Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Serendipity Strikes

So I've been debating about whether I was going to try the Historical Sew Fortnightly this year, especially since its one project a month, rather than two.  But it's already almost halfway through January, so I needed to make a decision soon.

But I also wanted to pursue the Tang Dynasty project and the January HSF challenge was foundations. I am still waiting for 5000 Years of Asian Costume to arrive, so I googled "Tang Dynasty Undergarments" on a lark.

And I found the most amazing blog: Dressed Up Dreams.  It is alas, mostly dormant now, but was a wealth of research on Tang Dynasty costumes.  (The blogger seems to be from Singapore and fluent in Chinese and English, and used sources from the original Chinese, which is absolutely invaluable, since my Chinese is verbal only and limited to simple phrases like: "thank you" and "no more thank you, I'm full")

In a nutshell, this lovely blogger has done all the research I need to not only get started on the Tang project,but also start work on the first HSF challenge!  The strapless part of a Tang noble lady's ensemble is called a Hezi and it was first worn by Imperial Consort Yang, when she used a piece of embroidered cloth to cover scratches her lover had made.  Other court ladies adopted the look and by the later part of the Tang Dynasty, the hezi was a standard garment.  Don't you love trend setters!

(pictures are from Dressed Up Dreams research.  The link to the original article in Chinese did not appear to be working.  I am unable to provide more accurate  attribution to the original source, but will be happy to do so if someone can direct me to it)

Now I just need to work on drafting a pattern based on Dressed's research, getting it to fit *wince* and then deciding what fabric to use and making the Hezi,

Much more to come in the coming days, but I am delighted to have "completed" my research for the project in one fell swoop.  I am off to bed to have Chinese brocade dreams.!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New Year's Inspirations

I know this blog has been dark for 6 months, but I am happy to say I think I am inspired again!  I am still bothered a bit by the tendinitis, but am feeling the urge to play with fabrics once more.

I have been reading Guy Gavriel Kay's River of Stars and am thinking about (pseudo) historical Asian costuming again.  A couple of years ago, I spent time playing with Heian era Japanese clothing, (precursors of what we think of as kimono today)..  This time I think I'll be playing in China. I've had a Tang dynasty outfit in the back of my head since the first time I watched Curse of the Golden Flower. Better still, I still have much of the silk brocade that came home from our 2011 trip to Taipei in my stash.

I am anxiously awaiting a copy of 5000 Years of Chinese Costume that I bought from Amazon with a gift card I got for Christmas in hopes that it will help me understand the whole strapless undergown thing, whose construction details elude me despite repeated watching of CotGL and pouring over pictures of the costumes in an exhibit.  

As to Western costuming, my Christmas present to myself was a Victorian and an Titanic era corset during Redthreaded's pre-order for her plus sized  historical corset line.  Since I failed in making myself a corset despite two separate classes in 2014,  I am hoping that this will get me over my roadblock and onto some late Victorian/1910s costuming this year.  (and there is still the 1860s-esque ball gown for the King and I cosplay that Jay and I have been talking about for Dragon-Con one year...  who knows, maybe this is the year!)  I have heard nothing but good things about Redthreaded's work and am excitedly waiting for my package to arrive.

I also bought Jay an 1830s frock coat and pants from RecontructingHistory's closet sale.  Both pieces will take a little alteration to fit him, but the measurements were close enough that it seemed a serendipitous addition to his costume closet. Neither of us have much interest in the 1830s specific (it's actually a period of women's clothing that I especially dislike) but I am hoping that it can pass as late regency, which is an era we have some vague interest in.  (and will require yet another style of corset for me..  )

And so, gentle readers, the light in the sewing room has been turned on again and I am hoping 2015 will be a creative and productive year for me.  Watch this space!