I was born on the 28th of February, 1971 in Germany, where I still live. I’m a single mother to a son born in 2000.
I went through regular education and a bunch of different jobs – among them a training as a car mechanic, I was employed in the user helpdesk of a large insurance company, have translated technical manuals form English to German and many other things.
At the tender age of six I started to sew, two years later I got a sewing machine as a birthday gift.
When I was about twelve, I made many of my clothes myself.
In 1987, at the age of sixteen, I started sewing and collecting 1950’s clothing.
Ten years later I became interested in Edwardian and Victorian clothing, and ever since then, my studies of historical garments went practically further backwards.
I’ve had some sites for the professional reproduction for movie costumes; but after some years, I had some kind of burn out plus some nasty remarks from other people (some of who didn’t even know me or my costumes; others knew me very well, and their remarks hurt even more), which enforced my burnout – and therefore had to quit that business. I have no idea if I’ll ever re-open any of my sites; I’m currently quite satisfied with this one.
I’m willing to sew historical garments for other people, as long as I also find those garments at least remotely interesting. I have learned over time that there is no use for me in starting on sewing a garment that I don’t like, because those will not be as good as the ones I like.
By now I am specialized in (English) Elizabethan women’s garments, and am also still trying to study much of Victorian clothing, of which I’m more interested in the crinoline- rather than the bustle period, and Medieval / Renaissance clothing… but, as already mentioned, I’m still studying, and as any serious student, I will probably never be finished studying and learning.
I am currently in the process of writing a book on English Elizabethan costuming, my favorite period of fashion (I’m just saying that in case it shouldn’t be obvious from this site 😉 ).
The book will – hopefully – be a guide for studying, dating and re-creating Elizabethan fashions for beginners as well as for advanced seamstresses. The book will contain information about how to correctly date Elizabethan fashion in paintings, movies and on extant garments; how that fashion developed from Tudor to Baroque and, of course, tutorials, tips, tricks & hints how to create at least half-way period Elizabethan garments today.
A friend of mine, who is a published author of historical books in the US, told me that her publisher finds the subject of my book interesting enough to take a look at it – about which I am unbelievable happy and thankful.
I would be most interested to design or sew for a historical movie or show, and would even be willing to move to another country for this. I’m also used to making tailor-made garments from a distance, for which I have developed some kind of measurement chart, which allows me to sew all garments excluding trousers from 21 measures of the customer. If you’d like to discuss either – my email address is displayed at the bottom of each page.
As you can probably see from the costumes on my site, I prefer working with historical – natural – materials, though my budget doesn’t always allow this for myself. I would, however, be – let’s say – more unwilling to use non-historical materials for a customer’s gown than for myself, as the wearing comfort of natural fabrics is much better than that of synthetic fibers.
Some things about myself…:
As already mentioned, I am a single mother to a son born in 2000 and don’t have any intent on changing this. This results in the fact that I rarely ever go out because I take my job as a mother very serious and don’t want a babysitter to watch over my child while I am having a nice time.
If I go out alone, mostly when I am visiting my parents who live some hundred miles away from me, then I enjoy going to the cinema to see movies I like.
At night when my son is asleep I usually watch movies on TV or DVD while I’m sewing; I don’t need much sleep most of the time.
TV series I can’t live without (well, at least I try to watch them on a regular base when they are aired) are:
Stargate SG-1, Atlantis and Universe, House MD, Andromeda, Battlestar Galactica (old and new series), Farscape, Xena, Highlander, Dr. Quinn, Lost, The Nanny, 4400, McLeod’s daughters and Star Trek: Voyager (though, of course, I can only watch old episodes of some of them). In the 1980s, I enjoyed Dynasty and Dallas a lot (Yes! I admit it!).
Some of the movies I can watch over and over again are:
Brotherhood of the wolves, Titanic, The day after tomorrow, Stargate: The movie, Freaks, Hackers, The Rock, Poseidon (the original movie), Chronicles of Riddick (just *love* Diesel’s voice!), Ben Hur, Bus Stop, Ocean’s 11 (12 was disappointing!), Starforce Soldier, Elizabeth R, Dangerous Liaisons, Fifth Element, Gone with the Wind, Braveheart, Highlander, Mission to Mars, Armageddon, Space Cowboys, Panic Room, Interview with the Vampire, Contact and ConAir. I have a strong love for sociopaths in movies; that’s perhaps because I am some sort of sociopath myself; someone once said I’m kind of like the Dr. House for costumes.
My favorite actors are Russel Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Mark Dacascos, Marilyn Monroe, Liv Tyler, Brad Pitt, Jodie Foster, Lucy Lawless, Nicolas Cage,Vin Diesel and Kurt Russel.
I am also a member of the Rebel Legion, where I am currently taking a vacation from being a costume judge responsible for judging Royalty / Senatorial costumes.
Other than that, I enjoy eating a lot – particularly Mexican, Chinese, Thai and Italian food – and have a liking for old cars, 3D renderings, macro photography and languages. Oh, and I like computers and their technology – that was my job once, and I’m trying to keep up with the changes over time.
