I had the privilege of attending an amazing Big Ass Hat Tea hosted by Jennylafleur week before last, and while I had a wonderful time others have done a nice write up of the event and I’ve been thinking pondery thoughts. Specifically about community.
In the dark ages when I started costuming (1997…wow) I met a lot, and I mean A LOT of my friends through costume journaling on LiveJournal, and most people have left that medium. Some wandered off when Facebook became the monolith it is, some left when Livejournal became a Russian company. I see more and more of the costuming community on Facebook and Instagram and while yes I have and enjoy both of those mediums I feel a deep sadness for the 13 year olds looking to get into costuming today.
Why? they have even MORE access to costumers! You don’t need to scan things to find them online these days. I feel this because with the death of dress diaries and journaling you lose the reinforcement that NOT EVERYTHING IS PERFECT. The number of my projects that have turned out the way I wanted compared to those I’ve never admitted to on this blog or elsewhere is probably 10:1 in favor of the trash pile. Having a rich community of people sharing their process helped me feel okay making mistakes and growing. I worry that the costumers who come after me will think it has to be a perfect instagram photo before it’s worth sharing.
Okay Robin but you were talking about an awesome 18th century tea. What on earth does this have to do with anything? You may have noticed that I don’t have many 18th century costumes on this blog (do I have any?)..and the truth is that I don’t FEEL pretty in the 18th century. Why? I’m not good at it, and I’m surrounded by people who are freaking AMAZING at it. When sewing for the tea I had some *ahem* struggles.
But here’s the thing, I felt comfortable with an amazing group of women who’ve taught me so much, and I showed up and said HELP. You see sometimes it takes a village.
Alice sewed my waist darts to help it fit. Katherine sewed my sleeve trim. Jenny-Rose lent me her AMAZINGLY decorated petticoat and stomacher as well as a delightfully ridiculous cap. Adrienne let me wear her hat. And in the end? Well I won’t say it made me as giddy as if it was silly 1830s, but I felt a million times better.
So I guess the point of this is two fold. 1. If you’re new to costuming and looking for some community the LJ group has mostly moved to Dreamwidth. I’m Robinsnest over there and please come on in. The water’s great and it’s so fun to have friends to really talk the details through with. and 2. If Instagram and FB and snapchat or whatever the cool kids are using is your jam? GREAT. But don’t hold yourself to what you think are unachievable standards. Sometimes you’re going to a party for a friend you love in an era that hasn’t clicked with you and it just takes a village.
Stay tuned next week and I promise an actual construction write up of my oufit (the 1/16th I made)