About Ava

Why, hello. My name is Ava, and this is my blog-website-amalgamated-bit-of-internet. This site was set up to document my Division III/thesis project at Hampshire College, and to make my research available to anyone who wants to see it. I graduated in May of ’11 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public History and the Applied History of Clothing and Needle Arts (yes, really!), and I’m now in graduate school, pursuing a Master’s degree in History with a Concentration in Public History at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. I live in Las Cruces with my fiance, Zachary, who, as luck would have it, is very interested in historical clothing and is quite willing to have conversations with me about theoretical corsetry and the merits of this natural fibers.

I set up the blog/site with the intention of making it it a good foundation for me to continue using, both to document my own research and creations but also to share links to research and information elsewhere. There’s a great deal of amazing information out there, but it can be hard to find, and for a beginner especially, it can be hard to analyze for historical accuracy, effectiveness, efficiency, etc. So part of what I’m trying to do here is curate a bit of the internet, collecting links to related topics together, and continuing to update old posts as time goes on.

For a bit of background – I’m 26 years old and a Southern California native, now living in New Mexico. I’ve been trying to figure out how to live in a variety of times and places since I was a small child reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and L. M. Montgomery. Dress-up clothes were always my favorite clothes, especially when they involved long, fluffy skirts. I spent a great deal of time as a teenager Civil War reenacting, and I started seriously trying to learn how to sew historical clothing by the time I was thirteen. I’ve had a serious book-collecting habit since about age seven and a serious fabric-collecting habit since about 17. It’s possible that part of my motivation for getting involved with living history and reproduction sewing was to give myself a nice, grown-up excuse for continuing to wear dress-up clothes and play pretend. It’s educational playing pretend, I promise.

In addition to proper, as-accurate-as-I-can-manage historical reproduction sewing, I also enjoy making the occasional historically inspired costume, some random costumey costumes (like the Cheshire Cat costume), and an increasing variety of vintage reproduction and vintage inspired pieces of clothing. Any clothes I make for myself fall more into that last category than anything very 21st century, really. Sometimes I am crafty (felt strips make for great braided holiday wreaths!), and lately I’ve been doing quite a bit of knitting as well as some crocheting. I also love to cook and bake, especially homey things made from scratch. (To see more of that side of my life, you can visit The Dog and Chicken Kitchen, my food blog.)

I have something of a hippie streak – I’m a big proponent of food that is actually food (in part because I’m allergic to things like MSG), going organic when I can possibly afford it, avoiding senseless consumption, making things last, avoiding synthetic and/or dangerous chemicals, and generally trying to save the planet and so forth. I believe in making or buying things to last, and taking good care of them – and if I don’t want them anymore, trying to get them to someone who can use them. I’ve found that sewing – and specifically, learning from vintage and historical approaches to making and taking care of clothes – can be extremely supportive of a “green” lifestyle. This idea even played into my Div III, especially with a class that I taught on historical sewing techniques, and my article on Clothing and Sustainability.

I’m interested in and passionate about a lot of different things, a variety of which I’ll be blogging about here at Bygone Glamour. I’m planning to have:

  • Lots of content about documented historical reproduction sewing
  • Some content about historically inspired sewing and costuming
  • Lots of content about vintage reproduction and vintage inspired sewing (for more practical, everyday use than the historical reproduction sewing, generally)
  • Some content about using original vintage pieces
  • Some content about miscellaneous crafty things
  • Some content about how sustainability and green living relate to sewing, clothes, and vintage.
  • Occasional content about tangentially related things I find interesting or consider to be important

I also have two other blogs now, to post about different things I’m working on. There’s The Dog and Chicken Kitchen, my fledgeling food blog, where I’ll document my love of real food (done gluten-free), and post recipes for from-scratch, not-too-crazily-elaborate, tasty food. And then there’s An Old-Fashioned Wedding at Home, which I’ve just started (in light of having just become engaged!) but am posting posting at regularly, to describe our unconventional but not exactly modern approach to getting hitched, with some philosophizing, some tips and tutorials, and all kinds of details on my wedding dress, which I designed and which I’ll be making myself.

Thanks for visiting, and please let me know if there’s any content you’d like to see on this blog. I’d very much like it to become something useful – and not just useful to me. Feel free to comment, or to email me: ava dot trimble at g mail dot com.


(Updated January 10, 2012)

10 responses to “About Ava

  1. bandaloopdeloop

    This is so cool! I shall have to check back here again. Also, YES- I’ve wanted to see you do menswear for so long now!

