Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back to School (so cue the fun)

It's the end of August, and that means I am back at school and busy as a bee!  I'm now in my senior year of high school, so my schedule of classes is very full and won't allow much time for sewing or blogging, but I'm excited to be back.  

This year is going to be great: my school has allowed me to design my own class in garment history, which I have entitled ('cause that's one of the perks of making your own class--you get to choose it's name) "Foundations of Apparel: An Examination of Women’s Underwear in the 16th and 19th Centuries."  I need a nickname for it.  Suggestions?

The goal of my class is to examine the foundational garments of young, educated women in the Elizabethan period and during the American Civil War and produce similar garments utilizing some period-appropriate techniques for each era.  (I say "some period techniques" because it is highly unrealistic that I will have time to hand-sew the Elizabethan garments.)  The undergarments I will be making will fit the persona of a middle class young women around my size and age (fancy that!), so I will attempt to use the materials that would have been available to such a girl as much as possible.  By the end of the school year, I will have fairly historically accurate undergarments for two periods of history.

Since foundational garments from both periods follow a similar order of layers, I will be sewing each layer from the two sets of underwear at a time.  The layers are: Smock/Chemise, Stays/Corset, Farthingale/Crinoline, and Kirtle/Petticoats.  Of course, these are very broad definitions of layers.  For instance, I will make a pair of drawers when I make the chemise and a roll when I make the farthingale.
I'll try to keep this blog updated with my progress in the class, but I do plan on having a very full schedule so please bear with me! Thanks!

Another thing I'm really excited for is Senioritis!  It's not the "crippling disease that strikes high school seniors"(Urban Dictionary definition), but an art show that my school does at the beginning of every school year to celebrate seniors' artwork.

Of the student art shows my school hosts each year, Senioritis is by far my favorite.  The other student art shows, one each semester, display works that students have made in their art classes that semester, which means that each student taking an art class that semester likely only has a few pieces on display at the most.  It also means that if, say, the 8th graders are learning about a certain technique in their art class, the art show that semester will most likely have twenty different pieces that look similar because everyone in that 8th grade class will all have made something using the same technique.  These student art shows are better at celebrating what each art class is working on, rather than what each student is working on.  Senioritis, on the other hand, focuses on the individual talent of each senior.

Though Senioritis is open to all seniors who want to display any piece they have made in their art classes, it mainly attracts students who have continued taking art classes past the required two semesters.  Some students jump around disciplines and therefore display a diverse range of artworks in different mediums, and some students, like me, for the most part stick with one discipline and then display a number of their more complex pieces all in the same medium.  I love seeing everything that people make in their time at school -- it's a wonderful opportunity to see the level of talent and creativity that my classmates have, and to see themes within their works.

I've been looking forward to displaying my work in Senioritis since I was a freshman, and there's something surreal about now being a senior and searching around the house for things I've made in the last three years so I can display them.

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