chocolatepot: Mme Grand, looking up but seeming to roll her eyes (Oh please)
I forced myself to finish reading this book, because I wanted to really lambaste it here and would feel bad if it had some major twists near the end that gave it surprising complexity. It did not, btw.

Read more... )

So, uh, wouldn't recommend.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
I've been FFC'd! I ordered glacier blue and shadow grey silk crepe de chine. They sent me a sea-green crepe de chine and a silver silk twill. Come on, guys. (At least this time it was their fault, and not me missing something in the closeup or description.) I went in guns a-blazin' on their customer support email, by my standards, and they gave me a return label. I'm keeping the crepe, because it's fine, but sending that twill back. TBH the twill is probably worth more, but I would never have used it.
chocolatepot: The bodice of a woman, from a painting by Caravaggio (Caravaggio)
Finished The Haunting of Hill House last night! thoughts )

Rewatching the Netflix series to try to pick up on color stuff. notes )

The fanfic meme!

What’re your first and second most common work ratings?
I have ten Gen, and one each of NR, Teen, and Mature.

What’s your most common archive warning? Least common?
"No Archive Warnings Apply", lol. Only one is "Chose not to Warn" and I suspect that that was a mistake, because I don't think there's anything warnable in it.

Do you consider yourself an adventurous writer?
Yeah, I think so. I get more adventurous in each exchange - you wouldn't believe some of the things I offered in the H/C exchange. I don't have much of a desire to write fanfic novels, really, or series: I want to write about everything and every fandom.

How many stories have you made in each pairing category?
Gen (6)
M/M (3)
F/M (2)
F/F (2)

Is this more accidental, or do you have preferences?
Mmm ... I used to have a strong M/F preference, but lately I don't even have a very strong romance preference anymore - I want to concentrate on people's sad childhoods, or their clothing. That being said, I never bother to nominate anything in exchanges and since nobody ever nominates Remus/Tonks, I can't offer that and write treats for it, which I would if it were there. Apparently nobody likes the ship anymore??? (Only joking, hardly anybody really liked the ship in the first place.)

What are your top 4 fandoms by numbers? Are you still active in any of them, and do you tend to migrate a lot?
Original Work (3) - lol, but for real it's the most fun
Harry Potter (2)
The Goblin Emperor (2)
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, book and tv version (2)

Harry Potter is my ride-or-die forever fandom, even if I'm not talking about it so much anymore. I'm definitely nowhere near as active in TGE as I used to be, and I don't offer it anymore because I can't remember enough about the characters ... but then, I also never really cared about the ships in the fandom, which is what everyone else seems to be into. I don't migrate a lot so much as I offer what I can write and typically get matched on the thing I put in last because I needed one more offer.

What are your top 4 relationship tags? Does this match how you feel about the characters, or are you puzzled?
All my relationship tags have one each! Multifandom exchanges 4 lyfe.

What are your top 2 most used additional tags, and your bottom 2? What would happen if you combined all 4 of these into a fic?
Top two are Alternate Universe and Clothing Porn, both with 3 uses; bottom two would be Meta and First Time, both with 1. Technically, I've used Meta in conjunction with Clothing Porn for a Goblin Emperor fashion magazine. All together, I think I would write a fake academic or pop history article about the clothing we have left from Emma Poole's wardrobe, in an alternate universe where she is a fabulous magician.

How many WIPs do you have currently running on AO3? Any you don’t plan on finishing?
Nooooooone. I know that I never finish anything so I don't post WIPs. Also, most of my WIPs are about OCs and I'm still very very wary of posting OC fic in public.
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
Made myself crepes after dinner and put some lemon curd on them. Shrove Tuesday! Britaboo level: increased! (They were delicious.)

I am watching Saving Mr Banks this evening and it is just ... why did I not realize how adorable this movie is? Emma Thompson is such a delight. She made me laugh out loud multiple times before I was halfway into it. (Bob Sherman's son made a revue about his father, it's called A Spoonful of Sugar, you can find it on Spotify.) Also, I had NO idea Ruth Wilson and Colin Farrell were in this and as amazing as they are.

Books lately:

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding, by Rhys Bowen - the latest in the "Royal Spyness" series. An adequate continuation; I mostly read them out of momentum, and really, they are better than most formula series mysteries. Better-written, I mean, and Georgie's mother is always fun to read. But as mysteries I always feel like they lack something - partly because mysteries set in the 1930s inevitably make you draw a comparison with Sayers which everyone else will always lose, but partly because Georgie just ... she just sort of walks around and the most obvious clues get left in front of her, every so often she does something insanely risky without seeming to realize it, and then she mainly solves the mystery because she runs into the criminals doing crimes. So just not quite satisfying. But as the title hints, she marries Darcy, so at least we can stop being reminded that she's a virgin every book!

