Costumery Week Special - Period and Historic

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By MyntKat
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As part of the Costumery Week to highlight this amazing Artisan Crafts gallery, I am posting themed interview specials every day during this week. I am also posting features and specials as part of this week, check them all out here.

Today's Special is all about Period and Historic Costumes.


What is Period Costumery?
A "Period piece" is an artwork that was created with a specific period or era in mind. For costumery, this means that the clothing item has been based on a style from a specific period in time. The term is very vague and can discribe any point in time, it is not limited to countries or genres. The period a piece is based on can be very long and unspecific, like the 19th century (which includes many different clothing styles) or rather short and specific like the early seventies.
Some artists take great care to be as accurate as possible to the period they work with, this includes the selection of materials, their tools, using original patterns and often hand sewing every single piece. Other artists take a little more freedom and base their pieces on the style of an era gone by, but use modern materials and techniques for their work.
There are many many interesting fashion eras in the past, the Period & Historical gallery covers all of them, including works that are very period specific and other that are just loosly based on a certain period.


Today I would like to introduce five of the many sewing artists here on dA who create amazing period costumes. If you check out the costumery<costumes<period&historic gallery, you will find an abundance of amazing works by fantastic artists.


Hello! Could you please introduce yourself?

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:icongoldenspring:
Goldenspring : Hey. I’m 19 years old and hail from New England. I learned to sew at the age of five, significantly before I learned to read. My interest in historical costumes was spawned at Colonial Williamsburg when I was 9 and has never wavered since. I am hugely in dept to a number of fantastic friends and mentors for sharing their passion and knowledge with me but aside from their attention I am self taught. As a small child my favourite game was a combination of dress-up and make-believe and since I’m now a historical re-enactor I guess that’s still pretty accurate. While I gain huge satisfaction from my own sewing, I also like helping other people create successful, accurate historical costumes. I’m a big authenticity person so for me, teaching somebody else the skills they need is a bit like the proverb: make a girl a costume and clothe her for a day, but teach a girl to sew...

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:iconidzit:
Idzit : Hello! My name is Edith, aka Idzit. I am a 27 year old costume designer from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. My mother taught me how to sew when I was five years old ("That's the pedal... don't put your fingers under the needles. Now go for it."), and until I was twelve, I had an amazing collection of throw pillows, pincusions and hats. When I was twelve, she decided I could make my own Halloween costumes, and so that's when my love for costuming started. My passion for period costumes started six years ago, when I looked at some fashion plates from the 18th century. I'm mostly a self-taught costume-designer and seamstress, and have learned alot from books and online tutorials. It started off as a hobby, but I now create costumes on commission. I tend to wear my own costumes to festivals, and for the occasional costumed picnics and strolls around my city.

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:icondebellespoupees:
debellespoupees : My name is Manon Antoinette Gelens and I'm from the Netherlands. I'm 33 years old and have two sons age 11 and 13. My grandmother had her own workshop where she made fur coats, a very hot topic nowadays but right after WWII they were immensely popular. For as long as I've known my grandmother she has always made all of her own clothing. My mother made a lot of clothing herself as well and had worked a little in her mothers workshop growing up. I grew up loving crafts, I used to knit my Barbie clothing and blankets and was, according to my mother, quite the perfectionist. I have always been very interested in history, costume drama and in particular the socio-economic side and female economy. I studied Graphic Design & Media and married quite young, I stayed home with my children and spent all my free time at my horses. It wasn't until after I got divorced and was forced to sell my horses, 7 years later, that I was dragged along to a so called fair, discovered Vampire Live, costuming and the likes. After that the ball started rolling and I delved myself first deep into the character of a Georgian Vampire that lived through history time set 1989. My first costuming love was absolutely Elizabeth I, next came Georgian and Regency.... but the Victorian Era is by way the one I can be most creative with. I am completely self-taught, though I make use of Victorian instruction books found in online Libraries or re-printed ones if I have any doubts. I love periodicals! I have an ever growing list of books, I'm on LibraryThings, just so I do not accidentally purchase a book twice. Yes it has happened. I love everything about making a costume, the design, the looking for references, embroidery, millinery, corsetry. At a certain point in life, my partner and I decided I'd work from home and sell costumes on commission, so I did for 5 years, with a dressmaking supplies webshop on the side. Due to the recession and the stress involved I am no longer taking on commissions, and started an office job in February!
I wear my dresses to events, usually I wear a dress only once and because of this I try to get the best looking result with the least amount of money spend.

