Tag Archives: site update

Annotated Bibliography Updates

Just a quick update to announce that I’ve gone through my Annotated Bibliography to add 13 more entries (bringing it up to a count of 107!) and to add quick annotations to all of the entries on the main page. Now, on the main page, each entry has the basic citation and also a brief note about whether the book is recommended, recommended for the pictures, recommended only if there’s nothing else available, or not recommended. The negative notes generally contain a bit of extra information about why I don’t think the book is worth looking at.

There are a lot of recommended books on the list – because there are a lot of great books on historical costume out there – but hopefully my Annotated Bibliography can be some help in determining which books fit a given subject and are worth tracking down. Most of the recommended books have more detailed annotations included in linked posts of their own, for more details on content and usage.

For my own purposes, I find the A.B. useful when I’m researching a new period or a specific topic, or when I have a bit of extra cash and want to figure out what book to buy next. Sadly, some of the books I desperately wish to acquire – especially those by Norah Waugh – are consistently very expensive, and out of my price range. Someday! In the meantime, that is what libraries are for.

If you’d like to see the updates and peruse the reviews, visit the Annotated Bibliography page.

1912 Research and an Update

So! I never get around to doing as much with this blog as I intend, but I did just add a bunch of new stuff, because I registered for independent study hours over the summer, doing research on 1912 clothing. It had two components, a big paper and a shorter how-to article for people trying to put together passable 1912-ish clothes for living history (specifically related to a spring course and conference). But I found so many fabulous resources online for the how-to side, and general visual resources, that I ended up doing the how-to component online here, with a little index and a set of posts full of links and summary information. There’s so much incredible information out there on the internet, but it can be shockingly difficult to track down the right stuff – thus why curating the internet, so to speak, is something of a hobby of mine.

The plan is to keep adding links to the 1912 research section, as I find them, and now I’m also thinking of doing something similar for other periods. I have a truly massive collection of bookmarks, and I always wish it was easier to find good sewing and costuming resources, so I think I’ll see what I can do to improve matters. I suspect that keeping my various sewing and costuming resources organized in this form will even make them easier for me to use.

…maybe at some point I’ll even put up pictures of the projects I’ve finished?

Hopefully I’ll be able to do more sewing and more blogging about it! And then I won’t forget how I did things after they’re done. Maybe.

But at least there are 1912 resources, tidily organized!

Div III Progress: 10 Days To Go!

Over the past couple days, I’ve added a few more basic entries to the annotated bibliography, and I’ve created an extensive glossary of terms for fibers, fabrics, and materials. It’s really more than a glossary, with detailed descriptions for each entry, plus quotes from print resources, links to online articles, and cross-referencing links to other entries. The idea is that these entries collect references and resources in an ongoing way, to offer disambiguation and historical information as well as practical tips. The entries are closely matched to the fiber, fabric, and material tags which are listed in a menu on the right side of the site. In that menu is also a link to the Glossary Table of Contents, which contains links to all current entries in the glossary, tidily organized. There is also a base, introductory entry which covers broad topics and offers a mini annotated bibliography of print resources: Glossary: Fibers, Fabrics, and Materials.

I had not originally intended to spend this much time creating a glossary of terms, but as I started looking things up, I found that often sources conflicted with one another, and many terms have had different meanings over time. In order to create a genuinely useful resource, I needed to go deeper and make my entries more extensively – so I did. As I was creating this glossary, I remembered that this is actually quite close to the core idea of an early incarnation of my concept for my Div III.

Back while I was interning at Old Sturbridge Village last summer, I remarked that it was unfortunate that no one had written an annotated version of The Workwoman’s Guide – the way people do with classic literature. The person I was talking to, a Hampshire grad, replied that that sounded like a great Div III. I laughed and said that I couldn’t possibly do ALL that…but the idea stuck. And thus the total rebirth of my Div III concept began. For a while, I conceived of my Div III as being a multimedia set of online projects and articles, offering pieces of “translated” 19th century (and perhaps other period) sources, from the WWG and other sources. For instance, I wanted to create a set of short videos to be posted online that demonstrated different types of period stitches, which are often difficult to learn without being shown in person. Eventually I became more focused on the idea of written documentation, and creating an exhibit, but now I am morphing these ideas together.

This site will be in some ways an exhibit, in some ways written documentation, and in some ways a free resource for the public, offering practical information on how to go about reproducing vintage and historical clothing. One important component for me is that I’m not just offering my own knowledge; I’m also offering collected and organized links, quotes, and references to helpful printed information. Because there is a great deal of excellent information available, even just online, but it isn’t always easy to find, and it can be difficult, especially for beginners, to assess the accuracy and reliability (and even the practical usefulness!) of a given source. By collecting and organizing a variety of resources, I am able to offer my perspective on them, and also able to supplement what I know, what I have written, and what I have done.

Perhaps most importantly, I am setting up this site so that I can keep adding to it, and keep adding to it easily. Because I don’t want to graduate and drop what I’ve been working on; I have every intention of continuing with this research, these projects, and this site. And that is what I keep reminding myself of, every time I feel disappointed that I haven’t been able to do the entire heap of Div III project I’ve dreamed up. Especially considering that my committee has been trying to convince me to do less all along. It’s encouraging that with this site, I can plan on continuing this into the future, and the projects that have been left in the dust during the downscaling process seem a little less abandoned, because a future for them exists, here on the internet–possibly even educating someone about something!

