Dec. 17th, 2018 09:31 pm
chocolatepot: The bodice of a woman, from a painting by Caravaggio (Caravaggio)
Well, I did not finish anything at all for Yuletide and will not finish anything for YT Madness, but I did beta three fics and have put all of the pieces of my beige wool dress together - just finished the waist seam this evening. So I get to feel like I was a useful part of other people's Yuletide gift process (nice) and was still productive on one axis.

I am way more pleased with this dress than I normally am at this stage in the process (no neckline or sleeve finishing, no zipper) - it feels like it's going to be really comfortable. The waist could probably stand to be a bit tighter, but nothing is hideously wrong.
chocolatepot: (Marian)
Finally started watching this season of Outlander. It seems WAY better than the first few seasons. Like they've started producing it more like prestige television instead of "look at this sexy costume drama". I don't ... hate it?

IMO the costuming is better as well, even if it still hews to some of the annoying things (knit shawls/cuffs, that really abrupt RenFaire hip roll, etc.). Roger and Brianna dress in exactly the kind of hideousness people from 1971 would think was appropriate to wear to go back to the 18th century, which I appreciate.

Tired: Claire and Jamie 4ever

Wired: Bree and Roger 5ever
chocolatepot: (Technology 100%)
I suppose it's a fitting irony that someone who wrote a pattern book which was somewhat light on instructional specifics would get really into a pattern system (Haslam) that sometimes doesn't even tell you where on the bodice the zipper goes ...

(I'm going with under the left arm, but who knows what the intention is? Or maybe the intention was for the seamstress to decide based on the client's preference?)

On Fiction

Dec. 13th, 2018 04:50 pm
chocolatepot: Gen, from Queen of Attolia, on a boat (On a boat)
This season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is just ... not working for me? I think the problem is that everyone has become way too well-adjusted - what made this show fun over the first three seasons is that just about every character was some level of mess, and Rebecca of course made terrible decisions that drove the plot. The songs were incisive and satirical, and they're still kind of satirical but definitely don't feel like they're poking as hard. I want to see everyone end up happy and well-adjusted, but like I want them to get there in the last few episodes, not just a couple of episodes into the last season.

Also, New Greg. New Greg was a BAD idea. Combining his self-improvement (which is again something one wants to see so the character can be happy, but also removes the dark, self-loathing edge that made him interesting) with a super bland-looking/sounding actor is just ... they shouldn't have brought him back! I wanted them to be together when he left in S2, but I've emotionally moved on, so just let this unmanned ship float out into the Arctic ice, okay? Nathaniel is the man now.

Rich People Problems )

The Cruel Prince )


I meant to write a whole bunch of Yuletide treats (since I missed the signup window), and of course I have failed. :( I have one started but I will likely not get to finish it in time. Maybe tomorrow I can really pull out all the stops and get it done? It's a really cool prompt ... at least maybe I can do it as a Madness short.

"People are going to complain about Joyce thoughtlessly!!! writing on Walky's shirt," I thought, and sure enough.

Some more answers:
When did American women begin to wear stockings and when did they switch to tights. Is there any evidence as to why?
What's the difference between an heir apparent and heir presumptive?
A bit on Jewish communities in the Catskills to round out the answers we got to a question about rich people summering
A stereotypical item of medieval women's clothing is a very tall conical hat with a wisp of gauzy cloth attached to the top. How long was this actually fashionable for?
In Lady And The Tramp, there is a line from Lady's neighbors that boils down to 'one of us has to marry her to preserve her honor' after she's been hanging around Tramp too long. Was this mindset ever widespread in the U.S. (the movie's set in 1911)?
When Isabella and Ferdinand joined the houses of Castile and Aragon, they ruled as practically equals. Was it unusual for a queen to wield such political power and influence in 15th Century Europe; and what did contemporaries write about the extent of Isabella’s power and influence over Spain?

