So ...

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:27 am
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- Normally, I feel kind of down on Tuesdays: first day of the work week, not where I want to be, etc. etc. so I just give myself more leeway to doodle around at work that day and get down to things later, but this week it's just continued all the way through. The change to our open and working hours is really bumming me out - since we're only going to be open until 6pm on Fridays instead of 8, the Friday evening "extra shift" no longer counts as a thing, and each week one of us will work Monday (while closed) and the other Saturday (while open), so there will be no more alternating 3- and 2-day weekends, which means that any time we switch Mondays/Saturdays, one person gets Saturday-Monday off and one person only gets Sunday off. It's not objectively a huge deal, but one of the very few good things about working here was the flexibility and the long weekends. Most frustrating, because I can't even deal with it by going, "well, I'm going to get a different job and open a new chapter of my life!" since I'm already trying that.

- We had a special events committee meeting and I could barely function in it because all I could think about was how deeply I resented board members for coming up with ideas for me to follow up on or criticizing what we're doing because they don't spend enough time with us to realize some problems aren't our fault (e.g. whining that we don't send out enough press releases, when the issue is that not every news outlet we send them to publishes them; complaining that some of our presenters are sucky/barely relevant, when it's not like we have people queuing up to present and I know approximately 10 people in this county). Or signing up to work one shift (or not sign up to work any) at an event where I'm working 5-15 hours of unpaid overtime.

Okay, but on the positive side!

+ I put in for Koa, CoK, and Thick as Thieves at the library on the same day, hoping they would come in the proper order for me to finish the reread first but knowing they wouldn't, and they didn't, and so now I'm reading TaT! It's sooooo gooooood, Eagle of the Ninth meets The Goblin Emperor!

+ I just confessed that lately the board is making me completely nuts, like they've gotten less tolerable or something, and Sue agreed and said that maybe that's why she's been sleeping poorly and feeling not-great, so we're totally on the same page as far as that goes and I'm not a horrible, bitter person.

+ So maybe I couldn't have the green dress on display in the house - the Cranford dress, despite being massively bigger than the form, looks quite good in situ and somehow matches the room well despite being, um, brown-on-brown.

+ I didn't write very much over the past two days, but what I did write I'm pretty happy with. Needs editing, obviously, but this draft is turning out so much better than the first ... I'm going to have to do a compare/contrast thing here one of these days.
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I feel so stupid. I spent weeks making dress forms and even dressed one before realizing that the house/period rooms are no place to display antique textiles, since there are bright shining windows everywhere and the front door is opened at least twice a day! So I got to see my pride and joy on display for a day, and tomorrow I'm bringing my Cranford dress in to put on the form. The other one I will just put in collections storage for the next time I can include clothing in an upstairs, gallery-space exhibition. FFS.

(My pride and joy doesn't actually fit on the form. I made it so small so that it would fit as many dresses as possible, but this dress has dimensions of roughly 26" in the bust and 22" in the waist. So not only did I make a huge, obvious error in not thinking through where I was going to put these dress forms, I made a huge, obvious error in not measuring the gown that I was thinking of dressing in the first place. Blerg.)

Not sewing tonight - I've put the bones of the bodice together and need a breather. Tomorrow I'll cut out sleeves of the proper size and make them up; hopefully will also set them in. In theory I'm writing fiction tonight instead, but so far that's ... not happening.
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Started in on sewing the bodice - I had to recut all the front pieces of the lining from my muslin, and I'm not 100% sure whether it's going to work (my bust-to-waist curve-in is a lot sharper than on the original, a recurring problem). Tomorrow I'll be cutting out the pretty cotton, and trying to be very very good about matching it at the enter front. Fortunately, that's really the only place that requires matching. Also fortunately, I found my piping twine in a box.

Watched a lot of Catherine Cookson today; what was up with her and pseudo-incest? And also pedophilia?

This weekend I've been working on a frankly random sort of project for my blog - I was GBooksing for clothing references in the mid-18th century, and I came across the script of Polly Honeycombe, a 1760 play about novel-reading. In the preface, there's a list several pages long of books that were available for lending in a circulating library, and I decided for some reason that I should copy this list; try to find readable copies of as many as possible on GBooks, Project Gutenberg, and the Kindle store (for free or 99c); and put the authors and dates of publication on the list. Having done that (it's 5.5 pages!!), now I'm figuring out how to contextualize it. TBH it's interesting and I think I can say some cool things about the writing profession and especially female authors, but I do keep coming back to the word "random". Hopefully people will come away knowing more about Eliza Haywood and Sarah Fielding, and maybe try out a few 18th century novels.

