About This Project
Swingout Sewing is a public journal of my project to hand sew a 1920's ensemble that both fits my transmasculine body and fulfills my queer aesthetic desires.
Vintage clothing (not to mention contemporary, mass-produced clothing) rarely fits me as a trans man, since I exist outside the "ideal" and "fashionable" body type. Sewing clothes to fit my body is therefore a declaration of my body's worthiness - it is worthy of comfort and decoration. In addition, by combining historical tailoring techniques with queer sensibilities, I aim to imagine my possible transcestors of one hundred years ago, people whose lives have largely gone undocumented. Imagining trans bodies and fashions of the past helps me to imagine myself in the present, and on into the future.
At the moment, Swingout Sewing consists of journal entries about my process of making a 1920's undershirt using historical sewing manuals. My goal is to eventually construct an entire outfit, from underwear to outerwear. I also hope to expand the project to include research on the history of transmasculine dress, and discussions of costuming in transmasculine-adjacent period films ("Albert Nobbs," "Yentl," etc.) Whenever possible, I'd like to provide resources for transmasculine folks in the vintage community, including downloadable patterns.
My name's Reilly, and I'm a visual artist living in Ontario, Canada. I was raised on period dramas, and as a result have a lifelong passion for historical dress. My love for 1920s fashion arose (embarrassingly enough) when I watched "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" in 2016. I started sewing about eight years ago when I was part of the cosplay community, and my current artistic practice is made up of various textile media, including weaving, sewing, embroidery and fabric dyeing.
This project is carried out on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron peoples, where I’m grateful to live and work.