From Mr. Chris and my brother and sister, two books that have been on my list for a long time.
The Harper's Bazar Book is a massive volume of fashion plates covering a third of the 19th century. It's an excellent resource reference, though does not include patterns or that sort of thing. I can never get enough books like this one, though - having material to cross-reference is always a good thing.
The other book, The Basics of Corset Building, is a beginner's guide to making Victorian corsets. Though I've made many types of corsets, I'm crap at Victorian corsets. I feel I need to start from the beginning and really get a good step-by-step handle on this to fully understand how to work this type of garment, so I can't wait to get into this book and improve my feeble skills.
These books above are from the Lady Lever Art Gallery, a wonderful museum that had a small exhibit of Downton Abbey costumes while we were there, hence the book (apparently not available on Amazon).
Paired with the film's costumes were several original antique garments from the same period, from the National Museums Liverpool collections. I thought this made the exhibit rather multi-dimensional, with the reproductions right alongside the extant gowns with local provenance.
|One of the extant Liverpoolian gowns on display - absolutely stunning. Made by T&S Bacon, Bold Street, Liverpool, c. 1910-12|
|Another of the extant Liverpool gowns on display with the Downton Abbey costumes|
Only a few of these books appear to be on Amazon, so I highly recommend you go to the Lady Lever Gallery in Port Sunlight, and enjoy it for yourselves!