As discussed in this column previously with the closing of so many bookstores in the Miami-Dade and Broward area, those readers interested in costume and textile books need ready resources from which to locate and order books and publications dedicated to the costume arts. Further, the average sewing pattern is now hovering somewhere around eighteen dollars, leaving the costume hobbyist and beginning designer in need of accessible and cost effective resources for costume research and patternmaking. One such resource is the books written by Frances Grimble and published by Lavolta Press.
In business since 1993, Lavolta Press “publishes high-quality books on historic costuming and vintage clothing.” According to their website “readers include people involved in reenactment and living history, theater and film costumers, vintage clothing collectors and dealers, steampunkers, goths, vintage dancers, doll artists, needleworkers, and historical novelists.”
Lavolta Press publishes mostly books of Victorian and Edwardian costume patterns, but also has a book on Regency clothing, titled, The Lady's Stratagem. The company’s web site functions as the catalog of available books and one great feature of the catalog is the breakdown of what you will get in each book in terms of patterns. Included in the breakdown is the cost per pattern, which shows how cost effective buying a book of patterns to scale up is over buying separate packaged patterns that may not be as historically accurate and don’t include historic research and detailing on the time-period.
Another great feature is the, Dress Diaries, with web links to those readers and bloggers who have created costumes from the patterns which allows viewers to see some finished projects created by using thebooks' patterns and instructions. The website also has many positive reviews by readers.
Definitely, add this company and author to your list of costume research and pattern sources.