Sustainable 1700's + A Halloween Costume

If you follow me on Instagram then you know about my Katrina Van Tassel costume for Halloween. I got the idea to dress up as her from my youngest son Tommy. He developed a passion for all things "Headless Horseman" this Halloween and it gave me the idea to dress up as her. If you have no idea who I'm talking about; that's OK, she's kind of obscure. Although she is a Disney character, she's not one you'll see wondering around "The Happiest Place on Earth".

Katrina is the love interest of both Ichabod Crane and Brom Bones the protagonist and antagonist in Washington Irving's famous story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". She's also the only child of the richest man in Sleepy Hollow. (Which, is a real place, check out this post here,) I've loved the story since childhood, it's fantastic! Disney made it into a movie in the late 1940's and there's a serious resemblance between Katrina and Cinderella! In 1999 Tim Burton made a fabulous (and super scary) version with Christina Ricci and Johnny Depp. Christina made a much more brooding version of Katrina then the Disney one. I love them both though! With my costume I trended toward the Disney version with pink and blue flower patterns. I plan to wear the costume again next year, I'm thinking I'll add a fun wig or a big crinoline under the skirt!

Katrina Van Tassel and Harry Potter!

When I think about sustainability in fashion I always think of the past. Because so much of what can make our clothes sustainable today was simply the way things were done in the past. As I alluded over on Instagram today the 1700's was a super sustainable time for fashion! I mean think about it- clothing was a status symbol because it was expensive. Today clothing is not a status symbol, it's often just a brand name that is the status symbol. And, sadly, many times the quality is poor.

In the 1700's all fabric was made from natural fibers. Naturally, it was organic, no chemical fertilizers back then. One of the reasons for the great expense of clothing was that all cloth was hand-spun. This was slow work and as we know, time is money! The mechanization process 100 years later really helped bring the cost of cloth down. Let's not forget the hand dying process to give the cloth vibrant colors, oh and it the dye all made from natural sources (mostly plants).

me as Katrina

Sewing cloth into an intricate gown, like Katrina Van Tassel would've worn had she been real, would've been nothing short of art. The sewing machine was a gift of the 19th century and so a good 18th century seamstress or tailor would've sewn everything by hand. Again, back to the time is money equation and you get the picture. A gown would've been a precious item and unless a lady was very rich would've been kept and worn for years. Often the cloth would be recycled into a newer, more fashionable gown after a while. Nothing was wasted, nothing was taken for granted.

Sustainability can be as easy as bringing it back. What I mean by that is, thinking about how things were done in the past and embracing those ways. I find when I think historically I am also thinking sustainably. I just think that's cool! :)

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