Posts Tagged ‘costume history’

A blurred view

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

My bag is remarkably empty of crochet projects at the moment (I purged it of the four I had been carrying around, but evidently went too far) so now that Luna’s bag is well and truly finished I began a log cabin style table mat from the same string. If I don’t fall asleep first I’ll take and add some pictures once I finish writing this entry.

216. Women’s Costume of the Ancient World by Paul Louis de Giafferri

This book is a great idea, pulled together (so far as I could tell) from extant murals, statues, bas-reliefs and so on of a few thousand years ago. The problem for me is the ‘flowiness’ of many of the costumes. I don’t believe images of wild Bacchante tell us how women actually dressed. But this is a very impressive collection indeed.

217. London: The Panoramas by Mark Denton

Fabulous photographs of London on the larger but still human. I really enjoyed the section at the end with brief notes on each photo. Denton appears to prefer long exposures which turn movement ghostly. I especially like the Impressionist appearance of “Autumn, Tavistock Square” and “Horsechestnut, Thames Path” which both show leaves in a blaze of colour. The Tavistock Square one features several people sitting reading on park benches, so they are all in focus, not having moved particularly, but the branches overhead were evidently swaying in a wind, and float as a beautiful mass through the air.

218. Great Lives: Marie Curie by Philip Steele

A very important woman whose family devoted themselves to the greater good. The science you need to know is explained clearly, and there’s lots of context on the state of women’s education and the changing political status of the countries Curie lived in. (And yes, the ‘Great Lives’ moniker is backed up rather than argued against in this instance.)

Another day

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

I amn’t abandoning Syd Rabbit (or any of my other projects) on purpose, but I still haven’t got around to stuffing his body, and thus can’t easily move on. Which isn’t a very good excuse, really. I doubt I’ll manage to get to the knitting etc group tomorrow, either, unfortunately, as I’ll probably be in work late.

205. The Story of Costume by John Peacock

There’s not much that’s new in this book, but it’s clear and pleasant to peruse, and a very good starting place for children interested in the topic. Text is kept to a reasonable minimum, and there’s an effort to show children’s dress here and there.


Monday, 23 June 2008

I went to a really lovely wedding tonight, weaving in the last ends on the potholders I made for them just before I left home, so unfortunately I didn’t get around to taking a photo of the complete set. Sorry!

I’m very vaguely wondering did I burn off more energy dancing at the wedding then I gained from the very nice meal provided, as I need to lose some weight. I have no intention at all of obsessing about this, however, so don’t expect to hear too much about it.

173. A Fashionable History of Dresses & Skirts by Helen Reynolds
174. A Fashionable History of Coats & Trousers by Helen Reynolds
175. A Fashionable History of Underwear by Helen Reynolds
176. A Fashionable History of Jewellery & Accessories by Helen Reynolds
177. A Fashionable History of Make-Up & Body Decoration by Helen Reynolds

I mentioned the other two volumes in this series the other day, and these are similar in both structure and quality, but just as interesting in their own right. The themes of the double page spreads are well planned, and make sense together. (There is one on Skirts for Men, in the Dresses and Skirts book, and one on Trousers for Women, in the Coats and Trousers book.) There is also a bit of overlap of information, but only where it’s relevant. (Underwear and dress shape over time are closely linked together, for example.

Practically creative

Friday, 20 June 2008

I’m still plugging away at the potholders; I’m onto the fifth one, although the fourth is missing its last row, seeing as I ran out of yarn – Twilleys Sincere Organic Cotton – (and began the fifth – in another colour) on the way to the shopping centre, so I did get to buy some more. I think when I (a) have money available and (b) have depleted my stash a bit more, I’m going to get enough to make myself a shawl or other piece of clothing with it. It really does drape beautifully.

170. A Fashionable History of Hats & Hairstyles by Helen Reynolds
171. A Fashionable History of the Shoe by Helen Reynolds

I really enjoyed the Hats & Hairstyles book, so I read the Shoes one too, and it is as good; I’m just more interested in headwear. The books aim to cover (briefly) the whole of known history, and are arranged more thematically than chronologically, so there is a double page spread on wigs, and another on flat hats, or on tall hats, with examples from a wide variety of places and periods. Most of the books of costume history I’ve seen (and I’ve looked through a fair few, by now) are more strictly chronological, or very focussed, so this way was interesting. The text in both is clear, readable, and flows well, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Time to go – Good Shabbos!

Seeing things

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

We have pictures again:
Swans with cygnets
These were the royal accompaniment on my walk yesterday.
Red Carpet on the Stairs
And this is what I found on my way to work today.

I love the cotton I bought yesterday, Twilleys Organic Cotton Sincere DK, which is really soft and just pouring with drape. I just wish I’d bought it to make a shawl or something from, rather than dishcloths or coasters/table mats.

Anyway, this is the coaster from yesterday:
and this is the table mat (I have finished it at that motif by now):
Joined motifs

164. Geisha of Gion by Mineko Iwasaki with Rande Brown

I’ve read this before, and it’s a good read, explaining a specific culture known of but quite foreign to the vast majority of those of us not from Japan (and nowadays to many who are, I believe). There’s a lot of personal commentary is what is an autobiography which is largely about the setting.

165. Animals in Danger: Orang-utans by Helen Orme

Orang-Utans are beautiful, and should be better protected.

166. Francis Drake & the Armada by John Guy

The information in this book is good, but it’s very very bitty. Every paragraph has its own heading, and one does not lead into the next.

Expanding Wardrobes

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

I’ve done rows 1-9 of a second Mystery Shawl, as I have most available time for it at the moment while commuting, and the threads for the one I began on Friday (which I’ve only done the first row of) are not conducive to taking about with me. I amn’t convinced I’ve got enough of the turquoise for the pattern, or that I’d ever wear the colour, but if need be that will go to a child. I’m intending to do the thread one for myself, still. I’d hoped for some pictures for you, but haven’t been able to get them onto any computer yet.

My own wearable clothes in are still in a jumble, in bags, boxes, and even wardrobes, occasionally. I amn’t looking forward to all the ironing this move is going to entail…

149. Mrs Tinne’s Wardrobe: A Liverpool Lady’s Clothes 1900-1940 by Pauline Rushton

This is actually a fascinating book, showing much of the extensive wardrobe of the eponymous Mrs Tinne, a Liverpool doctor’s wife of the first half of the twentieth century, whose husband’s private income allowed her to buy many more outfits and accessories than most of her peers, although she seems to have largely retained her tastes to those normal in such circles. Her youngest daughter has donated most of the wardrobe to the National Museums Liverpool, and this selected catalogue of the collection is beautifully produced, with a very readable introduction to Liverpool, the Tinne family and the major clothes retailers of the period contained within it.

Catching up

Friday, 30 May 2008

I packed a couple of boxes last night, then lay down briefly before blogging… Apart from a couple of interruptions from people who (reasonably enough) assumed that my light being on at 10:30pm meant I was awake, I basically slept through until 3.30am. So anyway, it’s 7am, and I’ll just mention a couple of craft books I read yesterday.

141. Kitschy Crafts: A Celebration of Overlooked 20th-Century Crafts by Jo Packham and Matt Shay

The kitsch is played up, with lots of background imagery from adverts of the 1950s and beyond, but several interesting crafts are described, and some have instructions and/or patterns included. I surmise one or both of the authors is a crocheter, as there are pages and pages of crochet patterns, where most of the crafts only get one or two.

142. A Closet Full of Shoes: Simple Ways to Make Them Chic by Jo Packham and Sara Tolliver

There are some great ideas here, and some amazing footwear, but I’m afraid I’m a bit too conservative with my footwear to try any but the very subtlest of embellishments. Full patterns are given for making baby shoes from scratch, as well as for decorating bought shoes for all ages, and anyone could have fun with shoes for the very young.


Tuesday, 13 May 2008

I thought I’d read another book last week, and tonight I found where I’d noted down the details.

117. Shoes and Slippers from Snowshill by Althea Mackenzie

Despite forgetting about it over the following days, I did actually enjoy it. It’s reasonably short, and does exactly what it says on the cover. This is one of a series of pretty volumes, each focussing on a different aspect of the Snowshill collection. I haven’t read the others yet, but this one is most informative, with clear well-annotated photos of a good selection of shoes from the 18th Century.

120. Wildlife Monographs: Cheetahs by Dr Tracey Rich and Andy Rouse

This is my first in another attractive series I’m looking forward to delving into further. The photographs really are the main point, and are stunning. The text gives a very good introduction to cheetahs, but is a little repetitive, especially if you read the captions too! I don’t much like anthropomorphising (wild) animals, but there’s one full page shot of a mother cheetah licking the face of a fairly young cub, who has exactly the same style of frustrated scrunched up look of any child whose mother insists on wiping his/her face for them in public!

It is a shame that the cover fell off the book just as I finished reading it, as I can see this small tome being very useful to other readers, presuming my rough repair works.

