Friday, August 19, 2011

the war on bad history...

... that's what I think I will call it for now.  I figured I should first give everyone an update (for those of you that are following or care).  As you might have read previously, a packet of information was distributed to each concessionaire in Columbia State Park.  There were several glaring errors in the documentation of dates.  Now that I've had time to simmer down and think more clearly on the situation, I have some observations. 

1. It's a step in the right direction for the war I've started waging rather slowly, even if the information is currently being distributed with incorrect dates and geographical preferences.  At least the issue is being noted: the clothing is not only boring and unflattering, but also wrong by and large.  Women did not all wear the same dress.  The did not wear jeans or other pants under their dresses and they did not wear modern shoes.  This needs to be noted, changed, and enforced.
2. Hair is troublesome.  The packet largely focused on hair styles and bonnets, this is something that is lacking in the park.  I'm guilty of it as well.  Obviously there needs to be a reasonable attempt at both historical accuracy and functionality.  Modern hairstyles (most notably the short styles worn by a large percentage of women over the age of about 45 are not conducive to the styles of the mid-19th century).  I'm going to personally make a serious attempt to improve what I do with my hair.
3. Feet are ugly.  I tried to wear a pair of slip on ballet flats with a slight heel/wedge as a replacement for my other pair of flats that died and my tennis shoes.  The bottoms of my feet were so bruised mid way through the week that I went back to tennis shoes just to be able to get through an 8 hour shift.  Shoes need to be addressed or hemlines lowered significantly to try to disguise modern footwear if it is absolutely necessary for functionality, safety, or heath reasons that it be worn.

My own clothing business appears to be booming!  My boss has employed me to not only make her and her partner new outfits, but a dress for a coworker and a dress for our new employee.  This is fantastic news for me and word is spreading through town.  Not to mention, when I went to purchase fabric for the new employee's dress, a former concessionaire had already observed via her husband what I was doing and supported it.  I've stopped my personal war again the mumus that Pam makes and have refocused my attack on ill fitting clothing worn by the workers in Columbia.  Mumus are not period, but the dress they are based on is (even if I don't agree with the interpretation of the period).

My co-worker's new outfit is coming along very nicely.  It's a lovely blue print purchased from Timeless Calico in Sonora and based on the dress below.  Since it's for a more voluptuous woman, I'm making some slight changes to enhance the seam lines and create a more slender and longer profile.
1850 Dress from a google search that lead me to Defunct Fashion
My new outfit is coming along nicely.  I've been trimming the jacket and hope to finish that tomorrow.  After that's done, I just have to hem the skirt and make a nice little shirt to wear with it and I'm set.

And now, I'm going back to my bottle of Heavyweight Purple to enjoy the rest of my evening.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I work in Columbia State Park in California at the Mercantile (all visitors are welcome to stop by and say hi if you're in the area). I've been on a crusade to change the bad history that is worn by the women of that town. The state has now decided to step in and "educate" us all about what is appropriate attire for a woman living and working in a GOLD RUSH town in California circa 1852 or so. They printed a lovely helpful little packet of information including this cover page scanned from an unknown source with incorrect and incomplete dates.

Please note the obviously incorrect dates for the dresses.
Moving L to R stating with Row 1 at the top: 1799, 18--, 1840, 18--
Row 2: --, --, --, 1840
Row 3: 1850, 1858, 1864, 1868
Row 4: 1892, 1897, 1881, 1882

What the hell!?! When did the Regency period become 1840? Glad to see that the liaison for the state park has picked up a history book once in a while or ever bothered to look at paintings/photographs/fashion plates from the period before they distribute this crap. The packet's main source of information comes from the book "English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century" by C. Willett Cunnington and another book called "Everyday Dress 1650-1900" by Elizabeth Ewing. There are no citations for any of the info and none of the images are primary sources at all, but rather sketches of originals. Apparently this is what the state of California calls history.

Needless to say on my day off I will be scanning correct images and printing my own packet to redistribute at work by request of my boss. She decided to go by my authority on the subject rather than the state. Just comical if you ask me.

In other news, my 1850s basque jacket is coming along nicely. It's a purple striped cotton with satin ribbon trim. The skirt is a chocolate brown corduroy.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Knee deep in it

Whew!  It's been a heck of a month for me.  Let me recap before I get down to business...

Charlie my puppy was diagnosed with pancreatitus.  $800 later he's on a very restricted diet and I'm on the war path to take down a couple of very high class puppy mills here in Tuolumne County.  Learned a lot in the process.  Would like to especially thank Jeannine Dietz in Oregon who owns Charlie's great grand sire as well as Kim Townsend at  Seriously wonderful people that I hope to stay in contact with.

Work is going well.  The pink and poofy has made quite a sensation and I'm working on a few new projects as well.  Appear to have irritated a few people with my work, but I suppose that was bound to happen.

The house renovation is still happening.  I'm skipping the bathroom for the time being and have moved on to painting the hallway and living room.  Will also be doing the floors in the kitchen and new carpet this year hopefully.  It's amazing what a difference applying sealant to the windows makes too.

Found a great article that I think is of extreme importance: Is It Really Important?  I think about 99.999% of the people working in Columbia with me (including myself) could benefit from reading this article and seriously taking it into consideration.

So, the new project that I'm knee deep in...a basque bodice based very closely off of the blue silk one at
Mine is purple striped fabric and will have purple striped trim too most likely.  I'm planning to do a double flounced skirt in chocolate colored courduroy after this next paycheck.  This way I can make other jackets to go with it or tie up the skirt and make a pair of bloomers and have a Turkish Outfit also.  Will also be looking for new shoes too.