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The Antique & Artisan Show was a success! As far as I can tell without knowing how much money we brought in or having read the vendor comment cards - it just seemed like more people were buying. One told me that she felt our $4 admission fee was hampering sales, but IMO the issue is that her handspun yarn cost $38 per skein. I bought quite a few things for presents (and some for me), lost all the Silent Auction items I'd bid on, and purchased a $75 box of dozens and dozens of Needlecraft magazines dating from 1921 to 1940 - several years are complete and many are almost so. The dealer's been selling them out of the box for ages, $3 apiece/$7 for three, so it's been picked over some ... but it's still an amazing deal when you consider how much magazines with fashion info cost on eBay.

I recently discovered the Jane Austen + Text Posts Tumblr, which is a pretty great read. Her textual criticism is 100% fantastic, although sometimes I think her history is a bit less so, or at least ... it's not that it's bad, it's just that sometimes she states things very confidently and I'm like, do you know this because you read a text with references to primary sources on the subject or do you just Know This? However, she makes it all up to me with:

Pride & Prejudice - I know this one is one of the most divisive and contentious bits of Discourse ever to exist among nerds as there are just MORE to pick from and it’s the novel most people are familiar with. SO I will just say that I have Strong Opinions on all of them but for BEST it’s kind of picking from among adaptations which have all disappointed me in some way so I’ll say if you were to COMBINE the better elements of both the 1995 miniseries for timing and thoroughness with the 2005 feature film for artistry and visuals (and don’t come at me handwaving #aesthetic as though it’s not important, because that’s what cinema IS, and lighting/framing/visual cues are SO SO SO important when telling a story through film!) then you’d probably have something I’d feel comfortable calling The Best. On their own, neither truly satisfies me.

Know what? Fuck it, Bridget Jones’s Diary is my favourite adaptation of P&P. Bride & Prejudice is also very good. I saw it three times in theatres, including once by myself, and have no regrets whatsoever.


This is an opinion I respect. In honor of her I'm watching PPZ this morning - I could rant on about worldbuilding issues, but tbh what I think is most disappointing is the way that Elizabeth is 99% a different character than in canon, yet they don't seem to believe that they lost anything in taking her from "a witty, self-assured young woman who likes a laugh" to "she's the MODERN Austen heroine, if you don't like it, DEAL".

I am liking this new season of Who. The premiere did nothing for me - not sure why - but Smile was great. I like Bill, she's well cast and well written.
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Started to read Tasha Alexander's And Only to Deceive. I'm going to keep reading for a bit, but in just the first few chapters it's already hit me with a number of Victorian-historical-fiction tropes I hate:

- Well-born girl who doesn't want to get married Just Because (but has no apparent goal that marriage would interfere with)

- Mother who makes Mrs. Bennet look chill and hands-off (even after her daughter is married very well and then widowed, she's still attempting to bother her into remarrying Just Because)

- Father who is quietly indulgent but never interferes with the mother's awfulness

- Even second mourning dress is inherently dreary and unattractive, and wearing any mourning is the worst thing ever

- Women at any level of mourning must seclude themselves at home with the curtains drawn, even in second mourning for a husband they were married to for six months

- "Please, let us dispense with formalities since we've been talking for fifteen minutes. Call me by my first name, eligible man."

- Female characters are either twittering, conventional idiots or magnificent unconventional grande dames

Not a trope but irritating anyway: "Mr. Worth will be coming to my rooms [in Paris] this afternoon." If there is one thing we can all agree on about Worth, IT'S THAT HE DOESN'T COME TO YOU. Gawd.
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Does anybody have a yard or so of silver/grey silk taffeta left over in their stash they could sell me? I didn't think about it when I ordered the main dress fabric, but I need stuff for binding and piping. Although it's a cotton dress ... but it's a really nice, semi-sheer cotton ... I can find some online but I'd rather not have to deal with going through a shop's whole system and maybe take forever, now that I've actually started cutting and sewing.

I'm even happy with dupioni, if it's that thin stuff from Joann.

