Hello There!

Welcome to the beginnings of my first blog!  I am a Master’s student at the University of Alberta, Canada, in the field of history of dress.  I am setting up this blog as an additional interactive element to an experimental project I will soon begin as part of my research. 

My work is concerned with cut and construction of 18th century English and British North American clothing.  I am particularly interested in the hands-on experience of contemporary modes and methods of construction along with process(es) of production.  To this end I am planning a reproduction project that will start smartly in early September of this year.  This blog is intended as an online text and photo journal of sorts to document and record my experience of this project (I just got a digital SLR camera partially for this very reason!).  One of several outcomes I intend is an exhibition of the reproduction garments.  I put together an exhibition proposal some months ago which I will include here for anyone who is interested.  This explains the background and purposes of the project in greater detail.

One of the reasons I want to record all of this online is for the interactive opportunity it affords.  Any and all constructive feedback to both the proposal I am including today, and the process of the project over the course of the fall is very welcome and highly encouraged.  Tips and suggestions regarding blogging in general are also very welcome since I am a total newbie to this.  I know there are a lot of people out there who are as in love with this period in the history of dress as I am, and would very much appreciate any suggestions and even critiques!  The project is still in the planning stages at this point.  Right now I am working on sourcing materials, equipment, etc.  For this I am primariIy using the Costume Design Center Source List of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.  If anyone has any additional source suggestions I would be glad to hear them!!  I will also shortly draw up a rough schedule of production for myself (I am hoping to complete all the garments by around Christmas – yes I am crazy and ambitious).

My supervisor has stipulated that I am not to begin these reproductions until I have had fairly in-depth exposure to actual surviving artifacts.  I got my first taste of this over Reading Week when I went to London, England for a series of appointments in the costume collection of the V&A.  I will be going back to London at the beginning of July for 2 months to conduct research and do documentation/cataloguing of 18th century garments in the collection of the Museum of London.  I also intend to travel to other costume collections around the country to further broaden this exposure. (WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!)  Perhaps I will also use this medium for recording impressions of my time in London and gushing over all the beautiful things I get to examine and handle close-up.





  1. Julia Said:

    Cool! Lovely pics: I’ve not seen some of these before.
    Consider placing some of these sections under a cut, so that readers with slow internet connections can choose whether to view them or not.

  2. Koreen Dowdell (Mom) Said:

    I now have a better understanding of what your Master’s project is about. It is indeed ambitious! I thought to read just a small amount at this time but found myself reading up to but not including Section 1 – Undergarments. I look forward to reading on and also to the rest of your presentation.

    I love the idea of the garments being turned inside out to show their construction – I hope you will display the dates of the garment turnings in several prominent places so that your visitors will know when to come back for an additional viewing. I believe you are quite right when you say that this has not been done before – at least not that I am aware of.

    You intend to sleep when???? Don’t forget your vitamins – you’re going to need them!

  3. Bev Betkowski Said:

    Hi Carolyn,

    I do pitches to news media for ALES, and especially love doing feature story pitches for Human Ecology. Would you e-mail me back, please letting me know your schedule for travelling to Europe, and when you are back and actaully working on your reproductions? I’d like to try pitching it to media at some point, as it’s a very cool project. If you’re not sure of who I am, ask Julia Petrov, I work with her as a volunteer with the clothing and textiles collection in my days off. I also collect Victorian and Edwardian beaded drawstring purses. I look forward to hearing from you! Can we meet for a coffee before you take off?

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