My hobby library

Hello everyone! Today I would like to give you a sneak peek in a very personal part of my life: my bookshelf! Maybe you recognise this, but when I visit people, I always start looking at the first bookshelf I can find. A bookshelf can tell so much about a person: what kind of stories he/she likes, what hobbies he/she has and so on! In this post, I would like to show you the most important books on the shelf that is dedicated to crafting. These are the books I can’t do without when it comes to making things, or just books I had to have very desperately… Maybe I will show some more of my bookshelf later, just let me know if you would like it in the comments!


Let’s start off with the first book I think every dedicated costume maker interested in medieval clothing should have: “The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant” by Sarah Thursfield. It includes lots of patterns for both sexes, clear diagrams and instructions as well as information on colours and fabrics you could use. The book was quite pricey (about €40,-) but I think it’s worth every euro.

These two little books,  “Jurk &zo” and “Rok & co” by Pieke Stuvel are the perfect books for lazy people, people who don’t like drawing intricate patterns or just don’t know how to start sewing. The yellow book contains a lot of different dress patterns, the blue book contains skirt patterns. These serve as very nice basic patterns for clothing and costumes. I really like these two books though I could have figured out most of the patterns myself. The only drawback (well, not for me) is that those books are only available in Dutch.

“Patroontekenen” (pattern drawing) by Winifred Aldrich is a hopelessly outdated book on pattern drawing. It covers the basic patterns of bodices, sleeves, skirts and pants, plus many alterations and variations. It is mainly the last part that is outdated, most of these variations are not very compatible with modern-day fashion, but for costumes it doesn’t matter at all. I consider replacing this book with a more recent one, but in the end any book like this will do if you like to go a little more sophisticated on your pattern drawing. Mine is in Dutch, but they are available in every possible language I guess.

Fashion making magazines, like Burda, Knipmode, Simplicity and so on form a great source for a huge range of designs. Not all of them are as compatible with LARP as you would like, but with a few alterations a simple blouse pattern can become a fantasy dress (let me know if you would like a post on this!). Apart from this it is always nice to make some daywear for yourself. Furthermore, these magazines are often sold at your local bookstore (sometimes even the supermarket) and are relatively cheap in comparison to books, so I would recommend this to everyone on a budget!


A few years ago the Valkhof Museum in Nijmegen had a big exposition on a beautiful book of hours which was owned by Katherina van Kleef, a duchess from the 15th century. It is filled with a lot of scenes depicting life in Medieval times, including rich and poor people. A few years later I found this book, called “De hand van de Meester: het getijdenboek van Katherina van Kleef”  in a bookstore. It contains all the pictures from the book of hours and gives a nice overview on different styles of medieval clothing, colours used and so on. Books with pictures like this are very useful for every period of interest. I already have my eye on some books with pictures from different centuries, and pictures of Asian costume.

The next book is one of the best in my collection. “Edelman-Bedelman” (or “Rich man-Poor man” in english) by Stef Verstraaten is packed with beautiful photographs of people in medieval costumes. All those costumes are inspired by the drawings from a different book of hours, the “Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry” which is also beautiful (and I have seen the real one too, in the same museum! I love old books!). The book costed 50 euros (I got it for my birthday, lucky me) but I think it’s worth it. Apart from the full-colour pictures the book is HUGE; it doesn’t fit upright on any of my bookshelfs, but hat only adds to the awesomeness of this work of art.

These are only a few of the books on my hobby-shelf. There are a lot more, but I can’t keep rambling on about books I like, that would be a neverending story 😉 I hope you liked reading this post, maybe you have some ideas about what to ask for Christmas now. For me it will certainly be books again, I can’t come up which much different than that. Let me know if you would like to read more on useful or nice books, and tell me which books you think are not to be missed in a hobby library!

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