Monday, November 8, 2010

How did i get myself into this mess?

So, CREST - the Capital Region Etsy Street Team - is having a blog hop, with team members talking about how they got into their craft.  I don't sell handmade items in my shop (though i make lots of them), but there's still a lot of knowledge - even craft - that goes into seeking out, researching, and describing vintage patterns.  It's been an unlikely sort of path to get here...

My mother tried valiantly to teach me to sew.  And despite my resistance, i'd learned some of the bare essentials: to lay out and cut a pattern, thread a sewing machine (though as a kid, i was strictly forbidden to touch the tension knob...), do some basic handsewing and embroidery, how to shop at a fabric store.  But i really didn't want to sew.  After all, i figured i could get Mom to do it.  It wasn't until i got to college and started playing with living history - i ended up interning for the costume director at Jamestown Settlement - and i realized that even if i could find the garments i wanted, i couldn't afford to pay anyone to make them.  Mom was inconveniently far away, and not really interested in the research angle.  But how hard could it be to sew them myself?

Approximately the third garment i ever stitched was a reconstruction based on an archaeological report: no pattern, lots of grading, measurement conversion, the works.  Definitely the trial-by-fire approach.  Not, perhaps, sensible - and probably not what i'd recommend to others - but very, very educational.

A college roommate had a 1950s dress pattern.  It seemed a curiosity.  It wasn't until several years later (when i was working at G Street Fabrics) that i met a vintage pattern collector.  G Street was itself a fabulous education in textiles and sewing of all sorts, and i was by then deeply interested in costume history, but mostly earlier stuff - 19th century seemed late to me, let alone anything recent enough to be called "vintage."  It wasn't until i got back into dancing that i got interested in vintage clothing.  I made a deal with a friend that i would go to dance swing and ballroom with him, if he would go and dance English Country (think of all those set dances in Jane Austen flicks) with me.  Before i knew it, i was out shopping for vintage dresses to wear to dances.  But i'm not small, and dresses aren't cheap.  It was back to sewing, and my own serious and growing addiction to vintage patterns...

Want to check out other team members' stories?  Follow the links below:
Sandi Volpe Designs
Birch Tree Jewelry
Sew Artsy
Collage and Clover
{Life as we live it}
The Twisted Cow
Turquoise Angels
Crazy Mokes
The Dragon Nthly
The Planet Geek Chronicles
Of Cats and Crafts
RAM Jewelry Designs


Turquoise Angels said...

love, love , love vintage patterns and the history of clothing.
Thanks for sharing

Fripperie said...

Thanks for stopping by! It looks like we're practically neighbors - i'm in western Loudoun, too...