Showing posts from November, 2017

Heavenly Half-Slip

Lately I've been having a really hard time sewing anything, in part because I'm fairly busy (reading and researching, writing podcast episodes, writing answers for AskHistorians , just moderating   AskHistorians ) and in part because the project I was working on, a green cotton shirtwaist dress, was just not happening. It frustrated and discouraged me, and stood in my way until I put it aside and went, "I'm just not going to sew anything, then." This was a problem, because winter has rolled around again, and I'm left where I was this past April: for the cold season, I have two purchased retro dresses (each with its fit problems), two I've made, and a wool skirt I made very badly about six years ago and do not like to wear. I really want at least one, or maybe two new pieces to cycle in! But the recent failure made the thought of planning another big project really unappealing. Fortunately, another unsolved problem from last winter made for a very quic

AMBA: The Recent History of Mourning

This episode took me forever to write. I was originally going to start with a blog post I wrote a few years ago, relying on primary sources on mourning from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Then, as I started to go through it, I started to reinterpret a number of the primary sources, and then I came across Lou Taylor’s book, Mourning Dress: a Costume and Social History , and I realized that I needed to fully read it and regroup. So. (This is the transcription of the episode, for those who prefer reading to listening, or want to go back and double-check something they heard.) Walking dress and evening dress in the general mourning for Princess Charlotte, La Belle Assemblée,  Nov. 1817 Funerals and mourning goods seem to have become status symbols in Europe in the late Middle Ages, when royalty and the upper aristocracy began to indulge in long funeral processions with large numbers of mourners and horses in black draperies. Male mourners would wear loose gowns of