14 thoughts on “Job-Hunting in Frock Flicks

  1. I would have to vote for heiress or doing something lucrative that I loved, because the rest of it is just too much work for very little return, especially being a ruler or kept woman/marrying for money, or doing other thankless jobs–good luck to you winning that lottery though!

  2. The Heiress section’s reminding me of the book “To Marry an English Lord.” It has such a gossip column feel to it, but nice for breezy entertainment. Can’t say it tempts me into the lifestyle portrayed. Dang that’s a lot of effort and cash sacrificed for a husband shaped status symbol.

    I still recommend the book. It’s amusing how much the writers gush over Worth dresses while doing into scant detail about why they’re special. And the trainwreck surrounding Consuelo Vanderbilt’s wedding.

  3. My family and friends are CONSTANTLY asking me when I’m going to turn sewing into a ‘serious side job’.
    I made an 1860s prairie dress for a friend who works at a museum site- it was fun, she was appreciative, I got paid. She started giving out my info to people who needed sewing done- which was great at first. Someone needed pants hemmed? Sure! Bring me a hoagie. Make you a pencil skirt? Ok! $20 and a hoagie.
    Then it changed.
    Now it’s “Hey, I bought a $300 dress with a sheer bodice covered in beading that I’m now too big for, and I need it for a wedding in 5 days. It’s the weekend before Christmas- can you fix it?”

    1. EXACTLY why I won’t sew for a living. I once made glorious wedding gowns for a friend who was a couture-esque genius, and I saw the constant stress she was under to keep her little shop going, and I said NOPE to that. The last custom job I did was adding scarf-like drapes to and embiggening cheap “Roman” Halloween costumes for a local corporation. I charged them extra for the rush and the time it took away from my life, and they paid it, and I cashed their check, and never again will I do that. I sew for my nieces and nephews and friends’ kids, but I don’t even do alterations for anyone else anymore. Not even hems.

  4. I sew custom for little girls and I assure you, the only way to turn a profit is to work and ignore everything else. Including dishes, laundry, etc. I do however get to watch historical dramas while I work so really, it’s an even trade. I would prefer to have a fabric benefactor so I can just sew for me lol. But I do enjoy seeing little girls smiles when they receive a princess dress. On a side note, I do need to re-watch The Dresser bc I can’t recall how she afforded such lovely fabric and hats….

  5. Hmm wasn’t Madame le Pompadour a kept Woman with power ? Alas my history knowledge is somewhat fragmented

  6. I’m all of the above, plus governess (and quite a few servile positions which need not be mentioned). My realm is small – three acres – and being an only child I can technically claim heiress status. [lol] I am kept by my husband, write books that few people know exist, and am constantly making historical costumes for my children (for whom I am also governess) – the latest ones were a 1917 tea dress for my eldest and a late-eighteenth century suit for my son.

  7. As a lowly government worker, I would unleash my inner Pirate Queen. Ride the seven seas, have torrid affairs with handsome sailors, then use my ill gotten gains to buy a killer wardrobe. Instead I sew my own garb, watch costume porn and have a comfortable relationship with my John Goodman like hunny bunny.

  8. My dream job, when I was a teenager, was to be a costume designer. The Careers office people told me not to be stupid. I followed their advice and considered more sensible options, like librarian or teacher, was told that unemployment in both was huge so I gave up then I think on career and decided to stick with what I wanted to do, write. I have had numerous unimportant paid jobs, and many more purposeful unpaid ones, and failed business ventures and now, I am back to writing. Not making any money but not giving up hope on one day being able to contribute to the family income, and yes, most of my novels are set in the past. (Currently working on my first non-fiction, 19th century history, not much in way of interesting fashion to comment on though as I am writing about early settlers in Oz.

  9. I’m an electrical engineer who sews Disney princess dresses and the occasional historical dress at home. It’s not a bad gig. :)

  10. “How does your work compare with jobs in costume dramas?”

    Similar, actually. I’m a Tech Designer in the apparel industry, and make patterns for clothes that are sold all over the world. I work with mostly women, and we all are very brilliant, with diverse backgrounds & stories that get interwoven over the years as we work together in an ever-evolving profession & business. Almost all of us are the breadwinners. Many are mothers & grandmothers, and top in their fields. We support each other in our ups & downs, because that is key to successfully working as a group, as a team, as a family, to get sh*t done.
    It’s drama alright, but that’s life! I think Jane Austen would be proud.

    Queen, heiress, kept woman, F*CK NO would I choose to be a bird in a gilded cage!!
    What I make is my own, from talent and HARD WORK. It is the ticket to my freedom, to the money and ‘free’ time to research & make more costumes :) I do whatever I want on my own dime.

    ps: one of my fave “movie magic” sewing moments is in Coco Before Chanel, when she selects the black fabric & marks out the dress using the french curves, then is magically dancing in said dress a few min later…oui, Hollywood!

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