This will be a long post, mostly concerning the fire in 1911 and the pro-labor legislation that followed in America, but also touching on the global sweatshop problem today. Make some tea and join me for a talk.
I have long felt that--for me, at least--clothing is a kind of armor. Of course, it can also be a diary, a poem, an invitation, or a window... but some days, it's the armor I need.
Recently, I encountered the word "gorget", realized I didn't know how the pronounce it*, and looked it up. A gorget is a piece of medieval armor that covers the neck. That lead me to do a Google image search, which led me to this interesting bit of machine embroidery. So much to love: the concept of a purely decorative fabric gorget, the way it's a variation on the idea of a tie, the tesselated bird pattern...
Now, obviously, a wee little gorget like that wouldn't protect anyone's neck in battle, even if it were made of metal, but gorgets have evolved with modern warfare into badges of authority rather than actual armor:
This is more of an idea-post than a project-post... but wouldn't it be cool to make a similar embroidered gorget, to wear with collared shirts? It's a neat idea!
* It's pronounced with a hard-G: "GORE-jit". "gor-ZHAY" is a common alternative pronunciation, as people think it's a French word and they make the -et sound like -ay by analogy with "ballet" and "valet". However, it's not a French word; it's an English word with a French root. It comes from the Old French word "gorgete", but the modern French word is "gorgerin". I'll say "GORE-jit" but not correct people who say "gor-ZHAY".
I'm calling this project my "Red Fox Vintage" dress because I bought the original dress at Red Fox Vintage in Woodstock, Portland. I tried it on because I was intrigued by the collar, which has two long lapels that criss-cross in front and are held by a buttoned-down tab. I found it fit perfectly, and I loved the silhouette (late forties, early fifties is my guess), but not the color. Still, I brought it home, because it fit my back in a way that I have a lot of trouble getting patterns to fit my back. (I'm high-waisted with a slightly forward shoulder).
She came to me with a vision: a gown with old Hollywood glamor, with batwing sleeves, V-neck front and back, and a fitted torso. I said I'd help, but she would do the work, and our deal was struck!
For various personal reasons I have not been blogging lately, but several people (I'm looking at you, Rosanne!) have told me they miiiiiisss meeeee! So here are some random updates to tide you over until the next scheduled post (a long research-y one will go live on March 25th) or the next time I write one (not sure when that'll be).
The more vintage clothes I see, the more curious I get about the labeling practices of our grandmothers' generation. Nowadays, a ready-to-wear garment usually has two labels: a brand tag that says who was responsible for its production (GAP, Lord & Taylor, or the like), and a care tag that says what it's made of and how to launder it. Sometimes they're clustered together; other times the care tag is in the side seam.
Vintage clothes, however, often have more tags, and in different places. I'll show you two examples from my own wardrobe.
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