Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Past-Our Past

Growing up a tom-boy taught me a lot of things...I WON'T be told I "CAN'T" do something, I'll try it at least once which is how I knocked out my front tooth (bicycle), mangled up my right hand (dirt bike) and found a way to take care of my family as a single mom (sewing machine)!
Oh..I've been a "jack-of-all-trades" in my lifetime, some were not so smart -- receptionist/secretary (smart), doughnut maker (semi-smart), worked in a yarn shop (not so smart...no paycheck by the end of the week), built race cars (smart), auto body (smart), worked in a fabric store (again, not so smart), lettered vehicles (pre-vinyl decal days...smart) and a seamstress (very smart)!!

Though at the time I didn't want to do it, I can't thank my Mom enough for sending me to those sewing classes when I was 10...Oh, Granny had a needle and thread in my hand much younger but I was never allowed to use her sewing machine till later.

I started out making bridesmaid dresses (even a few wedding dresses) but this was all too monotonous for me...7 dresses just alike -- ugh! Then the opportunity came to do some sewing for (now closed) Virginia's Explore Park, that lead to sewing for 100's of Civil War reenactors...literally! I had dresses shipped all over the US, as far West as California! It too got a little like making bridesmaid dresses...I made nearly 100 Confederate soldier jackets called "Depot Jackets" and well over 50 battleshirts (reading these two links will probably bore you to tears, but just in case you were curious). But there was something a little more intriguing about this type of sewing, I researched each request, visited as many museums as possible and learned the various sewing techniques used during the time period. This is also how I met my wonderful Hubby!

Clients would send me a "period" picture with any changes or requests and I would make a reproductions to their specifications. This was fun!! My clothes have been in several movies...one notable one is Gods & Generals...I was even on set a several times (I stood beside Stephen Lang in my 19th Century best)...now you won't find my name in the credits, you see we reenactors are often used as "unpaid extras" at various events. But I have made uniforms for several units and individuals who were some of these "extras" -- my BIL & nephew were paid extras in a couple movies in which they were completely clothed by "moi"!

Sometimes I miss it, but carpal tunnel began showing up with all the handwork that this type of work required, I prefer to be able to feel my fingers later...and a big chicken when it comes to surgery.

I hope this slideshow works, I found an old disc the other day that contained my old files. Here is a small sampling of my hard work ~



I am quite proud of this time in my life. As you can see my fiber addiction goes way back!

Keep on Knittin' - Spinnin' and Sewin'!!

13 comments:

issy said...

You REALLY SHOULD be proud of yourself Robin. This is an amazing "career". I've also been sewing since I could stand up, but vowed to avoid making clothes for other people except family!
Wonderful. Good job Robin!

knitnsticks said...

Wow! Very impressive. I too have been sewing for MANY years - including wedding dresses and bridesmaids' too. I always thought it'd be fun to expand into the Civil War era attire but didn't. I fondly recall a 1st Grade field trip to Explore Park as one of the best ones. The interpreters were very accepting to the kids and it WAS truly nice to have this kind of park so close to home. I like to think that I have an addiction to needles -- only the productive ones!! (seems like you do too.. :) (the word verification was MENDstr.)

Channon said...

Indeed. You should be proud! I'm thoroughly impressed. I sew on buttons, and that's about it...

Anonymous said...

Awesome slide show!!
Jennifer

Becky said...

Wow, those clothes are amazing! To me, sewing is like crochet. I know how, but just don't like to do it.

Dianne said...

What an incredibly talented Lady!
I can't wait to show DH..as soon as he's back from walking NIK.
He will appreciate your labors!!

Anita said...

Wow! That is some amazing sewing!! You should be extremely proud!

I need to talk you into coming to stay with me for a weekend & showing me how to use my grandmother's old pedal sewing maching. :) I don't do much sewing but I'd love to be able to use it someday.

Jadielady said...

Oh wow everything is beautiful!! I love the dresses. Every once in a while I wish that we still wore hoop skirts.
Though I could do without all the other stuff, like slavery, and not being able to vote, or speak my mind.

Dani said...

Those are amazing Robin, truly works of art!

Aunt Kathy said...

Robin, wow I am in awe, you are amazing.

Monica said...

Wow Robin you're a sewing GODDESS! I wish you were my mom (especially for Halloween!!) hehehe I suck at following patterns and have an unfinished dress that I just don't understand the next instructions. I wish you lived closer and could show me!!

Bubblesknits said...

Wow! Very nice work! The hubby wished so very badly that I could sew when he was doing costuming. I don't know if you ever watched the Cosby Show, but there's an episode where Cleo's sister makes him a shirt. That's about what my attempts turn out like! lol

Bobbi said...

How cool! Thanks for sharing!