The Dress Comes Second

Let’s take a moment to talk about goals. Often, as each year rolls around or even season to season, bloggers and YouTubers talk about goals for the coming year or season. These often include coming projects, which dresses or accessories will be worked on, and what research paths we plan to take. While we give these details their due attention, we don’t often talk about our overarching goals, the bigger picture WHAT in what we want to do.


We each have different goals even though we often play in the same pond or ponds. These goals have a wide range:
● Someone may want to make clothes that help them feel good about themselves.
● Someone may want to recreate the clothes from their favorite period dramas
● Someone may enjoy English Country Dance and needs attire for dancing.
● Someone may want to spend time with their spouse who participates in period dancing or historic events.
● Someone may be interested in period construction techniques and wants to explore each themselves.
● Someone may demonstrate a period skill or craft and needs attire for that.


Sometimes it is dif icult to remember not everyone has the same goals and, though different, other’s goals are valid.


It may seem strange since I am a straw milliner. But, when I really look at my goals, the dress comes second.


My focus, my goal, is to share knowledge of particular period crafts and skills through demonstration and
discussion. To do this, I must research my crafts and skills (straw sewing and small, domestic crafts), practice them, and develop interpretive techniques that connect with the visitor. The clothing is part of that last part.


For me, the dress really comes second in planning. I have a wardrobe that I can grab from. That is generally what I do.


This wardrobe does need to be updated due to neglect over the last few years. In doing so, I will make choices that reflect and support my goals. My clothes need to be accurately constructed with appropriate fibers. I believe synthetic fibers are a healthy and safety issue as well as an accuracy issue. I choose to use period techniques* as I find pleasure in using them and enjoy the way they look.


Confession – I often struggle with accepting other’s goals. I grew up surrounded by period construction
techniques, period fabrics, and antiques. This is my knowledge base. I get upset when I see modern techniques used to recreate period items. Specifically, I have a great deal of trouble with the use of glue on straw millinery. I try hard, really hard to control this instinctive upsetedness and remind myself that not everyone’s goals are the same. This takes a great deal of work and self control.


*A note on period techniques – I enjoy period techniques so much, I bring them into my modern sewing. I like
to create useful this and thats in modern prints or materials using period construction techniques. I find the result to be fun and enjoyable. Others find this odd and time consuming. This is perfectly okay.

Published in: on March 23, 2021 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  

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