I have a lot of costuming books, and especially historical costuming books. So, choosing a favorite is pretty difficult. However, Fitting and Properstands out to me, being one of my first costuming books, as well as the first book I drafted a pattern from.
My parents got it for me as a reward for finishing an extra online class ahead of schedule, as well as buying me my first pair of 18th century shoes. I’ve sewn a gown, mitts, shortgown, and a calash so far from the patterns in the book, and it couldn’t have been easier to follow!
In a similar vein to The Cut of Women’s Clothes, the book places traced patterns on a grid, so they’re easy to reproduce exactly as they exist in real life, but they can also be sized up or down to fit each individual. The book also provides the thread count for the materials, instructions for the construction, photos of the original garments, and a written history of both the generic idea of the type of garment as well as the extant piece itself.
I highly recommend this book, especially for those costumers who are just entering the historical costuming world, or anyone who is learning how to draft patterns. And, even if you don’t make anything from it, it’s still a wonderful book to flip through and learn from!