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:iconalalne:
AlAlNe : Hi there- my love of costumes came from my work on stage.  One of my first jobs was playing Alice in Wonderland for Disney's Christmas parade in the 80's.  Yes, I'm that old.  I performed and wore costumes for that company for about 7 years in L.A., Tokyo, and Florida.  I watched carefully as all my costumes were built for me and would weigh in when I got the chance. I started sewing as a kid, and when I had my own, I started making costumes for them. In 2001 my daughter fell in love with the film "Marie Antoinette" and asked me to make her a gown.  Once I did, I was hooked on the 18th century. This is a hobby that I try and make pay for itself, so I sell things to keep the closets from piling up too much.

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:iconlady-lovelace:
Lady-Lovelace : I'm 19 years old and from Southern California. My grandmother taught me the basics of sewing, but when I was about 14 I caught the historic sewing bug and went off on my own crazy adventure. I'm primarily self-taught, having done countless hours of online and book research, and attending Costume College, an excellent costuming convention in LA with some great classes. I sew primarily for reenacting Civil War, but I am also a member of the Queen's Court at the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire. All other eras I sew for on a less formal basis (that is, just because I "want" to, not because I "need" to!). This is more than a hobby for me; it's my passion, my raison d'etre. That being said, I'm not sure I'd enjoy doing it as a "job". I consider it art, and while artists often sell their work for money, I have found that purely sewing for money (taking commissions) hasn't been as enjoyable or fulfilling.

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1770's Rose Gown Side by Goldenspring Lavender Pink Ball Gown by Lady-Lovelace Green striped redingote by Idzit Early 1860's Dress Photosh. 1 by debellespoupees Cherry 2 by AlAlNe
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When you create a costume, how do you go about it?

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:iconlady-lovelace:
Lady-Lovelace : I will look extensively at fashion plates, original garments, whatever I can get my hands on. I like to get immersed in the "feel" of that particular era. Then I almost always do a sketch or two to finalize the design. Everything I do is handsewn. It's very rare I use a machine (I'm actually quite scared of them!). I like the intimacy of handsewing, and for the majority of eras I do, it's the most accurate.

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:icondebellespoupees:
debellespoupees : Since I partially like to think of my dresses as advertisement for the dressmaking supplies I sell in the webshop, among which are patterns, I usually try to use new ones every time to get a nice pattern portfolio. I like to know what I sell, it makes it much easier to help customers that have questions about the patterns. I use periodicals to figure out the favourable style for the event it will be worn, no ball gown for day wear for instance! The favourable colours and decoration, looking at extant dresses found in museum catalogs online or books also gives you a good idea of what could be considered fashionable. But in all fairness, it starts with an idea in my head, I try and find fabric/trim to match this idea, then make a sketch. Often though I can have up to 13 dresses in my head to create, you may have guessed my fabric stash is considerable!
I hand sew or machine stitch where needed and is applicable, often hand stitching is done later on, such as buttonholes, whip stitching lining or doing an invisible hem line.
Because I work on a budget, the fabrics I use are often not very expensive nor will I buy an exact amount I usually have a couple meters to spare, I don't make a mock-up but do do a lot of fitting in between steps. When working with an unfamiliar pattern(brand) or making my own using a McDowell Garment Drafting Machine, I own two -- one from 1889 and one from 1901 -- I always make a mock-up in either cheap cotton or fabric remnants. When creating for others I do make a mock-up, or use their corset as a base for fitting. Sometimes I use patterns from periodicals or books with period patterns, depending on the amount of time I have available.

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:icongoldenspring:
Goldenspring : I create my costumes piece by piece; not as an outfit but rather as individual garments, each receiving love and attention. When documentation is possible I study all the layers and all the aspects of a garment before beginning. This means that I research period correct color choices for the exterior of garments but that I also research the stitches used on the interior seams of period underwear. When I have documentation to work from I also like to use a historical process for my costumes (this usually means something like draping a pattern instead of using paper to create a template). I feel that if I’m going to make something I’d like to know that it’s correct right down to my skin even if no one else ever sees it.

