Friday, January 18, 2008


Ever have one of those days?

I didn't sleep well last night, which those who know me know is bad.

Little Boy had trouble finding his way down the stairs to the kitchen.

I worked on writing a new document for work all morning, carefully saving my draft.
Program crashed and ate the document.  No saving.  Gone.

Two of the guys I work with fairly closely are sick.
About a week after another co-worker came home from a visit to China with the flu and another 2 were sick with a domestic flu.
We've been calling it the Plague.

I am SO looking forward to a three-day weekend! Starts tomorrow!!

In this year of finishing unfinished things, I'm getting a few things out of the way.  I've almost finished a friend's mending and hemming, and the pile for Mom is shrinking.  I sent off the Tudor men's outfit I've been sitting on for 3 years and procrastinating finishing.  The pile of want-to-make is growing, and self-restraint is getting to be difficult.  But it's lovely getting rid of the clutter and the weight on my shoulders of unfulfilled promises!

One of which is sharing my research.

I haven't forgotten, nor have I dug into my archives to start posting it.   I have a few more, older, committments to complete before I can dig into the boxes with the relish and verve I think they deserve.  It's coming, though.

So here's another question: why is it so hard to find information on historic clothing and craft?  Is it because few have done the research?  Or because they hoarde it for their own purposes ( me?).  Or because it's considered an esoteric study?  Why is this?  It's easy enough to find information on modern fashion design online, and you can find all kinds of history, but history of dress?  It's contained in a few extremely expensive, rapidly out-of-print hardcover books, and new ones do not come out often.  Is there a lack of clothing historians?  Historic clothing?  Access to the garments?

I'm curious.

There seem to be a lot of armchair clothing historians out there, but a definite lack of new resources. There are a few researchers in specialized fields who actively research (Nancy Bush comes to mind...sorry-no links today.  You'll have to google her yourself!) but there don't seem to be enough Nancys to fill the desire for information.

Am I missing something?

1 comment:

Kate A. said...


I think it's a sucky time of year. Seems like everybody I know is in a crappy mood, and I know I am! At least it's getting lighter out every day...

As for the very interesting question about why clothing history is so hard to find...dunno. I think all your reasons are probably compounded behind it. Also that professional historians don't pay any attention. It doesn't have to be that way - historians do tend to be a lot more comfortable with text than other kinds of sources, but there's people like Leora Auslander suddenly writing very effectively about furniture, for example. Why not clothing? There's so much interest in the history of consumption, but the history of clothing itself (as opposed to the history of buying clothing) seems to slip through the cracks. Even Ulrich's Age of Homespun book doesn't do much more than scratch the surface, I think. And people like Nancy Bush and a lot of other craft book writers do great work, but both don't have the sources to be more comprehensive, and probably not the support to publish those kinds of books (as opposed to pattern books with a little history thrown in). I don't know, except that apparently publishers don't think people will buy that kind of thing. But I seriously doubt that's true. Maybe the problem is that it's a really hard balancing act to do well - to be a good historian but readable, to cover the technical/craft aspects without losing the social history, etc. If that's the problem, will you forgive me for thinking *you're* the perfect person to address the gap? :-)