    • The Western shirt is cut out (and has been since spring break, sigh) and waiting to be sewn, so that will hopefully happen soon and I’ll actually have done menswear instead of just researched it! I’ll try to remember to email you or something when it happens. I could also set up a specific RSS feed just for menswear, so you could follow that specifically and just get updates on those posts. Oh yeah, tricky technology!

  2. Dear Ava,
    Finally had a chance to come visit, and am blown away. There is lots and lots and lots to read. What a project. I will be excited to browse.
    Many thanks,

    • Hi Natalie!
      Thanks for the kind words, and your email about your thoughts on historical sewing/clothing – I didn’t get enough responses to be able to put together a whole page on that topic, but I’m hoping to manage it eventually! I hope the site proves useful to you. 🙂

  3. Just learned of your site through a friend who wants to purchase a ‘little red riding hood’ cape for her granddaughter. I haven’t had time to do much except get a quick glance at this site, but I’m looking forward to spending many hours here. As you are interested in living history, I wonder if you (and your followers) are familiar with the VPLL 1912 project. In remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic they are scanning and digitizing the patterns and magazines of La Mode Illustree. The VPLL is asking for sewers to test the patterns in either muslin or a fashion fabric and post on their personal blog or on the VPLL blog. I found the contact info on the Threads Magazine site and recently got a response. Interested people can contact them via email at vpll.1912@gmail.com.

    • Costume capes for kids are so darling – I hope your friend finds what she’s looking for. Thank you for your kind words about my site! It’s been quite abandoned since I graduated last May, but I’m hoping to start updating soon – maybe I’ll even manage some photographs of the things I made! I hadn’t heard about the VPLL 1912 project; thanks so much for mentioning it. That sounds fantastic! I’ll have to check out those available patterns and see if I can work with either of them. It’s handy that there’s so much 1912 commemoration stuff going on with costuming – it’s also the centennial of New Mexico statehood, and I’m in graduate school in New Mexico, so I’m getting involved with that. It’s lovely having so many great resources popping up along the way.

  4. All this research is so inspiring – I’m a Smith student currently working on a Special Studies about women’s dress from 1908 to 1915ish, so all this is so cool. I came across your blog through your old blog where I saw you had mentioned you interned at Sturbridge Village. I have just been accepted into the program and am curious as to what costumes they supply/what you would have found helpful to have that they didn’t supply/what tasks you did. If you want to send me an email (estyra15 at gmail . com [no spaces]) instead of posting, that would be preferable. Thanks in advance!

    • Congratulations on the internship! It was a great experience – so much to learn! Your summer will be a very busy one. 😀 I’m sending you an email with more details now…

  5. Hi Ava, just found your blog- I’m thrilled to see such a collection of information in one place. I’m a second year Master’s student, writing my thesis proposal and lit review. My focus is also on costume reproduction, culminating in a gallery exhibit of reproductions and extant garments. I’d love to know more about your opinion of fabric sources for reproductions- I’m having the toughest time finding a suitable choice for a 1910s wedding gown. If you have any spare time, my email is mjmcpherson23 at gmail. I’d love to hear from you!

    • Wow! Where are you doing your master’s, that they’re letting you focus on reproduction? I’ve heard of someone doing that in Canada – I can’t remember her name or which province, but she ran a WordPress blog for a while and did 18th century reproductions, all by hand – but it seems quite off the beaten path! I was able to do reproduction sewing for my undergraduate thesis because I went to an exceedingly unusual college where I could major in practically anything. My master’s is much more conventional! It’s a public history concentration within a history program, and I’m writing my capstone article on history interpretation for young children, so primarily hands-on things, which of course includes reproduction costume pieces to try on. Not quite as unconventional as what I was up to in undergrad!

      Fabric can be tricky, especially if you’re on a tight budget, but there are definitely options. What style of 1910s wedding gown are you working on? What sort of fabric would it want? I find that silks are often easier to source than the fine cottons and linens that used to be quite common. Delectable Mountain Cloth in Brattleboro, Vermont sources a lot of wonderful natural fiber materials. Sometimes big online stores like Fabric.com and FashionFabricsClub.com have good things, though the specific varieties and quality can be mysterious. I don’t buy as much fabric these days, so I’m not an expert on the stores, but the recommendations on the boards at thesewingacademy.org (which focuses on mid-19th century but the fabric information tends to be broadly applicable). There’s one that comes highly recommended – puresilks.biz, I think, that’s supposed to have good materials, silks and cottons both. And of course, prowling through the fashion districts of Los Angeles or New York can be very helpful, but not so much for those of us away from those areas!

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