---

When Shameless was first airing in the UK, I watched the first few seasons but dropped it when the focus went off the Gallaghers, and I dl'd the first season or so of the US version when it was airing, but then stopped because it didn't have the same feel as the original. Well, it's on Netflix, so I'm watching it, and I'm on S4 ... it's bleak. It's a lot like OITNB in that it likes to tease that the bad situation is improving but you know that in the end they're just showing how poverty ruins lives and that it's practically impossible to pull yourself out. :|

Anne

Apr. 7th, 2017 05:49 pm
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Ingres)
The new Anne [of Green Gables] is GREAT. I can see why it's being called a "gritty reboot", but imo it's not actually gritty. To me, "gritty" is what happens when you take something from nice/sweet/fantasy and push it through realistic into something that's as much of a fantasy as the original, but in a negative way. It's a couple of steps back from grimdark. The interior of Green Gables looks like a lived-in house, clothing is a bit rumpled by wear, Anne is skinny and not a pretty child ... the bullying and past abuse is trending a bit more toward gritty than realistic, but it's also not exactly an unreasonable extrapolation, considering the time and situation. So in a sense it's unfaithful to the book (even beyond the fact that it lurches way off track at the end of the first episode), because the book world is one that it a little kinder than realistic. But I wouldn't quite call it gritty.

Technically, this is a spoiler, so I shall cut it )
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So tired, not capable of going into much detail. But I went to the MANY conference and it was great! I came away with a lot of ideas for the museum, like turning one really dated gallery into an installation of a 1930s St. Lawrence U student's room (the building was used as a restaurant with bedroom rented to students). I'm also thinking of presenting next year. It was nice to see a bunch of people again, too - Kim from the Chapman, Kathleen from Brookside, Kathryn and Connie from NYSM.

Another Five Minute History page got posted to Fashion Historians Unite, this one on Worth and as usual full of bullshit. I wish there were a way to get people to stop believing it's a good site, or just to get David James to stop writing about fashion when he knows nothing about it. Guess I will deal with this by turning several into a BadHistory post.

Sent out my book proposal to Bloomsbury! I feel like I have a chance because they published How To Read A Dress, but otoh they might be like "we published HTRAD, do we really need another guide?" I should contact the Boston MFA again, see if they ever made a decision about the Galerie des Modes (my nightmare scenario is that they decide to reprint it but want to do their own translations in-house and years of my work suddenly becomes worthless because info I posted on my blog instantly becomes meaningless the second someone else publishes the same or a similar thing).
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For April Fools at Ask Historians, we're answering questions by writing fiction! (The audience is not 100% on board yet.) I wrote the Story of a Turque and Maria Annalspornographie (it's not a sex story at all, that's another user's handle). But my favorite is sunagainstgold's answer on red hair as a bad thing in the Middle Ages, it's hilarious.

ETA: I've also written one on staying cool at a ball.
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I meant to mention Queen of Babble in my last post. I didn't like it at all. :( Are Meg Cabot's other adult books so ... teenagery?

When I took the last couple of books back to the library I picked up Gilded Cage by Vic James - an alternate modern UK where there are lots of aristocrats with magic (Equals) and everybody else has none (Skilless), and at the end of the Civil War they all signed a treaty saying that every member of the Skilless, forever after, would become slaves for ten years of their lives, some working as house servants and most in brutal factories, all considered property. It's a decent premise, but I have kind of a hard time buying it - harder than buying the Games in THG - because it seems like it would fall apart in a generation or so. Loads of people would defer as long as possible and then commit suicide, or whole families would die together to prevent their children from becoming property, and I can't see how the Skilless could win (or draw in) a war against the Equals but not rebel successfully later, or at least successfully enough to make the whole thing not worthwhile. Even if it did work, there would be no middle class at all (which is what the main characters are), because everyone Skilless would be screwed, career-wise, by having to lose ten years somewhere in it. THAT SAID, I'm enjoying it when I don't think about all that, and I'm only a couple chapters in so maybe it'll be addressed.

I should be cutting out a dress (I washed and iron 15yds of cotton on Monday, burned my pinkie on the iron) but am I ever sleepy this evening. I did get to bed a bit late last night but it seems excessive.

I want to write a review of Heart of Haute for my blog, but am stymied by the need for good photos of myself in my two dresses. :/ I do have a tripod now, at least, but there's nowhere in my apartment to take pictures and I'm not posing for myself outside.
chocolatepot: The bodice of a woman, from a painting by Caravaggio (Caravaggio)
I had a very nice Saturday in New York City. Really reminded me how much I miss living there - not so much because I would *do things* if I were there, probably, although not working/attending class seven days a week and having enough money to live on might mean that I would, but just because of the atmosphere. All the people, the narrow and shady streets, the buildings packed together, the smell and the noise ... I still love it. Dad and Owen and I went to the Morgan Library and ate halal food in front of the NYPL.

