Introducing: Mari

Hello, I’m Mari.  My introduction to both historical and geeky costuming came when I begged my mother for a Felicity costume one Halloween.  I watched in awe as she cobbled together several patterns and pulled the sleeve idea from a book on designing a wedding gown, and within days had made a dress that at least looked like the Felicity gowns in the books.  (Though the week later, wearing a single layer dress made out of dress lining material trick or treating when there was snow on the ground proved to be a less than wise idea.)

I learned how to sew from her, as well as how to look at patterns and begin modifying them, how to adapt a style to fit me, and why you always made a muslin (or cheap cotton) to try out a pattern before you cut into the good stuff.

Fast forward a bit more, to college where several of us had the brilliant idea that since so many of us were members of both the Harry Potter club and Medieval Society, we should simply share a costuming sub-club and alternate what type of outfit we were going to make.  And thus the inspired madness of the original Room of Requirement was born.

From basing wizarding robes off of gored kirtle construction to learning (and then painfully unlearning) the secrets of grommets, to drives out to Joanns and days spent thrift diving for useful fabrics, from reading through reams of SCA research on front-laced gowns and how houppelandes might have been constructed to hours spent freeze-framing and searching through image stills to figure out a fantasy costume’s design, we played and I learned.

Over eight years out of college now, most of my recent sewing escapades have been relatively modern construction: skirts, blouses, dresses that I can wear to work and around town.  Not to mention the fact that I’ve always been a bit of a multi-crafter and my knitting and some recent adventures into free embroidery keep distracting me from sewing projects.  But being a bit more settled means the historical stuff is back on the agenda: there’s a ton of 14th century stuff I’ve been meaning to try out again with better fabrics and more of a clue of what I’m doing.

What you’ll get from me: a mixed bag of posts.  Some research gathering and linkspams, probably, along with analysis of fantasy/pseudo historical cosplay and how they could be tweaked and played with to create more accurate historical gowns.  If something sets me off, possibly looking at art and body types throughout the years and how the changing beauty standards and preferred body changed what we dressed in.  I’ll also probably talk about how to play with patterns and colors to make styles work with you, as I seem to recall doing that a lot back with the original RoR. And of course, since they are some of my other loves, I might talk a bit about knitwork and embroidery, both period and not.

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