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:iconalalne:
AlAlNe : I try to start with a character in mind.  It’s always easier to envision why someone would wear what, and it makes the experience or results richer. I start with a lot of thinking and sketching. I’m always looking for fabric and notions that will work together. As for patterns, I mix and match pieces a lot.  I use historically accurate and your average patterns from simplicity ect.
I usually alter pieces to work for what I want. I am self-taught and just white knuckle it till I find the right fit. Most times I make a mock up of the bodice at the very least, before I cut into silk or velvet. I use a mix of hand sewing and machine. I do a lot of big epic dresses, and I have a job and kids, so to hand sew the whole thing would be crazy for me. I do draw the line at sergers. I think they make the seams look funky. I have mastered a French Seam.

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:iconidzit:
Idzit : When I start a costume, it is usually inspired either by the fabric or an image. If it is the image, then if I happen to find the perfect fabric, the costume is a go! In the last five years, I've mostly been inspired by photos of actual historical garments, costumes in films, and historical fashion plates. There is usually some part of the costume which excites me (such as a beautiful collar, some cool shape, something unusual... it can be anything, really) and makes me want to create it in real life. Once I've decided to make a costume based on one image, if there is no 360 degree view of the garment, I will research to see what the rest of the costume should look like. I have an immense library of commercial patterns, so I will usually use one that is similar to what I want to make, but will most likely end up modifying it heavily. I also tend to use several different pattern pieces from various sources, so the patterns are basically just a starting point. I'm quite smitten with Janet Arnold's "Patterns of Fashion" books. They're fantastic, and most of the time, the garment patterns are already made to my size!
I will usually draft the pattern onto some pattern paper or Typar (which is used underneath couches, but is TERRIFICALLY CHEAP, and pin-able!) if it's not straight from a commercial pattern. I rarely make a mock-up if the costume is for myself, unless it's really expensive fabric and I don't want to risk making a mistake. I'll usually just make a mock-up for the more complex patterns, to verify the cut and fit of the garment.
I don't always start on the same costume parts... it depends what has to be done first - I'll figure out in my head what needs to be done in what order. I usually sew everything by machine, but some delicate things require hand-sewing or hand-embroidery.

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Canadienne - Side by Goldenspring more work by AlAlNe Full Mourning by Lady-Lovelace 1873 costume and swan by debellespoupees Medieval Dress 02 by Idzit
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How accurate and period specific do you think period costumery should be?

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:iconalalne:
AlAlNe : I am of a mind that it's all good. Honestly, if it looks good, and you feel good wearing it, go with it. I think if I was doing civil war or colonial Williamsburg reenactment and had to stand around in character all day in costume, I would try to stay period correct. But a lot of what I do is hand sewn anywhere you would see stitching. Nobody has yet to come up to me and demand to see what my dress looks like from the inside. However the proper undergarments are very important, you do move differently in hoops and corset.

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:iconidzit:
Idzit : I feel that historical accuracy depends on the costume designer and the occasion. I try to make things as researched and accurate as possible, but I simply don't have the time to sew everything by hand; nor the money to make it in 100% period-accurate fabrics. I tend to aim for visual accuracy mostly. When the occasion requires for someone to dress historically accurate, then that is the goal. It all depends on how serious one is about historical reproduction, and how far they are willing to go to do so. For some people, it's just not that important, and as long as they don't claim to be historically accurate, then that's their deal.
Some people feel a very strong bond to their ancestry when creating garments using fabrics and methods that are accurate to the specific period. If this is the case, then to recreate the mood and feeling and especially the experience of living in a past era, then yes, all the details count. It's alot of fun experiencing life as one would have in the past...
My goal at the moment is not historical reproduction... although it would be terrific fun to do so one day.

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:iconlady-lovelace:
Lady-Lovelace : 100% accuracy will always be my goal. It starts with accurate fabrics, and then techniques. Because I use most of my dresses for reenacting and living history, I consider them clothing and not costumes. Thus I try to approach them as a woman of the period would have, with her needs in mind.

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:icondebellespoupees:
debellespoupees : I'd love to be 100% historically accurate, I know how to, I have the ability to, but not the cash flow and I'd be too worried to wear it to an event because people step on your dress. Which is one of the reasons a lot of dresses in museums are hardly worn, too pretty too expensive to wear often, and considering how many families were in economic hardship because of keeping up appearances in Fashion in those days, I opt for being a farb (using non historical accurate fabric)and putting food on the table. And of course I could create lower class clothing which would be more affordable, but there is no re-enactment for the Victorian period in this country, otherwise I would've gladly done so. Standing out means upper middle class, it's the riches and often not the rags that inspire most people. Saying that I do try to incorporate as many period accurate techniques as possible, and attempt to at least appear period correct and dressed appropriately for the time of day, era, season, including doing my own corseting, undergarments, hair, wig, hairpieces, millinery.

