Sunday, 12 June 2011

Review: Classic and Modern Fabrics

Classic and Modern Fabrics - The Complete Illustrrated Sourcebook
Janet Wilson, 2010
Thames & Hudson

Reviewed by Deborah Hannam

This is a large book. It is a beautiful book. It will take up space on the bookshelf and will need to sit with dictionaries and encyclopaedia!! When I first dipped into it I felt it was a reference book for professional designers, dressmakers and students rather than an amateur weaver and spinner such as myself. I was mistaken and rapidly found myself absorbed by the subject matter. It is a definitive guide to all the major fabrics in use today ranging from entries on well known classics such as Flannelet and Tweed to innovative newcomers such as Nanomaterials and Moisture Transport Textiles new to me but fascinating).
The layout is clear and attractive and consideration has been given to ease of recognition and identification. Each fabric is accompanied by a large scale photograph clearly showing structure and texture. Where necessary these include diagrams of construction. The text accompanying each photograph includes a wealth of fascinating detail, covering essential information such as the principle applications, history, construction, patterns and the usage of obsolete terms where appropriate. Cross references at the end of each entry widen the information. The entry on Glass cloth for example will lead to Diced Weave, Huckaback, Tea Towelling, and Union Fabric. All these are further described and illustrated.
This is a book for anyone who has an interest in fabric whether for professional or personal reasons. It is primarily a definitive reference book and should be included in any reference library used by students of textiles and fashion. It would provide an up to date reference book for anyone needing information about textiles in current use today whether professionally or for personal interest. It will also be of interest to those wanting an historical background to textiles, costume and interior furnishings.

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