(The fashion-related thing I got from the preface is that he writes about a woman who needs new clothes for the general mourning on the death of, presumably, George II, because the mourning clothes she'd had made up for Anne, Princess of Orange wore out, and she's apparently planning to get by on one new bombazine sack and petticoat for the whole six months' mourning. Is this because it was normal to wear one outfit every single day? Or was general mourning not really to be worn at all times, just when you're being social?)

(I would ABSOLUTELY be up for staging Polly Honeycombe someday, omg. It's just a one-act farce, and so silly. It would be so fun, even as a reading! Overly-romantic girl and boy, utterly unromantic boy, angry father, comical nurse, drunk mother.)
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Almost finished with first history of white weddings blog post - the end is a bit choppy, but it's always hard to end posts in series, I find. I just want to go back in and add some info from Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding, because I'm trying to get better about using academic sources.

I actually participated in a group critique of people's opening pages on r/fantasywriters, and it was really fun! Definitely preferable to the usual way critique goes on that sub, where people post a link to the first chapter or so of their work as its own thread, and there's just so much to critique that you have to be a bit shallow or leave a lot unsaid. I talked with some people about their openings and one of the mods eventually took pity on me and responded to mine - I'm always leery of sharing my writing, but I did want some advice on whether I was restarting the story in the wrong place. She(? I feel like the mods of that sub skew female) advised me to continue from where I'd left off in the original and then go back and rework, but the original was written in 2013 and ... that's not really such a long time, but when I reread it I'm like, what baby wrote this and why was their style so awkward, so.


Jun. 14th, 2017 04:59 pm
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I just recorded the first episode of the AMBA podcast and ... it wasn't awful? It didn't feel awful, I mean. I don't know how it sounded, I haven't listened to it yet. But it was easier than when I was interviewed for AH, much less pressure. It also turned out a lot shorter than expected. Now I know that I need a much fuller outline to keep me on track, maybe even close to a full script.

Last night I made biscotti with this recipe, which claims to be related to GBBO in some fashion, but it's garbage. Not hot enough, not long enough in the oven (even at a higher heat), and too much flour. I just tried putting a handful back in the oven to see if that would fix them, but all that happened was that the outsides burned. ಠ_ಠ Going to use this tomorrow.

Trying to learn how to edit in Audacity, it is ... very difficult.
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I got a microphone! Owen realized that the one he was going to give me only worked with a specific program, so we went to Best Buy before I drove back here and he bought me a new one. I would have tested it out tonight and even recorded the first episode, but a) I need to finish watching Orange is the New Black!!! and b) it's godawful hot, my apartment is probably 80 degrees and has no air movement.

Although I realized this weekend that AD is actually already doing a podcast, and with that plus FrockFlicks the audience is probably saturated and everyone who sees my blog/FB/etc. posts on the subject of Patreon thinks I'm stupid, but I've been assuming everyone thinks I'm stupid for a long time, so. Still, someone responded to an AH answer - to a follow-up question on a main question that had nothing to do with my area - with

Before this subreddit, I never really appreciated the historical study of things like fashion and beauty standards. But now, as I've come to regard your comments as a treat in any thread, I've grown fond of the subject. Thank you.

Which was really really really really sweet and made me feel good.

(I thought S4 of OITNB was over-the-top and when I finished it, I thought I wouldn't care about watching S5 at all. So I gave the first episode a shot and was hooked all over again!)


Jun. 4th, 2017 03:38 pm
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I went to see Wonder Woman this afternoon, and I'm very glad I liked it so much as I watched the last two parts of the Doctor Who three-parter and did not like it.

Doctor Who )

Wonder Woman )
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Wrote an answer this morning about Regency women drinking red wine! It's much longer than any of the fashion-related responses I write for some reason.

Reading this guide on starting a podcast ... my head is spinning a bit.
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Watch Still Star-Crossed on ABC/Hulu! R&J fanfiction about an arranged marriage between Rosaline and Benvolio, by Shonda Rhimes, with Doctor Who-style color-blind casting. Is the costuming accurate? Not in the least, they keep involving 18th and 19th century pieces for some reason. But it's very pretty. And it's like Shonda Rhimes looked into my soul and arranged almost every part of the storyline for my id. (Although she could have done better casting for Benvolio ... I have pretty broad tastes, but nothing about him is appealing. The Prince is GORGEOUS, though.)

Look at this bastard. I wish I were a) rich and b) skinny so I could justify buying that button. Ah, heck, I'll ask for an invitation just in case.

Process for petticoat I'm working on:

1) Cut two rectangular panels (done)
2) Sew into tube with slit at top of one seam (done)
3) Hem (started)
4) Cut out waistband and back/straps
5) Pleat, hem, attach

If I can't get this mostly done this evening and tomorrow evening, I'm going to bring it to work on Friday (since it's for a work costume).
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I'm not going to put the thread eyes on (right now I'm using safety pins) until later, because I didn't have the corset laced properly and I don't want to take the chance that it needs to be bigger/smaller in places when I have someone else lace it. (It's my very bad Regency one - I thought the Sebille would be okay, because the waistline didn't seem that high, but ... it is high. I'm not sure this will fit if I make a better Regency corset tbh.) And I might do an eventual post-event finishing, because the sleeves really need to be repleated so they don't fall so much in the front: I should have lined up the center of the sleeve head before I started pinning the pleats.

But I for real was expecting the worst! That this would be a great representation of my skills and 1820s style, but would not be wearable. I didn't make a muslin because I'm foolhardy and lazy because I didn't see a good way to do it without going through all the fiddly handwork - treadle machines can't have the tension adjusted to make gathering possible - and I thought it would be simple enough to fit, but I was really skeptical about the length of the neckband up until I actually put it on over the corset just now. The back is kind of long (needs a sway-back adjustment), but that's not a can't-wear-it sort of fit problem.

All I need to do now is make a petticoat!
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I'm making a real effort at being fully prepared for the Civil War Weekend ahead of time, so today I rearranged the schedule to fix last year's problems - took out several of the lecture slots (30 minutes was too short and most of them went over), took out rounders (they just won't play), took out the frying pan toss (I CANNOT RUN IT it ruins my day and saps all my socializing energy), etc. Next on the list: tell the guy who sells Amish baskets that he can't use his WWII surplus tent. Hopefully we have his email address because I do not want to talk to him about this.

With some more time, I've come to feel okay about Patreon! It really clicked when I thought about Your Wardrobe Unlock'd/Foundations Revealed, and Historical Sewing, and the people who do classes and talks - so, it's a different model, but it's basically the same thing. It just seemed weird to me because the people I'm closest to do it for their own impressions rather than for an audience, kind of. I think I've got the page how I want it, but I need to fix this weird problem (the "Chéruit" tier disappeared off the editing screen, so I made a new Chéruit tier, only both of them are showing up in the preview of the page ಠ_ಠ) and write the first installment of the story ... although now I'm reconsidering the story. My first goal is that if I get 20 patrons I'll start podcasting - which I've been thinking about doing ever since I did an interview on the AskHistorians podcast and people really liked it - and blogging and podcasting and working full time and doing some sewing for myself is already a lot, consistently writing fiction at the same time, especially given the difficulty I have with mixing creative endeavors (sewing and fiction), might be adding too much to the mix.

As "I deserve it" presents recently, I bought myself a fine oblique stub nib for my Esterbrook pen, a pretty little dip pen, and a gold-filled Wahl Eversharp ringtop pen (like Joan Holloway) and mechanical pencil, BUT it's important to note that I stopped myself from buying a slightly used Visconti Venus in rose marble even though it's absolutely beautiful which cost more than the others put together, so well done on the whole.

I've also been cheering myself up with The Thief (I will be ready to read Thick as Thieves in six months or so, I reckon, since I need to reread everything) and paying super-close attention to all the double entendres. HIS MOUTH FALLS OPEN IN PATENT DISBELIEF BECAUSE IT'S NOT REAL DISBELIEF! HE'S HAPPY WITH HIS STREET ACCENT NOT OUT OF REVERSE SNOBBERY BUT BECAUSE HE'S SMUG THAT THEY CAN'T TELL IT'S FAKE! Megan Whalen Turner is such a genius.

Edit: "I whistled soundlessly as I thought of the twists in the tale." MAN.


