Sunday, July 25, 2010
awhile ago I decided I wanted a new pow wow dress but I don't sew and don't have a sewing machine. A friend offered to make it, but then she had a baby and life got busy (plus she has all her own sewing & beading projects). Still I recently bought the fabric: dark green wool with 3 color bands along the edge (known as 3-band wool broadcloth)...I had hope to get saved list stroud cloth but decided it was just too expensive for now ($89 a meter vs $39 a yard for the broadcloth). Heres the image from the pattern (and in green!). And I have been slowly buying up brass sequins for some decoration. I asked another friend to consider making it for me and am waiting for her reply; she made my lovely green dance fan and sews Caddo clothes. I added a link to her webpage if anyone is needing custom made regalia (see bottom right for her link).
Trade cloth dresses replaced hide ones on the plains later than in other areas, but by the reservation years the buffalo were gone and missionary women were offering sewing instructions. For more on native women's sewing circles see http://www.bethelks.edu/mennonitelife/2006Sept/schmidt.php
Today many women dance in cloth; it is more affordable than hide and easier to work. It gets hot out west during pow wow season so many have cotton dresses; I hope wool will be better suited to my new life in the Chicago region. I will eventually make my moccasins, a belt with large brass conchos (silver is more common but I think the brass adds an older look and will go nicely with my green fabric), belt bags and all else. Think I discussed this in one of my earliest postings at this time last year...now I am a year older and still don't have my clothes together; time to refocus!!
PS: my friend Tracy has agreed to take on my dress project, says she has wanted to work with this wool fabric, but had not yet had the opportunity and looks forward to making something other than Caddo clothes (which are very lovely and usually purple). We will work out some trade (which I think is more fun than cash money anyway) and I sent her copies of 2 excellent books: "Identity by Design" and "19th Century Plains Indian Dresses" as both are fantastic reference books.
My neighbor (who has a furniture repair shop and more importantly a pick-up truck) gave me a big sheet of plywood recently so I can stretch the hide for my moccasins....its looking like that may be a good project to finally start!!