The Embroiderer's Story

Treats AND Good Works

November 10th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Have you heard that the new Janet Arnold book, Patterns of Fashion 4: The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, neckwear, headwear and accessories for men and women c.1540-1660 is finally really being released?

If you haven’t heard, take a deep breath.

Janet Arnold died unexpectedly in 1998, and since then the historic clothing world has periodically buzzed with rumors that her linen book would be out “soon”.

This time it isn’t a rumor. A review copy sits on the desk before me as I write, thanks to Susanna, our book buyer, and Karin, Plimoth’s library custodian, both of whom let me have first peek. Let me assure you, it has been worth the wait. Unlike the first 3 books in the Patterns of Fashion series, this one has color pictures. Black & white ones, too, but lots of color. This is excellent because many of the shirts, smocks, coifs, drawers, etc, have embroidery on them. In many cases the photos are clear enough to see the motifs; in others Janet has illustrated parts of repeating motifs or entire isolated ones. There is a wealth of detail about seam treatments and other construction details, and of course the patterns on graphed pages with Janet’s own invaluable notes. The interesting thing to me about this volume is that since she never finished it there are places where her guesses or questions to herself have been left in by Jenny Tiramani and Santina Levey, who organized the material and at last brought the book to publication.

Amazon is taking advance orders, but I have a BETTER deal for you — a chance to buy yourself a book you know you want AND support a very good cause all at the same time.

Right now Plimoth Plantation’s mail order department is taking orders for this book for $49.95 plus $8.95 shipping. The proceeds of these sales, as all retail sales at Plimoth, will directly support Plimoth’s programs. (So every time you buy some of those yummy chocolate covered cranberries, you’re helping put shoes on an interpreter, for instance.)

You can feel good knowing A) this awesome book is on it’s way to you and B) your money is going to a cause you support. We still need a few supplies to finish up the jacket, namely thread, sequins (oes), needles, plus we’re planning, and beginning to pay for, the exhibit that will go with the finished jacket – the mannequin upon which it will be mounted, the petticoat, the explanatory panels, the case to put it in, all those things that will make it possible for the public to see and experience this marvelous piece first hand – and will let us travel her to other museums and institutions so YOU can see her first hand.

To order, you can access the mail order gift shop through the website at You can also contact the retail department directly at 1-800-262-9356 X 8204 or X 8332 Nicole Hallahan is in charge of retail mail order and you can reach her at

I’d like to ask our regular readers from the SCA to please share this information with your fellows – I think many of them will want this book and might be glad to have their money to this excellent project rather than to a faceless megacorp.

The review copy¬†was hijacked by us arrived in the office during the last embroidery session; in the photo from left that’s Carli, Debbie, me and Lyn admiring. It took a supreme effort to prevent myself from hogging the book in an unseemly fashion.

As always, thanks.

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7 Responses to “Treats AND Good Works”

  1. Tricia WIlson Nguyen says:

    Just a note – if you go to SHOP and look up BOOKS->CRAFTS&TRADE you will see the book as the second choice. Thank you for any support!! I just bought my copy and a gift for a friend for Christmas.

  2. Colleen says:

    Could you put the information from the various comments who said they knew people who can make slate frames in a blog post? Channukah is coming, and I have a relative who might get me a frame! Oh, and did anyone get any good shots of me and the little one at the lace pillow? I’d love a copy…

    Thank you!!!!

  3. Wendy says:

    It was more of a redirection of its location than a hijacking and the anticipation
    of its arrival in the wardrobe dept. had everyone waiting with baited breath until
    Penny arrived with the precious cargo and Jill danced with joy!
    The book is truly wonderful, lots of beauteous color photographs ( the coifs are super)
    and who doesn’t want more photos?!!
    Your support is greatly appreciated!

  4. Jen says:


    I have a friend who makes slate frames, which you can see at: I’ve got a beautiful one in cherry from him I have yet to use.


    Thanks for the note on purchasing PoF4!

  5. Susan K. says:

    My copy arrived the other day. (I heard about advance-ordering it on the website.) All I can say is that my list of project ideas has just doubled. What a fabulous book!

    I second the Spanish Peacock recommendation for slate frames. He does gorgeous work.

  6. Catherine K says:

    ARRGGHH! I had this on the B-day/Christmas list for the hubby. It didn’t get out in time for the B-day so now I have to wait until Christmas. Arrggghh again. My friends had better not wave theirs to closely under my nose :) :) . Not sure if hubby has ordered this yet but I will direct him to the Plantation website if he has not.

  7. [...] I hadn’t been at Plimoth when the new Patterns of Fashion 4 preview was viewed and so was very excited today when my package came from Plimoth with my order (benefiting the jacket project – get yours now). [...]

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