Do you have a character who needs just the right little black dress, or the proper 16th century doublet, or maybe a Confederate officer's uniform? Well, for historically correct clothing from the Middle Ages through World War II and later, have you tried one of the historical clothing blog sites? If not, you might want to give them a look. They can easily be Googled and include The Fashion Historian, The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum, The Costume Society of America . . . the list goes on. And for the writer, these sites are a mine of useful information. Some of them feature images, others historical vignettes and fashion anecdotes. Some even include sewing information.
The fact that I spent an afternoon exploring these blogs, especially the ones highlighting sewing, is a surprise even to me. For while I can play with commas, verbs and sentence structures all day long, if you hand me a needle and say, "Shorten my pants," my eyes cross.
But sewing angst aside, and even if your characters don't need to be garbed in vintage duds, these blogs are worth reviewing with their fabulous, intricate (to the point of being mind-boggling) clothing, most of which was made before the invention of the sewing machine. But hand, stitch by stitch, pleat by pleat, someone, somewhere, patiently and with great artistry created gorgeous dresses, blouses, skirts, suits, hats, etc. And they are well worth admiration. Case in point:
Oops! Sorry, couldn't resist, though this one was machine made (outfit only!)
Actually, as I scrolled around, I realized that creating a gorgeous garment, using little more than fabric, thread and a needle, isn't so very different from creating a novel using nouns, verbs and other parts of speech. Both endeavors weave threads into a whole: a gown, a book, a sweater, a short story. A stretch, you say? Maybe not. How about this? Every creative process takes something nebulous--threads, notes, colors, ideas--and with imagination, persistence and very hard work produces a brand new something. Hopefully, an object d'art. To reinforce my theme here, isn't a good story often called a good yarn?
Okay, I'm done. Preaching is over. I'm off to pour a glass of wine and look for an 1890's harem outfit. In red.
Jean Harrington is the author of the award-winning Murders by Design Mysteries and the listed and Lethal Mysteries. Murder on Pea Pike, the first Listed and Lethal book is also due out on March 21 in a large print edition. Jean's mysteries can be found in both print and e-books at Amazon.
NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS
A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.
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