Hi! My name is Brittany and I’m one of the contributors here at the Costume Museum of Canada Blog. Before I get to the really exciting posts I thought I’d take some time to tell you a little bit about myself.
As a child, I was never one of those little girls who wanted to wear make up or fancy shoes, I hated getting my hair done and just the thought of having to sit still and look pretty made me run for the hills. I was much more likely to be found sitting in a tree reading a book or playing in the mud. But if there was one aspect of femininity that I could truly appreciate, it was dresses, but it was the 90’s and I wasn’t exactly in love with “modern fashion”. I was taken with fairy tales, and not the Disney versions either, but the real ones by the brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. I could spend hours reading and poring over the illustrations of princes and princesses, old maids and peasants.
As I grew older my love and passion for history grew too, and I spent many afternoons reading books by Louisa May Alcott and Charles Dickens. Shakespeare and Tolkien were some of my favourite authors in grade school and I loved watching plays and movies with magnificent costuming. My mother had taught me to sew when I was 5, with a needle and thread, but we had no sewing machine and not much in the way of fabric lying around so I put my talents to use making my own dolls out of old pillowcases. It wasn’t until I turned 16 that I attempted my first gown. It had a full skirt with six gores, a pointed bodice in front and back, a square neckline and bell sleeves and was made out of a cheap broadcloth. However, there were no darts, and no shaping in the bodice and the sleeves fell right down off the shoulders if you weren’t careful. You see, I made the pattern myself, and I had no training in pattern making whatsoever. All I knew was what kind of medieval-era inspired look I wanted so I took my measurements and I guessed at the rest. To be honest it wasn’t half bad for someone who had no clue what they were doing. I still have that dress, sometimes I take it out and remember how far I’ve come since then.
I’ve always had a passion for history and the clothing people used to wear, but I’ve never been one to keep up with today’s fashions I will admit. I have no idea what is popular at the moment, bubble skirts, maxi dresses, dropped waistline. I have no clue. Bustles and crinolines and corsets however I could tell you a thing or two about!
Last year I decided to take an Apparel Design course at a local college. I’ve learned so much about pattern making and textiles and really enjoyed my studies. Then in January of this year it was my champagne birthday and my husband asked me what I’d like to do. I thought about it and told him I wished the costume museum was still around because I would really love to visit it. I decided to do a google search and discovered that they were still around even though they didn’t have a permanent display, they were still doing pop-up exhibits and fashion shows and they were looking for volunteers. So I’ve been volunteering since then, and what a ride it’s been! I’m so excited we have this blog now so I can share with everyone all the fantastic things we discover each week down in the vaults.
^Me, showing off my latest creations. 😉