To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
There’s really no debate: the Met puts on wonderful exhibitions, and typically has a nice catalogue or book to accompany each. And now, they’ve put many of the out-of-print publications up as free PDF downloads. While this isn’t restricted to costuming—there are publications on all manner of art—I think that the fashion ones might be most interesting to you, so here are a few that are available.
Now, I just have to wait a few years for the Alexander McQueen one to go out of print…
To see more of the Fashion/Textile-specific ones, use this link, but do poke around the other sections as well. Who knows what you will find. (Note, the link above doesn’t filter out in-print publications; you’ll have to click through to see which ones are and aren’t [hint: most of the ones that are more than ten years old seem to be available for download]. Even the ones still in print often have an online preview though, to tempt you).
Are you familiar with the sewing blog 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World? I’ve been following Steph’s blog for a couple of years at this point, and have been constantly intrigued by the way she presents ways of doing things, how she makes things that fit a lifestyle, her discussions on sustainability, and any number of other topics she touches.
I must say, her approach really appeals to me over the big-4 pattern companies. She goes into a bit more detail in the post about the pre-sale, but in short—she cares about the pattern working to fit women who don’t fit the “standard” proportions made by the big-4, so certain pieces may have a draw-your-own seam to get the right fit from bust to waist. Hallelujah.
The patterns may be worth the price for that alone.
Having followed her for so long and seen some of the experiments she’s done to get to this point, I trust that she’s putting out a solid, well-thought out product, and can’t wait to get my copy. After all, my black dress that I wear all the time (well, at least in percentage of my dress wearing), will need replacing eventually, and this is a very similar style that I really love.
Plus, I could really use some practice in getting back into sewing knits. It’s been a really, really, really long time.
The Museum of the City of New York has an absolutely wonderful exhibit online at the moment: Worth & Mainbocher, featuring photos and information on many garments by these two master couture houses.
It’s a dangerous time-sink, with the ability to do some very super zooming on many of the garments—you can really see the details. Some even include shots of the interior. I love it. The interface is a bit clunky and slow otherwise, but don’t let that deter you.
I have no doubt that if you’ve seen a Worth gown (I’m not as familiar with Mainbocher), you’ve wanted to see how it was constructed—this gives you the opportunity to get up close. They even have the famous “Electric Light” fancy dress gown worn by Mrs. Vanderbilt II (complete with photos of the inner bodice).
While I like the American Duchess Regency repro shoes, they are a bit pricy. Priorities meant that I didn’t purchase them as I’d originally planned. So, this week, I found out another option on the cheap: less than $20 for shoes and stockings at my local Target. Historically accurate? No, not really (I mean, patent leather, snake-skin, general 2011 styling do not historical shoes make), but they are affordable, and just need a bit of DIY to look a little more accurate.
So first, a few hallmarks of Regency shoes (looking as close to 1810/12 as possible):
I wish I’d learned about this before our trip to MO, because we could have swung through Chicago, but for those of you who can get to Chicago before April 16, 2012, there is a fabulous exhibition of couture fashion by Charles James at the Chicago History Museum.
Now, while I love looking at designer clothing, gowns alone won’t usually inspire me to want to trek halfway across the country for an exhibit, but this is more than just a show of his designs. The curating team used advanced imaging techniques and intense study of the construction of three iconic dresses in order to show visitors how the gowns are structured—and James’ designs are often very complex in structure. There are also touchable displays—the team painstakingly created prototypes of different aspects of the construction.
For those in the reenactment/costuming/history world, this is a year of –ennials. The bicentennial of the War of 1812 (and my alma mater’s founding). The Civil War sesquicentennial’s second year. The centennial of the Titanic. And, likely other things outside of America/England.
I told you about American Duchess’ regency shoes last month. They are a very good reproduction for Regency/Jane Austen/1812 reenactors/celebrators. I fully intended to purchase a pair myself, however life and priorities got in the way and I couldn’t justify the money for only one expected wear. One of those priorities is buying their latest shoe: The Astoria (in ivory).
American Duchess to the rescue. Their third historical reproduction shoe is similar to styles from 1790–1810—in other words, about as perfect as you can get to the proper footwear for the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Quilt Show in March. They’re dyeable leather, so you can make them match whatever you’re planning to wear.
As with the previous shoes, these must sell enough during the pre-sale to go into production. The pre-sale is running from Today (November 25) through December 9. I asked, and Lauren said they should ship in January, so you’ll have plenty of time to get them ready for the show in March! Buying them during the pre-sale garners you a discount and the insurance of being able to order your size, so really, there’s no reason to wait.
I’ve spent a good chunk of my lunch break checking out regency fashions thanks to an email from the 1812 Quilt Challenge organizers mentioning that they’ll all be dressed in period fashion for the show, and that we should feel free to come in the same. So, while I ponder just how to fit a gown into my overfull schedule and fit my overflowing …assets… into an empire-waisted gown, let’s roll back the clock to a generation or two earlier and check out some reproduction shoes.
They are on pre-order through August 10 for a discounted $100 price, and it is a limited run. Find out more about the shoes (and how to win a pair by blogging [see what I’m doing here? *hopes luck is on my side*], Tweeting, or Facebooking) or head over to www.american-duchess.com to order.
Sadly, I doubt her line of regency shoes will be available by the show in March, as it seems to be in early planning mode, but if you want to drool over some extant pairs from that era, she’s posted a few for your viewing pleasure.
Luckily, ballet slippers styled similar to those worn in the early 19th century seem to still be pretty common for the moment, so I don’t have to worry too much.
But, that doesn’t keep me from being intrigued by the Great Lakes Seaway call for 1812 reproduction “cot to coffin” quilts for a show in March 2012. I have a feeling I’ll be trying to make room for this in my schedule of projects soon. I have a few ideas hopping about it my head. I especially like some of the extant quilts in the V&A collection and this one from the Smithsonian: