It’s been one of those weeks, hasn’t it? Up and down, emotionally, as we all prepare for change. Whig or Tory, these are turbulent times.
I’ve been surprised by recent fabric arrivals in the mail, disappointed when I waited a day too long to register for a dance, and now I’m at loose ends. What comes next?
Last weekend I cut out a black wool Spencer to line in lettuce green silk because why not? And teeny tiny backstitches later, I have one sleeve finished. Focus is hard to come by of late.
I meant to join the Historical Sew Monthly to give my sewing life some structure, and I still can, though I cannot seem to settle down. Clearly, I have Firsts & Lasts that could be made (not always in the time remaining, mind you, so I would have to choose wisely).Re-Make, Re-Use, Re-Fashion? Probably much there as well– at least if one counts the quilted petticoat worn at Princeton, which was remade and altered from its original form.
July: Fashion Plate, could become the shawl gown I’ve dreamt of for years, since, as you can see above, I’ve found one that might work, lured by a fair price on a sizable piece of wool– but wherever shall I wear it? Why can I not get past utility? The Dreamstress’ Kashmiri shawl gown and her research are there to emulate, and explain.
Oh, I have projects and events to research and plan, housework to complete, and plans to execute. But they all seem abstract and unreal at the moment when we hang on the pivot point between the future and the past. It’s been a strange year in many ways and places, and constructive projects help focus.
Long ago, in the first turbulent times I was old enough to understand, I lived in St. Louis. Then, as now, I think the Art Museum’s motto holds, and reminds those of us who work in or appreciate sometimes frivolous-seeming fields and hobbies that all our actions have meaning. I’ve thought for a long time about the utility of sewing historic clothing, cataloging objects, and running around recreating the past.
Getting outside one’s own experience is incredibly hard; it’s hard to have an open heart, and to encourage openness to others. But that’s one of the most important roles museums and libraries play: we help people develop imagination and empathy. I know it’s part of why I do the work I do. I like to think that ultimately, helping illuminate the complexity of the past will help us all understand the present and make a better future.