Janet Arnold was one of the most accomplished historians of fashion and garments that ever lived. She studied surviving garments from history, primarily 15th-17th century England, and re-created patterns from those garments. But she went further than that. She studied historical documents related to the clothing industry from the periods as well (See Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd). Not only are her patterns truly authentic, but this book includes detailed photographs and descriptions of the original garments the patterns re-create. The Globe theatre in London uses these and other Janet Arnold patterns in their historical re-creation productions where everything from the sets to the costumes are constructed exactly as they would have been in Shakespeare's time.
This is the one that was posthumously completed for Arnold by a collection of scholars. It's pretty much the only source text for costuming this era, and the front section where the extra source material is listed is partially in colour and more in depth than the 18th and 19th century Patterns of Fashion. As always, you need to have pretty good skills as a seamstress to interpet, re-size and put together the patterns, which have little to no instruction, but tutorials are not what you go to a Janet Arnold for.
One of the BEST books for researching Renaissance era costuming. Accurate and it even has modern photos (though in black and white) of extant pieces from the era - it shows construction, weaves, buttons etc from the period and basic pattern instructions.
This is a must have for those who would like to recreate costumes accurately. The patterns are easy to follow and the detail is amazin. Very instructive. I made two of the items from this book and they turned out wonderfully.
Janet Arnold's books are a cult classic, so to speak, in the costuming world, university teachers refer to her books in Pattern Cutting classes. With this being said it proves how fantastic Janet Arnold's oeuvre is.