Happy to report that I enjoyed Hamilton, although I still don't quite get the intense adoration. Hamilton )

I have also consumed a piece of contemporary literary fiction! That never happens. It's called Indelible. Indelible )

I'm also just about finished with E.F. Benson's Dodo: A Detail of the Day (1893). It's one of those stories that reminds you how flexible the boundaries of an era are - it really reads as Edwardian, or even 1920s, especially in terms of dialogue. Dodo is this young woman in society who fascinates everyone with her charm and ability to talk nonsense for long periods of time; she gets married to a somewhat dull but devoted young marquis when she's in love with someone else. Like the David Blaize books, it's always made clear what the proper morality is, but it's still pretty lively and enjoyable.
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I am getting there with Cameo. I've pretty much hit the anxiety threshold re: emailing the developer - I can't possibly look any stupider or needier, so I might as well confess my complete lack of understanding of the program beyond basic drafting and beg for help.

Well, I say "getting there", but despite slavishly copying the screencaps she sent me, I'm somehow still far from getting a good scaled-up pattern. A bit of the problem might be that my measurements for the base size are off - I can tell bust and waist circumference easily enough, but it gets tricky when trying to figure out the original wearer's cup size or bust depth. The developer is somehow better at this than me because the screencapped altered pattern she sent me was like ... a real pattern that would work on a human body, rather than the twisty mess I get.

---

I have been asked to ride in a carriage in the Dairy Princess parade as Clarissa Wright! This is tremendously exciting but leaves me with a dilemma. The dress I am making for Civil War Weekend is 1850s, by which time Clarissa was in her forties and widowed, and from the one photo we have of her in the 1860s she did the mourning-for-life option (not just dressing in black, but very plain black wool). When Clarissa was my age, it was 1835. I've wanted to make this dress since I patterned it, and I happen to have five yards of a yellow checked cotton that would work very well. Nobody but me would know it's mid-1820s instead of mid-1830s, although tbh I play so much younger that even if anyone did notice that it's an 1820s dress, they would probably think I was Clarissa in her early 20s anyway. But that would mean making two dresses in time for this summer, which is asking a lot out of my sewing speed ...
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So, it's interesting that the showrunners decided to make S3 of The Musketeers reflect the reign of Louis XVI within the context of Louis XIII's reign, and it's cool that the costuming acknowledges this by making 1770s/1780s references in Anne of Austria's wardrobe and hair, but like ... why?
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The Musketeers has shockingly good costuming, at least in the first season, for a show that's mainly concerned with swashbuckling. The main characters wear anachronistic leather all the time and Constance hardly ever puts a dress over her stays (you will note that she always wears a shift under them, though), but outside of that they do pretty well with silhouettes, waistlines, and treatment of fabric. The costumers pay a lot of attention to detail just in terms of construction, so even when something's inaccurate it looks like a real piece of clothing rather than a length of polyester stuck to a body.

JJ Feild was in an early episode and I didn't even recognize him. I'm so sorry, husbando.

(Just got to series two, and I Strongly Disapprove of the recasting of Constance. I suppose they had to because of War & Peace, but ...)
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But I will say this! Thanks, [personal profile] nuranar, for the suggestion of the five-row styling brush! I was finally able to achieve a flip-under this morning because of it, even if two swipes with the clearly-not-100%-boar-bristle brush did destroy most of the curl from my set.
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I went out to get groceries etc., but because it was about 10F at most today, I did it in one trip and in the car. Which left me with a lot of extra time! I did waste quite a bit, and spent probably two hours cumulatively on brushing and styling my hair (going to have to get a routine down: I simply don't have the time in the morning when I have to work). Apparently my mother told my grandmother that I have my hair cut like hers when she got married, which made my grandmother very happy. I actually trimmed the layers last night, which is terribly stupid and I don't recommend it, but I thought it needed more of a U shape. It does require a bit more fiddling with the comb to keep the U smooth, but I like it.

Recently I made my first order from Litt(t?)leBits on Etsy. After buying the 1910 Besame perfume, I've been really into wearing scent, and I wanted some lavender water as a nice clean, natural perfume; I also got the last vial of the perfume they made based on Martha Washington's recipe, which is pretty special. And because I was buying stuff, I also got the 1815 jasmine pomatum - tried a little on my hair today and I am very pleased with the results - and the 1922 pomade.

