Great job, Katherine!! Your costume won first place in our Halloween Costume Contest. In fact, both of the costumes your entered were in the top rankings of the competition! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where your passion for sewing developed?
My dad started teaching me to sew when I was 12 so I could pass my home ec class. Since then, I just loved the idea of being able to make my own clothes. By the time I was in high school, I wore mostly clothes I made myself. I was even able to have a job one summer where I sewed curtains for an interior designer. I’m 22 now and I still love sewing.
There is a definite historical influence to your winning costume. Can you describe it in more detail for us?
I participate in a medieval/fantasy reenactment fighting group called Belegarth that I joined in high school. I was able to turn my love of sewing into something very productive.
When I joined this group, I went from making simple homemade clothes for myself into making outfits with a historical twist to them for this group. While there is not as much emphasis on historically correct garb for this group as there may be for others, it definitely encourages me to use my creativity to put a spin on garb that was originally more historical. The colors and appliqué on my corset are actually a spin on the symbol for the unit I am part of in Belegarth.
I love the costumes you created! Where do you get your inspiration from?
The chemise is designed from one that I saw at the renaissance faire that I loved, but could not afford. I went thought the costume section of simplicity patterns and found something similar and adjusted it. My specialty is definitely in making corsets, I just love them! For this specific one, I was trying to find a way to use the symbol for my unit, which is actually a hydra. While I was not able to make it look exact, it was fun to play around with and try my best.
Do you find it difficult to capture a certain period in history?
Not really. Since Belegarth does not require strict historical accuracy, I find it easier to design things. I just save pictures I find of things I like and incorporate it into my garb. I have an entire sketching book filled with designs for garb I would like to make. I also do not constrict myself to a specific period. I have made Medieval, Renaissance, Roman, and even gypsy and belly dancing garb.
You used linen for your costumes. Is there a reason you chose linen over other fabrics?
Yes! I love using linen. It lends my outfits that bit of a historical look that might not otherwise be seen with other fabrics. Belegarth is also a very physical sport and I have found that linen is the best to wear if you want to keep cool or warm depending on the season. It is the most comfortable and versatile fabric I have used. What types of garments do you usually sew?
Again, my specialty is in making corsets. I have a facebook page at www.facebook.com/gypsyrosedesigns. But I also make mens tunics and pants, bodice, chemises, and skirts. Many people have commissioned me to make them custom pieces that they may not be able to make themselves.
I’m sure you love getting the chance to show off your beautiful designs! What types of occasions do you wear your historical garbs to?
I usually wear my outfits to Belegarth events. There are 3 main ones a year that last from Wednesday-Sunday, with anywhere from 200-500+ people at each event. We also have a Belegarth practice each week, but I don’t wear my nicer garb or corsets there. I usually wear a fighting tunic and pants. I also enjoy going to the Renaissance faire a few times a year.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests besides sewing?
Sewing is definitely my main hobby. I was really interested in jewelry making, but no one else seemed to like my style, and I always came back to sewing. Belegarth is my other hobby. I love the people I’ve met and all of the friends I have made. I am an archer, so I love standing in the back and being able to pick people off in the front line.
I am currently in college, so I don’t have as much time to pursue many hobbies at the moment. With Christmas break coming up, I am looking forward to all the new sewing projects I have planned for my new linen!