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:icongoldenspring:
Goldenspring : I understand that there are many ways to make a costume and good reasons for every way. I do not believe that theatrical costume should ever waste it’s time striving to be %100 accurate (it has more important things to do, like sending a message). However, in my own historical pieces I strive for the highest level of accuracy I can sanely achieve. I have occasionally been known to count the number of stitches per inch (there’s an acronym: spi) in my own hand sewing for greater authenticity. If I could afford hand woven linens and wools I would use them. Different types of costume serve different purposed and I think of mine as displaying the result achieved when a costume is not just made to look authentic, but is made in the authentic way, from authentic materials with authentic techniques.

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1910 Dress Completed by Lady-Lovelace 1898 - 1901 outfit 2 by debellespoupees Tulip festival promenade by Idzit Purple Paisley 2 by AlAlNe 1805 Dress and Spencer - Side by Goldenspring
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Which era or time is your favorite to work from, which your least favorite?

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:icondebellespoupees:
debellespoupees : I work mostly from the Victorian Era and it is the construction, the form and fit and wide range of possibilities, the growth of female economy, dress reform movement, and the use of the sewing machine that makes it my favourite. I don't have a least favourite, though the fashion of certain era's is not always as flattering on my figure, I am looking forward to trying different era's, if anything I wish I had the superpower to speed sew, 22 meters of ruffles always is a good test on your patience no matter what era.

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:icongoldenspring:
Goldenspring : To be honest, I love it all. Aesthetically I find some more pleasing than others but somehow my interest is not in what I see as beautiful (one’s concept of beauty can easily be swayed and shifted and mine has several times) but in the reasons behind the costumes. Why is it done that way? Why does a technique appear in 17th century dressmaking then disappear for all of the 18th century only to reappear in the 19th? Why are 18th century stays made in panels and sewn together as almost the last step? There is invariably a good and interesting answer for these questions. Now that I’ve said all that, most of my costumes to date have focused around the 18th century because I am a historical re-enactor in that period and I’m constantly adding to my re-enactment wardrobe.

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:iconalalne:
AlAlNe : The court of Versailles entrances me, and most of my costumes are based on the 18th century. I love the wide side hoops and the way the corsets pulled in the torso and pushed the breast up-up-up. Its femininity exaggerated to the extreme! I also love the 1870’s bustle period.  My least favorite is probably the romantic period although the movie the young Victoria had some beautiful costumes, and wild wigs.

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:iconidzit:
Idzit : I'll be honest, I don't have a specific most favoritest period. lol
I make costumes from images that spark something in my mind, and my heart. I've made costumes from many different eras, from the Medieval period to the late 19th century. Usually, I think what attracts me the most is gorgeous draping or intricate details. For this reason, "17th and 18th century Fashion in Detail" is one of my favorite books. My most challenging costume thus far was probably my faun costume. Fur legs are quite the feat to create and make them look as realistic as possible.
My least favorite is the Edwardian period. No one looks good with a pigeon chest and their butt sticking out. It's just not a flattering look.

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:iconlady-lovelace:
Lady-Lovelace : My most "comfortable" era is 1860s, since that's where I started, but I'm currently obsessed with late 18th century!

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Dans la neige by Idzit Elizabethan 2009 Full Length by Lady-Lovelace PINKPINKPINK by AlAlNe 1805 Bib-fronted Dress - Front by Goldenspring 1860's Dress Castlefest 09 e by debellespoupees
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Where do you get your materials?

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:iconlady-lovelace:
Lady-Lovelace : Even though LA's garment district is less than an hour away, I get most of my fabric online from various places. I've had luck on ebay as well! And I always look through the curtains section of stores...

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:iconalalne:
AlAlNe : I have some favorite sellers on eBay that I try and watch. Also Fabric.com and Fashion Fabrics Club. I don’t really have any fabric stores to speak of here, so I am always on the look out for good web deals. I am thinking about joining a 12 step program to deal with my fabric addiction. I have way too much. If I can buy silk taffeta for $6 a yard that pretty much clinches the deal.

