Friday, May 28, 2010

How to Use the Costume Closet

Dear Happy Members,
   We here at the GBCS have a costume closet, a "virtual closet" full of costumes that members are willing to lend out to you for various events.  If you do not have a costume to wear to, say, a renaissance faire, or a civil war event, or a 1920s, picnic, look here!

To check out the costume closet, click the label on the right that says "CLOSET." (You may need to scroll down a bit to find it; it's right under the beautiful lady in the red and white bustle dress). Scroll down and use the "previous" links to browse through the closet.

If you would like to contribute to the Closet, please e-mail the following information to

*Measurements - bust, waist, hips (if applicable)
*Pieces of the costume - what's included, such as chemises, corsets, jackets, skirts, etc.
*A short description of the costume
*How to contact you, such as your e-mail address
*At least one photo of your costume


16th c. Renaissance/Elizabethan Noble Gown

I am willing to lend out this gown to anyone needing a costume for Renaissance events.

The full costume includes:
- bodice
- skirt
- velvet flat cap
- silver belt (optional)
- sleeves (optional)
- fur (optional)

This gown also has a matching turquoise late 16th c. jacket, if that is more your style. 


bust: 33" or smaller
waist: 27" or smaller
height: 5'6" or a bit taller

This gown is very tight-fitting. The jacket is a little looser.

The dress is made of jacquard, with large sleeves that tie on at the shoulders. The bodice closes with lacings on the side back seams. I recommend wearing a corset with this bodice, but it's not absolutely necessary - the jacket is a little looser, and can be worn without a corset. Many petticoats, or a modest farthingale is also recommended, as well as a shirt, although if you are without a shirt or chemise, I am willing to lend it as well (but it's on so-so condition). 

E-mail me:

16th c. Elizabethan Noble "Travel" Costume

This costume is a later Elizabethan ladies' doublet ensemble, with separate silk sleeves, a matching tall hat, and black silk skirt. The bodice is made of gold jacquard, with black velvet ribbon trim.

This costume includes:
- doublet bodice
- black silk skirt
- black tie-on sleeves
- ridiculously tall hat

bust: 34" (or a bit larger)
waist: 28"
height: 5'6" +/-

The bodice closes with hooks and eyes up the front, and is worn closed to the neck. A shirt with a high collar is recommended, or a separate ruff. The bodice has a little flaw in the bust, so if you are bustier than 34" that will help fill it out. The photo on the left shows the additional velvet trim added to the bodice.

The sleeves are split, with velvet ribbons connecting the upper and lower parts in a germanic fashion. They are silk sleeves, with slashings, and trapunto (cording) styling, and tie on at the shoulder. The skirt is a slim-line "hunting" skirt, made of black silk dupioni. It is not designed to be worn over a farthingale, so only a couple petticoats will be necessary. The hat is a very high "tall hat" that sits on the top of the head at an angle, rather than down over your forehead. It's a bit ridiculous (and fun!), so don't feel obligated to wear it, but it adds a lot to the outfit!

Please e-mail me if you wish to wear this costume!

Movie List: Recommended Costume Movies

16th c. Tudor & Elizabethan Movies:

17th and 18th c. Baroque & Rococo Movies:

Early 19th c. Regency Movies:

19th c. Victorian & Edwardian Movies:

20th c. Movies:
-Gosford Park
-Brideshead Revisited (25th Anniversary Collector's Edition)
Brideshead Revisited
Atonement (Widescreen Edition)
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Widescreen & Full Screen Edition)
Swing Kids
The Great Gatsby
Pearl Harbor (Two-Disc 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition)

Booklist: Recommended Books on Costume

16th c. Tudor and Elizabethan Costuming Books:
Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'D
Patterns of Fashion: The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women C1560-1620
Historic English Costumes and How to Make Them (Dover Books on Fashion)
The Tudor Tailor: Reconstructing 16th-Century Dress

18th c. Rococo Fashion Books:
Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution
Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries
 Patterns of Fashion 1: 1660-1860
18th Century Clothing (Historic Communities)
The Dress of the People: Everyday Fashion in Eighteenth-Century England

19th c. Victorian and Edwardian Costuming Books:
Dress for all occasions: Women's costumes from the 1880s and 1890s
 Patterns of Fashion 1: 1660-1860

General Surveys of Costume:
The Mode in Costume: A Historical Survey with 202 Plates (Dover Pictorial Archives)
Historical Costumes of England 1066-1968
- Children's Costume: The Complete Historical Sourcebook
- The Mode in Hats and Headdress: A Historical Survey with 198 Plates (Dover Pictorial Archives)
- The Mode in Footwear: A Historical Survey with 53 Plates (Dover Pictorial Archives)

Books on Dress of the American West:

Janet Arnold Pattern Books:
- Patterns of Fashion 1: 1660-1860
- Patterns of Fashion: The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women C1560-1620
- Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen's Dresses and Their Construction C.1860-1940

Nora Waugh Pattern Books:
- The Cut of Men's Clothes: 1600-1900
- The Cut of Women's Clothes: 1600-1930

Sears Catalogs and Books on 20th c. Vintage Fashion:
- Everyday Fashions of the Twenties as Pictured in Sears and Other Catalogs (Sears Catalogs)
Everyday Fashions of the Thirties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs (Dover Books on Costume & Textiles)
Everyday Fashions of the Forties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs
- Everyday Fashions of the Fifties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs (Dover Books on Fashion)
- Everyday Fashions, 1909-1920, As Pictured in Sears Catalogs

After a Fashion: How to Reproduce, Restore, and Wear Vintage Styles

Books on Corsetry:
- The Basics of Corset Building: A Handbook for Beginners
- The Corset: A Cultural History
Waisted Efforts: An Illustrated Guide to Corset Making
Corsets: Historical Patterns & Techniques
- The Little Corset Book: A Workbook on Period Underwear (Little Costume Workbooks)
Corsets and Crinolines