7 Apr 2009

NOW I'm impressed!

For a not very experienced costumer as my self, I sometimes think about how many details you actually can tend to in order to make your costume as authentic as possible. But where does it stop? When you have the right fabrics, the right patterns, the right sewing techniques, the right thread and needle and scissors an whatnot - what's the next step?

I know now, thanks to Carolyn (whose name is not Meagan... See comments. He.)!

Carolyn is reconstructing a middle-class woman's wardrobe ca 1750-70 as a part of her MA and is documenting the progress in this blog. This means extensive dress diaries galore, with details down to the tiniest stitch!

But there's more to it.

Needless to say, everything she makes is hand-stitched, but for the sake of scholarly work, the whole thing is also pushed to another, higher level...

This crafting heroine only does her sewing in natural light or candlelight. While sewing, she's wearing 18th century clothing (including stays) appropriate for a seamstress of the time, sitting on a wooden, uncushioned chair. 10-12 hours a day. Sewing day also means no bathing. Everything for authenticy's sake.


Impressive? - Are you kidding?

Inspring? - Sure (to some degree)!

Hilarious? - Absolutely!

I wonder if there are other costumers out there who strive this hard for authencity? I would love to hear about it. I suppose it makes sense, in a way, if you're truly hardcore, but it would never have imagined it (well, I once thought about trying to sew in a very dimly lit room, just to see what it was like, but my eyes protested before I even got the chance).

Carolyn has gotten much deserved attention for her work, and those of you who lives near University of Alberta can see some of her costumes on display until April 30.

Carolyn's blog
Carolyn on web TV


  1. Oh gosh! Maybe when I'm like retired and really REALLY EXTREEEEEEEEMELY bored I might go there, right now I think it's a weeeee too much - but very admireable indeed!

  2. Yeah, I love the idea but it's not gonna happen here either XD

  3. Hi, thanks so much for the great shout-out! I never pictured myself as a 'Meagan' before though, my name is Carolyn, lol.

    I'm not really a costumer either, per se. This term I was introduced to the term: experimental achaeology. You may have seen examples on the History network where objects and events from the past are recreated in order to understand them better. That's the same premise as with me. It's just that it's not been done much yet with historical clothing, and within an academic setting.

    I'm planning to continue with a PhD, which will be a branch off the same tree. I've already thought-up some "experimental archaeology" for it too, but I think I'll leave off the stays and not bathing for that, lol.

    Thanks again!


  4. Oh my god! I'm so sorry Carolyn. My only excuse is that I wrote that post just before going to bed, way to late, and the name that caught my attention was the "Meagan" in the text for the TV clip (which I couldn't watch because family was asleep. If I had, I might have gotten things right...). Goes to show that one should never blog when one really should sleep instead but I got so over excited about your work... Please forgive. I bow to your awesomeness.

  5. Hey babe!
    Just wanted to tell you that I have nominated you for the Zombie Chicken Award!
    If you want it - come and claim it! ;D

  6. I have given you yet another award! Hehe ^^; Come get it!

  7. Naughty girl, you spoil me! Thank you sweetie!

  8. What can I say... mighty impressive, but perhaps a little bit exaggerated. Doesn't matter though as long as the costumes turn out beautifully which I'm sure they do. :)

  9. That's dedication, that is! I've sewn in my stays before, but I don't think it's added any authenticity to what I'm working on - just saved me from a sore back!