The Blog of The Bride of Sesshomaru


Welcome to my sewing, historical reenactment, and CosPlay blog! Here on this blog you will find all of my random thoughts about sewing, the SCA, manga, anime, CosPlay, costume making, embroidery, sewing historically accurate Japanese costumes, and my fandom of Lord Sesshomaru whom I CrossPlay as.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

BedSheets, Historical Accuracy, and Tent Covers


On an SCA forum, someone asked a question about if it was alright to use bedsheets to make their garb, even if bedsheets were not historically accurate.

For me, it depends largely on what I am making. A few years back I did a velvet gown that required 7 yards for the skirt alone, and than it had these huge triple puffed sleeves and those needed another 3 yards each. Well, than I made it really hard for myself, because I wanted to do it in an old style shade of rose, and no other color would do. I had already plotted and planned and drawn out my sketches, and it HAD to be rose colored velvet. Have you ever tried looking for a dusty rose colored velvet! ACK!

Well, finding velvet in an odd color was one trouble I was having, but the fact that I needed so much of it was the major problem, because I rarely put very much money into the fabric I buy. I tend to root through Jo-Anns, red tag $2 a yd clearance section to find most of my fabrics. It did not take me long to realize that if I wanted rose colored velvet, the only way to get it was to have it special ordered at some $45 a yd! That was a great big: NO WAY! So, I changed my outlook on my dress, and put off sewing it, for about 7 months, because I still could not imagine it in anything but rose colored velvet.

Than, nearly a year later, and nearing in on Easter time, I was in WalMart, and they had just gotten in a whole batch of new Easter fabric... among them, were some pretty pastel colored polyester panne velvets, and a whole uncut bolt of a dusty rose that just screamed "BUY ME!". Okay, so technically it was stretch velvet or velveteen and made out a fabric that had only been around the last 40 years or so, but the color was perfect for what I wanted, and it LOOKED like real velvet even if it wasn't real velvet and it only cost $3.95 a yd!

In the end I got my rose colored "velvet" dress, not accurately, but I didn't care, because it looked the way I had invisioned it.

Of course, as I said for me, it depends largely on what I am making, and so I have yet another story on me vs accuracy, this one currently ongoing. As you may or may not have heard me say before, I am doing what I am told is utterly unheard of and completely impossible to do, (by about 40 different people so far, and I expect that list to grow as my project continues). Hey, keep telling me I can't do this too, because thats what keeps going... the desire to prove I can! LOL!

Anyways, I am taking a character out of a modern day fantasy comic book and *horrors* recreating his entire wardrobe (6 different outfits) in as much historical accuracy as possible. He's a prince from 1558 Japan, who grew up in China, than went on a personal spiritual quest all across Asia and picked up various elements of each place he went along the way. And thus wears cloths that are mixed up with Japan, China, Mongolian, and Portuguese elements, plus a few VERY imaginary fantasy elements thrown in to boot.

Oh such fun it is torturing myself like this. I now have to figure out which parts of his outfits came from which periods of which countries, so that I can make each part historically correct, even if wearing them all at once isn't historically correct. If you think it's hard tracing down one item from one country and one time period... try 45 different items from countries of unknow origin which you have to study each coutries history to find out where each one came from! eeek!

Well, I finally traced most of the items and their origins and what they should be made out of, and FINALLY, I started my search for the fabric: silk, from Asia, in historically accurate widths. I found silk from Italy 45" wide, silk from France 45" wide, silk from India 45" to 68" wide. I needed silk from Japan 15" wide.

I went to my local JoAnnes told them what I was doing, what I needed, the woman looked at me like she thought I was a nut, and than asked "But why don't you just buy the 45" wide fabric and cut it down to 15" wide strips?" Well, because the whole point of making this outfit is to be historically accurate, and my studied showed me that his cloths would have been made of 15" wide silk, that was sewn on selvage, and part of the design element is the fact that it HAS to be sewn on selvage, so I MUST use 15" wide silk.

It took me three months to track it down, but I finally found a guy (who lives in Japan) who does nothing but collect and sell 13" - 16" wide Japanese silks! YAY! I emailed him, told him what I wanted and he was able to find me five bolts of *OMG* antique handwoven 15" wide silk. For the first time in my life, I bought a fabric that had a major price tag on it.

I am so happy with my silk. It arrived last week and I've been driving my family nuts talking about it steady! LOL! This is the first time in over 20 years, that I have ever allowed myself to buy a fabric for the sake of historical accuracy. The price of historically accurate fabrics, usually sends me off looking at my curtains and thinking: "Hey, I'll bet I could cut that up to make my garb out of! LOL! Usually I settle for: "Oh that LOOKS accurate enough and only costs $15 dollars". Yeah... like you said, bed sheets can make great garb, and often I go that road myself, as long as it LOOKS accurate... hey, try looking at the curtains in WalMart... I do that often, the big prints on curtains often have a nice period look to them.

oh yes! I agree with the bedsheets for camp curtains. They are great for that because of their size.

Blankets make the best tent covers! I've never used anything else to make a tent cover with! For the tent I made, I needed a thick fur look. I'm an animal rights activist so using real fur was out of the question, and buying fur fabric didn't set well with me because all I could find was really cheep looking stuff that either had too thick a pile, or too fake looking a color.

I wanted it to look like cheetah or leopard skins, and than I found these throw blankets to go on your couch. They had a nice short "realistic" nap to them, and and the print looked like real leopard. So those blankets ended up becoming my tent cover. (The tent was a 6Wx8Lx5H one person sit in the shade-lay down take a nap type tent, so it didn't take much fabric to make it.)

I did worry because they were so thick, that they might hold in the heat and make the tent unbearable hot. However the opposite was true. They were so thick that they blocked the sunlight was getting in and kept my tent the coolest bit of shade there was to be found!

I'm planning to make another, more portable one later this year. The one I made is on a frame of 2x4's and a permanent fixture that has stood in my yard for 3 years now. I still use it, though the fabric is starting the wear thin now, after surviving 2 blizzards and 4 hurricanes.

What's your take on this? I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post. Leave a comment and share your views!


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