This page got awful long, awful fast. Here, have a table of contents:
Attaching Piping and Turning Corners. Courtesy of the fine folks at Craftsy.
Craftii The crafting blog for Croft Mill, UK. Includes a link to their retail arm.
The Dreamstress The woman behind this blog has forgotten more about historical costuming and style than I will ever know. Seriously useful information, here.
Elizabethan Costume Solid reference site for anyone costuming the late Tudor era.
Fashion Era Large collection of historical fashion and costuming.
Foundations Revealed Want to know more about foundation garments? Want to know a LOT more about their history, construction and how to wear them? This site is for you. Some articles are for subscribers only, but even the free resources are impressive.
Fur Guide – Vintage Fashion Guild. A visual directory of many types of fur.
Fur Types in Brief courtesy of the Fur Industry USA. Note: this is a pro-fur trade organization.
Historical Sewing If you want to sew the 19th century, bookmark this site immediately. Extremely informative.
Home Hobbies: Sewing Resources Links to various tutorials – videos and web pages – all of which are useful for the beginning seamster. Thanks to The Creative Girls’ Adventure Book Club for finding the link.
Identifying Vintage Fur Visual guide illustrating the differences between mink, fox, rabbit, beaver and raccoon furs.
LA County Museum of Art Frequently hosts fashion-themed exhibitions, and they’ve donated usage rights of a LOT of costume pictures via Wikimedia Commons.
Lazy Girl Designs Tutorials for quilters and fabric crafters.
Need Needles? A guide to sewing machine needles, including instructions on how to change them in most home sewing machines.
Needle (and Thread) Guide for Machine Sewing A very easy-to-understand chart matching machine needles and thread to common fabrics.
A Quick Guide to Synthetic Fibers Includes an extensive list of brand and trademark names for various synthetic fiberes. Very helpful for identifying synthetic fiber content in vintage clothing that has a label.
Pins for Every Purpose A succinct guide to fabric pins from Threads Magazine, and when to use each type.
Pleated Ribbon Trim to Glam Up Your Victorian Neckline While you’re there, browse the site, it’s incredibly useful for anyone looking to costume the 19th century.
Retro Renovation Advice and DIY for folks who want to renovate their homes with a retro vibe. They often blog links to retro-style fabric retailers.
Schmetz Sewing Machine Needle Guide For Shchmetz brand needles. Viking and Husqvarna machines use this brand, as do several other sewing machines.
The Seasoned Homemaker Blog for crafters and home-sewists.
Sew For Home Blog for folks looking to re-decorate their homes via sewing. Tutorials, etc.
Sew Mama Sew Over 700 tutorials for home-sewists, emphasizing accessories and décor items.
Singer Sewing Machine Needle Guide For Singer brand needles. Many machines – not just Singers – use Singer type needles.
So Sew Easy – A sizable website stuffed with tutorials and articles of interest. This link will take you straight to their sewing tips.
Threads Magazine More tutorials, definitions and articles of interest than I can count.
Types of Tulle for Your Veil. A short-and-to-the-point tutorial in the differences between different veil materials – net, illusion, etc.
Vintage Fashion Guild Gotta admit, if I’d seen this before I started writing Fabric for Cosplayers I might have given up before any of it saw the light of day! Huge fabric dictionary, plus guides to identifying vintage furs, labels, etc. All geared towards vintage clothing, obviously.
Vicious Cosplay Tutorials for cosplayers – sewing, prop-making, etc.
I referred to all of these in one way or another while writing for this site. Thank heavens for my local library! PS. the book links go to Amazon – and if you buy something, a portion of the purchase price will help support this website!
Classic and Modern Fabrics: The Complete Illustrated Sourcebook My go-to book when writing this website. Great illustrations and very informative definitions.
The Dressmaker’s Handbook for Couture Sewing Techniques. Usually “couture” and “costuming” don’t go hand-in-hand, but if you’re looking to re-create vintage or high-fashion looks, then you want to learn about couture sewing.
