Last month I was pleasantly surprised by being awarded the prestigious Duchie Award for ”Excellence in historical costuming and bloggery” by fellow Albrecht’s Bössor-member Sarah a.k.a. A most Peculiar Mademoiselle. My sincere thanks and appreciation to you, it’s an honour to be mentioned alongside gifted costuming-gurus such as Neulakko and Ida!
Now, as a receiver of the award I’m obliged to tell you five things that I love about historical costuming, which shouldn’t be too difficult at all considering my zest for the craft. First of all, historical clothing regardless of age makes it possible to connect with past generations at quite an intimate level, as clothes could be regarded as one’s closest possessions. As a student as well as teacher of history I appreciate the fact that clothes and fashion reveal so much about the time and society in which they were created.
Historical clothing is the cornerstone of all reenactment and living history and it is simply impossible to pursue those activities without dressing the part. By all means this is not in any way a sacrifice since period fashion tends to look better than most of the mass-produced and ill-fitting apparel being sold today, not to mention that they will last longer.
A properly reconstructed historical garb will not only allow you to dress and look like your forebears, but also feel what they felt including everything from smooth linen to coarse itchy wool.
This is of course lead us in to the materials being used, which almost without exception consist of natural materials like linen, wool, leather, silk, and so on. There simply is a sense of genuineness associated with Nature’s own fibers and I love working with them.
Speaking of working I’ve also always been fond of sewing by hand, a relaxing activity that often works like a kind of meditation. When sewing stitch after stitch by hand, time itself often seems to slow down and dissolve. It is also a satisfying thought knowing that you are passing on handicraft skills that are sometimes millennia old, making you a preserver and transmitter of tradition.
Then I am supposed to give the award to three other historical costuming-bloggers, which I am happy to do. There are undoubtedly a plethora of skilled ”colleagues” of mine out there who are at least as passionate about historical clothing, but the following bloggers have still not received the award as far as I know:
Kurage: Fellow Albrechtian Anders is a bloke skilled in many crafts, not least when it comes to costuming and documenting it. His 18th century stuff is equally as impeccable and inspiring as his 14th century work.
Mat, sömnad och tusen andra saker or ”Food, sewing, and a thousand other things” is a Swedish-language blog run by a friend of mine particularly hooked on the 18th and early 19th centuries. Although her historical garb is excellent one should also not fail to notice her period cooking adventures!
Frejs knivmakeri och annat konsthantverk: Although mainly dedicated to knifemaking and other ”hard” crafts, Frej has also proved to be a skilled tailor. I especially appreciate his fearless approach in trying on less common and less known garments such as the iron age trousers from Dätgen or tricolored cotehardie. This guy sure know how to dig out exciting stuff from the hidden depths of the period wardrobe!
Please have a look at the bloggers listed above, if you don’t know Swedish you might want to let Google translate them for you (although the photos featured there speak for themselves)