I’ve been so uplifted by the response to my post on the climate crisis. In addition to many comments and expressions of support, there has been immediate action. Sewstine has started a group: Costumers for Climate Action, with the goal to use our visibility and voice to help raise environmental awareness and to create change, both as costumers, and in the wider world.
We’re working on bigger plans, but to start off, every member has been encouraged to blog or post about the topic this week.
While costuming isn’t a huge contributor to climate change in the bigger picture, it could still be more eco friendly as a hobby. We’ve been talking about ways to make it more so, and one of the big things that has come up is re-use. As costumers we feel so much pressure to have a new outfit for every event, and to keep making new things.
But, both for the environment, and for all the work that goes into a thing, it’s sad to only wear it once. So here is a celebration of some of my costumes that have been worn, and worn, and worn again.
My goal is for every costume I make to get worn at least 12 times.
Let’s look at three of my earlier frocks and see how I’ve been doing:
The 1878 Jeanne Samary Dress
First worn to the opening of Monet and the Impressionists, back in March-ish 2007. (#1)
And to my ‘Capturing the Mode’ talk in conjunction with Monet & the Impressionists (#2)
Worn again to Gaskell’s Ball in Oakland, in June-ish 2007 (#3)
And by Theresa for a photoshoot in the Botanical Gardens (#4)
And again by a model at Ramsay to Renoir in Nelson (#7)
The dress no longer fits me, so is due for a major refurbishment so I get wear it another 5 times and get it to 12 wears! (though my mind is insisting it’s been worn at least once more, but I can’t recall the occasion…)
The ca. 1800 Madame Recamier Regency Dress:
Made back in 2009, in one day.
First worn for a photoshoot the day I finished (#1)
Worn again to a Pride & Prejudice & Zombies ball (where I met SO MANY amazing people who have gone on to be lifelong friends – including Theresa) (#2).
Then the dress appeared at the event it was made for, on a model at Pompeii to Paris I (#3)
And Pompeii to Paris II (#4)
And at a talk for the NZ quilters at a big annual conference in 2010 (#5)
In was very helpful as a stand-in dress in 2011, when I was giving a Dr Sketchy event and developed a virus right before it, and couldn’t breathe in my planned corset (#6):
In 2015 Theresa and I did a Pride & Prejudice themed photoshoot, and I wore it #7:
After that I decided I needed to fix all the things I’d gotten wrong with it, and gave it a bit of a refurbishment:
Last winter it got worn at Ramsay to Renoir, b7 a model who is a perfect stand-in for the 1995 Jane Bennet! (#9)
Last spring Priscilla borrowed it to wear for our Sew & Eat Historical Retreat (#10):
And just a few weeks ago Zara borrowed it as part of her Neelix costume for the Time Travellers Ball. (#11)
I’m almost certain it’s been worn a couple of other times, but I’m also sure it will be worn a dozen more times, so it’s doing well on my costume re-wear goals!
Made in 2010-2011, because I love yellow and mid 17th century fashion.
First worn for Grandeur & Frivolity, a talk on Baroque & Rococo music & fashion. (#1)
And then in 2011 for a photoshoot for Radio New Zealand on a similar topic (photo here is an outtake) (#2):
It next appeared at a charity talk at Premier House on the history of afternoon tea (#3)
And then I finally got to wear it for a photoshoot with Theresa at the old Dominion Museum. #4
And then again in 2012 for another charity talk, this one at Wellington Museum (#5)
After which I gave the dress a little refurbishment, and added trim to it, and wore it to a Bastille Day ball in 2015 (#6)
And then it went with me to my first CoCo for the Friday Night Gala (#7)
And finally, it was worn by a model to Ramsay to Renoir last winter (#8)
Four more wears (and hopefully lots more after that) to go!
I’ve loved all ways these dresses have looked, how they change depending on how they are styled, and how different women look in them. It’s a satisfying result after all the work that goes into them. <3