Archive for May 2011
We’re pleased to announce a one-day series of Sewing Academy workshops in the Salt Lake City area, 13 June, 2011… yes, that’s just a little under two weeks away!
Seating is quite limited, so please reserve yours by phoning in your registration (208-523-3673) or emailing me directly before 9 June.
We’ll explore:10:00 – 12:00 Your Historic Wardrobe
Take a look at the functional pieces you need in a historic wardrobe uniquely suited to your roles, activities, and personality. We’ll discuss nation-wide, regional, and personal specifics, and see the many ways your research applies to your clothing decisions. We’ll take things from the skin out, and share loads of resources for every portion of your wardrobe planning. Please bring your list of questions (or email them to me ahead of time!) This is a fantastic overview workshop, whether you’re starting from scratch, or looking to upgrade the accuracy of your current wardrobe! $1512:00 – 12:30 Brown-bag Lunch Break
Some fridge space will be available if you have things you’d like to keep cold.12:30 – 1:45 Having a Fit
We’ll look at several ways to get an excellent fit for any figure: starting from a published historic pattern (with pattern review notes!), draping with fabric directly on the body, and some very surprising, thoroughly modern ways to get a jump start on a customized historic pattern for your figure! We’ll also talk about re-fitting and re-working strategies if you have existing clothing you’re looking to upgrade. Please let me know if you’d be interested in being one of our fit models–you’ll go home with your basic bodice shapes. $152:00 – 4:00 Handwork Sampler
Our foremothers were extremely clever! Learn their tips and tricks as you create a sampler of mid-19th century handsewing techniques you’ll use over and over in your historic sewing. We’ll cover methods to handle fullness (gathering, stroked gathering, gauging, and pleating), closures (how to set hooks and eyes invisibly and securely), and finishing (bias binding, tiny piping, the most common hem styles, and even how to make a tiny rolled hem without cussing!) Your course fee include a materials kit. $204:00 – 5:30 Living Citizen History
With some great wardrobes in place, it’s time to get into the living history part of it! We’ll look at interpretive voice, ways to engage your visitors, and how to bring your own personal passion and research into high-quality interpretive work. Telling the stories of the past effectively does not need to be intimidating. You can do it! You’ll leave this workshop excited and ready to dive into active living history. $15How to Register
Register by phone at 208-523-3673; we can take your payment information by phone
Register by email: email@example.com Please let us know your workshop selections, and we’ll give you a call to collect payment information.
Register for the full series, and receive a special Sewing Academy edition of our Dressmaker’s Guide (with bonus content only found in the series editions!), a $30 value!
Or, register for one, two, or three workshops and save 33% on your copy of the Sewing Academy edition of the Dressmaker’s Guide: only $20Pre-registration is required, as seating is limited, and kits and class packs must be assembled for each individual. Please request your seat before 9 June, 2011!
We’ll send you a registration confirmation by email with the workshop location and map (we’ll be just a smidge north of SLC, in beautiful Bountiful).
Plan to bring yourself, a brown-bag lunch, your favorite pen or pencil, and a favorite pair of fabric scissors or thimble if you like. Dress for comfort; period clothing is *not* required. If you’d like to dress out, feel free; please do not wear hoops, as space is limited!
This story is somewhat diminished without pictures (which, thankfully, I do not have), and I confess myself a bit hampered when limited only to the written word, and deprived of the ability to gesticulate and pantomime the adventure. Nevertheless, I share my horrific tale in the hopes that someone may be edified, and spared a similar fate.
When I started out in Living History, I presumed myself to be a fairly Smart Girl. When I heard that to be historically accurate, a woman should wear drawers that lack a sewn-closed crutch seam, the Smart Girl in me cringed. How immodest! thought she. How inconvenient! Surely, this is beyond the pale.
And so, Smart Girl that I presumed myself to be, I held fast to a decision to wear that ultimate in modest apparel, cotton-lycra bike shorts, beneath my skirts.
