Just walked in from our rehearsal at The Queen’s Gallery. It’s hard to believe that after nearly eight months this event is a little under 48 hours away.
This final year has flown by so quickly and I can promise that once my two models walk out of the dressing room you will find me in a corner crying tears of joy, stress, relief, and a little sadness. It’s been a good three years at this University and I graduate in a few weeks. It’s a terrifying thought. But onwards and upwards my friends, onwards and upwards.
My next project is called Ordinary Lives. We were told to pick a photo of the working class or the everyday person. A week ago I found a woman whose expression captured my attention and she has served as the foundation of my project. I can’t go into much detail right now but I promise that one day soon it will be my honour to share the life of this woman with you.
I expected that this project would be a challenge, women are so frequently relegated to the sidelines of history. They are the invisible ones, always there and never named. Her photo had no name and it was accompanied by no information. I found myself smiling at her while researching her uniform. I imagined that she had served courageously. I pictured her coming home in victory. I would see her finally being reunited with her loved ones, and I thought she would have had a happy life.
Last night I was studying service records and I found a page with a very familiar photo. I don’t even know who I whispered no,no,no too but the link led to her service record and her death record and it led me to her name.
She had served courageously. She was one of 14 working to help the wounded. She was exhausted, she was disheartened by the news of her soldier brother’s death, and she was on her way home to be reunited with her loved ones. She never made it and I wish, I wish I could un-see the words that described what had happened. I feel her loss almost as if I had known her.
My tutor opened my research today and she stopped to read my dedication, To those that history has unfairly forgotten, who selflessly laid down their lives so that others might live, I am honored to dedicate this project to you. My tutor is an older British lady, she touched my hand very softly, and gave me the saddest smile. She hinted but never confirmed that she understood my subject on a personal level.
I told my mom last night I didn’t understand how an event that happened nearly a century ago can leave me feeling so devastated. But when my tutor looked at me today I realized that to those who embrace history with their being, the events of the past will always be felt as if they are the events of the present. The tragedies of then are still tragedies of now.
I understand now why at Armistice Day it is so commonly said ‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them’ because this woman is no longer anonymous to me. Her name and her face are written in my heart.
So proud and honoured to have an article published in the Autumn 2012 Costume Society of the UK Newsletter.
One of the first projects that the two summer interns were given was to make a summer accessory that the Milliner would have sold in her shop. I am pleased to report that The Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop now has a lovely summer cape floating around!
In order to leave early and start my internship at Colonel Williamsburg I had to turn everything in a month early (which was easy because I was already done anyway).
The only bad thing about turning things in that early is having to wait for everyone else to turn theirs in before you can post photos of your project!
Here is a sneak peek because I am ridiculously impatient. This was my first time using wire and I’m rather pleased with the outcome! Unfortunately I had to crop the entire top of my head of but once the deadline is complete I promise to post proper photos!
A random fact about this photo: self-timers on cameras are AMAZING! I used the ten second timer and had enough time to push the button, run over, and set myself up!
Fear not followers, I’m not dead! I am currently interning with The Tudor Tailor. Between working on all the super top secret items for the upcoming book and raiding a particularly beautiful costume library, I’ve been a little too busy to keep up with my blog!
I promise that once life gets back to a semblance of normality I will keep up with my normal schedule (That is until June when I start my summer internship with Colonial Williamsburg and I’m pretty sure that will happily take up most of my time!).
It’s seems rather silly but I’ll admit the first time I saw the first photo I cried.
I have learnt so much and I realize that I have such a long way to go before I can say I am mistress of my craft.
And yet every journey must have a beginning.
Thank you so much to everyone for their kind words and for helping me get through this project with my sanity still intact.
Lace and velvet special occasion dress, c.1915 “This ethereal creation could be the costume of a fairy princess: it floats over the body like a butterfly’s wings. It could also be worn for your wedding, since it is stronger than it looks. Our heirloom quality dress offers one-of-a-kind design at a fraction of the cost of couture. The dress was made from layers attached at the waist to an inner petersham. The skirt lining is of ecru silk charmeuse with a hem border consisting of three rows of trapunto cording. Trapunto is an especially refined technique of embroidery, dating from 14th century Sicily.”
Lace and velvet special occasion dress, c.1915
“This ethereal creation could be the costume of a fairy princess: it floats over the body like a butterfly’s wings. It could also be worn for your wedding, since it is stronger than it looks. Our heirloom quality dress offers one-of-a-kind design at a fraction of the cost of couture.
The dress was made from layers attached at the waist to an inner petersham. The skirt lining is of ecru silk charmeuse with a hem border consisting of three rows of trapunto cording. Trapunto is an especially refined technique of embroidery, dating from 14th century Sicily.”
During this project I have:
Created a tiny shiny scar on my finger from where I rolled metallic thread over and over to make a knot
Sewn my finger to the stays
Tacked my bodice to my pajama pants
Broke a needle and found pieces in my hair
Stepped on numerous pins
Numerous blood tests (every time I stick myself accidentally I say “Blood test!”)
Burnt my finger tips pulling lace out of a pot of hot water
Burnt my finger steaming fabric
Cut my lip with metallic thread (don’t ask)
Fell down the stairs trying to not trip over the fabric in my arms
Fell up the stairs trying to not trip over the fabric in my arms
Plain fell down when I tripped over the fabric in my arms
And I just shoved my finger through a pleater trying to change the needle.
So next time someone tells you that costuming is not a painful business point them in my direction and I’ll straighten them out.
2 more of these patterns to go and I’ll be done with the embroidery.
Then I am going to bead everything over the break.
Each set takes me anywhere from 2- 2.5 hours
depending on what movie I’m listening to and how distracted I get. When I am done I will have used about 320 leaves.
I would dearly love to make an announcement saying that I had completed one thing from my project but alas I have not.
This was the only thing nearest to completion and my lecturers just dashed my hopes for that. After wrapping the scarves on my own head, pinning, and then painstakingly stitching each pleat my lecturers have informed that it needs to have a band around the bottom “so just move it all back”. *insert bulging what-did-you-just-ask-me-to-do-eyes here*
Obviously the black band wont be there because I have to add more fabric to that section and it wont sit so crooked over her eye. Charlotte (the mannequin) has a weird head so it looks better on my model.
Sadly the ostrich feathers did not escape unscathed from their 100+ year imprisonment in a box at a flea market so they need washing hence the reason they are just pinned on.
I’m totally knackered and I still have so much to do before Friday.