Friday, 17 July 2015

Liebster award

bandykullan, who blogs at costumekullan and makes some absolutely phenomenal 18th century and Star Wars costumes, has very kindly nominated me for a Liebster award.  Many thanks, bandykullan!  I'm so glad you've enjoyed my blog.

More information on the Liebster award.

Here are the rules for accepting and passing on the Liebster award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  2. Display the award on your blog
  3. Answer 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you
  4. Provide 11 random facts about you
  5. Nominate between 5 to 11 blogs for a Liebster
  6. Create a new list of 11 questions for the people you nominated
  7. List the rules in your post
  8. Inform the nominated people that you have nominated them and gave them a link to your blog

So, to answer your questions bandykullan:

1. Which is your favorite fashion decade?
Currently, that would be the 1920s.  So many new styles and new ideas – people were exploring new patterns and techniques, and because people’s lifestyles were changing their expectations of what clothing should be were changing too.  It was a time of experimentation, and even when ‘20s clothes were bad or unflattering they still often had a sense of energy and fun.  I particularly like the Egyptian craze that happened when King Tut’s tomb was discovered.

2. What unexpected skill have you developed because of your costuming hobby?
Hand sewing.  I never, ever used to do it, but since I’m mainly interested in time periods before the invention of the sewing machine it makes sense for me to sew things by hand, and a lot of these things are actually easier to do by hand because that’s how the patterns and techniques were designed.  Now I find I like hand sewing and do a lot of it even on modern clothes.

3. How long does it take you to go to a fabric store?
It really depends on how much time I have available to spend in the fabric store...

4. What do you have in the background while you are sewing?
Sometimes TV or a DVD, sometimes music, and sometimes nothing at all.

5. Which is the most common colour in your costume wardrobe?
Probably blue.  I seem to make a lot of blue things, or at least things that have blue decorative elements.  There are usually plenty of nice blue fabrics available in my local fabric stores, and it was a popular colour in the periods that interest me, and also I just like it.

6. Have you ever thought about taking part in some kind of costume competition?
Not really, no.  I don’t actually know if we have such things in New Zealand.

7. Have you given names to your sewing machine or dressform, or any other tool you are using to make your costumes?
My sewing machine is called Old Faithful.  It’s a '70s Elna I inherited from my mother when she bought a more modern machine, and it’s served me well.  Sure it’s not as fancy as a modern machine, but it’s reliable, built to last, and does everything I need.  Plus, it has a camshaft with lots of cool little cams you can use to do embroidery stitches.

8. How many costumes have you made?
I’ve got a couple of different Bronze Age Aegean outfits, a couple of 1920s outfits, and a Viking outfit, but mostly I concentrate on specific clothing items instead of the whole costume.

9. Do you use wigs or your own hair to create different hairstyles?
It depends on the period.  My real hair is fine for prehistory through the Viking age, but I’d want a wig for 18th century.  For 1920s I’m inclined to go with a turban.

10. What is the longest you have worked on a single project?
50-plus hours researching and trying to figure out how to reproduce a piece of Mycenaean textile.

11. How big is your stash?
It takes up about 12 boxes in my spare room, sorted by fabric type.

Now, 11 random facts about me:
  1. I learned to sew because I hate going clothes shopping.
  2. My degree is in Classical Studies and Philosophy, but I work as a computer programmer/statistical analyst.  You can take the nerd out of the computer room, but you can’t take the computer room out of the nerd.
  3. Over the years I’ve been variously employed as a lackey for a roadworks company, a market researcher, a social policy researcher, and a business intelligence analyst.
  4. My house is heated by a coal fire, and in the past week I’ve burned my entire bodyweight in coal.
  5. When not making historical clothes or food, I enjoy sculpture, reading articles on PLOS ONE, and over-analysing films.
  6. One of my thumbnails is permanently split into two halves, the result of an accident when I was little.
  7. My favourite book is Homunculus, by Hugh Paxton.
  8. I can never resist buying psychedelic or dazzle pattern fabric.
  9. I really, really want to reconstruct a Mycenaean beehive helmet like this one.
  10. My surname is the 9th most common surname in New Zealand.
  11. I’m licensed to drive a tank, though I haven’t actually driven one.

And 11 questions for my nominees:
  1. If you could make any costume from a painting/photo/movie/book, what would it be?
  2. What’s your favourite thing that you’ve made?
  3. Have you ever worn a historical piece as an everyday clothing item, and did anyone notice?
  4. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your sewing career?
  5. Do you prefer to use ready-made patterns, or draft your own?
  6. What’s that one thing on your to-do list you want to do but keep putting off?
  7. Do you tend to plan costumes around personas you want to play, or construct personas for costumes you want to make?
  8. What’s that one piece of sewing-related equipment you’d really like to have?
  9. You, of course, are a modern person living in the 21st century.  Do you think that has an effect on how you think about your historical projects?
  10. If you had a time machine, what period would you visit first?
  11. What new project are you most excited about?

The blogs I nominate are:

Loose Threads
Caddams Bertraktelser
Matsukaze Workshops
Marmota's Dress Diaries
Arachne's Blog

If you haven’t read these blogs, you should.  They’re full of amazing projects and fascinating information!


  1. Thank you for the nomination! I hope it goes without time limit, as life is a bit hectic at the moment. I probably won't have time to do justice to a blog post of answers, questions and nominations until mid-August when things have settled down, but I'm happy to be nominated and there is nothing I love better than random facts, so it will be done! :)

    1. You're welcome! I don't think there is a time limit, and anyway life is like that sometimes.