The creation of my 18th century gown is a long, slow process, but given there are no deadlines right now, that’s alright. I have taken apart the jacket to make it fit me better, as I think I cut the pattern and forgot to check my measurements against it. I’ve adjusted the darts and shoulders, and just fitted the sleeve back in. This is a very satisfying task – making a tiny gather in the top for a hint of puff, then fitting it inside the armhole, and stitching around curves without wrinkles. Hopefully the other sleeve will go in easily too.
I am falling in love with my sewing machine again. Like any new love it is taking over parts of ordinary life, in this case, the dining table. It sits there looking at me as I go about my day, pleading for attention, and I cannot resist. Despite bloodshed (with the scissors not the machine), this skirt I picked up at the opshop a few months ago has been pulled apart, remade, and now fits me. A very satisfying task.
I default to my sewing machine over a needle and thread ninety percent of the time. Today, however, I picked up the needle to craft my bows. Seated on the carpet in the north sun flooding my lounge room, I sat and stitched my satin bows into gathered plumpness. Twas a beautifully gentle and relaxing activity to sooth my weary bones and still my mind in these troubled times.
I’m making an 18th century costume for my new show, Les Femmes de Versailles (The Women of Versailles), which has its first outing next weekend in Castlemaine. The dress has been quite a process – making hips, a giant skirt, stomacher (the fluffy bit that covers the front), jacket, and ruffles, lots of ruffles. I’ve been finishing it off today and am reminded how much I like sewing – hand or machine, I like them both. It’s a very calm and satisfying activity, and I can’t help thinking perhaps I should have spent all those years sewing instead of phd-ing.