Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Am I Crazy? Probably

Today, Facebook informs me, is National Reenactor Public Dress Up Day. Meaning that, apparently, reenactors across this great nation are wearing their kit/garb/costumes out in public today. Since I live where I work, I thought it would be no hardship to wear my dress, and so have donned my new wool dress for this evening's round of work.

My reenacting hobby is something I have not talked much about with people who aren't actually in the hobby. Throughout high school and college, very few people actually knew that I was a living historian. Roommates usually found out, and I told a select few friends who could be trusted not to laugh. Living history is not a popular hobby around these parts - not like down south, where everyone at least knows someone who does that, or out east where there are a lot of battlefields. It wasn't that I was ashamed of it - more that I was uncomfortable. I didn't think anyone would understand.

But, I am no longer a child, and have put off childish things. It is remarkable how, the more I accept it myself, the more others accept it as well, and the more I enjoy it.

So, to that end, I am wearing my dress in plain view of several dozen teenage girls, most of whom are foreign and some of whom have a tenuous grasp on the English language. It's just one more step in me accepting my geek-dom and being proud of what I do.

It's only been half an hour I've already been called crazy.

Oh well. Can't say I didn't try.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring has sprung!

Good evening to all! I should say good morning. It seems like I only get a productive urge in the early morning hours. My sewing projects usually get completed during the wee hours, while I swill Diet Cokes and listen to cheerful music on my mp3 player. Ah well, in this world there are morning people and there are night owls. I know for sure I'm not a morning person.

Anyway, after the victory known as the governess dress, I've been taking a bit of a break from sewing. By "a bit of a break", I mean a month. There was more involved in my sewing projects than just that dress; I also finished a new set of underpinnings. I obviously don't have pictures of that, but they are made from a lightweight cotton broadcloth. I am never going back to cheap muslin undergarments - the new ones are SO COMFORTABLE. I also sewed a new headdress to go with my ballgown:
It is made of silk bias strips, the same silk used to trim the dress, folded in loops, with loops and tufts of lace (antique, a family heirloom from my grandmother, she inherited it from my grandfather's family, who used to own a dry goods store) with a big bow at the back. It was my first attempt at millinery from a period pattern and I am proud of how it turned out.

However, it was a GIANT HEADACHE and actually caused tears. My sewing projects generally involve some meltdowns and angst. This headdress involved a trip to the grocery store for peanut butter M&Ms to quell the rage. My other thought was to run the whole thing over with my car several times...I'm very glad I decided on the peanut butter M&Ms instead.

This was worn to my reenacting group's annual winter ball. It was a lovely time, but somewhat of a non-event. Usually the ball is a weekend blowout of period entertainments. This year, we were all still dealing with the loss of a good friend and our most recent past president. The entire weekend had a very subdued feel. However, I enjoyed myself immensely, even more because I was able to introduce a friend to the hobby. I danced every dance I wanted (and skipped many polkas), ate well, laughed well, won several hands of whist and one round of "I Love My Love With the Letter A", a very fun word game.

Spring has sprung indeed, and with spring comes a fresh feeling, and I now feel sufficiently recovered from all the jollification and frantic sewing. I'll be starting on my new calico dress this month, hoping to have most of it done by the end of May, since I will be moving home for the summer and sewing space at home is limited.

In the meantime, I am very busy researching an event that I am organizing for next fall. Our annual "Fall Hop" will be themed as a sanitary fair. There will be auctions, a raffle of a quilt, all with a patriotic theme. The funds will ostensibly be going to soldiers' homes, widows and orphans; in actuality, it will be going to a worthy organization, The Boys of '61. They are a group of veterans, Civil War enthusiasts, and reenactors who are working towards building a memorial to the soldiers from Minnesota who fought in the Civil War. There is a lot of excitement building around this event, a lot of it from me. I'm in way over my head and I love it.

I'm afraid this post got long without really saying much. Consider it a spring cleaning post: airing out some old things, and making way for some new things. Next post, I'll write a bit about my research into sanitary fairs in the area, and my next dress!

And, in keeping with the theme of "spring cleaning", I hope you like my new layout. I've not been able to find anything that really fits exactly what I want, but this seems to fit the bill nicely!