An upcoming murder-mystery dinner, set in the year 1919, offers me an opportunity to pursue several desirable ends, viz. to dress my friend, to use up some stash, and to practice draping!
Dressing my friend is like dressing my sister... when I care about someone, I want to dress them! I think of Proverbs 31: 21: "When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet." "Scarlet" is not a reference to color in this verse, but to the fine woolen cloth called scarlet in the Middle Ages, which was often dyed scarlet in color, but not necessarily. So the Proverbs 31 woman isn't just dressing her family in red, she's dressing her family warmly as a sign of her love and a product of her industry. Wrapping people in nice clothes is such a potent signifier, isn't it?
Of course, if I can also use up some of my stash and reclaim my room, all the better! And I do need practice draping clothes on a dress form.
Time to get the first thing off my UFO pile! I started these quilted jumps, a kind of casual 18th Century substitute for stays, back in 2015, using an older sewing machine. I re-found them in 2017, and put them in my working pile again, and now I am finally done! (Just as Spring arrives and I have no reason to wear them for months!)
Today an informative post about the development of French needlelaces! As I previously defined it, needlelace is lace made by embroidering with a needle rather than braiding with bobbins or crocheting or knitting. During the reign of Louis XIV (the Sun King), the French government made a deliberate investment in lacemaking, as part of a wide-ranging plan to become Europe's center for luxury goods, fashion, and taste. They had stiff competition in all those fields: the Italians and Dutch were already Europe's sourcebook and marketplace for luxury goods. In particular, as relates to lace, the bobbin laces of the Netherlands were fantastically expensive and popular. But the needlelace of Italy was also prestigious; Italy developed needlelace from its history of drawn thread work and reticella, and by the 1600's the Italian gros point de Venise, which was sculptural and meant to look like carved ivory, was the needlelace to beat. The French set out to beat it.
It seems I am not the only one who likes nightcaps! While visiting my family recently, I was wakened by my five-year-old niece. She asked me what was on my head, and I groggily explained that my nightcap kept my head warm, my hair neat, and spiders out of my ears. So she decided she wanted one! Knowing the transience of a child's desires, I didn't jump to make her one... until she'd asked over and over for a week and a half.
All right, then! Into her mom's stash we went, and she selected raspberry-colored satin and blue-green sari fabric. Knowing the cap would need more body than those flimsy fabrics provided, I fetched out the same white fabric I'd used last year for my cap, and decided to use it for the interior.
My first essay into my Elizabethan-inspired ensemble is a blackwork ruffle, mainly because a ruffle can be used anywhere, so I could make it even when I didn't have any clothing patterns. It seemed a good way to get started on the project and see how I liked blackwork.
Do you ever watch historical movies and wish we dressed like that today? Or wished, as I do, that we dressed something like that... cherry-picking the aspects we like and eschewing the cumbersome or ugly parts? Well, as the genius behind xkcd reminds us, we are grown-ups, and we can decide what that means. And for me, it means I don't have to settle for cobbling together outfits from the remnants of only the last few decades. I can make and wear whatever pleases me. There's no law on the books that says I have to look like everyone else in my decade! So I'd like to begin a sartorial art project... to look at my favorite times and places, and use them as inspiration for clothes that are thoroughly my own. I'll start with the Elizabethan era, because it's got a ton of embroidery and handwork, and lots of layers. I figure it'll be nice to wear in the winter, but I need to start in the spring if I want it to be done in time.
And, as luck would have it, I found just such a fabric at Goodwill one day! Actually, they had a ton of it, so I bought it all! The fabric is a woven (not printed) check in dark green. Very nice drape to it, and nice hand. I want to make the long-sleeved version of the dress for winter.
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