If you're interested in sewing your own creations reminiscent of centuries ago, there is plenty of help available in your local library. Kathi Reynolds, who owns Creative Clothes and makes custom reproductions, suggests you start with one of the following:
* "Printed Textiles: English and American Cottons and Linens 1700-1850," by Florence M. Montgomery. (Viking Press, New York, 1970).
* "Chester County, Pennsylvania Inventories 1684-1850," by Margaret B. Schiffer. (Shiffer Publishing, Exton, Pa., 1974.) Contains inventories of the contents of almost 12,000 households, including textiles and clothing.
* "A Handbook of Costume," by Janet Arnold. (S.G. Phillips, New York, 1980.) A good reference for studying paintings and other visual arts to learn what clothing was really like and how it was worn.
* "Costume in Detail: Women's Dress 1730-1930," by Nancy Bradfield. (Plays Inc., Boston, 1968.) Line drawings of dresses turned inside out.
* "History of Underclothes," by C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington. (Faber and Faber, London, 1981.)