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Re: Reproduction Clothing

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  • robansuefarm
    I m glad to get a discussion going and I hope other people will chime in. Again, historic clothing isn t my main focus of interest (that would be foodways),
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 28, 2006
      I'm glad to get a discussion going and I hope other people will chime
      in. Again, historic clothing isn't my main focus of interest (that
      would be foodways), but one that you have to deal with for living
      history. I hope we are all here to learn and I would be truly
      interested in knowing what any of the stand alone school museums or
      anyone else actually have for a clothing policy or system they have
      set up to deal with clothing.

      I agree with Mark that to be historically accurate does require
      accurate undergarments. Also, people who aren't willing to bypass
      vanity for one thing, might not be the best to trust on getting other
      things right. The people on Frontier House make an excellent example
      of how one refusal to do things right, led to another, and another. A
      good way to show how bad small things can be is to pull out old re-
      enactor photos from the 1970s-1980s. I have one that I never noticed
      the glasses when I took, but they sure tell you what decade they were
      taken in now. However, if you are dealing with a small pool of
      possible volunteers and you get one who knows schools and can present
      well and is available when you need, it might not be worth throwing
      out the baby with the bathwater in a local political scene. Maybe a
      compromise would be not to try to wear historic garmets and have some
      sort of uniformish standard instead or to clearly label people as
      costumed guides, one of my first volunteer positions had costumed
      guides and then moved to uniform in later years. Are any schools
      doing something like that?

      There are various 20th century cultural reasons why some women refuse
      to wear corsets. Also, there is the cost to consider, if people are
      going to be providing their own clothing, are you only going to take
      on people who can afford the highest class garments, historical eye-
      glasses, true period shoes etc., you might not be having anyone at
      all. I still hold that it might be necessary to compromise somewhat,
      although to be accurate as budget allows is a goal and its been my
      experience that living history is a slippery slope and the deeper you
      get into it the more accurate you want to be and many (though
      certainly not all) volunteers and staff find this to be so and may
      help you move towards more quality later on, rather than trying to
      enforce everything yourself. Of course if you are a boss with paid
      staff this shouldn't be as much of an issue. This might be an East
      Coast/Midwest thing also. On another listserv I recently had someone
      actually think it was laughable that I said Highway 60 in southern
      Missouri was a busy road. Of course, she's from urban England, so her
      field of comparisson was totally different than mine (I was comparing
      it to rural backroads of SW Minnesota my other frequent Laura Ingalls
      Wilder destination). I could definitely see how someone on the East
      coast with higher incomes and denser population would have an easier
      time finding volunteers committed to that extent. Again though most
      of my experience has been with town type sites, stand alone schools
      might be different.

      Mark's point about the accuracy of photos from daily life (even
      dressed in your best daily life) as opposed to the ideal of magazines
      and catalogs is a good one. I would certainly do your best to find
      such photos to add to your collection. However, even good photos
      blown up to a large size can be hard to see clothing details. Class
      photos often have the teacher in the back and most of the clothing
      blocked. I suggested magazines and catalogs because they tend to be
      line drawings which show exact details more clearly in my experience
      when you are trying to copy them. I think the main thing is start
      looking and see what you can find. Start a scrapbook, but don't plan
      on finishing it. ;-)

      Again, as Mark says I'd say the lower levels of costuming are to be
      avoided, but I was describing the situation as I've seen it. It's
      important to know what's out there to understand other sites ideas
      and levels to understand the advice they might give and what people
      are used to seeing in your area which both visitors and volunteers
      might ask about. I hope nobody misunderstood my list of levels to say
      I advocated lower levels if you have any choice at all, I'm just
      saying they are out there.

      The sports bra suggestion came from a session at the ALHFAM
      conference in Williamsburg a few years ago and was put on by members
      of the clothing PIG. It was a very interesting session on getting
      things as right as possible on small sites in the face of small
      budgets and volunteer/staff resistence. Perhaps I took it too far out
      of context, but I was trying to keep my message a readable length. I
      certainly encourage everyone to go to a living history conference if
      they ever get a chance. They are in the links section under support
      organizations, but the links are http://www.alhfam.org and

      I also want to clarfiy that I didn't mean you couldn't do some things
      in period clothes. They were worn by people who worked a lot harder
      than most of us and most proper and appropriate period clothing
      doesn't mean that you have to stand like a china doll, but it does
      effect how you move, how you stand, your patterns of movement, etc. A
      common example is the scene in Huck Finn when disguised as a girl, he
      pushes his knees together to catch something in his lap, like someone
      used to wearing pants, rather than spread his skirts to create a bag
      to catch it. One of the reasons to wear good period garments is to
      get you out of the 21st century habits of movement and thought
      patterns, to get closer to what it was like.

      I thought I was being clear in my last post and I did read it through
      before I sent it, but I hope this will clarify understandings. Again,
      I hope other people chime in with what they already doing to see
      what's out there, because I think we can agree on the goal. Please
      post if you don't.

      Sarah S. Uthoff
    • Robert Goodman
      There is another Iowa reenactor and seamstress, who does excellent work for a nationwide clientelle. She gives attention to detail, authenticity, and fit, and
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 21, 2006
        There is another Iowa reenactor and seamstress, who does excellent work for a nationwide clientelle.  She gives attention to detail, authenticity, and fit, and has sewn for a variety of time periods, although her main focus is the 1860's.  I have contacted her about our group's search for period clothing for a variety of periods for school marms and masters, and she is quite willing to be available.  I have included both her web address and e-mail contact information. 



        Judy Goodman

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