Tuesday, June 30, 2015

HSM #6: 'Poofy Pants' (also-- where I've been for the past 6 months)

(It's eleven o'clock at night here, so have a bad mirror selfie for now and I'll get someone to take some real pictures tomorrow, and I'll make up for the lack of pictures by talking a lot)

The Challenge: Out of Your Comfort Zone

Fabric: 3 yards of a linen/cotton blend

Pattern: 2 giant rectangles, 4 medium-sized rectangles, and a waistband that I draped on myself

Year: 10th century-ish

Notions: Just thread!

How historically accurate is it? ehhh, not terribly accurate, mostly because of the fabric (fiber content, and color) and the shape of the waistband (and the fact that it is mostly machine stitched). I got a little boggled reading archaeological articles about fragments of fabric found in graves, so I just looked up pictures of SCA people wearing the style I wanted and then made it up as I went along. I'm not going to be too hard on myself though, since I am coming out of a period of depression (more on that below) and being too much a stickler for accuracy would probably kill my newfound sewing motivation.

Hours to complete: ~12 somewhat inefficient hours

First worn: not yet!

Total cost: free!

Well, I'm back in blogland, participating in my first challenge with the Historical Sew Monthly! I just got back from the Association for Living History, Farm, and Agriculture Museums conference on Thursday, so I've been spending the last five days frantically trying to make a pair of pants from start (including research!) to finish, in time to jump in on the June challenge at the last minute.

This project is out of my comfort zone in many ways, the most obvious being that it's from a period I have absolutely no experience in. I've been wanting to start making viking clothing for a while now, and after speaking with a friendly Icelander at the ALFHAM conference I decided now was as good a time as any. When I started doing research I realized just how blessed 19th century costumers are to have portraits and photographs and extant garments and women's books and tailoring manuals. Viking costumers have a few fragments of cloth and some stone carvings. I'm sure that with practice I'll be able to understand the archeological papers I was attempting to read, but for now all I can do is rely on SCA costumers who all seem to be giving contradicting advice. I think I ended up with the right look, even if all the construction details aren't quite right, and it was a nice project to dip my toe into the period, so to speak. I can't wait to make some more viking garments, so hopefully I will have a full outfit before winter.  Next up: winingas!

Another way I stepped out of my comfort zone on this project was simply by participating in the HSM. One of the effects of my social anxiety is that interacting with people on the internet (or anywhere) really scares me, especially people who have much more costuming experience then I do and oh my gosh what if they actually see what I'm posting here. Absolutely terrifying. At the ALFHAM conference I finally realized that hey, it's ok if I don't have tons of experience, if I don't do everything right, if I haven't yet made a corset or bobbin lace or any of the number of things I wish I could do. I'm 18 years old, and I'm constantly learning, and maybe the learning process itself is something to be proud of. That being said, I am finally, timidly reaching out and putting my work out where someone else might actually see it, and I'm so nervous but it actually kind of feels good.

I don't know if this counts as getting out of my comfort zone, or maybe getting back into my 'normal functioning human' zone, but this is the first time I have sewn anything for quite some time. For the first few months of this year I was of course in school and had no time to sew on personal projects (I was to busy learning how to make hats! Which I kept reminding myself to blog about and then promptly forgetting!) and then as soon as school was over my depression that I thought I had gotten rid of last fall decided to come back and steal all my motivation to do anything, much less try to sew anything. I spent the last few months wandering around the house doing nothing and not really feeling anything either, and looking sadly at my sewing machine and the beautiful fabric I bought while I was in Finland (which was a great trip and I forgot to blog about it too!) and not being able to muster the energy to pick up a pair of scissors and start sewing. I guess the ALFHAM conference kind of gave me the boost I needed to get out of my funk because I actually feel alive for the first time in a few months and look at me I actually completed a garment! In five days! This must be a record for me in terms of speed. Sorry for the very sad little paragraph there, but I feel like I owe my blog an explanation for why I've been neglecting it

My soundtrack for this project: Savatage's brilliant Dead Winter Dead concept album

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