I recently got this book, Vintage Lingerie by Jill Salen, because I personally hate modern undergarments and am on the search for older styles to try, and I was very pleased with Jill Salen’s other book, Corsets.
The majority of the patterns are for brassieres, though it also includes corsets, pantaloons, knickers, girdles, garter belts, and slips, ranging from the 1850’s to the 1970’s, the majority of which coming from the 1930’s-50’s. In the back there are instructions for sewing two of the patterns, as well as a number of handstitches.
The lingerie included is this book is beautiful and interesting, and some degree of familiarity with altering patterns and sewing without step-by-step instructions is required in order to reproduce the garments, so I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners (unless you’re really ambitious, then go right ahead). It makes a good reference book on how the styles of lingerie have changed through the years.
The author’s descriptions, on the other hand, are rather annoying at times — on several of the garments, she gives the history of the decade that it was produced in, but fails to describe the item itself with satisfactory detail. The author’s attitude towards the lingerie is also a bit off-putting for those who are vintage-enthusiasts, looking for styles to reproduce and include in their own wardrobes, since she dismisses a lot of the garments as being pretty but impractical. It almost seems like the author has a love-hate relationship with vintage lingerie, since she has a definite attraction to it, but at the same time can’t let go of the notion that modern society is more “advanced.”
On the whole, I like the book and the layout, and I look forward to reproducing the styles. I’m definitely glad that I purchased this. I’d rate it a 4 out of 5.