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:icongoldenspring:
Goldenspring : All over the place. A lot of times I find old linen at second hand stores and cut it up or dye it to become a piece of a costume. My favourite apron was a pant suit in its past life which my grandmother found and mailed to me to cut up. Some materials I bite the bullet and pay for (like good corset boning, I buy pounded ash staves from Nate’s Nantuckets to bone my 18th century stays) but most of the time my projects revolve around the fabric I have... and the fabric I have is the cheapest I can find. I’m from a pretty small town and there’s not much for fabric stores nearby so when I travel I always keep my eye out for fabric stores.

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:icondebellespoupees:
debellespoupees : I get a lot of dressmaking supplies wholesale, since I am a reseller. Trims; I either find them at a local wholesaler, cheaptrims or Ebay. Fabrics; Ebay, wholesale silk fabric such as James Hare, Harrington, or non wholesale at the market, Fab Fabrics, Hyena Silks, Renaissance Fabrics and more. I absolutely loved the quality of the Italian Silk for a customer from Hyena, but at the price, for something I'd wear once to an event, unsuitable. I love quality, but am trying to stay practical and am usually on a budget knowing I will only wear a dress once to an event. If there was a re-enactment group and there were multiple events to attend, I'd go out and get better quality and spend a little more, and also wear the dress in question more often. I prefer fabrics that have a good weight and feel to them, in summer I do make sure they are cotton or linen so they can breath. The material has to photograph well, since most of the dresses end up in a portfolio.

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:iconidzit:
Idzit : When it comes to fabrics, I usually buy them at work. Yes, quelle surprise, I work in a fabric store! I tend to buy accessories and trims online, since the variety in my city is rather sad. Since polyester taffeta looks similar to silk taffeta, it used to be a good substitute for me, but more recently, I've decided to forgo polyester simply because it's unwearable during the hot summer months. I tend to opt now for natural fabrics as much as possible for the sake of comfort. If I find a great deal on fabrics that are usually expensive, such as silk, I'll usually splurge a little. If the costume is a commission, however, the fabric choice is up to the client. My special little tip to fancy fabric lovers out there is: if silk or cotton velveteen is expensive where you live (like me), look out for pre-fabricated curtains. Why? Sometimes they come on sale, and they usually come in 96" lengths (that's almost 3 yards of fabric!), and the price per meter will be much better than purchasing the silk from a bolt. Also! they usually come lined! So you have the fancy fabric for your costume, plus the lining for the same price. Zing!

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18th Century Breeches - Side by Goldenspring Duchesse d'Orleans at tea 01 by Idzit Parisien skirt behind by debellespoupees New Gold Dress by Lady-Lovelace 18th Century grey by AlAlNe
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Do you have any tips for beginners?

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:icongoldenspring:
Goldenspring : Do it right. Really take the time to do work you can be proud of even if it means your projects start off simpler. If you do take that time you will not only be happy with your product for years to come, you will also build good skills and good costuming habits which will last. Remember that the devil’s in the details. You can make a garment perfectly but if the fabric’s not correct for the period then you’ve wasted your time. Details are also universally appreciated and beautiful buttons or topstitching really completes a garment. Don’t think modern. The way we make stuff today and even the way we think about sewing or pattern making is different. If you really want to make a historical costume the right way you have to understand the process of how it was made back then. When you understand the context of what you are making then you can feel confident that your thoughts at least come close to paralleling the thoughts of the old and moldy dressmaker you are copying. This gives you the freedom to think about what you are doing, instead of blindly mimicking. This is a hard skill to develop and takes a lot of knowledge and time but it is worthwhile to cultivate it.

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:iconlady-lovelace:
Lady-Lovelace : Never forget that this is a process! You will acquire skills and knowledge as you go. Even the "pros" continue to learn. Since we can't just step back in time and look over the shoulder of an 18th or 19th century seamstress, we all have a lot to learn. And everyone has to start somewhere. Every great costumer has one early project that he or she hopes will never see the light of day again!