And of course I go out with my son – not just to play or walk, but I am taking him with me whenever I visit a convention or meeting. Of course, he is then also dressed in corresponding movie- or historical costume. He enjoys this a lot and constantly keeps pestering me for new costumes for himself whenever I am finishing or starting on one of my gowns 🙂
Plus he is the very best person to criticize if I am doing something wrong. Of course he can’t give constructive criticism on period shaping, but for his age he has a surprising good taste, and whenever I create something (or am planning to do so) I ask him if he likes it, and if he doesn’t, he tells me so plus adds what I could do better.
He is a very clever boy, and whenever I am depressed he will cheer me up. I have to add that all of this just came up in about 2004 – before that, he didn’t even want to speak; but it seems now as if he wanted to catch up with everything he has been missing the years before 😉
Some things about my site:
- Who made the layout, pictures etc. for this site?
I did. Entirely. Blame me for sore eyes, or thank me if you like it 😉
I might still do some changes… over time. I’m by far not satisfied yet, but I guess it’s a good start.
- Why are you not updating your site more frequently?
Well, that’s because a) costume (tutorials, pictures, whatever I’m publishing here) take time and b) I don’t have internet access at home. Honestly, I don’t. I have to drive to an Internet café to make updates, to read and answer my mails etc. I have a computer at home, though, on which I am preparing mails, updates and so on.
For about ten years until some years ago I was an internet addict. I spent at least 8 hours per day – each day! – surfing the net. When I lost my access accidentally, I, for the first time, noticed how addicted I was. As I am already addicted to caffeine – that, by the way, doesn’t mean coffee, but up to 6 litres of Coke Light per day! – I thought I had to do something against my addiction – so I didn’t get myself new internet access at home, to be able to control my addiction.
Every few days, sometimes just once a week, I’m visiting the internet cafe to get my researches etc. done.
- What does the name ‚Naergi‘ or ‚Naergilien‘ mean and where does it come from?
The name I am using here on my site and in my Livejournal is actually a leftover from the ‚Lord of the Rings‘ fandom. I still find that fandom very interesting, just not costume wise.
The name ‚Naergilien‘ is, well, somewhat elvish – Sindarin, to be precise, and was made up by me. It’s made up from naer=sad and gil=star (one of those glittering things in the night sky, a far away sun; not an actor or singer or whatever) plus a ‚female‘ ending; which translates the name to „Sad Star“.
„Naergi“ is the short form of Naergilien and was invented by an online friend of mine, Master Erestor, who – by the way – is female in real life. Yes, the ‚Lord of the Rings‘ fans are a crazy bunch
And even if I probably won’t follow this fandom much more costume wise, I am still thankful for the friends I have found through this fandom. I am also thankful for the enemies this fandom brought me, because they have taught me one or two things
- Why did you write your entire web in English if it’s not your first language?
Three reasons for that:
First, I like the practice of writing English.
Second I have to admit that I learned most about costumes from English books simply because there’s no translated version of them available in German. Many ‚costuming‘ words are therefore only known to me in the English version. For example I know no correct German words for ‚Stays‘ or ‚Smock‘.
The third reason would probably be the audience. Costuming is not as popular in Germany as it is in most English speaking countries; and as I don’t want anyone having to guess what I might have written because they don’t understand the language I write in, I have written all these pages in English.
- Why does the page seem so chaotic? You have so many costumes in planning and making – what about finishing one, and then start the next?
This page *is* chaotic, and so am I, you’re right.
I like to work on several costumes simultaneously so that I get the biggest possible distraction, as each requires different skills, so that I won’t get tired on a single one.
And *sometimes* I just get the sudden urge to start another one from the planning list or even start planning on something completely different.
That doesn’t mean I won’t finish others – I’ll just finish them later (as in: Maybe MUCH later!), but have to record all planning ideas and possible first test pictures of whatever came to my mind at that moment for a later time.
It’s my way of working on my costumes, and I’m satisfied with it.
Each costume requires different skills, different tasks and different methods, and I have found that I can work best if I have the possibility to switch between those skills, tasks and methods if I get bored with any of them.
So – as chaotic as this site might seem, it’s not – at least not to me
There’s just one gown that I made without any other costume as ‚distraction‘ – that was the „Pelican“ gown, of which the *very* different parts were distraction enough for almost six months of making.
Making several gowns at the same time has one advantage: After a *long* construction time, I can come up with several finished gowns at once
- How am I supposed to contact you if I have a question?
Please read the footer (=the bottom!) of each page, my contact information is given right there. But just to repeat it, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word ‚Costume‘ in the subject line.
And now to something different…
I would like to thank Katrin, Tina, Martin, Margaret, Michaela, Sabine and some others for whom the space is not enough but who know who they are for continuous support, helpful criticism, long discussions and encouragement.
Thank you all so much, without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today and wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing.