I get asked a few of the same questions so I thought that I would answer them here in case you are curious.
Are you wearing a corset?
Yes, if I am dressed in Victorian clothing then I am indeed wearing a corset. I find them to be quite comfortable and not at all restricting. I love how wearing a corset gives me a more period correct silhouette and helps to support the weight of my many layers of clothing.
When did you start historical costuming?
I started in January of 2016, so I’m still very new to historical costuming, and to sewing in general. I taught myself to sew while making my first outift, starting with the undergarments, and hoping that by the time I got to layers other people could see that my skills would be at a passable level.
How did you learn to do this?
Trial and error, and spending a lot of time reading books (see a list of my books here) and other historical costuming blogs (a list of my top ten is here). And I’m still learning with each project, each mistake, each new book that I add to my collection, and from talking to other historical costumers.
Why historical costuming?
I have always loved watching period dramas at the movies or on television and always wanted to have an excuse to dress up in past fashions. For years I did not think that I would ever have a reason to until I discovered that historical costuming was a hobby. I thought that I would give it a go and see what happened and now I am completely hooked.
When I am historically dressed, I feel more confident in myself and I love the way the people around me become more polite and well-behaved. It’s almost as if dressing from a time thought to be all romantic and manners, it reminds people today to act more like gentlemen and ladies. It reminds me too, of what it must have been like, for women who lived before me, and how what they wore would have impacted their day-to-day lives.
Are your tickets to events paid for?
Generally, no, although that would be amazing. At the moment I pay for my own tickets to events, travel and accommodation costs. I have been sent one or two free tickets for events recently and really appreciate the generosity and the fact that it makes it a little bit easier for me to attend. Most, however, are paid for out of my own pocket and I understand that the money I pay for event tickets help support and pay for the time and hard work put in by those organising them.
Can I take your photo?
Most of the time, my answer is yes. I’m generally happy to be photographed (and if you ever want to send me a copy of the photo or post it to my Facebook page that would be lovely). However, if I’m trying to eat, for example, then I’d rather not be snapped doing so. Rarely are food consumption photos attractive and I do feel like my privacy has been invaded. Certainly, I understand that if you’re running around looking for anachronistic pictures of people on their phones or something then that’s up to you. But, I really do appreciate it if you wait until I have finished eating before taking my photo.
Can I touch you?
Quite often, people get quite curious about the fact I am wearing a corset. I have been poked before, without being asked my consent, which took me by surprise and I wasn’t all that happy about it. I understand that you are curious about what I am wearing, and how it is worn, but please understand that I still like to keep my personal space. I am happy to talk to you and answer your questions but I would rather that you don’t touch me. Linking arms for a photo is generally okay, however, as long as you ask me first so I am not taken by surprise.
What is your dream costume to make?
That’s a really hard question to answer because I have several outfits that I’d love to create and sometimes I can randomly be struck by the desire to make a costume that I haven’t thought about before. I am absolutely in love with the striped 1870s bustle dress that Tissot used in several of his paintings but I’m still on the lookout for the right fabric. I’d also love to make one or two sailor inspired dresses since I’m quite a fan of nautically inspired fashions.
Do you sew for other people?
No, not at the moment, as I feel that I am not ready for such a responsibility. If I were to sew for someone else I would like to have at least a couple more years experience and knowledge under my belt first.
What’s your favourite era?
I absolutely adore and am drawn to the 1880s bustle era, although other decades and styles take my fancy from time to time. It is easier to create another outfit when you already have the undergarments already constructed, which is why it is easier for me to produce another 1880s bustle dress than, say, an 1850s crinoline or an 1865 elliptical hoop outfit.
Do you have any other hobbies?
I enjoy baking – and am known by friends and colleagues for my cupcakes. There’s something quite therapeutic about the process involved – you follow the steps and in the end, you have created something. I guess that it’s the same for historical costuming. In the same vein, I also enjoy photography and have been known to come home from a trip away with hundreds of photos to sort through.
I also love going to the movies, spending time with my family and friends, and walking.