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Foreword by Mrs. Jennie Chancy for Costumes with Character

Costume with Character by Amy Puetz
Foreword by Mrs. Jennie Chancey

Pictures from the book.

"Mom, do we have a parasol?" I asked, digging through the upstairs hall trunk. "Well," my mother replied, "I know we used to have an old Japanese parasol that belonged to your grandmother, but we can always make a parasol from an umbrella!" An hour later, I was promenading in the back yard with my lacey ’brella and feeling like a queen.

While growing up and homeschooling, our family loved to "play dress-up" as we studied historical events. We also got together with fellow homeschoolers to put on history plays, and it was always interesting to see what kinds of costumes everyone came up with. For medieval times, we cooked a period feast and dressed in costumes we cobbled together from the dress-up trunk. When we read about the pioneers, I made a bonnet and created a "kind of" accurate outfit from a dress and an apron. When we hit the War Between the States, I pined for a hoopskirt but made do with my grandmother’s old crinoline petticoats from the 1950s. Creating costumes from what we had on hand and making fun accessories to go with them was the icing on the cake as we studied timelines, names, and places.

Many mothers dread the thought of sewing something from scratch, especially since commercial patterns are often very time-consuming and daunting for the inexperienced seamstress. Yet there is something extra special about being able to "live" history as we study it, and girls especially find it thrilling to dress like Pilgrims or pioneers. Often it just isn’t possible to attempt costuming because of the costs and time involved.

That is all about to change. You hold in your hands the answer to these concerns, and I am absolutely thrilled to promote Amy Puetz’s wonderful book, Costumes with Character. From one beautifully detailed page to the next, you will see how simple it is to take a basic dress and turn it into 11 different costumes, spanning from the 17th century to the early 1900s. You will be amazed at how little effort it takes to go from one era to the next with a change of collar and cuffs or the addition of a bonnet! Amy’s clear instructions and illustrations make all of the sewing steps easy to follow, and her historical quotations and Q&A in each section will spark further interest in each time period.

It is possible to create wonderful costumes to portray historical events without emptying your pocketbook or losing your mind over complicated directions. If you are looking for a fun way to introduce daughters to sewing, this book is also a super jumping-off point. Whatever the event, I believe you’ll find Costumes with Character a tremendous creativity-booster. Thank you, Amy, for this historical treat!

Mrs. Jennie Chancey
Homeschooling mom and owner of Sense & Sensibility Patterns
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History Curriculum