As I have mentioned, I design book covers. For the next few weeks I'll be focused on putting together covers for a series of romance books. These aren't your typical trash books with sultry images on the cover—bodice rippers, those are called. These are more wholesome and will only have an image of the main character, fully clothed, and a background general enough to let you know where the stories take place.
Easy enough except that four of these books are historical, and the costumes have to be reasonably accurate. I wandered through a costume warehouse today with my teammate, the other designer working on this project, and we found a few suitable dresses, although it was tough going. This warehouse rents costumes to theaters, so all of their dresses relate to specific shows—Oklahoma, South Pacific, and Greek tragedies that require togas. We have a lot of fun in this shop and like to imagine wearing the dozens and dozens of hats and wigs with the hundreds of dresses and old uniforms from WW1, but we don't always find what we need.
I did not find a dress from the 1650s today because there isn't a play from that time period, or so I'm told. So, I am going to make one myself. We do what we have to do. It will take the weekend, I'm sure. This is the pattern I will use, and I will have to make some slight modifications to make it as historically accurate as I can. Sigh.
My mother sewed most of our clothes when my sisters and I were growing up. I was twelve when my parents bought a dress for me from a store, actually already sewn and on a hangar. I was amazed and felt a little guilty because it cost a total of $24.95. It was a dark blue jumper with a coordinating striped blouse, and I thought I was the coolest kid in town in that thing.
My machine isn't too different from my mothers, but it's worlds apart from my grandmothers, the Wilma Flintstone version of a sewing machine with the big foot pedal that kept the thing running. I don't know how sewing was done in the 1600s, if they had a machine or made all the stitches by hand. All I can say is I'm glad I've got a modern machine in a modern world. I'll show you the results when I'm finished.