Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reading List Part Four: So You Want to Learn Some Primary Source History

With bonus jokes about how the Irish are dumb!
I recently discovered that my university has a Science and Technology library, which contains all the TX books--domestic history!  Ever since I made this discovery, I've been a veritable font of trivia about housekeeping practices of the past.  Did you know that seventeenth century farmwives gave their buttermilk to the poor as charitable sustenance?  Or that it was permissible (even admirable) for a middle-class Victorian housewife to do light needlework or knitting while receiving calls of an afternoon?

The English Housewife, written (or, more accurately, loosely compiled) by a gentleman farmer named Gervase Markham, is the only book you'll ever need for your new life as a seventeenth century English farmwife.  It offers instruction on everything: how to use your knowledge of "physic" (medicine) to cure diseases like bloody flux and pleurisy, which cheeses to put by in which months, the best methods of weaving woolen or linen cloth (not for your own use, but so that you can spot a cheating tradesman), and so forth.  Markham made his name writing manuals for farmers, and at one point there were so many editions of his books circulating that his publishers made him sign a pledge never to write another book about cow diseases.  True story.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Made Underpants!

I know, I know.

Pilch knickers: in green seersucker with darts, a button placket, and some buttons from one of those dollar-a-bag button lots at my local fabric store.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Foray Into Corsetry, & Some Thoughts on Self-Sufficiency

This is my current project:

Gussets!  Cording!  Laces!  It can only be--a corset!  Sort of.  Let me explain.

Between taking the Seamless pledge, reading the entire backlog of the makeshift project (which is brilliant, and which I highly recommend checking out), and discovering other blogs with similar sensibilities like handmade mess, I've been thinking a lot lately about self-sufficiency in my wardrobe.  As my sewing skills grow, too, I'm reconsidering my knee-jerk assumptions that certain things have to be store bought.  After all, Natalie Purschwitz wore homemade shoes for a year.  Shoes.  And I'm balking at making underwear why exactly?