The Age-Old question

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Zachos
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The Age-Old question

Postby Zachos » Wed Oct 26, 2005 6:57 pm

I decided my first post should be a worthwhile one, so I'm asking the question: How far should authenticity go?

My personal opinion is that if it is possible people wore that, and in character, then it should be allowed, as the amount of soldiers in europe at the time meant that somebody, somewhere wore it at least once.

I also think that machine stitching should be allowed. "Back in the day", everyone would have hand stitched, and so would have been proficient at doing it fast and to a high quality. In these "enlightened" days people have traded in skills for electronic equipment (more's the pity). My mind tells me that if someone has fun making a costume that is authentic, they are allowed to use their electronic appliences to get the quality that they would not be able to get without such equipment, and that would have been commonplace "back in the day".

So what are the thoughts of the people here. I know full well that everyone here has their own idea of how far authenticity should travel, so hit that reply button and let it be known.

Cheers!



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Alice the Huswyf
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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:19 pm

I think the last time this one was dicussed the general concensus came out as that it would be lovely to have everything handstitched, but the generally accepted sensible balance between time and decent authenticity was to machine stitch anything hidden (like general construction seams) and handstitch anything that can be seen (like hems, eyelets and constructional items like facings which show through).
Last edited by Alice the Huswyf on Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Scraggles

Postby Scraggles » Wed Oct 26, 2005 10:47 pm

depends how far the punters are going to be to you, eg right up close, 10 feet away, 50 feet, etc

Have seen well known groups have people on with boots wrapped in hessian or cloth because the punters were a long way away, yet to have the official photographer take close up photos that spoil the effect....

hand stiching is nice, but only if doing very detailed living history



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Postby Tuppence » Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:33 am

hand finished, and using materials known to exist at the time (although I'm not so bad as to get into stitch counts and thread counts).

also, should have at least some evidence for it in context.

but then - all depends on what period - eg - later C19th, machined lockstitching and handsewn buttonholes etc, man made fibres post 1890s, etc, etc.

moveable feast.

debs


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Authenticity in making

Postby Neibelungen » Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:34 am

It's one of those 6 of one, half a dozen of another questions.

The simple fact is it's almost impossible to ever get something completely accurate as the whole method of material manufacture has changed. Hence, cloth is still cloth, but it's not a historical cloth. And that applies to almost any kind of material ; metal, leather, thread.

So the deciding factor comes down to what you can afford. If you had enough money you could breed your own sheep etc..etc. etc.. but who's got that kind of money?

As to hand sewing... Hmmm.. it depends what you aim for and what you want to call it. Everything made is going to be 'fancy-dress' to a lesser or greater extent, given the caveate above. But... there isn't a practical reason not to hand sew something when your either capable or can afford it. I've seen the quality of handsewing in Savile Row, and it's as good as some oriiginal costume. Likewise.. I've seen some original sewing, and you'd never get away with it as a costume maker.

So it's two factors... what you can afford, and what you can afford to spend the time doing.



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Postby Jenn R » Thu Oct 27, 2005 7:51 am

Alice the Huswyf wrote:I think the last time this one was dicussed the general concensus came out as that it would be lovely to have everything handstitched, but the generally accepted sensible balance between time and decent authenticity was to machine stitch anything hidden (like general construction seams) and handstitch anything that can be seen (like hems, eyelets and constructional items like facings which show through).


My sentiments exactly, I do think that Tuppence has hit the nail on the head with the concise sentence...."hand finished, and using materials known to exist at the time"

Of course it is a matter of personal choice and budget. What the public sees is immaterial to me, I want to feel 'of the period' I want to feel that I have recreated a garment that in essence is authentic. Hand stitched where it shows and machine stitched where it doesn't.

In this game there is room for the different levels of authenticity, no one is saying that the only cloth to use is hand spun, hand woven and hand stitched. It would be lovely to have that but as Neibelungen says "the whole method of material manufacture has changed." It is possible to buy authentic cloth, it is still made (well it was a couple of years ago) but ..."who's got that kind of money?"



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Alice the Huswyf
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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Thu Oct 27, 2005 8:02 am

Tuppence is right again. Why bother to handstitch anything if you haven't gone to the trouble of even attempting a suitable fabric / colour / style / fit?

But then I like things just 'so' even when not making period clothes, when I may on occasion make things out of nylon - but it has to be the right nylon for the job - or the closest I can afford. Why botch your effort?

My other big gripe is incorrect shoes or not being able to abandon modern hairstyles. You would be surprised how broadly people make unconcious assessments about you based on footwear. Nothing wrecks your effort quicker than vanity and wanting your face to look like it does in modern clothing. What's the point?