An Unkindness of Magicians, by Kat Howard - a standalone urban fantasy novel, probably could be categorized as "new adult" although it isn't as far as I know. The premise is that New York City is controlled by various magical families/Houses, and every so often they have to participate in a tournament to see which House will be in charge. I'm going to get a bit spoilery about the worldbuilding, so I'll shift into a cut: not spoilery enough to ruin the book but I know some people like to be fully surprised )

Now I'm working on The Victory Garden, also by Rhys Bowen, and it's interesting to see where it is and isn't like the Royal Spyness series, in terms of voice and character-type and plot. (It's a standalone novel, not marketed with the RS books at all, but close enough that she's not using a pen name, so ... I have to say, it seems like she phones it in with Spyness.) Though I hit a Stupid Corset Scene - really stupid - and about ten pages later there was an unexpected Australian slur, which is like ... if you're going to have characters be "oooh modern young women who all agree about corsets and jobs etc.", can't you have the Australian perfect-man love interest have some slight racial awareness?

Also started The Haunting of Hill House, don't know if I can/should read it at night.


Feb. 27th, 2019 05:31 pm
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
My BACK. I have a hot water bottle on it and I took an ibuprofen, but it aches. Better than a lot of people's cramps, but I never really enjoy it.

I need to put the bib-front away for a bit and get cracking on everyday sewing. (I also have to think - do I want to shorten the sleeves? June is pretty warm.) Mainly this comes down to:

- Get some crepe-de-chine and make more slips. My charmeuse ones are falling apart: mostly this is because the seams keep popping, particularly in the half-slip, which is a 1/4 circle and definitely too full, but the full slip is absolutely shredded just in front of the left armpit. I think it's got to do with my hooking my thumb under my purse strap in the summer. The warps are too shifty! I'm concerned that crepe will be too staticky but I guess I'll find out. I still have a bunch of off-white charmeuse in case this doesn't work out.

- Make a coat out of the green Pendleton wool Gramma gave me. This is scary because the only outerwear I've ever made was a spencer, and frankly it wasn't very good. But my black wool coat, which has never really fit me (#tweenyblues), just ... still doesn't fit me, but even worse, and the main button I use is under so much strain, it's bad. I kind of want it to be a cute fitted hip-length jacket so that skirt-squishing isn't an issue, but if there's enough wool I'll put a skirt on it. We'll see, we'll see.

- Alter my Brooklyn shirtdress and Secretary pants, because they're just sitting around uselessly! The pants need about 1' cut off the bottom and a couple of darts put in the back waist; the dress is going to be a bit complicated (#TWEENYBLUES), and I also need to buy a belt for it.
chocolatepot: Nibs (fountain pens)
So yesterday I went to see Isn't It Romantic, and at the climax I was thinking, "Oh, this is a lot like what I get out of Sophie Kinsella," which reminded me that the book I just read was I Owe You One by SK! I find her books comforting because (apart from the Shopaholic ones, ironically) they always start with the heroine being picked on and unappreciated by her family, and you know that by the end she'll find her life path and yell at everyone else, and the romance is like a secondary reward to that. The mileage she has gotten out of this one plot is amazing.

Wore Red Velvet this afternoon to get used to it. Like it more the second time!

So I took a break from the pattern redrawing while I pitched to Contingent, and then continued the break because I started creating a pen-and-paper system for a Regency-period social RPG ("Dandies and Dandyzettes"). Lately I've felt rested up, though, and I'm back to redrawing patterns. Contingent turned me down. Ah well. I hope they can get funding to go forward beyond the March issue. I might ask them for advice on what type of fashion history articles would be suitable, going forward, in case they do, because I don't have the knack of coming up with good pitch concepts yet.
chocolatepot: The bodice of a woman, from a painting by Caravaggio (Caravaggio)
So today I finally read (much but not all of) Consumptive Chic: A History of Beauty, Fashion, and Disease to write an answer on the topic, and I'm ... pretty annoyed at the way it was titled and marketed and written about following publication?? (To be clear, I'm annoyed with someone at Bloomsbury and the people who wrote about it in the Smithsonian and such, not Carolyn Day.) The majority of the book is about the way that pre-20th century people conceptualized it as a disease/constitutional ailment, and how it was viewed culturally; the last third, maybe, is actually about beauty and fashion, and it has loads of nuance and detail and reference.

Consumption’s allure lay in the fact that its symptomology operated within the established parameters of attractiveness. Rosy cheeks and lips coupled with pale skin were qualities with an established pedigree in the definitions of beauty. They were also the product of phthisis.

This is the opposite, in terms of which causes which, from what I've seen in all the coverage on this book. So basically people skimmed it and then reinterpreted it based on their own misconceptions.


I did buy Besame's Red Velvet and American Beauty. Sometimes I just need to frivolously spend money on a cosmetics purchase. Red Velvet's very very dark on me, with some pink to it; I need to work to get used to it, because it looks fine on plenty of the very pale people wearing it on the page.

