Thursday, August 25, 2016

Comparing Historical Sewing to the Olympic Gymnastic Sparkly Leotards

One of my favorite events at the summer Olympics is also the premiere event, dating back to Ancient Greece...gymnastics. According to the ancient philosophers like Homer, Plato and Aristotle, physical activity and intellectual pursuit created perfect symmetry.

The term "artistic gymnastics" began in the early 19th century to distinguish the beautiful form that many of us beat a path to the television to watch from that of military training and calisthenics. Artistic gymnastic competitions were already happening throughout Europe before the Olympics revived in 1896 Athens. Many participants excelled in ballet to enhance the beauty of their sport.

We now take this beauty to a more physical representation in the sewing of the leotards themselves. Since I sew costumes myself, this article by Cosmopolitan definitely caught my eye. They have written 9 ways on how these bedazzling leotards are designed, which I have compared to the craft of historical sewing below:
  • It takes 2 years to produce the leotards.-As a costumer, I get that. Long before I begin my sewing of historical clothing, I pour hours into research into the history, the style, the technique, the best fabrics, etc, etc, etc.  Then the toile/muslin/or mock-up needs to be made and tested.
  • Every leotard is custom fit with as many as 3 fittings. I do that with my sewing too. It's the only way to ensure fit. A fitting at the beginning of the process, midway, then at the end, to make sure everything fits just right on the sewing journey. Any woman knows that no two of us have the exact same body shape. That's why clothes off the rack rarely fit anyone well. That's why patterns made as per pattern directions rarely fit anyone well. They are general sizes. All of us are proportioned differently, so historical sewing, couture sewing, even leotard sewing takes a lot of time...and fittings!
  • 108_0823
    Obviously the underpinnings for this gown are no longer needed today for daily wear, much less for the gymnastics team!
  • Undergarments, or as we call them in the historical sewing world...underpinnings...the right ones make all the difference. This is obvious with the leotards the girls wear. Undergarments throughout the dramatic fashion changes of the various centuries make all the difference in how the outer garment appears.
  • The expense! Oh my! Well, anytime we dress up for a special event, it does cost more. The guys complain but don't their eyes get knocked out when they see us all glamoured up?
  • Quality-I read that Marta Karolyi chose swarovski crystals because they sparkle the most. I've learned with my sewing, whether it's historical, contemporary clothing, quilts, or even window treatments, that quality counts. It lasts the longest and looks the best. Of course I can't always afford the most expensive, and I do shop for bargains, but the cheapest is quite often just cheap. Oftentimes I do without and save my money to get something of a better quality that I will truely be happy with.

It was also fun to read that they were made in Reading, Pennsylvania! Lovely job!

No comments:

Post a Comment