Fabric A to Z: The Essential Guide for Choosing and Using Fabric for Sewing I swear, I didn’t lay eyes on this book until after I’d written and launched this site. That said, the similarities are striking – but coincidental. A very solid reference for a new seamster.
Fabric Savvy, by Sandra Betzina. A quick, easy reference. Quite valuable as it makes a point of discussing sewing machine feet and needle options for each fabric. There is a sequel, More Fabric Savvy, but it largely duplicates this book.
Fabric Sewing Guide by Claire Shaeffer. Exhaustive reference book touching on pretty much everything that can be pierced with a needle. Out of print, but very affordable, used – less than $20, typically.
The Fashion Designer’s Textile Directory, by Gail Baugh. This book goes more into depth regarding the environmental impact of certain textiles than many other references.
Fit For Real People – Sew Great Clothes Using Any Pattern. When using “standard” sewing patterns, you’ll quickly learn that no-one is a “standard” fit. This book features a lot of photos and very clear instructions on how to identify and address fitting issues.
Fitting & Proper Featuring pictures of 40+ garments from 18th century USA
Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing. Intended for seamsters looking to re-create vintage looks using new and historical couture techniques. Again, a bit advanced for most beginners, but a great read if you’re looking to re-create mid-20th century fashion. Also includes patterns you can trace off.
How To Be A Tudor: A Dawn to Dusk Guide of Everyday Life. The author of this book is an historian and participated in several living-history exercises – including a very informative test re: hygiene and linen undergarments.
How to be a Victorian By the same author of How to be a Tudor. Very informative and entertaining.
How to Make Sewing Patterns. If you’re feeling ready to make the big jump to drafting your own sewing patterns, this books is recommended by many. Learning how patterns are drafted – even if you don’t intend to do so yourself – grants better understanding as to how clothes are made and can make alterations of sewing patterns a bit easier.
Pattern Fitting With Confidence. Nancy Zieman’s books are, as a rule, worth buying. Lots of photos and easy to to understand language.
Printed Textiles: British and American Cottons and Linens 1700-1850 Another gorgeous visual guide to patterns of the period.
Selling Silks: A Merchant’s Sample Book 1764 Great reference for anyone looking to costume the upper classes of the 18th century.
Sewing Step by Step. Singer has an entire library of sewing books on various topics, and this one is great for people who are just starting to sew. Out of print, but easy to find.
Sewing Specialty Fabrics. Another one in the Singer reference library, and an excellent starting point for tackling sheers, metallics, fancy brocades, etc.
Simplicity Fabric Guide If you find Classic and Modern Fabrics a bit intimidating (or too expensive!) this is a good fall-back.
Simplicity Sewing Book. This edition is from 1971, but it’s easily found online and goes into more depth than later editions. A good how-to book for beginners.
The Synthetic 70s: Fabrics of a Decade Visual reference of some of the eye-popping (mostly synthetic) textiles of the 1970s.
Techno Textiles 2: Revolutionary Fabrics for Fashion and Design Possibly a little overwhelming for someone new to the subject but it discusses some fascinating materials and techniques that are overlooked elsewhere. Definitely worth reading if you’re interested in what’s going to be the next big thing in fabric.
Textiles Basics Textbook. If you can find the full version that comes bundled with textile samples for the activities described in the book, so much the better, but it’s useful even without that. The book’s layout annoyed me at times (too many different fonts all over the place!) but it has a lot of information packed into a relatively small volume.
Textiles: Concepts and Principles College textbook which gets more into the nitty-gritty of textile manufacture and distribution as well as their functions, pick up this edition which is much cheaper than the current edition in use.
Textiles in America 1650-1870 Self explanatory, I hope.
Wearable Prints, 1760 – 1860: History, Materials, And Mechanics I’ve borrowed this from my library and they’ll be lucky to get it back!
