2020 November - Workshop Weekend, Wilhelminaoord

Workshop the Lost World of Piecework Garments

By Geeske Kruseman

Piecework means "made in a single piece", like handknitting a sweater, as opposed to cutting component parts out of a pre-existing fabric and sewing them together. 
Piecework dominates clothing in societies that have no mechanized weaving – but with nearly all our modern garments cut-and-sown, how can we understand what that means?
In Europe, the Early Middle Ages is when piecework starts to lose ground to cutting-and-sewing. But I did not realize this until I got involved with the 1500's, when 3D tailoring boomed and cutting-out suddenly became a fine art. That made me realise how we dismiss non-cut-out garments as unimportant, uncivilized, primitive... which they are not! 
So I started asking: which garments are made as piecework, when and where and with which techniques and materials? How is making, and wearing, a piecework garment different from a cut-out one? How does cutting-and-sewing displace piecework? What goes wrong when someone uses cut-and-sew in an attempt to recreate a piecework original?
In this workshop, I will show-and-tell my findings, and ask you to contribute whatever you know about what people wear, from Prehistory to the present day. We won't be making things, but I will bring you a few armloads of garments (and a big mirror) to experience 'what it feels like' and try out draping and pinning. I'm also writing you a nice little reader with a historical outline, pictures, diagrams and a reading list, to keep afterwards. 
It should be good fun, but be warned: this may change forever the way you look at a sock.


Time: 3 hours
Participants (min/max): 4 to 10 people per group
Minimum age: 14 yrs.
Costs: € 10 per person
Note: This workshop is complementary to practical piecework techniques such as Needlebinding, Braiding and Netting


About Geeske Kruseman: My research interest is what people wear and how they make it, mostly but not exclusively in the Early Middle Ages and the 16th to early 17th century. My method is to gather data (in as many different fields as I can) to make a reconstruction to generate questions to gather more data to make a reconstruction... and so on. You can find some of my published work at https://independent.academia.edu/GeesKrus.