I just had my costume fitting for Nixon in China. Verdict: I look darn-tootin’ adorable in a Mao suit. The dude in the van who tried to kill me on my bike afterwards is clearly jealous.
In the meantime not having my wallet means I don’t have my swipecard to get into the practice rooms, so I can’t practice. Sad panda. So all that creative energy has gone into the 18th Century garters to hold up the stockings of which I posted earlier. Well, most of the creative energy. The rest of it is slowly losing the will to live as the Snatchy Poltergeist continues to snatch my stuff, and randoms continue to badger me in the street, brazenly ignoring my maximum-strength FOF (F*** Off Face). One garter is now done. Nothing is more indicative of the creatively-frustrated soprano than the sudden ability to embroider at speed. Except perhaps the ability to fry the brains of paintball spruikers with my fiery fiery laser-glare.
Enough wallowing. One of the best things about being an amateur seamstress is I get to decide exactly how historically accurate/inaccurate I’m going to be. When you work in an industry where you’ve got to be good at taking criticism for everthing you do without taking it personally, it’s sort of refreshing to have a hobby where you can do what you like and nobody can pull your socks up. I want to hand-sew everything? Fine. I want to use a mix of accurate, semi-accurate and inaccurate materials? Fair enough. I want to include quirky modern details in my otherwise relatively historically passable garments? Sure, why not.
All that sounds pretty reasonable right? So bear with me… I have made one and a bit hand-sewn, mostly cotton (but I’ll fess up to using polyester ribbon), hand-embroidered garters in the spirit of the 18th Century, with an obviously modern twist. Often the garters of the 18th Century bore mottoes. Here are some examples:
These are from the Met, c 1790. Quite a sparse, neoclassical statement.
These ones from the MFA in Boston are more what I’m aiming for.
Now, bearing in mind that the mottoes often went across both garters (with half the words on each garter), no points for guessing what I’m putting on mine.
The finished product. …….. be with you. Ringing any bells?
Yes, I am a dork.
Now I just want to make tons of garters with little geeky things on them. I want a blue pair that say ‘made in Gallifrey’ with little TARDISes on. I want a black pair that say ‘ass deep in alligators’. My dear friend Death will get the reference there.
Anyway. Here are some construction pics. I was using a pretty sturdy calico so I didn’t feel like it needed too much reinforcing. There are also teeny tiny random spangles that I found in my sewing box. I think they came with a skirt years ago… The skirt’s long since moved on, but I’ve still got the small number of emergency spangles.
Step one, drawing up the design.
Step two, manic embroidery. I used a mix of stem and satin stitch. (Them’s all I know)
Step three. Woo yeah! Gratuitous action shot! (Just like Indiana Jones, only not)
Ready to go on the ribbon.
I turned the edges under and backstitched it down with white thread
My favourite flower. Thar be subtle colour differences.
I apologise profusely for the close-up shots of the carpet. When the estate agent says our house is heritage listed, they only mean the carpet. I swear it’s the original carpet from 1880-whatever.