Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The impossible quest

I am currently writing my dissertation. I will defend it in less than a month. Which means I will be attending my last graduation as a student. I have accepted a position as an Assistant Professor, which means that I will be attending many, many more graduations. I wanted to have the really nice regalia, since I will be wearing it more than once (and I like fancy costumes).

The made-to-order regalia cost in the neighborhood of $900 and are made out of a poly-crepe. I don't need to sit in the sun in a $900 trash bag, so...

I have decided to sew my own academic regalia. I thought this would a pretty straightforward problem. You know, find pattern, pick out fabric, adjust pattern, sew, look fabulous.

Not so.

There is only one commercial pattern available to make academic/clergy robes. It is from Butterick, which I have found to be a pretty good workhorse pattern company. But I have taken a closer look at the construction of regalia and there are significantly more fiddly bits than appear at first glance. The Butterick pattern does not try to include these, but I think it can be altered to include them.

My initial research indicates that very few others have tried to do this project, so I am starting my first blog as an attempt to a) distract myself from looming deadlines and b) leave a trail for others to follow. I have found the costume diaries of others to be of great help, so I hope that this diary might be helpful to others. Please, if you're reading, post comments and questions.

11 comments:

Maradoll said...

Hey - that's awesome! You go girl!!

piffle said...

Yay! Thanks Mara. It's gratifying to have someone pay attention!

BTW your kitchen is looking fantastic.

Jerusha said...

Hi! I just found your blog (I lurk mostly on LiveJOurnal) and I'm going to follow in your footsteps. I can't see paying those kinds of prices for a garbage bag. I'm going to read and catch up on your progress.

Do you know if there's a way for blogger to notify me when you update?

Susan (shiny new PhD, August 2007)

piffle said...

You should be able to subscribe to the RSS feed by clicking onto "Subscribe: Posts" under each entry. On the other hand, graduation is May 17th, so I should be wrapping up this project pretty soon!

prophet said...

'great minds think in parallel circles', my husband likes to say. . . .

I've been 'paralleling' you it seems, after a fashion - but got my dissertation & defense finished several months ago now - final copies printed & submitted - and now a significant delay before graduation. I, too, dislike the idea of sitting in $900 trash bags, and thought: "I'll sew my own! How hard could this be. . . ."

So good to find your site; best wishes on your graduation and congratulations on a successful defense!

andrea said...

I'm reading this too...because I have a deep-seated hatred for plastic clothing. I think I may start with the hood though, since my U here on the frontier isn't that particular about the robes. The other nice thing is that I won't have to "match" because no one else is from my degree granting U.

andrea said...

I'm reading too...

I'm going to start with the hood but eventually I'd like to make the gown. I have a deep-seated hatred for polyester clothing.

Since I'm not trying to "match" anyone--this will just be for graduation ceremonies at out little U on the frontier--I want to take lots of creative liberties anyways.

ajpiffle said...

Andrea,

It's worth asking about the hood. Even if your institution isn't picky, they will often give you one (depending on your degree -- most master's and doctoral degrees have a special ceremony in which you are given your hood). If would be weird to who up already having one.

andrea said...

I came back looking for the hood...I already had the phd, just not the regalia, and no other faculty graduated from my institution. Sorry for not being clear. I bought a vintage gown on eBay (I think it was a masters, but it was long enough ago that the sleeves are very different). I can't
believe you made all those little pleats...so, so cool

Trellis said...

I've started on my own version of this project -- building on what I've learned from your wonderful blog. Thanks for all the information and inspiration. You can follow my progress at:
http://makeyourownregalia.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

When I thought about making my own regalia, I thought it was the craziest thing to do but I am glad I found this. It is quite encouraging to know that I am not crazy. I feel great reading this blog. So, project continues.