Y’all. I am so happy that school is back in session. With fall in progress, my homebound podlings spend the weekdays in their own virtual learning spaces and busy silence has once again descended upon our abode. I applaud the teachers everyday for their hard work, which allows me to remain focused on my own 9-to-5. My babies have already been taught how to wash their clothes and how to unload the dishwasher this summer, so I clearly have nothing left to teach them.
Too bad the world is still a dumpster fire and getting worse every hour because other people’s parents chose not to teach their offspring basic humanity.
Yes, in the midst of a pandemic (which a great number of people choose to ignore), we are still in the throws of the unending struggle to live with a modicum of decency. And, as I’ve mentioned before, our hobbies are constantly rooting out
ascots to make safe spaces for the rest of us. This past month, we’ve felt heroes pass on, justice disregarded, and the country literally burning (worse than it naturally should). Running in the tracks of that suffering, we’re continually trying to amplify the voices of creators who should never have had to fight for a piece of the infinite space that is The Internet. My IG feed is a beautiful rainbow that brings me joy on the daily, even though I’ve lost the enthusiasm for posting myself. As BlackWomenStitch calls them, the Accomplices have been doing good work on this front, and I’ve seen a marked decrease in the heartless, disgusting sentiments normally expressed in the comments sections of many creator accounts. I have to hope that the resistance to the mainstream trolls is working.
Speaking of myself…having physical events removed from my calendar has opened my eyes to possibilities that I have rarely experienced in 20 years as a hobby costumer. I now take the opportunity to follow through on research and to flesh out design ideas instead of just working it out as I go. I have the opportunity to be the good technical sewist that I used to be–basting, pressing, clipping threads. I’ve come to terms with seeing a project through to the end rather than getting it done enough before moving on to the next idea. I haven’t done much hate-sewing in six months even with hems and sleevils lurking on every WIP pile, which is huge for me.
I don’t want to go back to con-crunching. Ever. I have re-discovered my handsewing roots, and I want to stay right here, constantly improving, constantly proud, constantly learning…constantly buying beautiful fabrics…. In my mind, there is a difference between “OMG, I need an armored supersuit in five days” and “This ensemble needs a matching bag by tomorrow”, and it’s not that one is [probably] for comic con and one is for a garden stroll. I know how to bang out a sturdy costume in less than a day, basking in the endorphin rush and momentary brilliance that I get on a tight deadline. I just no longer have to. Mash-ups, my favorite kind of costuming, are all about geeky little details and Easter eggs, so when I’m rushing to finish a multi-layered project, something always gets left out. And I hate leaving blank checkboxes on my costume spreadsheets. HATE it.
So, here I sit on the bedroom floor, happily avoiding the piles of clean clothes waiting to be put away (and the younglings asking for food). Saturday mornings are reserved for basic housework before I allow myself time in the studio–clutter I can deal with, but I will not live in filth. I’m watching Noelle painstakingly appliqué teeny train tracks to her bustle gown, and I’m inspired to finally cut and fuse Zelda’s glyphs to the surcote hem so that I can move on to the white kirtle that I added to the Medieval Legend of Zelda project last month…because details. I am similarly inspired to stop tiptoeing around the couching design that I’ve been working on for Hawkgirl’s petticoat this week. The first design was a start, but didn’t reflect the extravagant simplicity of the era. I made some edits and now have a lovely repeat for the center front, but I find myself wanting to add filler embroidery and spangles and true goldwork and and and….
Meanwhile, I’ve been working camicia embroidery off and on for an Italian Renaissance gown down the road. I made the Burnley & Trowbridge cap from some organza/gauze remnants, leaving only the shift to make in their sew along series. For Talk Like A Pirate Day, I stitched up a waistcoat to take some participation pictures for the themed fun day at work. I finally made my American Duchess 1912 cape and am now having shoe FOMO because those cognac Bernadettes would be glorious paired with my navy & gold fabric. Orko is still waiting for his mask and ear repair. And I am fighting hard not to start my Georgian fairy gown for Halloween until at least one open task is completed.
Among my costume purchases this month, I did the American Duchess pre-order to finally snag a pair of cherry Londoners and picked up their adorable fantasy rainbow buckles for instant gratification. I got the new Margo Anderson kirtle pattern, because who doesn’t need multiple kirtle patterns? My flag fan from DSA Threads came in and is waiting for assembly. I nabbed my first Dandy Wellington pin, which I plan to wear the next time I’m required to put on outside clothes. Hawkgirl now has her gown materials–green velveteen and a couple bolts of trim. I’m going to have to clear another shelf for the half dozen costuming books I ordered in the last two weeks, while I stare at the Modern Maker digital books in my shopping cart. Luckily I have a few days to prepare before the rest of the pile arrives.
Rounding out a crazy busy amount of time since the last update, Foundations Revealed launched the new website (House Cassimere rules) and are releasing a free class on sleeves, which everyone should watch. I filmed another intro for my Youtube channel that I have no intention of uploading. Last weekend, I attended two Costume On classes by LaToya Tooles covering Anti-Racism and Textured Hair in historical costuming. The workshops were fantastic and I am continually impressed by the way showrunners are embracing online formats to bring us all together and to support presenters. Next weekend is TudorCon, so I look forward to more historical geekery in this isolation adventure.
In a completely random closing statement for this post, I discovered a new spot to take photos in my backyard. The morning light is lovely and this side of the property has a different color ivy than my normal spot. Being at home full-time is weird and hard and inconvenient for what used to be normal, but it has also allowed me to rediscover our home. I have been acknowledging the clutter and while being thankful for the space. Please use whatever time available to you to take an honest look at your pre-plague life and find what makes you truly happy in this short-term version. We will not be here forever, but we will be responsible for our actions and the way we treat those in our circles, no matter the physical distance.
2 thoughts on “What Have We Learned, Children?”
Life in times of plague – and retirement – have made for an interesting set of days. One spills into the next, and the to-do list gets ignored. Sounds like you have found a bit of peace in the chaos; it’s good your children are becoming adults and self-reliant, and being able to take off the pressure of production for the leisure of detail. Lovely writing.
You ARE that amazing. Identified with raising self-sufficient humans, getting real with clutter, and rediscovering handsewing. I love your work.