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.
(Updated January 10, 2012)