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Topic: Indians, Geishas, Rajputs, Oh My!  (Read 1510 times)
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« on: April 10, 2008 08:47:42 PM »

Ok, so at my school, we're doing this Humanities Night thing where you dress up as a Japanese, Indian (the continent), or Chinese--the ethnicities we've studied this year, or dress up according to your cultural background.

   Wellll, I'm in a jam... I am 58% Native American, and the rest African American (mostly) and Creole and general caucasian (I'm thinkin french 'cause I keep finding red hairs!!)...and I HAVE TO GET A COSTUME!!!! I really want to represent the my native american side (since it's on both my mom and dad's side) and I want to make my own costume.

   Now, let's talk about the prob: As much as I research, I cannot find pics of Blackfoot, Choctaw, or Cherokee outfits for me, a petite female standing 5'0!!! Could someone possibly help me out with this??? How could I pull it off to make it cute and not stereotypical??

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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2008 06:16:47 AM »


That seems to be a good reference for Choctaw historical dress, though without pictures (you could look up the paintings discussed, though!).

A Google image search also turns up a few paintings and photographs that appear to be accurate.

What you could also do is write to the Blackfoot Nation or Choctaw Nation (both have websites...I didn't get to Cherokee, but I'm sure they do, too), and explain your project and ask if they could direct you to any resources for accurate historical dress--if you're lucky and happen upon a cultural department, they may be able to send you some images or brochures.  Most of the outfits were made from a few, very simple cuts of fabric, and I'd really just scale them down to fit you.  Look at the proportion of the garment and body, rather than the garment alone.  If it hits the person wearing it mid-calf, you want yours mid-calf, etc.  Essentially, you don't want to be swimming in extra fabric, but you don't want to ruin the historical accuracy by taking waist darts and cutting too short Wink.  Don't overthink it, and have fun!  Good luck!

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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2008 09:32:13 AM »

Thanks so much! I appreciate the help and I'm taking your great advice  to contact Choctaw Nation to get ideas!

« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2008 11:07:11 AM »

How could I pull it off to make it cute and not stereotypical??

If you make it accurate, no matter how 'sterotyped' you think it is, it will look good & present well. I strongly reccomend making it as acurate as possible with maybe the exception of using ultrasude in place of doeskin as doeskin gets expensive fast, even at your petite size.

If you 'cute' it up you may be very sorry, instead of a girl in a cute costume people may think you are poking fun- not your intent I'm sure.
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2008 06:38:07 PM »

As an historical reenactor, maybe I can help? We do French and Indian and Revolutionary war eras as natives.

Basically, make yourself a wrap skirt that goes to just beyond the knee, in black if you can. Place ribbons on the edge going down the front and then around the base of the skirt. Pink and yellow were popular colors but I did mine in green and cream. 

For the shirt, either a two tone calico or a solid color is what you want. Linen was the most commonly used material, but that is open to taste at this time. It is a simple shirt really. Long sleeves, long tunic style that reaches nearly to the knee.  The girl on the left is wearing a good example of this shirt. http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view?back=http%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3Fp%3D%2Bnative%2Breenactor%26y%3DSearch%26fr%3Dsfp%26ei%3Dutf-8%26js%3D1%26x%3Dwrt&w=480&h=640&imgurl=people.delphiforums.com%2FMCCONAUGHY%2Fbushyrun%2Fbrunb073.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fpeople.delphiforums.com%2FMCCONAUGHY%2Fbushyrun%2Fbushyrun.htm&size=61.7kB&name=brunb073.jpg&p=native%20reenactor&type=JPG&oid=b40571d3460cf0e8&no=2&tt=165

Either find some buttons or even washers next in a silver like finish. But make certain they are flat and with little to no ornamentation on them. The real ones have ornamentation, but they can take time to find. If you want to buy them, look here. http://store.wanderingbull.com/washerbrooches.html Wear them everywhere or just on the hem of your clothing.

If you want, try to find a finger woven or Inkle loom belt to wrap around your waist. Nice, but not necessary. Smiley

I hope this has helped.

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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2008 08:39:22 AM »

there is a native american museum (or more than one) online, make a search for those and see what historical costumes they have out there.

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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2008 11:30:26 PM »

It depends somewhat on which time in history you wish to represent. Before the Europeans came over, the native people wore mostly buckskin, with fringed hems (at the arms and bottom hem, sometimes along the seam). You could probably use a light brown fabric to represent hide.   For post European clothing, I've found this page to be very thorough, with examples of the "diamond" pattern, jewelry and color choices, also hair styles.
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2008 12:35:30 PM »

Thanks. I think I know what I doing at this point now!

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