Anyway, what I actually was trying to say is that despite my time-wasting, I've almost finished writing the women's section for my sample chapter. That only leaves children, which should be pretty quick. I'm going to do a good editing pass, but is anybody interested in being a second pair of eyes?

Another thing that happened today was that an AskHistorians flair from years ago who'd deleted his account came back and borderline-demanded to be reflaired, then started leaving some terrible comments that are no longer considered acceptable by our standards. When he responded tangentially to a question about Walt Disney's possible antisemitism, I removed it because, like I said, it was tangential; he in turn started asking if I had worked for Disney and had a conflict of interest and demanded I resign. Sent us several messages about it through modmail! He got banned and then went back to his UFO subreddit (yes, that's what his flair was in) to say that we were no longer a legitimate sub and the moderator who was an expert in fashion (it's pretty clear that he thinks this makes me an idiot) and maybe some of the others are Disney shills.

Okay thanks hacks. I'll take my work the press and let them know your subreddit has been completely compromised in its integrity.
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I got my hair cut! It's a middy with no bangs and with some vertical layering as well as horizontal (I used up my nerve convincing the stylist that I really did want 10 inches cut off and couldn't tell her vertical layers were unnecessary when she started in on them). She curled it all over with a curling iron, which looked stupid, and I finger-combed it out. The last night I wet-set it and slept on it ... it looks a lot more like a fluffy Clara Bow bob than e.g. Elizabeth Taylor or Rosemary Clooney, which I think partly comes down to the fact that when most people do a wet-set and brush-out, they end up with hair that looks the way mine does naturally - on a good day, anyway - so when I do it, I get curly floof. But I like curly floof! And I like setting and taking out rollers!
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I can't believe I never posted this here: Midwest Historic Costume Conference survey! Julie and I are seeking out some feedback for a sort of eastern CoCo we'd like to hold. She chaired/organized the recent Ohio Military Regimental Ball and I've been in charge of the events at work for the past year (we get 60-90 reenactors at the Civil War Weekend and 300-450 spectators)* so I think we're equipped to handle it.

Things have changed a bit since creating the survey - we've pretty much decided to go with Glidden House near Cleveland, and since they're totally booked May through October, it's going to be either March or November for 2018, but we can get in and book early for eg June in 2019 if that's better for people. We've done a lot of brainstorming for meal/party themes and are so psyched about all of it. Here's the FB page, right now pretty derelict but it's early days.

Edit: Also, a question for friends who do events like CoCo - as far as you know, do a lot of single-era people attend? People who are attached to reenactment units? Or is it mostly those who, like us, do costuming on their own or with a group of pals?

* Speaking of which, we are really starting to hurt. Being in Basically Canada, far from the center of CW reenacting, we draw from a small corps of reenactors who live around here or have social ties to the local units to bring them hundreds of miles. This year, we've had two deaths and an Alzheimer's institutionalization. The group that used to be our "hosts" has fallen apart, pretty much. I DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO.
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I was thinking about doing the Janet Arnold ca. 1860 sheer, just because Janet's patterns are so detailed and descriptive, but one of the reasons I wanted a new dress in the first place is that my very short torso + extreme bust/waist difference means I really need a point on the bodice. Nora Waugh's 1850s sheer seems much pointier ... but then, Nora's drawings are really cartoons (and Janet's tend to look a lot more unflattering in the drawings than they do on mannequins, right?), and I'm not sure the pattern pieces are actually any pointier. But Nora's has much less fabric gathered across the front, which I think would be better for me, and I like the soft belling of the sleeve more than the big pagoda. (Although the sleeves really scream late 40s-early 50s. But who really cares? This is a very mainstream-to-farby event, and I plan to be accurate to the pattern itself. The skirt is as wide as the one on the dress I've been using.)

What do you think about the floral wreath sheer fabric in blue? I'd prefer to go for a cheaper option since I've spent a bit much so far this year, but this is really authentic and in a lovely color. [personal profile] koshka_the_cat, since I found it on your site, do you remember how wide it is?

Apropos of nothing, I put on my skinny jeans with my work shirt to go to chorus and looked in the mirror and I'm a bomb-ass hottie today, just saying. (It's probably just that I finally washed the jeans yesterday.)
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I am HELLA tired but thought I would post about the week as I'm sitting in the airport.

