Monday, April 25, 2011

A Self-Stitched Easter

Blog Pictures 368

Just a quick note about the weekend.  The RTW muslin is in a place I'm happy with, the fashion fabric is partially cut out, and I had a productive research weekend.  You all have seen the outfit I'm wearing above; the shirt J is wearing is a shirt I finished literally Easter morning.  The construction turned out well, and J loves it, but I HATE the fabric.  It's some kind of poly blend (mystery thrift store fabric) that's got a weird silky hand, but J loves it.  And although I didn't do the MPB Negroni shirt sewalong, I definitely learned the value varying stitch lengths for different areas--I don't love this shirt because of the fabric, but I feel good about my work on it.

I didn't get the editing/writing done that I wanted to, because I ended up chasing about 140 years of footnotes, but I found the source of an annoying scholarly myth that's been bugging me for several years.  It's the sort of thing that doesn't even get cited anymore because everyone accepts it as true--everyone in the 19th century cited primary documents, so we'll cite the 19th century writers, and not examine their evidence.  

However, when you chase down the 19th century citations, all these writers are basing their arguments about both the 17th and 18th centuries on a single document written in 1689.  It's used as the sole source for the price of retail goods sold to Native people in French Canada and New York, and A. it was written in Paris by someone who had never been to North America, and B. the prices it quotes are way off base from the account books I've found for both French Canada and New York for the same period.  

It boggles my mind that no one has examined these numbers, because entire books rely on the assumption that this document is accurate.  I'm rolling around in my head how to write about the problem of relying on this document and why it's wrong without it being horribly boring, but I'm excited about the find.  And with the magic of the interwebs, I can find pretty much everyone who has either cited this document or someone who relies on other scholars who do.  

Have you had an exciting breakthrough lately, in work, sewing or something else?  I didn't accomplish my stated goal for the weekend, but I did accomplish something, and that made the weekend feel pretty productive.


  1. That doesn't sound boring to me, and I'm not even an academic. It's like the discovery that scientists in the 70s weren't discovering new cells, but that hela cells were contaminating labs like crazy.

    Write it!

    Also, love the negroni. I was pondering trying one for my J.

  2. Glad it doesn't sound boring to you ab! I think academics (at least in the humanities) sometimes have a problem explaining why things are important--we spend so much time on it, so it must be important!

    re: the shirt, I guess I should have been more clear, because it's not actually a Negroni. It's actually a vintage cowboy shirt pattern that I've taken the yoke detail away from, since my J is so skinny that a lot of dress shirt patterns are too big for him. I've heard the Negroni has some fit issues for skinny guys, although I don't know. I just meant that I learned a lot from just reading the MPB sewalong--it got me thinking about detail even though I've already done several shirts for J.