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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Interpreting Myself in Times Past

One thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is how to keep my sewing as a reflection of contemporary me.  We've all gone into a fabric store and bought something 'pretty' without a particular use that then sits in the stash waiting for a purpose because it never quite fits.  I have two lovely silks in my pile that I take out and pet every so often, then carefully place them back in their cubby until I think of something 'really good' to use them for.  As much as I love them, they don't fit for me.

When the Dreamstress wrote this week about Historical Accuracy, I knew I was on the right track.  I want my sewing to reflect not only who I am now, but who I think I would've been in each time period I work in.  At first I thought I would create a persona for each outfit or dress to focus my whole outfit towards a common goal, but that wasn't quite enough.

I've decided to make a list of things that represent not only my station in life (very important for historical sewing!), but also things that make me want to wear a garment.  So, here's the start:

1 - My family started a lower-middle class, then rose to upper-middle later on.  Being an only child helped (simple math, only so much to go around), but most 'special event' garments were paid for by my Grandparents or made by my mother.  Also plausible that about the time I'd be 'coming out' in society my family's resources would have allowed me to make a more favourable match than 5 years earlier.

2 - I like working.  I simply can't bear to be idle.  I imagine I'd be constantly embroidering or gardening (a.k.a. killing plants...).

3 - I'm a HUGE klutz.  No, seriously, I walk into a wall about once a week.  Any costume I make has to stand up to my particular brand of 'grace' and 'agility.'

4 - I like an element of fun in my clothing.  Whether it be a fun print, or a snappy colour, or simply a quirky accessory, I like things that are just slightly left of centre.

5 - I like to be comfy.  I'm comfortable in a suit though so take it as you will...  Clothing that fits properly and has the right amount of structure is more comfortable to me than leggings (hello muffin top!).

6 - I'm usually a few years off current fashion.  Whatevs, I'm cool with it.

With these in mind I've refocused my projects for the next few months.  For example, I'm making a complete Regency outfit for a ball in May.  I've been putting off adding the busk to my stays and couldn't figure out what I was afraid of.  Seriously, it's a paint stick, not a torture device!  But then I thought about the above, particularly 3 and 5, and realized to me it IS a torture device.  I'm going to pull the bloody thing out partway through the ball anyway, so why bother.

I'm keeping a fair bit of boning in my Regency stays simply because I can't imagine myself simply tossing out a) all that whalebone and b) going completely away from such a structured garment like 18th century stays.

Enough said. Now, back to the grind.


Up next...
Regency Stays & Petticoat

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