Silicon Web Costumer's Guild

Historical Costuming Resources

Fabrics and Notions | Jewels and Metalwork | Accessories and General Stores | Patterns

For a useful general run down on many historical eras try checking the articles listed at Historical Clothing Guides for Theater Costumes by Molly Schwichtenberg.

When building historical costumes you sometimes want to use authentic techniques and materials, but this can be an expensive option. Consider also looking for "similar" fabrics because many historical fabrics just simply aren't available any more.

Sometimes finding "similar" fabrics is a just matter of luck and looking long enough. The big lesson I've learned is to give myself enough lead time to get lucky. If you have a project in mind and have the specifications, you will be ready to jump when you run across that exceptional natural fiber fabric or that hard-to-find oddball item that is exactly what you need to pull off your historical costume.

Another way to find "similar" fabrics is to visit one of the large metropolitan areas that have a fabric district. Visiting them can be overwhelming, so plan to spend all day (or even a weekend) at it. See Gail Wolfenden-Steib's article, LA Fashion Confidential in "The Virtual Costumer", vol 8, issue 1 for tips on visiting Los Angeles.

Consider posting to the ICG-D Yahoo Group a few weeks before your visit to get up-to-date local advice on visiting places such as Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Seattle, Philadelphia, etc. Don't discount opportunities outside North America either! From Paris to Hong Kong, there are options for shoppers.

Here is a brief list of online sources you can try. Those I have used successfully exhibit the WebDiva Seal . Prices vary! Don't forget to also check eBay and Etsy as possible sources.

Fabrics and Notions

Jewels and Metalwork

General Stores


To suggest other historic costuming resource links for this page please contact the Web Diva.

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