Garboholic-art - 10/18/91
"Cconfessions of a Garbaholic As Told By 'T'" by Lady Therica Ysabeau Talia Anne of Stonegate Manor. Humorous article warning those making garb.
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: adn at mayo.EDU (Ann Nielsen)
Date: 18 Oct 91 20:22:38 GMT
Organization: The Internet
Greetings, oh most gentle Rialtans!
Hmmmm... I was sitting here, thinking about the Authenticity Boors (ABs -- can also stand for Aurora Borelis, a totally different story and one that makes me blush...), when I remembered an article I had written a couple of years ago. At the time, I was being teased about being a 'garbaholic', since I was making a new outfit for just about every event (now I'm down to one a month or so, but I'm handsewing them, and embroidering, and gemming, and pearling, and...well, I guess it's true. I am a garbaholic.) So I wrote this little article, based on that comment, and published it. It's still one of my favorites. Permission is given to reprint, ONLY if you put my name on it (I'm working on being published AND paid, and I want all the credit I can get! ;-) )
CONFESSIONS OF A GARBAHOLIC
As Told By 'T'
I don't know when it was I first became aware of the seriousness of garb. Perhaps it was when a well- meaning gentle asked me, "So what did you bring to wear to the feast?" What? Was I supposed to bring something MORE? Over and above my one and only piece of day garb? I was doing well enough to remember my feastgear, much less another piece of clothing, thank you very much!
Ah, but at the feast! Gentles came out wearing glorious outfits of sumptuous fabrics. Norman garb rubbed shoulders with Tudor, Burgundian with Viking. It was a feast for the eyes, with the myriad fashions and luscious colors. I scrunched down in my chair and hoped no one would see me (and if they did, they would take pity on a poor newbie and ignore me).
But I was hooked.
Eavesdropping on conversations, I learned that curtains make wonderful garb. Feeling like Scarlett O'Hara, I haunted garage sales (always on the guard against rubber-backed material, of course. Much too hot.) I learned that the sales tables at fabric stores were great places to pick up 6, 8, even 10 or more yards of fabric for little more than what it cost to fill the gas tank in my car. I became a regular at the fabric stores to the point where the clerks knew my name and were inquiring about my health. I found out that you can make garb out of just about anything, as long as it looks 'period'. (Unless, of course, you are entering it in an Arts and Sciences contest. Then you have to grow the flax and linen and wool yourself, card it, spin it, dye it, weave it, cut it out with handmade scissors, and handstitch it with homemade, hand-forged needles and pins. Something I plan to do when I retire, to keep myself occupied.)
I began making different kinds of garb. Simple day garb, more complex evening wear. I found that certain types of garb don't match certain kinds of activities --- for example, garb with long trains are wonderful and ever so romantic, but they are always getting stepped on (and you would think WE would know better!) and are (at least for me) almost impossible to dance in. Dresses with two or three layers or lined in fur are not the best for summer events (unless they are being held indoors in the anachronistic enviroment of an air conditioner), and Tudor's mostly good for standing around (never try to run in Tudor!). I discovered corsets. I also discovered the best thing about a corset is how you feel when you take it off. But corsets do have an advantage --- you can hardly eat a thing when you're wearing them (wonderful for dieting!). I also discovered that breathing in a corset is an acquired talent --- the first few times you wear one, it's mostly Zen breathing until you get the knack of it. (Once again, never try to run in Tudor!)
A wonderful thing happened when I began making new garb. People came up to me and complimented it! Of course, it was almost always followed by "But you should see Lady So-and-so's garb --- it's magnificent!" If asked where I had found the fabric and I told them (always on sale, of course!), the good gentles would respond, "That's great! But you should see Lord Such- and-such's garb --- he took three army duffle bags and his son's dirty bib and made Tudor garb that looks like it stepped from the pages of history!"
So of course, spurred on by the compliments and the comparisons, I began to reach for greater heights. I lived at the library, pouring over the books with pictures of medieval garb (one librarian once remarked to another, "I don't understand...she seems intelligent, but all she does it look at the pictures."). I plotted patterns, cutting them out over and over on paper until they worked just right. I became an expert on fabrics, how they draped, how they cut, how they washed, and most of all, if they looked period or not. I lived for the times when trims went on sale, and began sabotaging my daily clothes for buttons ("These'll look great on that new tunic!" Snip, snip.)
I finally admitted that it might have gotten a little out of hand when I came home one day with some new fabric purchases and had no where to put them. Fabric flowed from everywhere! Draped from the curtain rods, thrown over chairs, piled on the couch and the coffee table, stuffed into my kitchen cupboards...I didn't own a dining room table anymore---it was now a support for a multitude of fabrics! Finally I put my new purchases (on sale, of course!) in the bathtub (temporarily), and took stock of my situation. The only clear spot in my entire home was in the sewing room --- there was enough room, if you kicked the trims out of the way, to lay out a pattern. A slender path from there wove between tilting stacks of material and leaning towers of folded and refolded patterns (cut out of typing paper, tissue paper, paper bags, plastic, fabric too ugly to wear, and my favorite, leftover Christmas wrapping) to the sewing machine, whose light was constantly burning (rather like an eternal flame). My checkbook had nothing but fabric stores written in the register (or else people's names --- from their garage sales), and I would rather make garb than see a movie! (Unless, of course, it was a historical one...) It was time I made a change.
Sitting on a pile of tapestry, velvet and brocade, I estimated that it would take me approximately 423 years (give or take a few months) to make all the fabric I owned into garb. I admitted that I was putting off paying bills to buy new material. I admitted that I loved the feel of fabric sliding through my fingers, of holding it up to admire in the light, of planning what piece of garb would come out of what piece of material. I even loved the smell of fabric --- right down to the sizing they put in at the factory.
Enough! I resolved then and there to quit buying fabric, to work with what I had purchased, to be satisfied with what I had, to be a responsible adult and not get so carried away. I put on my coat and grabbed the car keys, checking my purse for my Visa card. I resolved to be strong and resist temptation, to ignore the late afternoon calls of unbought fabric --- "Take me home, 'T'. I need a good home. Aren't I lovely? Wouldn't I look good with that teal broadcloth you bought last week?"
I resolved, as I got into my car and backed out the driveway, to go through my fabric and --- gasp --- sort out that which I really didn't need and sell it. I resolved to turn my energies to another task, perhaps gardening or nuclear science. I resolved to do all of this --- tomorrow.
After all, Fabric World is having a half-price sale and it ends today.
Lady Therica Ysabeau Talia Anne of Stonegate Manor