The ball was excellent! I forgot my corset (...) and so wore one of Julie's that's too hippy for here, which would have been absolutely perfect if the waist had been a tad bit shorter. But it was still enough to let me (well, Julie) hook the front of my bodice closed. I am thinking that prior to Civil War Weekend I'm going to try to make a sheer day dress to replace this morning dress, which is fully lined (and therefore hot) and has very small armscyes. Like, my chemise sleeves are too tight and that's a problem, but the armscye tightness takes it to a whole new level. Anyway, I threw myself into dancing everything in the first two sets except the second waltz, and then came back for the Garfield whatsit at Julie's insistence. I don't mind at all dancing with other ladies, but it was awkward when I had to stand there waiting for the MC to find me a partner at one point and men were practically lining the walls - in order to preserve my self-esteem I assume it was because they prefer to dance with women from their unit that they know. My feet were killing me by the end of the night, and we went up to bed before the ball officially ended. (And talked for a while about starting a new event in Ohio - I'll keep you posted.)

As for patterning, I think people will be pleased. I have a late 1860s day dress to go with the Pingat (so you can either do two one-piece dresses or make two bodices to swap out), a Dolly Varden in a cute cotton print, an 1820s pelisse, a spencer with a little peplum, and an open robe that is almost the double of the one in the V&A with the fully pleated back. We were actually looking for an 1845 wedding/evening dress but nothing leapt out at us as a particularly interesting example, and an 1890s evening dress (same). I think I'll contact NYSHA tonight or tomorrow to ask what they have of those two categories, and I can make a day of patterning there next month or April when you can drive down the west side of northern NY without being blanketed in snow.
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Carmen the maintenance guy is oversharing with Sue in her office about Kylie Jenner's body, what in the world ...

I need a sample chapter for this proposal - I was going to do the one that includes the late 1770s-1780s because I know it so well, but I changed my mind and started with chapter one, 1700-1739. It was very hard to figure out how to describe things like shirts and shifts from the middle, so to speak, without knowing exactly what I would have written in the chapters before it to build off of. After getting the entire men's section down, I think I would have ended up getting lazy, too, and generalizing and writing the same old thing I've done a dozen times when charting the progress of the period running up to the Neoclassical. That said, there's not much research at all on these years, and extant garments and paintings are often really vaguely/poorly dated, so it's been tricky. My Pinterest boards are thus only so helpful.

I'm fairly determined, though, that after I get back from Ohio (where nobody signed up for my workshops, btw) I'm going to work on hand-sewing some early 18th century stays. If I'm going to get back into the game I should really be addressing the 1860s, for the museum's reenactment, or Regency for the ECD group's anachronistic Playford/Regency dances, but when I really like and have always wanted a reason to do is early 18th century. Neither of the two previous get me inspired, because nobody else there is even close to authentic, so! I will go for something that I've always been fascinated with.
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I seem to have a bad habit of making decisions while writing, and then almost immediately walking them back after I see them typed out. So a little while ago, I was like, "I'm not going to bother trying to write for real publication, I'm just going to toddle stuff out and put it on Amazon for other nerds." But then I thought I might look at what the short story market looks like these days, and anyway ... as I wrote on the last page of the journal I just finished, When one part of life holds out on you and refuses to return your emails, turn back to something else you love. I've already sent out a piece of flash fiction and am working on a contemporary fantasy short story.

And then there was a ridic conversation on [personal profile] sarahbellem's FB with a costume designer that reminded me, hey, I was going to write a guide once upon a time that didn't just explain the history of fashion but was specifically addressed to people making or writing about clothing so they can avoid pitfalls. And so now I'm working on a proposal for that. I'm kind of terrified that the failure of RWD will make it impossible for me to publish ever again, but this is a totally different thing with way more market potential.

Still haven't heard back from the MFA, but Bunka Gakuen did get back to me and say that they'd be able to give me a volume discount to cut the image use fee from $44/image to $9/image, which is phenomenal. So whatever happens with any of the many things I'm keeping in the air, I at least have confidence that this one project will be realized.
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Just dropping in to say - this is an excellent recipe for paneer, I highly recommend it.

Lately I've been writing and writing in my journal, trying to dig deeper than a recitation of events. Now to channel that into fiction ... if only the same kind of short story market existed today as in 1900! But I've basically made up my mind that my fiction-writing career, such as it is/will be, should be confined to self-pubbing on Amazon for the select crowd that really likes historical pastiche.

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