It's been a busy week.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
I often check out the comments on Dumbing of Age and I don't know why, because it's like everyone has forgotten that this is a comic. That the dialogue, the plot arcs of individual strips, etc. are often driven by the need to be funny, and that people being kind of mean or unfair is actually often funny.

Tried on my Unique Vintage order. Two things seem to work well - the bright red Delores dress needs a pressing and maybe the neckline basted together a bit (the split at the center is extremely low on me, I have a high bust), and the Tahiti dress straps button in the back to adjust, and need another buttonhole so I can shorten them (again, high bust). Unfortunately, the Mona and Highlander dresses are both too long-waisted and bother me visually, with the tartan bars going all over the place, never in line, and the curved side-front seams hitting me right at the bust point. (I do not recommend to others.) The Mona is also a weirdly stiff fabric, but the Highlander is a nice flannel and tbh I like the bow, so I regret that that one didn't work out. Guess I'll return them tomorrow. (Still waiting on the pants, which are not yet shipped.)

I spent most of today watching the new season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which spurred me to take on this dress I started last winter from a Haslam pattern - did the darts and then the shoulder seams (and then redid the seams because I had the back flipped around) by hand. Going to try to get the bulk of it done tomorrow, leaving the finishing for during the week!
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
As I'm making new friends from the friending meme, and maybe some from Tumblr(?), I thought I'd make some kind of introductory post to Me.

I'm a thirty-something, bisexual*, cis woman, long-term single, unfortunately with no pets. I work in a small museum as, effectively, the curator ([ profile] stlawrencecoha), and am a moderator and frequentish poster on the subreddit AskHistorians.

*I've been intending to come out to you guys here for a while now

I'm a fashion historian by training and have spent a lot of time doing that on my own, through sewing and blogging and such. (Tired of trying to do it on Tumblr, where unless you work very hard to build up a sizable following, nobody listens to you, and Facebook, where it is all arguing over what is or isn't plausibly accurate in reenactment costume or just looking at dresses.) I also have a broader interest in social history, particularly relating to women, from commoners to queens. (Literally, I have bookmarks in Unexpected Heirs in Early Modern Europe: Potential Kings and Queens and Women in the Medieval English Countryside: Gender and Household in Brigstock before the Plague right now.) My personal style is "1950s", so I normally have at least one sewing project going on at a time that's either from a '50s pattern or is proper historical dress.

I have a loooong history in Harry Potter fandom, first as a dumb kid and then as a dumb college student, and while I went through a long period of inactivity due to the post-books lull in the old-school group, I've been dipping my toes back in. I'm not active-active in any fandoms, but I enjoy consuming and occasionally writing meta about all kinds of fictional properties, old and new! Right now I'm watching and loving Deep Space 9, but I'm also into the Queen's Thief series, The Goblin Emperor, Diana Wynne Jones (partic. HMC), L.M. Montgomery, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Jane Austen, Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey (GIVE US MORE), random 18th and 19th century novels I find on Google Books or in book sales, whichever period miniseries the BBC or ITV give us ... Ficwriting tends to only happen in fest contexts because I need a deadline to force myself to finish anything (speaking of which, didn't I plan to write a few Yuletide treats?), but I have a habit of musing meta-ly about anything I happen to be consuming, usually when I'm about halfway through it.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
So, I popped into the thrift shop this morning and got an off-white blouse for my concert - I never get around to sewing one because I don't really want one that much, I just need it once a year for the fall concert - and picked one out without trying it on. Got home and tried it, and it fits, which is cool! It has shoulder pads. I think it looks cute even with, or possibly because of, them. But I can't tell if we've collectively moved past the intense disgust for '80s fashion, or if I have just borked my sense of what would look normal to other people by overexposure to vintage/historical fashion. But anyway, I'll be wearing my '40s skirt so it should look right together.

