Welcome to the fourth and final (for now, at least!) part of Mukashi no Sewing’s eleventh spotlight! As I mentioned previously, the original curation post ended up being SUPER long, so I’ve split it into three sections. This is the third curation post, covering my antique garment collection!
Of my “alternative” clothing collections, my antique garment one is by far the smallest. One of the main reasons for this is the huge amount of space these clothes take up compared to other clothes. I can fit all my kimono folded flat in one storage box (well, one storage box plus just a tiny bit of overflow into another one!), and all of my lolita dresses squish into the closet together. But my Victorian nightgown takes up almost an entire box on its own! I have very limited space in my house at this point, so I have to be ruthless when it comes to curating my antique garments.
Like with my kimono and lolita collections, fit is one of the biggest considerations for me. I would love to be like Abby Cox and keep a reference collection for sewing my own! However, not only do I not have the space, I don’t wear enough historical clothing to justify a stash of reference clothes plus modern reproductions! So the clothes I do have, have to fit me. They also need to be in good enough shape for me to wear. I’ve talked about this a little before, but I firmly believe that if a garment isn’t of historical significance or extreme value, it should be worn if possible! A gown with terrible silk shatter isn’t going to cut it for me, since wearing it would destroy it.
I don’t wear historical garments nearly as often as I do lolita or kimono, is the truth – I love the Victorian era, but wearing Victorian clothes definitely falls onto the “cosplay” style of “costume” for me. I feel totally normal wearing kimono, but a ballgown…not so much! So the final consideration for me is that my antique garments need to have some kind of personal significance. My Edo coat started as a transaction, but I’m completely making it over into my own, including my own crest! My Victorian nightgown was a gift from a cherished friend, and can be worn as an overdress as well, making it surprisingly versatile. And that same friend happened to give me a gown too… Here’s a little sneak peek for you!
I KNOW RIGHT?!?! It barely falls into the category of “wearable,” and is going to need some substantial restoration work…but you can look forward to seeing much more of this dress in months to come here! As a family heirloom it’s obviously worth the effort to me, in both repairing and storing it (it takes up three boxes!), so in the collection it stays!
Two of my kimono are technically antique garments as well – my Meiji era kimono that was my very first project here, and a Taisho one (~1920s) that I’ll be featuring soon as well! I don’t think I’m likely to buy many more antique kimono, as they are difficult to wear and tend to be too short for me in both mitake and yuki (length and sleeve length). I actually may be returning to my Meiji kimono here on the blog, as I have learned some new techniques that might be able to clean it up even further! And my Taisho one I bought because of its incredible embroidery – it’s a wearable garment that can also serve as a reference piece for future projects. 🙂
I don’t see myself acquiring too many more antique garments unless they’re heirlooms/gifts, to be honest, but I deeply cherish the ones I own! I hope you’ve enjoyed this extended spotlight, and I look forward to seeing you back here next time here on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤
Subscribe so you never miss a post! New adventures in history and sewing every Tuesday.