Burn Testing Your Fabric. Threads Magazine’s excellent video on how to burn-test your fabric and how to read the results.
Glueing Leather. A video of useful advice from the Springfield Leather Company.
How to Use a Cording Foot. Demo video.
Pleated Ribbon Tutorials. Various guides on how to make your own.
If I don’t mention otherwise, the seller does not offer swatches as far as I know. Corrections appreciated!
AnnaKa Bazaar Paris. Selling high-end décor fabric and accessories. Site is in English and French.
Award Ribbons Sells various ribbons suitable for decorative use.
B and J Fabrics Los Angeles. Has more fabric than you can shake a stick at. Samples available for $1.50 apiece.
B. Black & Sons. Los Angeles. Fine wool suiting, shirt fabric and tailoring supplies. If you’re making a suit or a dress shirt, both the website and the brick and mortar store are worth visiting. Swatches available upon request.
Bulk Fabric Online retailer of fashion and upholstery fabrics. Swatches available for $1 each. Also has a blog focused on defining fabric types.
Cheeptrims As the name says, lots of trimmings and embellishments for your costumes.
Continental Fabric Fashion craft and some décor fabric. No swatching.
CV Linens Event supply, including fine linens for same.
Denver Fabrics One of the mainstays of online fabric retailing. I’m not certain, but I think they and Fashion Fabrics Club are the same entity.
Dharma Trading. A source for everything related to painting and dyeing fabric, as well as reasonably-priced raw silk, silk organza and devore chemicals. Many tutorials available, too.
Drapery Genie Décor fabrics – high end stuff generally sold by the bolt, but some multi-yard remnants listed, too.
Fabric.com. A good place to start when looking for fabric. Swatches available for purchase.
Fabric Direct Fashion and décor fabric. Also has a brick-and-mortar presence in New Jersey.
Fabric Guru Drapery, décor and outdoor fabric. Samples available for $1 apiece.
The Fabric Emporium Décor and upholstery fabric. Swatches available for most items at $1.50 apiece.
The Fabric Fairy Fashion fabric, especially fabric apt for swimwear, and notions. Swatches available for fifty cents apiece.
The Fabric Mill Drapery and décor fabric.
Fabric Wholesale Direct Fashion, drapery and décor fabric.
Fabuless Fabrics Décor and drapery fabric. Lots of triple velvet!
Famcor Fabrics Upholstery fabric. Swatches available for $2 apiece.
Fashion Leathers International Sells lamb, cow and pig hides for fashion use. Various grades available for different budgets. Swatches available for $2 apiece.
Faux Paw Furs Retailers of faux fur of various (ahem) stripes and items made from same. Get up to five swatches for $5.
Fleece-Fabric.com As the name suggests, nothing but fleece. Individual swatches free, as long as you don’t get greedy. Or get a swatch card of all of their solid-color anti-pill fleece for $7.50.
Fur Source. Online retailer of various fur pelts and trim.
G.U.R. Sewing Machines UK retailer of sewing machines and related notions. Brick-and-mortar store in Birmingham.
Glacier Wear. Online retailer of fur pelts, leather and associated animal parts (horns, teeth, etc) and finished garments using same.
Howard Bader Great place for stretch sequin trims, as well as other kinds.
The Hide & Leather House. Online retailer for leather and suede, with a physical store in Napa, CA. Worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Hyena Productions High end (expensive!) silk fabric suitable for costuming and décor. Swatches $10.
Joann’s Fabric & Crafts online arm of the US retail chain. Get on their mailing list for the coupons.
Loom Showroom Fashion and décor fabric. Also has a retail store in Pittsburgh, PA.
MJ Trim. Generally the first place many cosplayers go to when looking for costume trims of any kind.
Mango Saurat Selling saris, Bollywood clothing, salwar suits, etc. Saris made gorgeous fabric yardage.
Montana Leather Offering cow, lamb and even kangaroo leather, plus various tools related to equine care.