Have to figure out what to do for the candlelight service in a few weeks - we're supposed to wear a red or green top for that, and I typically wear a red or green sweater over a camisole or something, but the sweater is always way too hot under the lights. Part of me thinks I should just go back to the thrift store next week and look for a red or green blouse, but part of me thinks I should buy some charmeuse and make a view A or maybe C, this is a pretty simple pattern. Okay, well, I just bought some from FFC because I am a gold-plated fool.

Edit: Oh yes! I remembered last night that I do have a teal shirt I made several years ago out of rayon? jersey. So I wrote to FFC to cancel the order and hopefully they will.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
Can't believe I forgot to mention: Patterns of Fashion 5 came in yesterday! It is so freaking amazing. The original PoF crossed with the V&A 17thc books.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
I can't believe I forgot one of the coolest things I brought home with me! I bought this tote bag from the Fashion Archives, printed with a gridded/scaled pattern of a gown (I think 1850s, altered for 1860s) from their collection. It's wonderful and I can't wait to take it to my next patterning appointment.


A couple of links I've had up forever:

The diary of Hannah Cassamajor East (1746-1810), which runs from 1776 to 1785. (Scroll past the notes about fees simple.) Sometimes talks about clothes and stuff!

The Getty has a lot of digitized books on dress - some of it's historical primary sources, some of it's old books on historical fashion, some of it's exhibition catalogues.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
... about whether I like it or I don't. (The second season is up on Netflix.) I honestly think we do need more adaptations of classic lit, particularly rosy kidlit, that explores characters that are marginalized in the original - like Jerry - and adds characters of other marginalized identities, whether the marginalization is added to an existing character, like Miss Barry being a lesbian, or new characters are added, like Bash and Cole. To that end, new storylines of course have to be added and old ones changed. And in general, I love getting to look at canonical characters from new perspectives, like the more internal looks at Matthew and Marilla.

But I just don't understand why this show is pretty good at dealing with these other marginalizations (the episode with Miss Barry's party was FABULOUS, and just about everything with Bash is great) and so incredibly clunky when it comes to feminism. Like ... there is a black community in Charlottetown, and they are treated poorly by many white locals, but we get to see that they are real people with their own lives despite that. Cole is a sensitive gay artist who's terribly uncomfortable with almost every aspect of his life, and gets bullied for being different, but the show never has to explicitly say what's up. But then when it's time to deal with sexism, it's like "Miss Stacy wears pants and no corset and rides a motorbike!" "Anne complains that trousseaux contain linens instead of only books!" "Various adult women make awkward statements about gender relations that would not have to be explained to anyone born before 1930!" "Mrs. Andrews wants Priscilla to go to college and Prissy runs away from her wedding!" It's like the other issues are in first gear along with the plot, but every time feminism comes into it we suddenly shift into third.

(And also, I'm cool with changes from canon, but Gilbert and Anne's relationship just comes off very oddly.)

When I think about it, they probably would have done better to adapt Emily of New Moon. For one thing, it just is a bit grittier than AoGG - Ilse's backstory? Perry being from Stovepipe Town? Mrs. Kent and her issues? DEAN?? - and then you have Ilse to make any political statements you want. But it's not well-known so you don't get that "this is Canadian Heritage" flavor.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
My first thought was that I would get motivated by reading Unfuck Your Habitat, but I very quickly realized that that's for a different audience than me. The things unmotivating me from keeping stuff together have been:

- the soullessness of my apartment: with square rooms, beige walls, and a hard, brown/grey carpet, literally nothing looks "good" in it

- its size: there are very few arrangements of furniture that will fit in the space without being wasteful or awkward

- nobody sees it: a couple of times a year one or the other of my parents will visit me, I have no friends

- I don't plan to stay: I'm always applying to jobs in other towns and regularly consider moving out of here just for another place in Canton, should one appear

There's nothing to be done about the first three, but I can at least get over the fourth and tell myself that that doesn't mean I shouldn't put the time in. So Sunday and Monday evenings I cleared out an awful lot of junk from the floor and the shelves in the tv table, putting it in the recycling or in a box for storage; took everything off the bookshelves and the designated book piles, dusted, sorted, and reshelved or boxed for storage or donation; moved my antique garment collection to the shelf in my closet from the floor in front of the table; and vacuumed every time I made new floor space available.

