Monday, 7 October 2013

Heather Toomer Books - Lace and Whitework Research Gems

Last week I ordered a fabulous looking book, which I had somehow managed to stumble across on the internet. It has just been published (by the author herself) this summer:

'White-embroidered costume accessories from the 1790s to 1840s' by Heather Toomer, with drawings and patterns by Elspeth Reed'

When I read the title, to say that I was excited was an understatement. My favourite period, AND my favourite subject- whitework!! I was dreaming about gorgeous fichus, pelerines, chemisettes, hopefully aprons..... 

Now, I have got really excited about books in the past, which have sadly turned out to be major disappointments. Few colour photographs, poor reproductions etc, so I was also trying to pepper my enthusiasm with the thought that it may not prove to be as good as I had hoped.

I was, thankfully, MASSIVELY, massively wrong. It arrived today, and I am in seventh heaven. I even let my dinner get cold at lunchtime, as I couldn't stop flicking through and exclaiming "this woman is a genius", every so often.

This book has everything that I was hoping for:
*Superb quality photographs with fabulous detail shots of hundreds of antique accessories. Her personal collection of these items (which she has based this book around), is extensive.
*The accessories cover:
   Chemisettes
   Aprons
   Habit Shirts
   Cuffs  (after my last post, I now know a lot more about them!)
   Stoles
   Pelerines
   Collars
   Shawls
   Ruffs
*Beautiful fashion plates which show the context of these items so well.
*There are also drawings and patterns by her colleague Elspeth Reed (having these in this book exceeded my expectations- I hadn't even thought that they might be included).

Heather Toomer has written other books prior to this one:
'Embroidered with White: the 18th century fashion for Dresden lace and other whiteworked accessories.' 2008


'Baby wore white: robes for special occasions, 1800-1910' 2005.

I have just bought this one too!! The previous 18th century book will have to wait until next month, I think.

Heather has also written two books on identifying lace and European lace. Fingers crossed for Christmas!

I was really interested to see that Heather has published these herself. You can order these from her direct through her website here.

From one deliriously happy historical dress lover:
THANK YOU HEATHER!!

If you are thinking of purchasing this book, don't think, just do it!! I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

with love,
naomi