Mood Fabrics Fashion and décor fabric, plus trims and notions. Brick and mortar stores in NYC and Los Angeles. Swatches $1 apiece.
New York Fashion Center Fashion fabrics on the pricey side, but oh my gosh, so beautiful. Brick-and-mortar store in NYC. Swatches available at varying prices, depending on the source fabric. Site also features a guide to the NY fabric district.
Online Fabric Store. A dull name, but a source of honest-to-gosh 100% cotton crinoline. Samples available for $1.50 apiece.
On The Go Linens Mostly table linens but if you scroll down the page, you’ll see some satin and other event-apt fabric for sale.
Pacific Trimming All sorts of trimmings and embellishments.
Palazzo Fabrics Upholstery fabric and faux leather. Free samples on request.
Period Fabric Natural-yarn fabrics suitable for historical costuming. Stock seems primarily suited for the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Pure Silks Taffeta, satin, georgette, charmeuse, you name it. If it can be woven from silk, they’ve got it. They also offer some fabrics in other yarns. Swatches $5 apiece, shipping included.
Quilting Warehouse Quilting fabrics, notions, kits and more.
Rex Fabrics Fashion and décor fabric. They make a point of having a separate section for men’s fashion fabric, which is useful.
SewingS Fashion fabric, faux fur and notions.
Sew Obsessed UK-based fabric retailer. Fashion and décor offerings, plus notions.
Shindler’s Fabrics Fashion, décor and upholstery fabrics. Tassels and trims.
Silk Baron. Huge selection of silk taffeta, silk dupioni, silk velvet and silk chiffon. Swatches available for purchase.
Spandex Depot As the name suggests, this is your place for spandex / lycra / elastane fabrics. Also lame’, mesh and other unusual fabrics. Free samples on request.
Stylish Fabric Fashion fabrics, faux fur. Samples available for $1 apiece.
Tandy Leather. Online retailer of leather hides, tools, related supplies and books. There are a lot of how-to’s on the site, too. If you’re lucky enough to live near one of their brick-and-mortar stores, pay it a visit. They often host classes and drop-in sessions for people who want to learn about leather crafting.
Target Trim Hundreds, nay, thousands of trims of all kinds. Their brick-and-mortar store in the LA fabric district is always worth a visit, too.
Totally Buttons UK-based button retailer. Huge selection.
Treadle Yard Goods Brick-and-mortar fabric store in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Trim Fabric Despite the name, these folks sell fashion fabrics and trims. Lots of both. Swatches are $1.50 apiece.
Truro Fabrics UK-based fashion fabric retailer. Swatches available, price depends on material – GBP 1.50 – 2.50.
Tutu.com Supplies for creating tutus – fabric, steel, embellishments, etc. Likely source for crinoline, tulle and other sheers with body.
UK Fabrics Online Fashion and upholstery fabrics. Swatches available at 0.50GBP each.
Vintage Trailer Supply Everything for the owner (or fan) of vintage trailers (caravans in the UK) – including retro-themed fabric suitable for upholstery and fashion.
Vogue Fabrics Store. Extensive website and enormous retail store in Evanston, IL. Their swatch catalogue subscription can be an ongoing source of inspiration. Swatches available for purchase.
Wawak Seller of sewing machines, related supplies and some sewing notions.
Wholesale Fabrics Store Chicago-area retailer of fashion and décor fabrics. Swatches available for $1 apiece. Brick-and-mortar presence of Vogue Fabrics.
William Booth Drapers Selling fabric, sewing patterns, books, and accessories suitable for folks looking to costume the 18th or 19th centuries.
I visited these sites at least once in search of information and/or images.
Backcountry Chronicles DIY hunting, fishing and outdoor tips.
Julia Renaissance Costumes Offering lectures and historical “fashion shows” focused on the Tudor period, although it looks like she might be dabbling in the Regency, also. In the UK.