My darling boyfriend Greg is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), which as far as I can tell is a bunch of ponces running around in pseudo Renaissance clothing pretending that they're actually re-enacting something. Nerds to the Nth degree. (Though I have absolutely no doubts that any one of the weapons-nerds could kill me.) The SCA is not to be confused with Renaissance faires (apparently). They tend to look down on each other for various reasons, nevermind that a lot of Ren folk are SCA members, and vice versa. (I don't try to get it. I just roll my eyes and shake my head.)
Anyway, I agreed to attend an SCA event this October, and since all my faire garb is long gone (I used to attend faires quite frequently before I moved to California), I had to acquire new pieces. Since Kimmy's father just sent out her sewing machine, and JoAnn's sent me a 60% off coupon, I decided to make my own clothes. Renaissance clothing for women essentially comes in 2 to 3 pieces: the chemise (basically a long under-dress), a bodice with attached skirt, or a bodice and skirt as separate pieces, which is what I decided to do because it was just easier. Also easier than making all 3 pieces myself was buying the bodice and skirt online. I am, however, making the chemise myself, and it's looking splendid!
Another event that is coming up this weekend is Northville's Victorian Festival. I wish I could do what Greg is doing and wear the same clothing I wore for World Steam Expo only without the steampunk, but women's clothing just doesn't work that way. I also didn't have enough time to make my own clothes with my hands already full with the chemise. So shopping was in order!
First, Greg, Kimmy, and I checked out the Victorian clothing sale the Mill Race Village in Northville was having in order to prepare for the festival. I got a bunch of ideas, but no pieces of clothing. The things I wanted were just too expensive or did not fit me. Kimmy was in the same boat.
So a few days later, Greg and I went to the Salvation Army store here in Ann Arbor where, after much hunting and deliberating, I managed to come up with two mostly Victorian-looking blouses for Kimmy and me. We already owned skirts and figured our shoes would just have to do. Prior to that, Greg and I had also stopped by the World Market where I picked up a paper Japanese-style parasol which substitutes the fancy, lacy European parasols that I can't afford nor have time to create myself. (This site has an excellent tutorial!)
My hair is not long enough to be considered exactly period, and I do not have an appropriate hat, but I think with enough pins holding it back I can fake it. (Just ignore the part that's dyed purple. But it'll match the paper parasol!)
This is all about having fun, anyway, damn the purists! Between impending SCA events and interesting little jaunts to historical festivals (not to mention all the Jane Austen films I've been watching), I have been learning quite a bit about the evolution of fashion in Europe, which has kept me highly entertained over the last few weeks. I feel like I should revisit my fantasy stories and re-tool the clothing. Eh bien! Some other time. Right now, I have some costumes to finish!