One of the things I like about anthropology is that it's so gosh darn interactive. Coming from an economics and social theory background, I'm accustomed to talking about things - talking a lot about things! However, as Marx put it, "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." (I am uncertain what of Feuerbach's writings provoked that particular thesis, but IMO it's a good one.) Getting to the point, this summer at Trelleborg I purchased a pair of reproduction tortoise brooches, of the type used by Viking women to hold their clothes together. Also, a pair of horn needles and a little set of snips. This has inspired a feverish desire to recreate the clothing around them, starting with spinning the yarn. You'll be happy to know I've resisted buying a sheep, but everything else is open to discussion.
The upshot is, there's a lot going into this dress. I'm not even going to try the linen for the underdress, but will instead use commercial linen and attempt to dye it myself. Basically, the process of flax to fabric is too complicated. Nor am I going to try to make my own sewing thread. I am going to spin the yarn, weave the fabric, and tablet-weave the belt and trim for the over-dress (apron dress). I expect it to take a year to learn to do, even though I am already accustomed to hand-sewing. It might take longer than that. I expect to have to adapt a lot of techniques already worked out by other people, because I'm ambidextrous but left-hand dominant and my fine motor control in my right hand isn't good enough to do most craft activities with it. I started with learning naalbinding, since I can do that on the train or while watching television, and even finding the right yarn to do it is kind of a pain. (I already worked out how to do that left-handed.) I've started a tiny dyer's garden, though I don't actually know yet how to turn woad or weld into dye. So the upshot of this little reflection is: a lot of work and skill and time goes into something as simple as dressing oneself respectably. This is easy to forget when you can buy a jumper for £10 at H&M. I wonder which techniques we use will be most mystifying in 200 years?