And related subjects
July 21, 2019 10:28 AM   Subscribe runs a column in which writers talk about non-writing things (and, sometimes, how they relate to writing). How to do karate in a victorian dress, for example. Or how about a firefighter's guides to fighting dragons and phoenixes. posted by Cozybee (4 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I read that as Neural buoyancy and thought it was about brains in jars...and maybe something about the problems involved with them floating to the top and drying out. Yes last night was a long night.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:56 AM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Elastic fabrics were being sold in 1820. Maybe they could be incorporated into a Victorian-ish bodice in a way that would allow more movement for karate. Alternatively, I suppose loosely-basted sleeves would allow self defense in extremis, at the cost of requiring repair after an attack.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:53 PM on July 21, 2019

Knitted fabrics are elastic, and we've had those for a long time. But you have to look at what people DID wear, not so much what they might have been able to wear. And it doesn't really matter how elastic your fabric is, the cut of the armholes is an absolute constraint that you can't really get around. If you want full arm movement you will have fabric pooching under the arms.
posted by rikschell at 2:33 PM on July 21, 2019

Knitted fabrics are elastic, and we've had those for a long time.

Yes - but they won't pull pieces of fabric together, the way strips of elastic will. I mean the stretchy stuff used in waistbands - I don't know the US English term for it. The article How to do karate in a victorian dress describes the author's outfit as follows:
The dress I wear when on tour for the Memoirs of Lady Trent isn’t a completely period-accurate late Victorian outfit; the costumer who sewed it for me designed it look outwardly appropriate, while being a little more friendly to the life of a modern woman—particularly one who would need to carry it on airplanes and get dressed without help in the stock room of a bookstore. Because of that, it doesn’t have a corset in the traditional sense; instead it has a back-lacing sleeveless bodice and a jacket that hooks over it.
So we're not talking about a completely authentic dress, just one that looks right and is technologically consistent with the Victorian era. One big problem with doing karate in that dress, she learned, was the cut of the sleeves - particularly, the armholes. The Victorians didn't have Velcro, or zippers, but it seems to me that by using artfully-designed panels secured by elastic one could have a costume that's superficially correct, but which would allow full arm extension to a martial arts practitioner.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:06 PM on July 21, 2019

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