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Did pretty well today.

I put in a decent amount of work into the Worth blog post - some of it writing, some of it basically note-taking/outlining. Then I also wrote a BadHistory post about that MessyNessyChic article on Margaine-Lacroix's "body-con" dresses in 1908, which was satisfying.

I also sewed the side seams in both my petticoats - 3 60" panels, which might be too much but I can always take some kind of dart/tuck in them if I have to, Liz Clark's instructions call for 120"-180" and I was like "I'd rather have it than want it" - and put in two tucks around the bottom, and then ironed them down. It's looking good for me to gather them to waistbands tomorrow! Although I don't want to think about gathering 180" ... these may be stroked gathers with one row of stitches.

Will I put the zipper in my dress this weekend and hem it? I would like to think so, but I'm not optimistic.

Oh, btw! I finally got registered for The Sewing Academy. I don't actually have anything to say, but I love knowing that I can now say it if I want to.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/885326.html - comment wherever you please.

Feb. 6th, 2016

"I am totes going to sew all weekend."

*begins writing mega blog post on reevaluating Charles Frederick Worth as industry innovator*

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/885237.html - comment wherever you please.

Feb. 5th, 2016

Hello, it's been quiet! Kings Rising was released on the second, so I've been reading it after work instead of posting or sewing. It was wonderful, although it would have been better with an epilogue. I may reread the whole trilogy.

I still don't have a gift from the Chocolate Box exchange, and the deadline is in a couple of days. This is perplexing. Fortunately there are a bunch of people who posted requests I found interesting, so it's likely that there will be something I enjoy reading even if I don't get a gift! (I meant to write extra treats for some of them, but then my gift fic got up to about 4000 words and writing more for another fandom felt too hard.)

Money continues to slip through my hands like water. I finally broke down and bought a DVD of Our Mutual Friend because it's apparently und/lable and is supposed to be sooo good - saving that for Sunday/Monday, when I'm going to do as much of my February petticoats as I can since I'm going to be in Vieques the week after next(!!). (Oops, I was going to try to put the zipper in that dress tonight so I would have something to wear tomorrow. Why am I so scatterbrained??) Then I bought a yard of light blue satin for my corset. Silk satin! Gosh. I am going to stop spending from now on - I have the fabric for the next couple of challenges already bought. Oh, I do need the German whalebone, though.

There's a lot I'm meh about when it comes to Agent Carter - namely, all the plot developments - but it's worth it for the flashbacks to Peggy's and not!Hedy's childhoods. Also for Atwell's chemistry with D'Arcy, and D'Arcy's funniness in general, and for knowing that Hayley Atwell is constantly accidentally hitting her coworkers.

ETA: Peggy's wedding dress is really '80s, though. Actual 1940s wedding dresses are terribly frumpy 9 times out of 10.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/884655.html - comment wherever you please.


Feb. 1st, 2016

Last furniture purchases for, hopefully, a while: one of those 2x3 shelving units to put sewing stuff on, and this cart, which doubles my kitchen counter square footage - quadruples, if you count the two shelves. It's opposite the refrigerator, which is so small that I can still open the door fully.

Registered at the Sewing Academy again, because I stopped by and noticed that registration was open! I think I try once a year. There must be something wrong with me that I never get through.

My corset pattern is vexing me. It just looks so small. I know some of that is my short waist, and some of it is that I'm making this cut higher on the hips than my last one (because why not? it's going under a cage), but the waist also looks small. I don't get it! I have a 30-31" waist naturally. My old corset has a 26.5" waist and comes close to closing but has to be stretching or something because I'm sure my corseted measurements haven't been 27". (I can't check very well because I opened some of the seams to see how much ease I needed to add in the hips, and one of the seams has ripped practically up to the top by this point. Also my bustle gown is in the basement now so I can't measure it.) So I'm making this corset 12" on each side, so 24" total, which with a 3" gap should be able to bring me down to 27". Or am I being too ambitious? If you had or have my waist measurement, what waist measurement would or do you give your mid 19th century corsets?

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/884211.html - comment wherever you please.

Some Thoughts On Rome

- Why does nobody in Rome know how to make a hem? Or even to sew the seams of a tunic so the raw edges are to the inside, or turn under the edges of a strip of cloth before applying it to another piece of cloth? I'm serious here.

- Tobias Menzies looks so hot with a bit of a beard and his hair grown out and scraggly, goodness.

- I ship Pullo and Irene so hard, even after he kills her boyfriend. I know. They just hit a number of buttons of mine, including big muscley warrior guy/tiny little woman.

- Oh my god Allen Leech is in this and he's so young and adorable and he's going to have a romance with Octavia which hits more of my buttons!

- What's even happening with Lucius Vorenus' kids, I feel like my attention was diverted by Kevin McKidd's wonderful voice and I missed something.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/883807.html - comment wherever you please.


