Saturday, 23 June 2007

A sewing day

I am happily making costumes for next week's home education outing to the Tudor reenactment at Kentwell Hall in Suffolk. Squirrel, Shark and Tiger get to dress up in Tudor costume for the day. So do me and Ermintrude. And I'm making the costumes myself, with fabric at 50p a bit from the local scrapstore, a pattern adapted from a princess costume, and some not inconsiderable research into paintings of women from the 1480s through to 1600. This is all a very big thing in the Grit household, because we are historians. And I like sewing, even though I am not very professional when I set about it equipped with some rusty pins, a pair of nail scissors, some masking tape and the glue gun, and despite my sewing career more or less ending at school when the sewing teacher said I was rubbish and I had better do art.

However, I enjoy costume making, even if I am rubbish at it. I like making something from nothing, and within an hour I can have a costume that can walk about, strapped onto a Shark, or a Squirrel, or a Tiger. Even better, I like to make the costumes quickly, and cannot be fussed about the details. The impact matters; the theatre of the thing. I make the shape happen and get the hem folded up in seconds then slam my foot on the pedal of the sewing machine. I try and shortcut as much as possible, bodge, be resourceful, and make it do. Usually, the result will be suddenly theatrical, and fine for dressing up in until it all falls apart or the stitching loosens. In this way I've happily made a red dragon, zebra fish, lorry, green man of the woods, Bouddicca, a bunch of grapes, an ice cream, a slice of chocolate cake, three medieval princesses and a beggar.

So five Tudor outfits should be straightforward. And the day would have proceded happily enough too, if only Tiger hadn't put a mixture of paint and PVA glue on the toilet seat, if Shark hadn't gone bonkers over a doll leg and Squirrel had not become enraged by Shark and had not chanted 'Shark is an idiot' for 30 minutes while hiding under the school room table. Without these minor interruptions, the day would have gone splendidly.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I've seen the photo. Costumes are fab. Pretty please may Chloe borrow one for a castle day in a couple of weeks?