May. 24th, 2017 09:06 am
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I have been so sluggish and depressed this morning, it's pretty intense. Got better when I decided to suggest at our June staff meeting that when our hours change in July - to be open not as late on Friday night and earlier on Saturday, which will mean both of us need to work five days - instead of us switching off working Mondays (when we're closed) and Saturdays, why doesn't she just work Mon-Fri and I'll work Tues-Sat, except when we need to trade for Reasons? Because switching would mean regular one-day weekends, and thinking about that was seriously making me want to cry. Because I have no social life and no family, working on Saturdays isn't the hardship for me that it is for her, so why not just put me there.

As you can see, last night I did sew again, inserting a long and somewhat wavy triangle into the sleeve seam. (I actually had to piece the triangle in one as well ಠ_ಠ) It's still a little tight at the end of the seam, so I might cut a tiny bit into the triangle and hem that along with the rest of the opening. Tonight: hemming the opening, making piped cuffs, sewing them to the sleeve along with the trim pieces. Tomorrow night: setting the sleeve into the armscye. Friday night: Putting lining on the neckline bands, adding hooks and eyes, trying on and having a meltdown when it won't fit (I assume).


May. 22nd, 2017 07:24 pm
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I really meant to actually sew today, but it just didn't seem to happen. I did trim down the armscyes enough to get my arms through, woo, which means I'm at the worst point for assessing fit and appearance - the no-sleeves-and-no-fastenings stage. Is it like this for other people? Whenever I hit this part in any sewing project, it always looks like utter crap and I want to completely scrap the whole thing because it seems like it will never work. But I figure that if I solidly sew every evening, I should be able to finish in just a couple of days - which means that if it really doesn't work, I have time to get Dad to ship me the 1860s dress I left down in East Greenbush ... or I guess I could just wear my Cranford dress, tbh. While it has its own issues, being too tight is not one of them.
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Because my work browser has way too many open.

Journal of a Lady of Quality; Being the Narrative of a Journey from Scotland to the West Indies, North Carolina, and Portugal, in the Years 1774 to 1776

WE are now got on Board, heartily fatigued, yet not likely to sleep very sound in our new apartments, which I am afraid will not prove either very agreeable or commodious; nor, from what I can see, will our Ship be an exception to the reflections thrown on Scotch Vessels in general, as indeed, nothing can be less cleanly than our Cabin, unless it be its Commander, and his friend and bedfellow the Supercargo. I hinted to the Captain that I thought our Cabin rather dirty. He assured me every Vessel was so 'till they got out to Sea, but that as soon as we were under way, he wou'd stow away the things that were lumbering about, and then all wou'd be neat during the Voyage. I appear to believe him; it were in vain to dispute; here we are, and here we must be for sometime.

Henrietta Liston's journals describing her travels in the United States and the West Indies between 1796 and 1801 (OCR'd and searchable)

HEARTH - Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition, History - lots of domestic manuals, such as The Young Lady's Friend (1838)

Harvard University Library Open Collections Program - Women Working, 1800-1930

Pretty decent glossary for writing about furniture/decorative arts

You Must Remember This, podcast I need to catch up on (but when???)

Transcribed diary of 19 year old William Harrison Combs, born in 1840, as he became the schoolteacher in Springfield, Wisconsin

Calendar for every year in the past


I wish I didn't have two expensive hobbies. I would quite like the $165 Parker Vacuumatic Gold and/or the $100 Sheaffer Balance on this page, or the $175 Parker Challenger in blue marble or $100 Sheaffer Imperial on page two.
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It's hot today - over 80 - so I tried putting my hair into a high ponytail. It's grown out to be just long enough, but it's also short enough not to weigh my head down or break/pull out the hair toward the front. Very nice! It looks cute.

