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Costumes With Character ebook


Homeschooling families with daughters of all ages, take note! Amy Puetz has written the quintessential dress-up guide for girls – Costumes With Character - who want to add a multi-dimensional, living element to their study of history. Through the use of a simple dress as a base (pattern not included, suggested resources listed in appendix), Puetz has developed a huge selection of patterns for accessories, head-coverings, and removable clothing pieces to use along with the basic dress to recreate historical costumes from eleven time periods.

Covering Christian apparel from the Pilgrims through to the turn of the 20th century, Puetz’s patterns are simple enough to encourage even a bumbling seamstress such as myself to turn my hand to them. The patterns as written are designed to fit sixteen-year-olds, but a mathematical formula and variances are provided to alter the patterns to fit girls from four on up. The patterns themselves must be enlarged before using them, as only reduced versions are included in the text. For me, this does seem a bit daunting (but I’m an extraordinarily inexperienced sewer), but the patterns are so simple, but look so impressive when assembled together in an ensemble that it’s impossible to resist their appeal. The patterns themselves are clearly organized and are easy to understand.

The outfits Puetz plans are always modest, historically accurate and fun. Many of the pieces are versatile and are called into use in multiple time periods as appropriate. Purses, hats, fans, and parasols are included in several costume arrangements for example, decreasing the number of pieces necessary to build an entire historical wardrobe. The use of a simple dress with add-ons is also an incredibly economical solution to acquiring historical costumes, eliminating the need to purchase or make several complete outfits.

To effectively convey what a gem Costumes With Character is, let me share a few examples of how Puetz’s plan works. In the Civil War time period, the basic dress is paired with the following accessories: collar, hoopskirt, handkerchief, parasol and bow that you will need to sew from the provided patterns. A bonnet, fan, and handbag from other time periods are also called into service once again. Complete instructions are given for wearing and assembling the costumes, just in case you’re not entirely sure what to do with that hoop skirt you’ve just made. Other periods are simpler, such as the Puritan, which includes only a: collar, apron, cuffs, and a lawn cap (head covering).

Puetz’s passion for history is evident throughout with history trivia quizzes, quotes from primary source documents, and scripture verses that loosely embody the period. Suggestions for planning a tea party are also included along with patterns for fabric invitations, snack ideas, etc. Colourful photographs are included throughout, both of young women displaying the assembled costumes, and of other bright, inspiring images. Some of the images are somewhat pixilated, but in general the layout and quality of the book are highly professional.

Costumes With Character can be used as an ideal, hands-on supplement to enliven existing history studies, pull together home-economics and history, or serve as an outline for a course of study. Puetz’s list of books and movies (with an emphasis on primary sources and living books) in the recommended resources section could easily serve as a jumping off point into a unit study covering the included time periods. However family’s choose to use this wonderful resource, it’s sure to inspire as history is brought to life.

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Date Added: 07/04/2009 by Jennifer Bogart
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History Curriculum