Sure, it meant I had to carefully plan my beverages, and necessitated some fairly convoluted acrobatics just to use a porta-loo, but it was worth it, right? To avoid those dreadful split drawers, I’d do just about anything. Besides, the one pair I’d worn for five or six minutes (borrowed from a shorter friend) would have given me a permanent double wedgie, and that couldn’t be good, right?
I continued with my acrobatic endeavors for a few events. If you’ve not done it yourself, the process of trying to use a porta-loo, whilst wearing a hooped skirt, and a corset, and cotton-lycra bike shorts tucked up under that corset… well, let’s say that quantum entanglement theory is relatively simple, comparatively, and leave it at that. One key feature of the process is needing to hike the the dress skirt, several petticoats, and hoop skirt well above one’s shoulders, catch the hoops together with one hand and pull them toward the front of the body, and proceed with business with oneself as the rather sweaty, huffy cheese in the middle of a hoopskirt taco.
This tends to limit one’s peripheral vision.
About one year into my living history exploits, I took a well-planned trip to confessional at Our Lady of Blue Waters. I re-enacted the hoopskirt taco arrangement, and backed into a standard-sized porta-loo to perform my endeavors. It wasn’t until I was seated, and commencing my endeavors, that I noticed the entire interior of the porta-loo at been “decorated” by a veritable Poo Picasso. Everything I was wearing was now covered with human waste that I had not been able to see, because I was too busy wrangling my modern layers the Smart Girl Me had insisted on using, against the advice of very clever living history friends.
I survived. I burned all my clothes, but I survived. I also borrowed some books from those dear friends, applied some drafting and geometry, and worked out a good math plan to create historically correct split drawers for myself, that fit in the length (to avoid the Mother of All Wedgies), fit in the width (with a nice bit of overlap for customized privacy and convenience), and could be worn comfortably in all weather.
With well-adjusted split drawers, visiting Our Lady of the Blue Waters is as simple as stepping in, lifting skirts straight up, and taking a wide stance before sitting and commencing any needed endeavors. No more hoop tacos. No more Poo Picasso striking without warning.
And that, friends, is why I wear split drawers.
How important is historical accuracy in an interpretive plan?
Pardon me a moment while I hop up on this handy stump and share a few thoughts…
Patrons to any historic site (and extrapolating, to any history-focused event) have the very reasonable expectation that the site is “doing it right”–in other words, that the site is presenting them with historically-consistent information all the way through, from plants in the flower beds, to items in the gift shops, to household furnishings, to the details of material culture in clothing and accessories, and definitely including the information presented through entertainment.
Therefore, it is vital that any on-site entertainment be continually looking for ways to upgrade the historical content, becoming “edu-tainment”–something that patrons can enjoy, and also walk away having learned things that accurately reflect the historic record. The good news is, small changes can be free (or very nearly so), and change can happen over time.
Historic clothing plays a tremendous role in all of this. It’s a primary visual component of any historic interpretation, and deserves weighty consideration. The Original Cast did every single activity we might interpret while wearing a full complement of accurate clothing; there is no reason we should endeavor to do less. More after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »
If you’ve struggled with getting a published pattern to fit, you’ll want to download and try our most recent addition to the Compendium: Having a Fit. This simple checklist of fitting tips was one of our very first published articles, and was the seed that grew to become The Dressmaker’s Guide! You can use it with any published pattern, and even to refine the fit of a dress you’re already wearing.
Remember, all of the articles and projects you’ll find in the Compendium are free for sharing. You’re very welcome to make extra copies to share with others needing a little boost, some encouragement, or a budget-friendly way to outfit themselves or their family for living history activities. Please let us know if we can be of help!
If you like to research from original resources, a subscription to Accessible Archives may be the thing for you! Through a special arrangement, members of The Sewing Academy community can get a special subscription rate. If you’d like to be linked into Accessible Archives for a year, for only $30, you’ll want to email Mr Tom Nagy directly, and let him know you’re interested in becoming a subscriber through The Sewing Academy subscriber group offer. It’s a limited-time offer, so don’t wait, and be sure to let Mr Nagy know how much you, as a member of the Sewing Academy community, appreciate this opportunity!