As a palate cleanser after Longbourn, I'm now reading Jane Austen and Religion: Salvation and Economy in Georgian England. I'm enjoying it, but it has to be said that it's much longer than it needs to be: the basic theory is that the books are didactic novels meant to show the perils of bad oikonomia (stewardship, household discipline, etc.) and how to achieve good oikonomia, a complementary marriage, and Anglican-style salvation. Clergy marriages are meant to be between people who have a rational mindset tempered with feeling, because of their position in the community and straitened lifestyle, while someone who governs an estate should be and marry a person who has more feeling held in check by reason since they're more of the world. The author argues that even Mr. Collins/Charlotte is supposed to be seen as an example of good oikonomia even though Elizabeth (as a feeling person instead of a reason person) doesn't get it.
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(c/p'd from what I posted to GoodReads)

Good literary fiction novel, not very good fanfiction. The writing is clear and evocative, the characters well-drawn.There is a little too much head-hopping: a semi-universal third person point of view works in Austen because she had an ironic detachment from the characters and the ability to raise an eyebrow even at the flaws of her heroines, but Baker goes so deep into her protagonist's thoughts and feelings that it's truly jarring when we're suddenly involved in another character's brain, but the writing itself is very sharp.

review )
chocolatepot: Bodice of a woman from a painting by Ingres (Ingres)
Gathered the top and bottom of the bodice and attached the neckband and triangles and side linings - I think I should have made the front and back bands longer, but if I cut into the front and back of the armscye a little, it should be relatively comfortable. Sewed together all the skirt panels, hemmed the opening, and pinned up the tuck. (Might sew the tuck tonight, that's simple.) Cut out the sleeves without really enlarging them, because I thought "if the wrist is the right size, then probably the rest of the sleeve is too," but that was very wrong and it's SO tight in the forearm, so I'll have to put a long gusset into the seam. Or else cut out new sleeves - there's probably enough fabric left, but I still entertain hopes of cutting out a flat ruffle from it, but there might not actually be enough for that ... I'll have to do some calculations. Fortunately I can mess with the skirt to buy time.

So, I have potatoes and will have latkes on Friday evening if I don't get a call this week as a consolation. Then I think I will reserve getting myself one of the pairs of catseye sunglasses I was looking at on Amazon as a prize in case they do call. But I feel like the sunglasses should also be on the table as a consolation as well. Basically I really want these sunglasses.


May. 11th, 2017 09:43 pm
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I'm leaving off tonight with the neckband piped around the bottom (basted in place) and the leaf-triangles pinned to it, and the bodice is gathered around the top with the little side linings pinned on. This is a lot of layers to sew through, so I'm going to set it aside for tomorrow evening, when I'm fresh.

Taking a step back and looking at this, I'm really impressed with myself. The only historic projects I've done that weren't completely, completely plain - I mean all edges flat hemmed, no decoration at all besides maybe a single tuck - were the Cranford dress (which had the full 1830s sleeves pleated down all around the top of the arm) and my bustle bridesmaid dress (which had the neckline and waist piped, and broad bias bands sewn on the skirt). I've never done anything with thin little piped bands like this and unnecessary applied bits. I'm concerned, as ever, that no matter how much handwork I put in the cut will be off and it will look lumpy and awkward, but if this even only just fits I am going to be so proud of it, and feel so much more ready in the future to try other ambitious projects.
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Feeling a bit off today, but I went to work for the afternoon. Glad I did, even though I should probably have stayed away - there's a lot going on, and it would have complicated things to only have Sue here.

I'm going to do a big write-up for this dress on my blog, not quite an old-time dress diary but close, and use all the pictures I took while patterning - because this is easily the worst pattern in Regency Women's Dress. It's the most complicated and really needed several pages and photos to describe, where the order of operations for a lot of the others might not be immediately obvious but if you just read the text they make sense. Fortunately, nobody realized how incredibly deficient it was because nobody else is into the 1820s! So posting it all will let me a) clarify for RWD-readers, b) share more photos, and c) explain why I couldn't put them in the book. Plus it will get the ball rolling for me to write up all the errata.
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(From Instagram.)

It was actually much simpler than I feared - it did take roughly all day, but that was just because of volume and distractions. I originally intended to slip-stitch both sides of the binding, but after about two stitches on the first one I realized that was silly and did big running stitches on the reverse. The triangles were very fast; it's the inner corners on the cuff trim pieces that took the longest, all of the points were pretty simple. I didn't try to miter them or anything, just folded the silk over. (Technically this cotton is riding the line in terms of the appropriateness of mixing it with silk - the original dress was a sheer silk and this is a semi-sheer madras check, but then, the silk trim here is a very cheap habotai anyway.)

As I sit here sewing the piping to the strips that will, overlapping at the shoulders, make up the neckline, I begin to think that this dress really will be, dare I say it, Katherine/Sabine-tier. Mm-hm, yes, indeed.


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