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:iconidzit:
Idzit : For anyone who's interested in sewing, I say go for it! It's a skill that will ALWAYS be useful, and you can save so much money on clothes and costumes if you make them yourself. Not to mention you earn the bragging rights! Sewing is on the decline, especially in younger generations, and if people stop sewing, the big clothing corporations win, and will be able to charge exorbitant amounts for shoddily-made clothing. Also, if people stop sewing, fabric stores will cease to exist, which will be terribly sad for those who still love to sew. If anyone wants to try their hand at it, seek out sewing classes (some are offered at fabric stores and community centres), ask someone with experience to show you (most sewing-lovers will be glad to pass on the knowledge). Just don't tell yourself it's too hard and give up before even trying. If you feel intimidated, ask someone knowledgeable to help you find a pattern which is suitable for beginners (such as the "Sewing for dummies" patterns by Simplicity) to get you used to reading instructions and working with patterns.
For those who are looking to get inspiration for historical garments; There are a myriad of fantastic books out there. I mostly buy mine on Amazon because they're simply not available in my city.
Here are some of my FAVORITES!
~ "The complete Costume History", by Taschen
~ "Fashion - a History from the 18th to the 20th century (The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute", Taschen
~ "Patterns of Fashion", by Janet Arnold
~ "Victorian Fashions & Costumes from Harper's Bazaar: 1867-1898", by Stella Blum
~ "A History of Costume", by Carl Kohler
~ "18th century Embroidery Techniques", by Gail Marsh
~ "The Art of Manipulating Fabric", by Colette Wolf
~ "Costume - 1066 to the Present", by John Peacock
~ "Women's Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles", by Georgine de Courtais
~ "17th and 18th century Fashion in Detail", by Avril Hart and Susan North
~ "19th century Fashion in Detail", by Lucy Johnston

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:iconalalne:
AlAlNe : Well, I do a lot of online research into time periods I am interested in. It has really lit a flame to know more about world history. Costume Close up is great to see the way things were constructed. And the Kyoto book "Fashion" is like a bible to me. I love to check in with Démodé to see what she has cooking up. I got an awesome wig tutorial from her. There are so many great costumers on DA too-   I love Idzit!
Movies are also great inspiration. The best advice I ever got: your hands are the best tool you have.

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:icondebellespoupees:
debellespoupees : Select the era you love, for me this was actually Elizabeth I when I started, however I tried to bite of more then I could chew and plunged into Janet Arnold books! Needless to say I was easily distracted into an era which I found much easier to construct and could find a lot more information on. Try and keep it simple for yourself, use the Great Pattern Review [link]  to find out if this pattern will work for you, your best bet is to stay away from the big pattern companies, but rather go with more specialized pattern companies. Do not forget that underpinning is everything and comes first! they redefine your measurements. Also if you do do Victorian, please keep in mind they had button closing hooks, your bodice is not a jacket, keep it tight and don't forget your interfacing! Fake hair and wigs, can do a lot for your appearance, it can take a while to find the right supplier and when I make fake hair pieces I sometimes die my hair in a temporary colour that matches the hair piece better. Pay attention to detail.

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Regency 'Jumper' Dress by Lady-Lovelace 18th Century Gown update by AlAlNe Victorian 1889 costume and hat by debellespoupees Fete de la Nouvelle France 04 by Idzit Going to the Ball I by Goldenspring
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Which costume are you most proud of and why?

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:iconidzit:
Idzit :
Masquerade 01 by Idzit
I think my very first 18th century red taffeta Polonaise dress remains one of my favorites. It is the one which started it all! It is so very feminine, pouffy, full of lace, and just makes me feel like a fabulous princess every time I wear it! I learned alot about 18th century dresses when I started this dress because I began doing actual research using 18th century paintings and fashion plates to get inspiration for the trim and shape of the garment.
The construction took me over two or three months at the time.. I remember counting the pins holding the pleats on the dress alone - and there were 120. They're rather unforgiving when you don't handle the fabric right!

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:iconlady-lovelace:
Lady-Lovelace :
2010 Court Gown by Lady-Lovelace
My 2010 court gown was the most work intensive, and I'm pretty proud of it. It survived a hot, dusty faire season with only a few lost jewels.
Yellow Wool Round Gown by Lady-Lovelace
My current favorite dress to wear is the yellow wool round gown. I have wonderful memories of wearing it for a two day jaunt to Ft. Michilimackinac with my beloved boyfriend (who also sews historic clothing!).

