Book Report: Vintage Details

Hello friends! Hope you are all well! Are any of you struck with the back-to-school feeling over the last few weeks? I am every year, but this year I’ve actually returned back to school full-time, and my first research assignment sent me into a flurry of excitement as I dug through the library for information about ancient weaving techniques! As I looked through books of textile research, I was reminded that I’d received a review copy of this book some time ago and had totally forgotten to share it with you in the hustle and bustle of packing and moving.

Vintage Details review | Ginger Makes

Vintage Details: A Fashion Sourcebook (Amazon affiliate link here; Indiebound link here) was sent to me by Laurence King Publishing. It’s a bit different from some of the books I’ve received from them- it doesn’t contain any sewing patterns, but it’s not really a textbook, either. What it is, essentially, is a 350-page visual dissection of 20th-century vintage clothing.

Vintage Details review | Ginger Makes

The book begins with a photo index of all the garments that appear in the book. There’s a shot of the front and the back, and a little blurb about the era, fabrication, and country of origin.

Vintage Details Review | Ginger Makes

I chose to feature one of my favorite outfits in this blog post, a linen coat and dress ensemble worn in England around 1927. As you can see in the photo, the page numbers for the detail shots are listed next to the original garment photos so if a garment piques your interest, you can easily find closeups.

Vintage Details Review | Ginger Makes

After the index, detail shots of the garments are arranged by feature (for example, necklines, as seen above), so you can browse by section and look for inspiration all in one place.

Vintage Details Review | Ginger Makes

Isn’t it wild that these motifs are printed? I wonder how common that was in 1927!

Vintage Details review | Ginger Makes

I really enjoy these detailed photographs- it’s a bit like visiting a costume exhibit in a museum, but without feeling too nervous that a guard will yell at you for getting too close to the garments! (Is it just me or are you also struck with a nearly impossible-to-curb desire to touch clothes in a museum???)

Vintage Details Review | Ginger Makes

This dress may be nearly 90 years old, but I could totally wear this today! It’s so timeless!

Vintage Details review | Ginger Makes

Look at the beautiful shape of that sleeve! Drool! The book includes sections on necklines, collars, sleeves, pockets, fastenings & buttonholes, hems, darts, stitching & fitting devices, pleats, frills & flounces, embellishment, surface, and construction.

Vintage Details Review | Ginger Makes

To summarize, if you are a person who loves to look at photos of cool vintage clothes, you’ll love this book. If you’re less inspired by photos and more into line drawings or touching physical objects, you probably won’t. But it seems like a book that would be really inspiring to those of you who enjoy hacking patterns and including unique details- there are plenty of things here to get your creative juices flowing! (I’m still daydreaming about a cream-colored jacket with a bias-cut striped collar… I forgot to take a photo of it and I’ve mislaid my camera, oops!). This also seems like a great book to request for your local library.

Here are a few more details from different garments that really intrigued me:

Vintage Details Review | Ginger Makes

If ever a sleeve was edible, surely this is it!! It is PERFECT.

Vintage Details review | Ginger Makes

I mean… that’s some mod goodness right there! Yes, yes, and yes!

Vintage Details Review | Ginger Makes

I basically want this pocket on ALL of my clothes.

Anybody seen any inspiring vintage clothing lately? Which details stood out to you?

25 responses

  1. Wow! What a fabulous review, thank you so much. I am one of the authors…The 20’s block printed suit is one I own, it’s one of my most precious pieces. I bought it over 25 years ago in London, in Camden Passage and still to this day is one of the most expensive vintage items I have ever bought. I’m so glad you love it too…I’ve worn it to 3 weddings!
    Best wishes and thanks again
    Basia

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy back to school! Thanks for the peek into what looks like a totally gorgeous book. I’ve only had one experience buying nice vintage pieces. I had a fun surprise when I spent some time examining the guts and saw some cut corners. It made me feel better about my own finishing — after all, those had survived decades and we’re still looking great on the outside!

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    • That’s so funny! It’s reassuring to know that it lasted, even if it wasn’t a perfect example of couture sewing! 🙂 Sometimes I see handmade clothes when I’m nosing around in thrift stores and often I see that the seams are just pinked, but they’re still in totally fine shape. We’re probably all too hard on ourselves!

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  3. I have made a few pieces over this past year that “copy” vintage and I absolutely love them. A great source of vintage inspired patterns is Now and Then and Decades of Style. (I don’t have any connection or reason to promote these companies by the way – I just love their work!)

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    • Thank you for the recommendations! I have been eyeing the Cat’s Cradle dress from Decades of Style ever since I first saw it pop up on Instagram… that neckline!! It’s too good! I wish I had more occasion to wear fancy dresses because some of their gown patterns are absolutely amazing!

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    • I was actually hoping to do the program in evening classes so I could still work full-time, but it’s not offered, so I have to work part-time and cut down my expenses. But, the benefit is that it’s an accelerated program for people that have already been to school so I can finish in just two semesters. I hope you’re able to take more classes one day when your hands are less full- seems like La Canada has such a cool course offerings!

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    • Isn’t it? It really makes me smile to see the little details that really make a garment feel special. I have a jacket that’s probably from the 30s that I picked up super cheap even though it doesn’t really fit me- the pockets are so pretty that I couldn’t leave it on the rack!

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    • It really makes me want to slow down and think about what I could do to add a unique touch to the garments that I sew! These feel SO special, just with the addition of buttons or changing up the shape of the welt pocket! So clever!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha, you’re definitely not the only one who has a hard time with hands off the garments 😄 I recently went to a Carolina Herrera exhibit and all I wanted to do was pet the fabric and peek at the construction! I love the look of this book though. So many details for inspiration!

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  5. What a fabulous book, thanks so much for sharing. If my local library hasn’t got it i’ll ask them to buy it. I’ve been surprised by their willingness to buy what I ask for – kind of like library genies!
    I was in a chapel watching an incredibly excellent choir the other day but what caught my attention was the jacket collar on the woman next to me. I almost pulled an eye muscle looking at it at close range while pretending to be looking at the choir Jennifer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so very wonderful- your library sounds like an amazing resource! It’s one of my favorite things about being a student again- access to the school library! And that is too funny- I have caught myself staring at people’s clothing a little too closely on the subway. I must have looked so creepy! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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