We both know excellent costumers and seamstresses who make fabulous gowns that have superb construction. Their choice of fabrics, the fit, the copying of period seams placed correctly, the hand finishing - all make for a grand historical ensemble.
Their undergarments as well whisper of days gone by while they cover or add to their natural head of hair to represent what our ancestors wore. They indeed know what they're doing, or have studied and researched enough to create that "just stepped out of the portrait studio" look.
We can hardly find fault with their work. Their creativity is ripe and the fruits of their labor are bright.
But then for some of these spectacular clothes, as we stop and admire and gaze and wonder, something catches us for that briefest of moments - in all its fabulousness - something seems missing. Or it's just - I can't put my finger on it....
Why doesn't it look right?
It seems just slightly off.
What is it? You know what I mean. The magic is not there.
Say you are making your dream dress, copied from an extant (existing) garment. You study, you plan, you search, you find. You sew, you tear, you wash, you iron, you cut, you sew some more, you rip out, you stitch, you hem, you attach. After hours of work it's done. It is beautiful.
But why doesn't it look like the original? You analyze every detail you can find about the special gown. You've copied it exactly. But then why does it not look the same? What's missing?
Where's the magic you saw in the book or on the screen? Did the clock strike midnight and my fairy godmother's spells worn off?
This is the surpreme question that so many historical sewers ask themselves and strive to grasp. We set out to achieve that ultimate costume only to have it fall just short of greatness - the handkercheifs are ready, but no drool comes. What's wrong?
This can be answered in many ways. What are your thoughts?