Since joining the Seamstress Squadron page and starting to look at other costuming blogs I have been spending many happy hours looking at other people’s creations and the information available.
I am amazed, both with the dedication of the sewers and their beautiful creations but also at the level of detail and help available and just didn’t realise there was all this out there. I have also found some people who have used the same pattern as me and made wonderful things.
Look at this beautiful outfit below, I have forgotten which forum it came from but it is using this Butterick pattern that I have and they have altered the shape of the jacket and used the edge of the fabric in such a beautiful way. Isn’t it just stunning!
This level of information doesn’t really exist in the same way for the medieval re-enactment costumes, there are some people who we use as sources who are very good such as this history of fashion blog but there are some significant differences between what you can find out.
One of course is that there are still lots of Victorian clothes around in museums and even available for people to buy, books, patterns written at the time and lots of wonderful fashion plates from magazines and adverts, especially about the miracles of corsetry. There are even photos as well and Wearing History blog has a fantastic selection of these under her ‘What real people wore’, posts.
The Delineator magazine, founded by Butterick in 1869 is mentioned a lot and this site has some scans of these magazines. Aren’t these gorgeous covers?
Another great blog is Historical Sewing, what this women doesn’t know about making 19th century garments probably isn’t worth knowing anyway.
The most we get for medieval is paintings and manuscripts, beautiful though they are it does leave you wondering how they made the garments and what they are made from. I use the Web Gallery of Art as a primary source.
The other is of course the authenticity, since we work for English Heritage a lot we have to have a very high level of authenticity whereas many people who make costume do it for fun and for events such as balls and Steampunk so they are sharing their interpretations of things.
The other thing that I realised is that since I have such a wide circle of friends who make costume for re-enactment I have tended to go them for advice rather than the miracles of the internet. When I first started re-enacting I made a lot of kit and did do some research but that was a long time ago, 14 years, pre-blogging and pre- Facebook 😉 and there was not so much info out there so I have really stopped looking and use the same sources that I have come to trust.
This links in well to my doctoral research as I am looking at how people gain the skills and knowledge they need to make things for re-enactment so it is useful to reflect on myself as a beginning costume maker for a different era.
Ellie and I are thinking of taking some classes to help us adjust patterns. For our medieval garments we either have tried and trusted patterns or use existing garments as patterns so we have not much experience of fitting the more complex Victorian shapes.
I have been rapidly adding things to my new Steampunk Pinterest pages such as these amazing outfits below. I love the lilac dress in the background here.
And since I already have a black velvet jacket wouldn’t this skirt be lovely with it? Of course none of this may ever see the light of day as actual garments but it is fun researching!
I am off to Ellie’s tomorrow on the first leg of the journey to Caldicot Castle, please pray for fine weather for us as we really want the event to be a success!
I will be back next time with hopefully some more progress on the jacket, even if it is only a post about how hard the fitting is and am planning to devote the weekend to putting it together. Wish me luck!
Take care and thanks for visiting.