Choosing gifts for the Historical Costumers in your life can be a little tricky if you’re not familiar with the hobby. There are already lists out there with gift ideas for historical costumers or for people who sew but I thought that I’d throw my hat in the ring and write one too.
A lot of blog posts about gifts for costumers mention more expensive ideas such as a pair of American Duchess shoes (don’t get me wrong – opening such a gift on Christmas morning is A-mazing) but that’s often way out of reach for many muggles and costumers alike.
The best advice I can give is to ask the gift recipient what they would like because, if they’re like me, they probably have a wishlist of things that they’re dreaming of or saving for.
If, however, you want their gift to be a surprise, here are a few ideas.
Good Quality Sewing Supplies
As costumers, we go through a lot of pins and needles, thread, and other things like thimbles and chalk. While giving some pins might not seem like an exciting gift, we do appreciate good quality equipment.
Merchant & Mills have beautifully packaged, good quality haberdashery. This year’s go-to gift for friends’ birthdays has been a book of needles and they all loved them. If you’re in New Zealand you can find them here.
Pins, needles, and sewing shears/scissors blunt over time so we have to replace them, meaning that we’re going to appreciate unwrapping some nice, sharp, good quality ones on Christmas morning.
I feel a bit snobbish to say that I only sew with Gutermann threads but I have found them to be good quality and their colours are gorgeous and I’ve never had a problem finding one to match my projects.
If you know what colours the recipient is sewing with then great, you can wrap up and gift some thread in that colour. If not, then you can’t go wrong with white – that’s always useful for sewing undergarments. Or, gift a selection of different colours. I use random coloured threads to sew my mockups and can colour code the alterations I make.
Sometimes historical costumers can spend a lot of time on their dress and accessories aren’t thought about until later. Unwrapping a pair of stockings, earrings, or a fan on Christmas morning might just be providing the icing on the cake (or the cherry on top?).
If you know what colour the recipient is working with this will help pick the right accessory. Or, look at dresses they’ve made in the past because we do re-wear our outfits and upgrade them if we can.
Earrings from a historical jeweller is a great idea and I definitely recommend checking out Dames a la Mode (I am a little biased – I own several pairs of earrings and a few other pieces too). Taylor has an amazing variety of colours to choose from. I would recommend taking note of the recipient’s use of gold or silver jewellery in their everyday life before choosing the finish. And, if you can find out if they can actually wear lever back earrings or not then you’ll know if this is a viable gift option.
Even if they can’t wear the earrings, there are beautiful brooches and pendants to choose from.
Stockings are also a great gift choice and, as someone obsessed with the stockings available from American Duchess, they would make a great gift. If you’re not to sure about the colour go for the relatively neutral ivory options.
You can also find stockings online in different colours, like from Anacronicos and sellers on Etsy.
Fans are also a great gift option and there are lots of different colour options. If the recipient attends dances or balls, or other events in the hotter months, a fan can be invaluable.
Books are a wonderful resource for historical costumers – we use them for research and inspiration. There are lots of books available and many that appear on many historical costumer’s bookshelves.
If you want to see what books I have in my mini-library you can find a list here.
If you can do a little snooping to find out what books the recipient has you can avoid accidentally doubling up.
Books range in price from fairly inexpensive to slightly more eye-watering prices depending on how popular they are, how big they are, or how long ago they were printed.
Some are packed full of pretty pictures, while others contain patterns, information, or how-tos. And some are a complete mix. Also, some are better than others so check out reviews and previews of the book so you know a bit more about what you’re gifting.
So, a pair of shoes or a piece of jewellery is outside of your price range? Not to worry – gift cards or vouchers are a welcome gift choice. If you can do a little snooping to find out where the recipient wants to shop then you have less chance of accidentally missing the mark.
I can definitely recommend gift cards/vouchers from:
Local Haberdashery Stores like Spotlight or Lincraft
Online Specialist Stores like Sew Curvy or Vena Cava
Your local cinema – for watching period dramas and getting inspired
Or… what about making up a little book of time-saving vouchers? Vouchers for a night or week off cooking, or to take the kids out for the afternoon, anything that could give the recipient a precious few hours. Time is always precious when an event is fast approaching so such vouchers would be well appreciated.
I hope that this little list of gift ideas has been at least a little helpful. The best advice I was ever given when it comes to gifting is that ‘it’s the thought that counts’.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Stay safe, and all the best for the New Year 🥳