Lab Books

So something that is a good habit for any conservator is to keep a lab book, or, as they call them here, day books. It’s an informal record of the details of procedures and hours worked while in the lab. I attempted to keep one this summer and I was fairly successful at the beginning but once the novelty of the work began to wear, so did my note-taking. In any case it’s something I’d like to get into the habit of doing so today while purchasing office supplies at a pound shop I got this:

It’s a vary basic hardcover lined book, A4 size. I like hardcover lab books because they keep everything contained and are robust enough to wear well. I think this one will do nicely and you can’t beat the price!

I also have another little book that I started contributing today. A day book of sorts, this is a little book with blank pages that I picked up at W H Smith. I initially got it because I wanted to have something to sketch in while visiting museums since often museums don’t allow photography. I wasn’t going to lose any opportunity to record interesting textile information! I also thought I might use it as a sort of travel diary. And then today it developed a new function. I recently renewed my subscription to Foundations Revealed and Your Wardrobe Unlock’d and I have been catching up with their Double Period Project and again have been inspired to make a natural form costume. I started a corset eons ago based off of the pretty housemaid corset complete with a spoon busk. I didn’t finish it but honestly all the hard parts are done! All the cording is in place, the grommets are set in, all that’s left to do is slip in some boning, bind the edges, and do a bit of flossing. Totally do-able right? With such a complicated piece of the ensemble so close to completion, the temptation to try to make the February 7th deadline is extreme. I think I can do it…

And so as I began to consider how exactly I would go about this I started to sketch ideas into my little notebook. I printed out and pasted my inspiration images into the book and drew detailed sketches with construction details in my notes.

I had to pull out one of my all time favourite costume books, Costume in Detail, and looked up things like combinations and the skirt supports of the day.

And so my little book turned into a project planner as well as a travel diary and sketch book. I’m to record the sources for materials I buy, dates and working times, and all the little details that are quickly forgotten as the creative drive powers ahead.


With all that inspiration focusingme this morning, it is completely reasonable that since I happened into a fabric store with a few of my fellow textile students that I should leave with the makings of a trained petticoat.

Of course.


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