Dressmaker and Costume Historian
Launching ‘The Best Job Ever’ Updates
November 12, 2015
Today I am launching my new monthly ‘Best Job Ever’ posts – hooray! I try to keep you posted with what I am up to as I do it but end up so busy I never get the chance. So, each month I will endeavour to give you the highlights of what I have been up to. Enjoy!
So, October……..This was going to be my quiet month, a chance to catch up on all those little jobs that endlessly get pushed aside when an exciting project comes along. Alas, it was not to be.
I started off the month making a Greek chiton and accessories and an Iron Age tunic for The Royal Armouries ‘Myths and Legends’ events at half term. These were delivered to the museum on my monthly trip there to maintain their costumes. The day was spent sewing on endless buttons, mending hose and fixing arming jackets so the staff look spic and span. I left with orders for more shirts, hose and a French heraldic tabard they needed for the Agincourt events at the Tower of London at half term, plus a Roman palla and accessories. Bang went my quiet month!
Between getting these things made I drove down to Wokingham and Sandhurst libraries to present my talk ‘Confessions of an Edwardian Shopoholic’. It went down a storm with both audiences. They were fantastic and even cooed appropriately when I showed them my new purchase, an original Edwardian Lily of the Valley perfume bottle from Selfridges department store!
On the way south I squeezed in a trip to Henley-on-Thames to do a toile fitting with a gentlemen who has commissioned a 17th century costume for him to do tours of the town in. This will be completed in the new year. Busy day!
That same weekend, I joined The History Wardrobe team at Darlington Library to present ‘A Very Victorian Lady’. A great talk looking at four very different Victorian women and their clothes. I confess my Canadian immigrant is not my best look!
A visit to Bridgewater Group WI near Warrington to give my talk ‘Romance in the Raj’ started off the next week. The ladies were a great audience and loved the range of original clothes on display dating from 1913-1928. They wouldn’t let me leave until I had eaten a full plate of homemade cakes – it’s a hard job but someone has to do it!
The materials I had ordered to make a Regency ball gown, commissioned by a Regency dance instructor, arrived so I could get started on the project. I spent a few days getting the petticoat, undress and open robe ready for her second fitting in early November. A lovely project and an excuse to watch Pride and Prejudice again (purely for research purposes, obviously!). More details on this project next month.
The month was nicely rounded off with a trip to Nottingham to meet with the staff at Malt Cross, a recently renovated Victorian music hall. What a fantastic place! I was there to discuss options and designs for three 1870s costumes they want to commission. This would be an amazing project to start off 2016 so fingers crossed it gets the stamp of approval.
Somewhere along the way I did manage to cross off a few of those jobs I had hoped to do, including a thorough spring clean of my workroom, doing my tax return and sorting out my pattern boxes so everything is easy to find.
A great month with a huge amount of variety, but if this was my ‘quiet’ month, what will November hold?