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Ah, yes – while skimming my regular feed of interesting Pinterest sites, I ran across a link to this article. Yes, I have an interest in historical costume, since I have an unseemly fondness for getting rigged out in all sorts of late Victorian, Edwardian, and early 20th century kit as a means of differentiating myself from all the other authors in the room (and possibly in the surrounding county). The Daughter Unit finds this all to be terribly embarrassing – but eh! Not that I am the age I am, I can do as a damn please – and what I please, when I do an author event is to put on a bit of a show. Not only does this attract the eye of the mundane public, it’s a useful conversational lead-in.

“Hi! I write historical fiction, so I like to dress
the part!”

As is pointed out after several paragraphs down, the
part involves all the interesting and intricate underwear – shift, corset,
petticoats – and accessories; jewelry, gloves, reticle and hat, often held on
with an authentic foot-long steel hatpin. As it is my good fortune that Mom
taught me to sew, and Dad taught me to follow instructions to the most exacting
level, constructing of these necessary outfits and accoutrements is pretty much
a snap for me. And besides – I love the way that the petticoats swish, the
corset elevates the boobage, and gentlemen come over all courtly, when
approached by a woman wearing a hat, gloves, and skirt down to her toes. I’ve
collected up some nice and reasonably authentic Butterick patterns for outfits,
but increasingly am taken by the even more authentic Truly Victorian versions,
largely because those TR patterns can be more readily adjusted for fit.

However, I am not all that fanatical about doing them
in authentic fabrics; natural wool, silk, linen; mostly because of the expense.
Now that home sewing has morphed into a hobby rather than a domestic necessity,
the costs have increased exponentially. My outfits are more in the line of stage
costumes, rather than a 100% accurate reenactor production. I’m not all that
fanatical about using authentic trimmings of lace or fringe, either. I’ll use
what I can get for a reasonable price, and if it’s polyester or rayon in the outer
layers, I’m not messing around the open flames, and I’ll put up with a degree
of discomfort. It’s the overall look of the outfit that matters most, not that
it’s absolutely what a lady would have worn in 1880. Or 1912.    

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Badly broken link to article you mentioned

    • Celia

      Thanks – fixed. (I hate the new update to the guts of this blog. They’ve hidden all the format functions that I used to be able to find in my sleep!)