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:icondebellespoupees:
debellespoupees :
1868 Day Dress EFF 2009 B by debellespoupees
This my personal favourite, it took me 6 weeks to create and it was done one week prior to the event! I hand stitched the trim on the bodice, the sleeve end, wrist and neck has handmade velvet piping, the bodice is faced and then hand sewn in, used a lot of references and created the over skirt according to a French periodical, and it was my first elliptical crinoline. The placing of the trim on the bodice was inspired by an extant museum piece. I even created the hair according to periodicals, the bonnet (which I also created) won't stay up without it! Nobody could tell it wasn't my own hair, that's when I feel pride in my work, it was the first time I created my own hair piece I do have some pre-done up wigs. I used a children's umbrella to make a parasol to match. Even though it has some fault, it was NOT considered in good taste to wear a busy fabric when being a full lady! I guess the biggest compliment anyone can give me is that something looks like it's an extant piece, it's what I try to achieve even when not period correct fabric wise, at least appearance wise.
The other dress I'm proud of, for achieving the result nearest to the costume sketch agreed upon with a customer for her wedding, created using my antique McDowell Garment Drafting Machine and made with to die for Italian silk:
1887 wedding dress by debellespoupees
The first dress cost 90 euro in materials to create, not counting the materials for the corset and crinoline, the second more like 2500 euro. Dresses are like paintings, and I'm looking for a new canvas to paint on as soon as one is finished! I will be entering the wedding dress into the Bustle Dress Competition if I don't forget to send her my reply.

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:icongoldenspring:
Goldenspring :
1780's Stays - Side I by Goldenspring
I’ll talk about my most recent project since it’s a great example of what I mentioned in my answer to the last question. I’ve just completed a pair of 1780’s stays. This is my forth pair of stays and my second from the 18th century. What really made these different is that I’ve finally built up enough knowledge on stay making to be able to create a garment that provided exactly the shape I desired. I was able to work with an understanding of what had succeeded in the past and what had not. I also had the patience to really put some love into these stays. I really spent my time researching (google images is a god send for this kind of research by the way. The documentation that I worked from was largely a photo collage I’d put together from photos of corsets in museums that I was able to find on the web) so that by the time I got around to cutting and sewing I really had a feel of what was right and what was not. This allowed me to use my historical costumer’s intuition when I came across glitches in the construction process (I do this a lot: I ask myself what an 18th century seamstress would have done and I base my decision as much on the historical evidence and as little on my modern conception of sewing as possible). All of these things allowed me to make a garment that I’m very proud of. I know it’s not perfect and I’ve already earmarked some things to do differently next time but that’s all part of the learning and the fun.

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:iconalalne:
AlAlNe :
18th Century Me Deluxe by AlAlNe
I guess this would be a favorite. It was so much fun to wear I didn’t want to take it off.  The wig was so high I was actually taller than my sister for once! Every gown seems to have a life of its own. The bones of the dress are just half the story, the real art comes when you start adding all the trims. I like to make most of the trims myself, also hats, and wigs. I have yet to cover shoes, but got a tutorial I cant wait to try.
Thank you for your interest, I’m thrilled to think some of my work might inspire someone to pick up a needle and make something!

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Mint chocolate chip 01 by Idzit 1873 costumes front view by debellespoupees New Blue Dress by Lady-Lovelace Francaise with Trimming by AlAlNe Fort Ti 1 by Goldenspring
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Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this special feature! I hope you go on creating amazing costumes for all of us to enjoy. :)

Cheers,
MyntKat
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Comments10
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RococoAtelier's avatar
So interesting! A great idea! We want more of these, and not only on the topic of costumes! :D
MyntKat's avatar
A glass week is already in the works. :D
RococoAtelier's avatar
Great! And I meant this kind of interviews as well!! :D
mermaidencreations's avatar
swooning from all the cleverness and beauty.
Idzit's avatar
Many many thanks again for the feature and the chance to answer all these questions. It was really alot of fun, and made me reflect upon my costumery that much more. It was really interesting to read everyone's responses to the questions, especially that alot of the answers are quite similar!!!
Ayame-Kenoshi's avatar
Wow, very nice feature! :clap:
MyntKat's avatar
Exillior's avatar
OH MY GOD SO GORGEOUS. :love: And lots of information! *starts to read*
annajordanart's avatar
So many hours of hard work. Really delightful on the eye to look at, read and dream about wearing!

Ty for sharing :D
KeremGo's avatar
Very beautiful...
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