Historical Fashion Sketchbooks

Sometimes a good idea just has to wait.

Historical Fashion Sketchbooks
And when it does, I keep a sketchbook on hand for those moments of great inspiration. Like a writer, I quickly record what is in my mind, making as many notes about the garment as possible and sketch out all the details I envision. Then I wait until the time is right to turn that idea into reality.

Much of the time, a particular color or fabric is a part of my inspiration. In those instances, if I have the fabric on hand, I tuck little samples in with my drawings to remind me to reserve that fabric. If I do not have the fabric on hand, I make as many notes about color choices and fabric types as possible. This way, I know what to look for when the time comes to put the sketch into three dimensional form.

In addition to a sketchbook, I also keep a notebook about the patterns I have developed or recently worked with. In this book, I keep notes about the changes I have made to muslins, calculated measurements for things like cage crinolines and drawn bonnets, and general tips and techniques. This is my go-to book whenever I find myself asking, “Now how did I do that again?”

If you do not already keep a sketchbook or “idea book,” I highly recommend it. A good idea is a terrible thing to waste!

About Susan

Hi! My name is Susan and I am a historian, seamstress, teacher, mother, and wife. My passion for history has manifested itself in the art of recreating clothing from different periods of time. Growing up in the American South, I am heavily schooled in the art of recreating clothing from the 19th century. After nearly a decade of immersing myself primarily in the Victorian period, I found the need to branch out and explore other periods of time. However, it is my connection with the American South and the clothing of rural America that continues to be the driving force behind my designs.