The plan now is to keep building this site, as functionally as possible; to write up a paper overviewing my Div III to turn in by Monday; and to get a reasonable quantity of sewing work finished or at least to an interesting stage – all in 10 days. It’s not exactly a short order, but I think I’ve almost convinced myself that I can do enough that it will be a lovely, useful, full Div III; even though it won’t be as grand as I have dreamed.

In sewing news, I made a lovely faux bustle, the 1870s inspired faux bustle of pansy synthetic netting, for Sarah’s 1870s inspired butterfly masquerade costume. It took about an hour, and came out quite nicely. It’s not at all historically accurate, but since neither it nor the ensemble are intended to be historical reproductions, that isn’t a hindrance. It makes for a charming and very inexpensive fluffy shape to fill out the skirt of a pretty Halloween masquerade costume with nice historical lines.Now I’m going to work on some sewing (truly, a wild Saturday night!) and work on mentally evaluating what else I’m going to do in the time I have left. And work on my paper. Busy? Me? Of course not…

-Ava

Div III Progress Report: 13 Days To Go!

It’s Wednesday, April 20, and my Div III final meeting is in 13 days. Strictly speaking, since it’s currently nearly midnight, my final meeting is actually in about 12 and a half days. Oh boy.

Today has not been a good day for progress, thanks to innumerable (three? four? five? I’m not even sure, honestly) major technical difficulties, resulting in various delays and deleted progress. Alas. But I finished putting together the base posts for the 1830s straw bonnet with plaid silk ties and white trimmings and 1860s Marie Stewart bonnet of scarlet silk, as well as for the 1950s style petticoat of soft ivory netting and 1950s style petticoat of stiff white netting trimmed with bows, and I wrote up the intro post for the 1950s style net petticoats. I also added a couple more books to the Annotated Bibliography and started on the intro post for the 19th century work box (because I ran across a couple of great pictures that needed to be listed there).

In more corporeal news, yesterday the cerulean blue dye for my 1830s gown arrived in the mail! Or, at least, I arrived at the Lemelson Center to teach my Historical Sewing Techniques for Practical Use class, and Roxy then gave the package, which had previously arrived in the mail, to me. (The dye was among the supplies that were funded by a grant from the wonderful Hampshire College Social Venture Fund, which is run the Lemelson Center.) One of my very talented friends – someone who conveniently has cotton-dyeing expertise – will be helping me to dye 11 yards of semi sheer, satin-striped cotton fabric a nice shade of cerulean blue, so I can make it into a pretty dress. The pretty dress, realistically speaking, will probably not be done before my final meeting, but I fully intend to wear it (along the with enormous 1830s bonnet) for Commencement (also known as graduation) on May 21st.

After work in the morning, I will go by the school post office to pick up my package from Fabric.com, which will contain lots of handy-dandy notions, along with some sky blue cotton broadcloth that was on sale inexpensively, which I will make into a nice vintage-style summer dress, and a yard of stretch cotton sateen in pink and white stripes, which I plan to use to make an experimental modern corset. (But not right now!)

See…while talking about corsetry with my boyfriend the other day (he is surprisingly interested in my obscure areas of research), he suggested that I try making modern corsets, intended for day-to-day use, instead of bras. I’ve talked quite a lot about how – far from considering them mutilating implements of torture foisted on women by the oppressive patriarchy – I find corsets to be in many ways more comfortable than bras. Support that’s structured from the waist up, rather than awkwardly hanging from the shoulders and/or wandering about the ribcage, makes a lot of sense. Therefore, we ended up having a conversation about this hypothetical modern corset that I need to work on designing and building, and I decided to experiment with using cotton stretch sateen, along with 100% cotton sateen (no stretch) to make such a corset. Naturally, when I found this pretty stretch sateen on sale, conveniently in a colorway that would work well with 100% cotton white sateen that I already have, I obviously needed to order it. I’m already planning ahead for the next stage in Stuff I Taught Myself To Do (Or Do Better) During Div III.

I am trying to come to terms with how much less finished stuff there will be at the end of Div III. I’ve been very ambitious all along, and thanks to the foibles of my immune system this semester, and only having one year in which to complete Div III, and needing to sleep, I’m scaling things down from what I had intended. So there are pages on this site that definitely won’t have any garment photos, or sewing progress, for a while (though I do plan on getting to them eventually, some of them probably this summer). But I’m putting them up anyway, because I’ve done a rather absurd quantity of research, and not only is this a good way for me to keep track of my research, but this site also allows me to make my research readily available to others, and I’m hoping that maybe my collection of sources on 18th century greatcoats, or one of the similar posts, would be of use to someone.

Now I just need to whip up an actual rough draft of my what-my-Div-III-is-all-about-and-how-it-works-and-why-it-matters paper. I’m not sure what to call it now that it’s not a “documentation paper,” since I’m now doing most of my documentation online. I’ve been pulling the pieces together and working out the structure for a couple weeks now, but my committee is likely to be quite unhappy about matters if I don’t get a draft to them Very Soon. I’m determined to manage it by Friday. Hopefully they won’t decide that they want major changes a day before my final meeting or anything. But they’re all reasonable people, so I don’t think anything of the sort is likely to happen.

So, tomorrow: picking up supplies, working on my paper, and some sewing. I need to get a paper to my committee, yes, but I also need to sew something in order to feel like I’m making progress.

For the moment…sleep!

-Ava