontiersmen and the revolutionary 1920s wardrobe of the American flapper. Here also are informal portraits of Byzantine commoners and religious figures, Elizabethans in lace collars and ruffs, upper-class Venetians, English dandies and French gentlemen of the mid-18th century; as well as detailed illustrations of 19th-century New York farmers, western fur trappers, cowboys, mountain men and lumberjacks; sodhouse pioneers, Klondike prospectors, Mississippi rivermen and many more.

Henry Shaw, Dress and Decoration of the Middle Ages, ISBN: 188544024-3 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.) (For reference only. No patterns.)

Originally written in the 1840s and published in 1858, Henry Shaw’s book is an essential work for the study of the life and history of the Middle Ages. More than simply dress and decoration, Shaw presents intimate portraits of the important people – royal, political, and ecclesiastical – of the Middle Ages, as well as conveying an understanding of the popular tastes of the common people of the times.

Peter Klucina, Armor from Ancient to Modern Times, ISBN:0-7607-0475-9 (This one is hardback, so look for the same thing in paperback with a different ISBN.) (For reference only. No patterns.)

The author and illustrator have drawn upon the world’s most renowned collections, both privately owned and in museums, to tell the complete story of the development of defensive armor. The armor of each historical period is carefully described, with considerable attention to how the armor evolved and its practical functions in the battlefield tactics of the time. A detailed account is given of how European armor was influenced by, and in turn influenced, armor from the Middle East and Asia.

Charles Ffoulkes, The Armourer and His Craft from the XIth to the XVIth Century, ISBN: 0-486-25851-3 (For reference only. No patterns.)

Valiant deeds performed by knights in armor have long been a staple of medieval life and lore; seldom, however, has a book offered such a meticulously detailed and thorough discussion of the armor itself – how it was made, what materials and tools were used, how it was decorated, cleaned, and maintained, who were the great craftsmen, how the wearer put on his suit of armor, how he was able to move and joust in it, how much it weighted, how much it cost and much, much more.