On the other hand a friend of ours has a new handstitched doublet made this season from recently purchased 'correct' cloth. We hates him, we does.



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Postby WorkMonkey » Thu Oct 27, 2005 9:59 am

My mom and nan worked on all my soft skin, and with a combined sewing experiance of 120 years their hand sewing was pretty indistinguishable from machine stitch. A linen tunic, a woolen tunic and trousers were all completed in a couple of evenings. And since women spent most their time spinning, weaving and sewing I'd imagine they'd be pretty good at it. Though I was left to sew on the braid which took significantly longer :roll:


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Postby Nigel » Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:48 pm

ok alice who dis the possibilties are many ?


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Thu Oct 27, 2005 10:20 pm

The ambuscade party may reveal this ver' soooooooon.



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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Thu Oct 27, 2005 10:21 pm

The ambuscade party revealed this.

8.6 - 8.9 - 9.0 - 8.9 - 9.2
Last edited by Alice the Huswyf on Fri Oct 28, 2005 7:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Postby Cat » Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:54 am

and on behalf of those of us lacking in stitching skills, we hatesssss workmonkey, we does, and thinkssss he isss a ssspoilt bratling, him and hissss nice handsssstitchery ssssss.



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Postby WorkMonkey » Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:04 am

It wasn't like they had a choice, I had them chained up in the basement doing it, which is where'll you'll be if you dont pipe down. 8)


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Postby Nigel » Tue Nov 01, 2005 2:46 pm

Alice your ambush oh that is what it was I almost avoided it

where as my handstiched stuff is usually blood stained here and there
where Debs has rammed a needle up he finger nail again.

She did it a couple of times last Thursday night and I heard em through being asleep

She is currently constructing me a hand sewn Jack (based on old measurements so its lose weight time again)

Nige


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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Postby Ayliffe's Steve » Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:28 pm

I had them chained up in the basement doing it, which is where'll you'll be if you dont pipe down


Cat chained up in a basement 'doing it' ... I can see the appeal. :shock:


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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Tue Nov 01, 2005 5:44 pm

It's more about style than inflicting pain - especially if THAT is your bag. These things are not done for your edification.

Marking by Tuppence, by the way



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Postby Cat » Tue Nov 01, 2005 5:54 pm

Steve! And you a married man! What would your dear wife think?! :shock:



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Postby Phil the Grips » Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:37 pm

Cat wrote:Steve! And you a married man! What would your dear wife think?! :shock:

Well- I ain't married and been single for the longest time in my life since I was 18 so that image'll make my winter evenings pass a bit quicker! :twisted:


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handstitching

Postby tailordrews » Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:30 pm

Hi,
I must admit, that i do as much as possible by hand, but when it comes to invisible seams, i do use my machine.
I went as far as to sew in all the thread ends of the bonechannels for corsets. You cant sew back and force on a machine, it will show. And my corsets, the fully boned ones, have yards and yards of stitchings in them.
I have seen gorgeous 18th century costumes made with machine embroidery, but i can see it, perhaps not ordinaty people who dont give a thing for embroidery. This is why i make all my embroidery by hand, also you cant embroider with silk on a machine, at least not a monofilament silk.
When it comes to expenses, i often have at least as much expenses for embroidery silk threads, as for fabric for the costume.

tailordrews, who is a little of a threadoholic...........


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Re: The Age-Old question

Postby Alan_F » Tue Nov 08, 2005 4:43 pm

Zachos wrote:I decided my first post should be a worthwhile one, so I'm asking the question: How far should authenticity go?

My personal opinion is that if it is possible people wore that, and in character, then it should be allowed, as the amount of soldiers in europe at the time meant that somebody, somewhere wore it at least once.


It depends on what is being worn and by whom and what time period is being represented. Things such as social class have to be taken into consideration as well as what is/isn't correct for any given time period.


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Postby craig1459 » Tue Nov 08, 2005 4:57 pm

I think you also have to think of the bigger picture within the period that you are covering. Just because there is a reference that says x existed in year 1471, it doesn't necessarily follow that many people had one or for that matter that it was used at the event or place you are portraying.
Case in point - kettle hats are quite common in re-enactor world but from what I have read they were on the way out by the Roses period.
(No doubt someone will clarify that but I think the general point holds)


