Research and Resources

Detachable sleeve. Indian painted
chintz. Textiles collection,
University for the Creative Arts at
Farnham. VADS

Research Resources

The websites and blogs below I've found to be especially rich in primary materials, such as sewing manuals, photographs, paintings, and diaries, or in secondary materials, such as costume histories or articles.

Updated December August 12, 2015

Primary Texts and Images, Including a Few Patterns
L'Encyclopedie, of Diderot and d'Alembert
There are so many entries for the Encyclopedia, which many costumers today seem to simply name "Diderot", that it seemed best to give it its own section. The encyclopedia came out over a series of years and in multiple editions, and there is no one single source out there that I have found that is both publicly available and contains most everything.

My Favorite Source for Specific Portions of the Encyclopedia
It's in French, but everything is there, in its original form. From a French site titled CNUMS, (Le Conservatoire numérique des Arts & Métiers), a joint project of several French libraries.

Tome XIV. L'art du perruquier ; l'art du tailleur, renfermant le tailleur d'habits d'hommes les culottes de peau, le tailleur de corps de femmes & enfans [sic enfants], la couturière & la marchande de modes [par M. de Garsault] ; l'art de la lingère, l'art du brodeur [par M. de Saint Aubin], l'art du cirier [par M. Duhamel Du Monceau], l'art du criblier [par M. Fougeroux d'Angerville], l'art du coutelier en ouvrages communs [par M. Fougeroux de Bondaroy], l'art du bourrelier & du sellier [par M. de Garsault], & l'art du mouleur en plâtre [par M. Fiquet]. A Neuchâtel : Dans l'imprimerie de la société typographique, 1780.

Portions of the Encyclopedia, in English
The Encyclopedia of Diderot and d'Alembert
A partial copy, English and French, crowd-sourced and a work in progress. The plates are nice not overlarge and do not contain the accompanying pages of text. University of Michigan. Still, essential.

Encyclopedia Methodique: Manufactures, Arts et Metiers

A massive followup to Diderot and D'Alembert. Managed by Charles-Joseph Panckoucke. Bigger, much more confusing, because the content is arranged by set of disciplines, from math to grammer to fish to games, with an alpha treatment for each set of disciplines. All things clothing are within the multiple volumes of the Manufactures, Arts et Metiers set.

In Google Books:
In Gallica: search for "Encyclopedie Methodique manufactures" and you will find am incomplete set as well.

Some of the plates appear to be in a Hungarian archive, while others are in a volume in Gallica, and the full set in a Madrid archive, accessed through Hathitrust. Because the plate designer was the same man as designed the Diderot plates, some of the plates are rather similar in this encyclopedia, but not most of them, and sometimes there are more plates in this encyclopedia, with more details. Sometimes this is due to technology having advanced since Diderot's time.
For those interested, Cambridge University Library has a concise history of this vast project.

Keys to Museum Holdings of Extant Garments
Secondary Sources and Articles, Miscellaneous

Peculiarly Good Articles/Resources on Specific Topics, by Era

18th Century Dress
Regency Dress


    Multiple Eras

    • Fabric roses tutorial, by The Laced Angel. Nice and clear.

    Patterns and Advice

    Sewing and Dress Materials and Notions

    Textiles and Block Printing
    Historic Food: Because Food and Dress Go Together
    • Food History Jottings: Comments, recipes, and debunkings from a slightly opinionated but still interesting British chef
    • Historic Foodie, The: Victoria Rumble's very fine blog
    • History is Served: Stories and recipes from Colonial Williamsburg
    • 18th Century Tea Time: The tea, hot chocolate & coffee things of the English and French Aristocracies. From Lucinda Brant. On Pinterest.
    • 18th Century Culinary and Table: Food, glorious food, recipes, kitchen utensils, dinnerware, serving ware, crockery and cutlery (flatware) and silverware of 1700s England and France. From Lucinda Brant. On Pinterest.

    Online Radio