So I decided, in the spirit keeping things visual to add images to as many of the items as I could. And eventually, I decided to keep a running visual list of the garments I'd created. Within a few minutes, I had a line of images of each dress I've created from my charcoal gray wool kirtle in May of 2013 to my orange linen kirtle, completed last month.
It wasn't hard to see that between those two dresses, something of what I've learned has actually caught on. In fact, a whole lotta something has.
I find it interesting to realize that we can so easily work in a vacuum, never really noticing that we're improving. Sure, we celebrate the successes as they come, but we get so caught up in the mistakes we made that we don't think we've made any headway. It's all "one step forward, two steps back" in our heads. It honestly wasn't until seeing all my recent dresses lined up chronologically that I noticed that I really am moving forward.
I've certainly had my share of outward changes between these two dresses, and the two photos above most definitely display two different women (figuratively speaking, of course). For starters, there's obviously some weight gain, but that's barely scratching the surface. Baby weening, health issues, better shoes, triumphs, disappointments- all there between those two. Oh, and more gray hairs (which I honestly cherish. I've earned every single one.) But beyond the fact that I've changed, my skills have changed. The charcoal dress was sewn by machine with hand-sewn finishing, where the orange dress, and the blue hunting dress before it were entirely handsewn. The sleeves and shoulders on the charcoal dress fit very poorly. The sleeves and neckline are a bit wonky on the orange dress, it doesn't bind or pull or pinch in any way that hurts.
What struck me the most when I looked at my lined-up garb was the actual progression. Each garment's issues feed into the next garment's strengths. Gores gradually moved up to where they belonged, doing a steadily better job of working with my unruly "mothers abs". As I felt more confident in my tailoring, it showed in the risks I took by widening my necklines- removing all that supportive cloth from my shoulders, crossing my fingers that the fitting would keep my bust in place. And the difference in my bust shape as I progressed proved that I was right to challenge myself in such ways.
I think, as well, that I'm much more confident in my ability to look comfortably medieval. I compare the two photos above, and that confidence is clear to me. While I love my pink dress, and respect that I did the best I could with what I knew then, the Edyth in the orange dress is just more accurate. And though I see now a slight tone in that photo that is a bit boastful, I feel, in looking back, that it may be more warranted in that moment than I realized at the time. I'm progressing, and that's something to be proud of
If you've missed any of my dresses, you can check out a whole mess of photos over on my Flickr photostream.
(Also, in case there's any confusion, this is not a paid endorsement of any to-do apps. Because, you know, legal stuff.)