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Postby madjon » Tue Nov 08, 2005 5:30 pm

being one of them mechanical types who can fix most ancient machinery and anything involving lumps of wood metal and stone,,i have along with a great dislike of anything electric developed a great dislike of sewing machines ,having attempted to use them on several occasions and managing only to foul the machine and send a needle through my finger, i find hand sewing more fun , you get a feel for it after a while and it is good for the winter with long evenings and nothing on tellly, also allows you more time to think about construction and make minor alterations as you go, not just for the sake of authenticity but because im one of those few people who finds it fun to hand make items, i have seen authentic type coats in various periods made only with machine and they dont quite have the same look or feel to them, as pointed out especially around the finer finishings, handmade material is still available from a number of mills and places around the country and there is of course the option of making your own loom or tablet vweaving which if you have a bit of space and time are good fun and after a bit of practice you can produce your own material, i know several people who do this, also good for static displays, there is a minimum level of authenticity to acheive for the public and beyond that is a standard set by the group and then by how much time and effort you want to put into it, told someone to naff off because they said my jacket wasnt right because the buttons had a different number stamped on the non visible side of them , can you go over the top on authenticity and become a ufo spotter? i have met a few, but machining for non visible items as long as you are happy its not being seen then there is no real problem,



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Alice the Huswyf
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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Tue Nov 08, 2005 6:45 pm

Hello Denmark!



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Postby tailordrews » Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:32 pm

:lol:
Hello Alice the Huswyf!
You know hus is the word for house in Denmark? But thats another story.
I found your forum today, and i just love it here, what a great job the masters have made for us, its like a candy store with all those reenactors for all the history period.
I live as you know in Denmark, and we only have viking and medieval reenactors here. I specialises in 18th century, and i have to travel all the way to England and Sweden to join my own kind. I have ben to the Georgian Ball in Bath 2 times and to Stockholm to Gustavs Skål 5 times.
It is such a shame nobody have interrest in 18th century in Denmark.
If you would like, and have the time, i will invite you to se what i do at my webpages. www.my-drewscostumes.dk It is mostly 18th century costumes, and you better have to click on the danish flag, because my english version stinks!
I must go and prepare our supper now, ill come back to this forum tomorrow!

Bows and greetings

Tailordrews
Bjarne


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Postby Tuppence » Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:09 am

Nige forgets to mention that the reason I hand sew as much as possible of our kit is that I love hand sewing :D , and hate machining :x .

Plus I'm much, much better at hand sewing than maching, cos I started the former when I was 3.

And welcome Bjarne - I've been in awe of your embroidery for years! It's stunning. I too can spend a small fortune on (hand) embroidery supplies.

Debs (also on h-cost list).


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Postby Drachelis » Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:45 am

Tuppence, I agree with you, I much prefer han sewing - - and you can't get the same finish with a machine. The same with embroidery.

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Postby Shadowcat » Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:01 am

I welcome you too, Bjarne. I'm also on the H-cost list!! This forum is over-run by medieval people - good to have someone who likes the later period!



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Postby tailordrews » Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:19 am

Hi Shadowcat,
Nice Cat you got, is it your pet?
I miss the old days on h-costume. So many have left the group, and it is so boring right now i think.
What happened to Margo and Drea and Nicole? It was so interresting to read their posts.
I really should not sit in this forum right now, but aught to go into my room and drape the toille of the yellow dress i am making.
There is one thing on it that i am conserned about. I think i made the shoulderstraps on the stays two wide. Do you think it would be allright that i make the armskye of the dress bigger, so that it overlaps the top of the shoulderstraps of the stays? Otherwise i should have to take up the shoulderstraps and make them smaller. Dont know if you could se this for your eyes?
I really must finish that dress now, i have worked on it two long time.
Perhaps i could tell Ian the Staymaker about this forum, in case he dont know about it, he left the lumieres list a year ago. I have not heard from him for ages, wonder what he is doing?
Anyway, nice that we are several h-costumers here, i have noticed some.
Have a nice day, nice to say hello to you!

Tailordrews :D


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Postby Shadowcat » Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:39 pm

Yes, she's my "Shadow" as she follows me about like a shadow, and only sleeps on the best silks.

I answered your query on the H-cost list - if it doesn't make sense, try to send me a picture and I can see if I can help. I use a different name on there for personal reasons, but I think you will be able to work out who I am.

Haven't heard about Ian for ages - know someone who knows him though and will see if I can find out.



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Postby Thomas Hayman » Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:13 am

Tailordrews, you may wan to check out the recent auction from the Royal house of Hannover over at Sothebys. They had lots of early 19th and late 18th century livery, very posh too. Its towards the end of the auction, you may have to sign up and search within the auction pages.

I've secretly always loved 18th century clothing :-) It's so elegant.
Do you have a link to this h-cost discuusion group please?

CLothing starts at this page and goes on for another 20 or so http://search.sothebys.com/search/collA ... PerPage=20




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