It's the kind of cleaning that makes bigger messes in some areas (as I move sewing stuff from the living room to the sewing area, for instance) but overall it decreases the clutter, so it balances out. So far I've ordered a utensil organizer for the "everything" kitchen cupboard (there's only one drawer in this kitchen. ONE DRAWER), a hanging file organizer for everything I would file but has been living in my highly secure filing system, "between books on the shelf or in a pile", a box for batteries, and a big metal shelving unit for pantry stuff. Don't anticipate needing much more, except maybe some decorative boxes for sewing supply storage and something to put on the coffee table to help with the inevitable current-sewing-project clutter.

So silly

Jun. 9th, 2018 10:11 pm
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
I got out my last full Regency corset mockup, picked off the ridiculous number of stray threads clinging to it, tried it on with a shift underneath, and honestly, it fit better than I remembered! I had to unpick the tucks I'd put in the gussets "for more uplift" (part of why it was too tight) and unsewed the front of the straps (which pulled it up way too high, the other part of why it was too tight), but it's pretty decent now. I've put some quick eyelets in for the front of the straps and I'll try it on properly again tomorrow, but I think my memory of how bad it fit was somewhat skewed and I might be at "let's bind this sucker and someday when I feel I've got the time I can use this as a pattern for a nice hand-sewn, accurate corset". The eyelets may be somewhat too far under my arms now, but of course the beauty of tie-on straps is that you can very easily move the attachment points.
chocolatepot: The bodice of a woman, from a painting by Caravaggio (Caravaggio)
I decided to stay home, at least for the morning, due to cramps ... and now every time I stop thinking about it I feel better, but then as soon as I guiltily consider going in to work, there's a new stab of pain in my back and my stomach is tender again. I don't like this.

Didn't sew anything yesterday because I recorded the next ep of my podcast in the morning, realized it was too short, and so worked on that in the evening. Still working on that now! I just need a few more examples of folk dress ... I have bodice pieces all pinned up, flopped on the back of the couch, but I don't feel the urge to actually sew them together yet as it's not like I'd finish soon enough to wear it in the city, anyway.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
Petticoat finished! This was a pretty quick project, I did the cutting one evening, the vertical seams the next, and spent pretty much all of today gathering and finishing. Could probably be done faster if you were competent with a ruffling foot (or if your ruffling foot is less than a century old and doesn't completely stop working or make the needle fall out when you adjust the stitch length) or even used the ol' "super low tension on a modern machine" method of doing gathering stitches instead of sewing those by hand.

I'm making a light starch solution, but even without that it does pretty well at holding a skirt out. It does, of course, lack that very full hem + very full ruffle that your average nylon petti has to make a kind of solid bottom to the underside of your skirt (you know what I mean), but it's sufficient for what you need. Maybe with a second or with a lace edging, you'd get a prettier look.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
At last, the Antique & Artisan Show is over! Can't wait to get back to work and have people start hassling me about stuff they want me to do now that I no longer have "I'm really busy because of the show" as an excuse not to do their pet projects. There I bought a partial set of Hall China refrigerator containers (will be trying to collect the butter dish and bigger pitcher), a box of sheet music containing some real hits, a watch that I think was a bad buy but was cheap, and a 1944 McCall's.

I thought I was ready to send out a pattern to one of my smallest testers, but I misjudged how long it would take to do instructions - although with [personal profile] danabren's advice from the last one and the relative simplicity of this dress, these came together quickly! But writing out instructions makes it clear where I need to change things on the pattern itself, of course, and add pieces I just didn't think about before (plackets and so on).

Someone I contacted on Tumblr about drawing my logo got back to me! Having that will be nice.

