About the Tailor's Handbook
Il Libro del Sarto, referred to in English as "The Tailor's Book" or "The Milanese Tailor's Handbook" and sub-titled "A Collection of heroic military and ecclesiastical figures, tents, pavilions, emblems and drawings, mostly miniatures" , is an astounding gem of both 16th century literary and sartorial value. It was in actuality written by at least three people through the course of the 1570s, and compiled and bound into book form in the 1580s. It now resides in the Querini-Stampalia Library in Venice.
The Tailor's Handbook was a combination portfolio and sketchbook for the Tailors who compiled it; the sections shown here are those showing men and women's fashionable dress. These paintings aided the tailor's customers in choosing the outfit they desired or wished to base their order upon and are a wonderful glimpse into the stylish patterns and costume of 1570s Milan. In addition, rough and annotated patterns for some of the robes and gowns were drawn in as well, to aid the tailor in remembering the correct cut of the garment.
There are several other sections to the facsimile than are reproduced here, including:
The Tailor's Book also includes a number of essays on 16th century dress, among them "Costume and Festivals of Milanese Society under Spanish Rule" by Fritz Saxl, "A Tailor's Book and Modern Paradigms" by Paolo Getrevi, and "Fashion in 'A Tailor's Book'" by Doretta Davanzo Poli.
- watercolor paintings of tents and pavilions, patterns for the making thereof, and multi-tent encampment arrangements, accompanied by notes on the quantity and quality of fabric required;
- A variety of enclosed beds, including descriptions of their construction;
- paintings, drawings and patterns of equestrian trappings and the costumes worn by the horses' riders, including armor and martial accessories;
- designs for flags, including descriptions on how to make them;
- sketches of foreign costume, including that of Moorish, Turkish and Oriental origin;
- costume for masques and carnivals, including several military & mythological costumes;
- drawings of severali Italian families' coats of arms, including motto and a description of their meanings;
- sketches and patterns for ecclesiastical vestments;
- small pictures portraying the range of female fashion throughout the continent
- miscellaneous sketches, drawings, patterns and architectural designs.
These facsimile images were taken from the book A Tailor's Book, ed. Alessandra Molfino, pub. Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice (No ISBN was found in the book) This book is unfortunately out of print, but may be acquired through interlibrary loan or through used book search services. Only the non-copyrightable facsimile portions of the Molfino's Tailor's Book are reproduced here.
The Images are scanned in at size, at 72 dpi. They view well on a computer screen, but print out at less than optimal quality.
If you have comments or questions concerning this website, please direct them to Drea Leed.
Back to the Milanese Tailor's Handbook