I went to the library last weekend and got a couple of books. :O Doesn't happen often. I can't remember what the first one I read was - finished it and took it back very quickly - but I liked it; the other is Alex and Eliza: A Love Story, which I thought would be cute but is sadly cliché-ridden. Man, it's really bothering me that I completely forgot what the first one was. I tried searching the new books in the NCLS catalogue, and it's just not coming up. But I've ordered a Shirley Jackson collection (from that series of collections with black covers, a narrow red/white/blue stripe across the middle, and the name printed with the surname larger - I used to be so into these when I was too young to bother actually reading the novels, for some reason).

But what was that book?!
chocolatepot: Marian, riding a horse (Marian)
So I sewed both sleeves, and gathered one and set it in, cut out the skirt panels, cut into the bottom of skirt panels and sewed them up again, cut into the top to form the apron-front, ironed the plackets that will go on the sides of the apron into shape, cut out the bib, and ironed down three edges on bib to mark where to hem. Not bad for a weekend!

A while back, someone recommended Elizabeth Willey's A Sorceror & A Gentleman as high fantasy with a focus on social matters (rather than a quest, or the magic system, or w/e). I'm halfway in and still interested, but not quite hooked. It's from the '90s and feels bit dated )

I'm interested in seeing where it goes, but I'm not really devouring it.
chocolatepot: The bodice of a woman, from a painting by Caravaggio (Caravaggio)
Politics is doing my head in lately. I think some of that's because I'm spending more time on Twitter - I'm going to integrate myself into Fashion History Twitter if it kills me, and it will because it just reinforces that a) most of the other women who study this stuff are Drs and b) the professional fashion history scene in America is extremely twentieth-century-centric and that's why I'll never get hired in a costume collection - but also because it's accelerating as we head toward the primaries. We're going to have a FULL YEAR of a primary season that promises to be exactly as hellish as 2016, if not more so. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Finally cut out the sleeves and skirt for my bib-front gown. I added no width to the sleeve because the upper arm was the right size, and the lower arm is quite a close fit, which is how I assume it's supposed to be. I also didn't realize it's got that slightly-too-long-scrunched-up-above-the-wrist thing going on, because it's so slight. Very interesting! So the top of the gown is based on the trained bib-front pattern in RWD, and for the skirt I used the other, because it's straight panels and I don't have enough fabric to cut out gores. (Edit: Realized after going to bed that I do have the fabric to cut out gores, silly me.) Hopefully it all comes together. I don't know why it shouldn't but I'm always concerned. [personal profile] ktlovely, when is the event again? I don't know why I can't manage to remember. I thought it was April but I think I got it confused with the MANY conference that was partly held there last April - it's the 1812 weekend in June, right?

Will need to make a bonnet. Can't find any of my Lynn McMasters patterns (although since the failed CW spoon bonnet that had a very wrong brim shape I'm a little wary of the brand now), but I think I would need to draft something new for this period anyway. Maybe a casque? (NB: I've made two entire bonnets in my life and this will be a mess.)
chocolatepot: Nibs (fountain pens)
But I've written three treats for Chocolate Box, and I'm working on a pitch for Contingent, a new history mag aimed at a general audience that especially wants to publish people with a postgraduate degree in non-tenure-track/non-academic jobs. (Attacking the idea that flappers are equivalent to Millennials.) I really need to get back to my bib-front gown but as usual I'm afraid of cutting out more fabric and ruining it.

Watching DS9's "Far Beyond the Stars" this evening. I so appreciate it when shows do episodes that are AU fanfiction.

Would like to buy myself a new lipstick or two because I wear Tango Red almost every day, Carmine on occasion, and Victory Red once in a great while, but I get exhausted looking at the options and then trying to figure out how it will look on me ... I feel like I want a more medium pink for variety, but I don't know if a pink will suit me at all. Wish Besame did sample lipsticks!

I never know what exactly I think about the new Les Mis, so a few disjointed points.

Les Mis )

I also never know what I think about Victoria. Victoria )
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Default)
Finished my Chocolate Box fic, very proud. Now to write some treats ... I love the way the Original Works stuff has really taken off. Probably there are some who are annoyed about it - it's kind of antithetical to the point of a fanfiction exchange - but there's really nothing else out there for prompting/exchanging very short, emotionally-charged original fiction. And I love the way most of the pairings are themselves prompts without any additional information! E.g.:

Aging Male Operetta Singer/Male Light Designer Who Makes Him Look Divine
Arrogant Empress in Exile/Sensible Female Foreign Mercenary She's Hired to Protect Her
Bloodthirsty Female Warrior/Gentle Male Mage She's Attempting To Court
Charming Princess/Her Gruff Guardswoman Who Tries Hard Not to Seem Too Devoted
Dashing Highwayman/Nobleman Who Is In Fact The King In Disguise

Like, goshdarnit, you folks are cute.


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, riding a horse (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: Graph with "Technology 100%" (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)

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