Aloha! I’m a Leimomi Oakes, a costumier a fashion and textile historian, former museum professional, potential PhD student, sewing teacher, writer, and more. I teach costuming at Toi Whakaari, the New Zealand Drama School.
I’m a Baha’i, and an expat kama’aina Hawaiian-American. I live in Wellington, New Zealand, with my Kiwi husband of almost a decade, Mr Dreamy, and our cat of 11 wonderful years, Felicity. I’m mumble-mumble-30-something-ish, but routinely act like I’m 6, 16, and 106, sometimes all at the same time. I like to think that I have great hair, an open mind, and a sense of humor. Hopefully you can see at least two of the above in the photo above.
The Dreamstress web site is a window into my world: my projects, new things I learn, things I know so well I can teach, the amazing places I live and the amazing places I visit, the wonderful people I am surrounded by, anything interesting that catches my fancy that I think might catch yours, and, of course, Felicity the cat.
I want this site to do three things: entertain, educate, and facilitate a wider historical costuming and textile community.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did you learn to sew?
I tell you all about it in this entry, How I Got To Be That Way.
Do you take commissions?
Unfortunately not. I’m so busy teaching and writing that I no longer have time to take sewing commissions.
I have an old textile that I want to sell. Can you value it for me?
No, sorry, I don’t value textiles both for personal and professional reasons. I can tell you everything else I know about your textile, but I adhere to the American Association of Museums and the International Council of Museum’s Code of Ethics which specifically prohibits museum professionals from appraising (giving values for) objects.
For a valuation I recommend that you take your textile or garment to an antique store or auction house which frequently deals in textiles. Remember that there is a difference between insurance valuations and sale valuations, and that values for textile vary greatly across the world.
What are you like in person?
Just as enthusiastic about textiles and costume as I am on the blog. Also a little shy, and likely to get overwhelmed in large groups, which sometimes makes people think I’m aloof, but really I’m just in awe of everyone else. So if you ever do see me in person, please say hi!