121. People on the Move: Economic Migrants by Dave Dalton

Yet another series, and if the rest of it are this good I’ll be very pleased. Economic migration as defined here mostly covers people seeking to improve the lifestyle of themselves (by moving to a more prosperous environment) and/or their families (by bringing them along or sending money home), but also those driven off the land from Famine and the like, as well as those brought along forcibly as slaves.


Sunday, 11 May 2008

The computer’s been playing up, still, and I’ve had hundreds of things on (some good ones, but they still throw my priority list out of the window) and basically I must just apologise, both for the horrendous delay in writing, and for how harsh I might have been in a previous post.

I’m mostly keeping up with the Braille lessons, and I had a great walk on Monday, during which I took lots of photos I’ve been trying to get up for you, but that’ll have to wait, but I’ve finished just three (I thought it was four, but have only noted down three) books, done hardly any crocheting, and no laundry. (No, thinking about it, there was one load; that’s okay then.) I did buy a little more yarn, but there’ll be more on that when I can put up more pictures and/or when I use it. I’m sorry there’s so little to say on the crochet, but even had I been doing more, the two blankets I’m working on aren’t really going to be very interesting again until I finish them, I think…

114. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

This book is very well written and put together, and I can see why many have it as a lifetime favourite. Cassandra, the narrator, tells both the bad and the good of the dramatic changes in her family and its circumstances over several months, and while she doesn’t consciously foretell disaster, her “conscious naivete” does foreshadow problems, for the reader.

There are many levels of tension Cassandra is or becomes aware of (for example of class, finances, religious belief, love and attraction), but she obviously doesn’t know about the coming war. The book is set in the 1930s, but was first published in 1948/9, so the reader would always have known that Thomas and Steven are most likely destined for the army, and in fact, it might end up being a time of opportunity for Cassandra herself.

115. Everyday Dress of Rural America, 1783-1800 with instructions and patterns by Merideth Wright. Illustrated by Nancy Rexford

This will be of especial interest to those of you who are Diana Gabaldon fans, as it covers the period specifically that her books are getting to, and helps my imagination better see what the characters are likely to be wearing. This book is based on research done in and about Vermont, rather than North Carolina, but the basics will be very similar. The descriptions are clear and informative, as are the illustrations, and each chapter includes a basic pattern and discussion of materials especially for those hoping to recreate the clothing.

116. Recycled Crafts Box by Laura C. Martin

Lots of fun both to read and look through, and, I am sure, to follow and be inspired for. Plenty of information on recycling there too.

Slow and steady

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Day 12 of the Omer

I’ve done some more on my granny square lap blanket, lesson 3 of the Braille Primer, and read another book at work. I could take and upload a picture of the first two, but it wouldn’t look particularly different from the latest photos you’ve seen already, so I’ll save on the memory. I’m feeling quite good about the braille letters now, although I can’t read words without working out each letter yet. I’ll get there. In tomorrow’s lesson I start on word contractions (abbreviations), so that’ll be more to remember.

I did go and vote this evening, as I felt I must, considering all the struggles major and minor for emancipation (including a few relatively very small ones of my own for my right to vote this time), even though I literally hadn’t decided who I would vote for by the time I was at the booth with ballot papers and pen in hand. I amn’t going to tell you who I did vote for, and to be honest were I to do it again I amn’t sure it’d come out exactly the same, but that’s the way these things go.

There’s been so much focus on the top two or three candidates for London Mayor that I’ve heard practically nothing at all about the candidates or parties standing for the London Assembly, and so the vote there had to be on party politics, which I don’t always think local elections automatically should be. But it’s done now, and all we can do is await the results.

110. Men’s Fashion Illustrations from the Turn of the Century ed. by Jean L. Druesedow

This book is similar to the one yesterday, with its introduction to the changing styles of fashionable dress during the covered period (here 1900-1910) for its subsection of the population. Whereas the plates in yesterday’s book were originally published in periodicals aimed directly at wealthier women, with children’s fashions shown alongside similar images of clothing for themselves, these plates appeared in supplements to the trade journal of gentlemen’s tailors, for the tailor to show his modish clients, rather than for the fashionable lady to show her dressmaker.

While fashions for gentlemen changed just as often as those for ladies, these modifications were much more subtle, and indeed many of the items would be just about wearable today, given the right setting. Putting aside the golfing plus-fours and sailing outfits, the only strikingly different aspect of the suits and overcoats was the fact that several (although not all, by any means) had very defined waist shaping, which I don’t believe is seen in men’s clothing today. Nothing that would be unusual in tailoring for women, but eye-catching on men, to my not-particularly-fashion-aware modern eyes.