I'm not rushing into anything, as work has been in a crunch and my summer class just started, but I did start a list to determine where I stood on supplies for each project. Some of them are "stash busters" (a Regency pelisse I bought fabric for years ago), which is great, and others came about because I happened to find the perfect fabric, and there are also a few that I don't have fabric for (yet).
|this early 19th century portrait by Alexandre-Jean Dubois-Drahonet is the inspiration for one such upcoming project|
|corset pattern patent, 1868 (via)|
|lacing stays (from The Progress of the Toilette), 1810 (via)|
And so I found myself contemplating this cycle of dread and ill-fitted cleavage when I read Kitty Calash's post about what the clothes she makes are worth. Her point is that with labor factored in as a cost (she uses $25/hour), these items are incredibly expensive and should be treated and worn with respect. I don't disagree, but it also got me thinking about my current underpinnings predicament. What are good underpinnings worth to me? I have so little hours I can use to sew, and making corsets so I can make new dresses would eat most of my sewing time for the summer. Is it worth it to me? What would not having to spend the time (and potentially end up with a better-fitting, better-made final product) be worth to me?
|I am rather amused by this advertisement for the "L.R. Corset"!|
I think, in the end, it's worth a great deal to me. Corsets (and other underpinnings like cage crinolines) could be purchased from dry goods stores in the second half of the 19th century, so it isn't even entirely wrong to buy my undergarments. In fact, the Worcester Corset Company began as the Worcester Skirt Company in Worcester, MA, in 1861 making cage crinolines (it shifted to corsets sometime before 1872). Buying new corsets will ensure I have lasting undergarments that will get me through the next couple of years of events, provide a foundation for the new dresses on my wish list, and keep me from spending the summer in a miserable cycle of tedium and anger.
I still feel guilty about it--it feels like cheating--but I've talking myself into it. Not making this round of corsets is ok. Sometimes alleviating the misery is worth a lot more than being able to stubbornly say I made everything myself.
|another inspiration image for an upcoming project: tea gown, 1858-62 (The Met)|
On to new clothes!