Watching Cranford this evening. Real talk: I like it because I identify with the spinsters who are variously still looking to get married, disdainful of men, and/or regretful about never having had a family.

I've been playing Hogwarts Mystery, too. Pros: More HP stuff to engage with; intriguing pre-series setting (between chapters one and two of PS/SS); promise of seeing young Charlie and Tonks eventually; storyline with very fanfic plot and some sympathetic NPCs. Cons: Only one person can have each name, and since the OFC I came up with when I was 13 has a relatively common one I was not able to be her, MEGA DISAPPOINTMENT; for something with a railroad plot, it has terribly ugly animation/characters; said railroad plot doesn't allow for real exploration of the setting; the energy thing everyone complains about definitely detracts from gameplay, although the waiting period is better than on a couple of Playrix games I play; the antagonist is unconvincing and irritating. I'm more interested in the upcoming Niantic AR game, although after PokeGo it's pretty certain that the servers will be impossible to get on for the first week.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
I probs should have checked in with the Edwardian/WWI group on Facebook when I was choosing what to pattern - I tried several different platforms but I keep forgetting that the costuming community is all FB all the time now* - but it looks like everyone (bar one person) prefers my great-grandmother's 1919 or 1920 graduation dress for a pattern, so I'm working on that!

* It's so depressing. I'm used to comparing myself to more successful, attractive, and interesting bloggers and feeling bad about my lack of readership, but even the BNF bloggers are not getting the attention they used to.

I did all the digitizing of the base pattern yesterday, and have been working on creating sizes today. Then a few more days working on directions, intro text, and cover page design, and I should be ready to go. So far I've got Robin here, and people on FB are signing up quickly - so let me know if anyone else here is into it!
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
The blouse is completed apart from the hem, so I'm feeling pretty good right now, although tired. It fits (not too tight, except maybe a little in the sleeve band), and it's not super flattering, but if you google for Simplicity 1692 and look at the versions with the short, puffed sleeves, you can see that it's not flattering on anyone, though it's very forties. If I pin curl my hair, I think people will get a kick out of the whole outfit at the concert, which is basically why I do this whole thing.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
I made a simnel cake! Without thinking about how I would dispose of an entire fruitcake ... I'll be bringing much of it in to work and cutting it up to try to get other people to eat it. Spoiler alert: they won't, because nobody ever eats what I bring in. Maybe I'll just cut it up and stick it in my lunch for the next month instead.

On Saturday I got basically nothing done - went out to see the Met's Così Fan Tutte at the Roxy in Potsdam (it was set on Coney Island in the 1950s, with all these people who actually work at Coney Island now doing contortions, snake-handling, etc.) and then went to JoAnn, where there was a surprise pattern sale! I just needed zippers but picked up a good handful of Simplicity patterns, including - very importantly - 1940s pants without pleats.

Sunday and Monday I just sewed; Sunday I never even left my apartment or put more clothes on than pajama pants and a sweatshirt. Finished the gold and black dress and started on my 1940s blouse, which now just needs sleeves and the hem and zipper ... it felt like I'd done more before I said that. But I'm feeling extremely optimistic about finishing it and making a plain black skirt before the concert on the 14th/15th. Hair is the only real concern.


Mar. 19th, 2018 09:03 pm
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
Remember how in love I was with this fabric? Well, it gave me a bit of a shock - I'm so used to using solids or patterns so small or big that you don't bother to match, but this is one that you actually have to match. And it was in the sale bin at Joann, so it's listed as out of stock on the website. But I'm happy to say that I just barely made it work! I unfortunately had to recut the front of the bodice (I initially cut it out before realizing I needed to center the pattern), but by cutting the front of the skirt on a fold and piecing two corners of the skirt (one in back and one in front), it all works. By sheer chance, the bodice and skirt fronts are both on the same axis - as you can see, you can have the flowers facing diagonally in or diagonally out. That was very, very lucky.


chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)

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