Jan. 31st, 2016

Time for the weekend-daily rundown of awesome getting-stuff-done that happened! This morning, I went to Waddington to have brunch at the creperie there - they had basically every breakfast thing ever, plus dessert, and it was too little crepe to too much breakfast, but it was good. If it weren't twenty minutes away I could see doing it again.

To walk it off, after I got home I went to get the week's bagels and then to the hardware store for epoxy, which I used to put a piece of woodwork back on my sewing machine's table and to repair the bit on my dress form stand that holds the form up - it was broken in half. I suspect it won't last and I'll have to go to SewVacDirect for a new one. The dress form is still way too big, btw. Maybe one of these days I'll take a blade to it again. And then later, before dinner, I went for another long walk (which is good as I just overdosed on cake).

Then I set up the covered clothes rack in my basement area, and took the Regency stuff hanging in my closet and the 1860s-70s stuff that was still wadded up in bags behind the couch and hung them on it. Now both the front and the back of the living room are clean! Tomorrow morning I'm going to start on the sewing stuff in the bedroom, so that I can figure out early if I do need another set of shelves to put things on, which I suspect I might. Then my entire apartment will be clean and organized, just in time for me to move away, possibly!

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/883594.html - comment wherever you please.


Jan. 27th, 2016

I bought 10 or 11 yards of white muslin (60") for February's petticoats and four of pimatex for a chemise and drawers from Dharma Trading this evening - woo, I'm probably going to be able to keep up with the HSM through July! Now I need to source cotton sateen for the exterior of my corset, or should I be really fancy and use silk? Pretty white or blue satin corset? I do like that one in the V&A with blue silk and white flossing. I'm not sure if I want to use the steels I have in it or buy a roll of German whalebone.

How much making do you think I need to do for the straw bonnet to not look like a cheater? The thought of starting from a roll of straw braid is making me feel faint. But buying a premade bonnet without a bavolet or trim seems like doing way too little for the HSM. I dunno, man, I really need a better bonnet either way.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/882754.html - comment wherever you please.


Jan. 26th, 2016

I actually went back yesterday for more cheap flat-pack furniture - a coffee table (plastic bin is getting old), a tv stand with shelves below it for more storage space, a plastic three-drawer chest for sewing supplies, and a shoe rack. Well, the last two weren't flat-pack, but you know. I think I kind of just like building furniture?


So there is this program locally(?) for unemployed senior citizens. It's supposed to be about "training" but the real hirability problem for the participants isn't that they need the kind of training you can get on the job, it's that they've been really unlucky or have some issues. We use it to get maintenance people, and it doesn't function as a stepping stone to a full-time maintenance job elsewhere, as far as I know. Our last guy didn't really want to do maintenance and left because he loves the west coast and hates the winter here, for example.

It's been months since we had someone, and Sue and I do some of the cleaning but we also don't do other things as regularly as needs to happen. The program finally found us someone else, and since we find the placement woman kind of sketchy/flaky the fact that she didn't get on with him seemed like a good sign - kind of an enemy-of-my-enemy situation, right? He came in for an orientation/interview last week and he seemed pretty unenthusiastic. He'd clearly rather be doing something more intellectual - he mansplained at me about an un-id'd photo sitting in the office that was "probably a well-to-do family" etc. etc. obviousness - and Sue told him there might be occasional opportunities to do some research for people in the archives, when there's time.

I assumed he was just down on his luck, but I think there might be more going on ... because he came in this morning, cleaned bathrooms for about fifty minutes, then walked up to the office window and told me he was going because he wasn't going to be an $8.50/hour toilet bowl cleaner. Then as he walked out the front door, he announced "I hate this job!" An hour or so later, I got an email with the subject line: "Training Program?". He told me/us that "he now considers us a party in his exploitation" and basically felt he was misled into believing his job was going to be doing research, not cleaning, and was mad that he'd "jumped through high hoops" to get going in the program for this. So unfortunately he's actually in the "issues" column.

The few times he was in, I did get a weird vibe - it seemed like he was kind of ignoring me? So I'm wondering if part of his problem was that he perceived me as just some kid and was mad that I got to have an office job while he was in his situation.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/882343.html - comment wherever you please.

What a day!

This morning I just bummed around, working on a couple of blog posts about the process of making RWD (in a little part a response to the reviews?) - I can't decide if they're a good idea or not and was feeling really stupid/bad/shitty about at one point, probably due to PMS - and watching last night's tv and all that, because I'd decided to pick up the week's bagels around lunch so I could get a bagel there as well. I decided right before I left that I was going to clean in the afternoon, but when I got back it seemed very clear to me that I couldn't clean without shopping for new storage options first.

cut for people who don"t like organization pornCollapse )

I was considering going back tomorrow and getting a real coffee table (I'm using a plastic fabric bin) and a shoe rack to put next to the door ... but then this evening I bought two pairs of Duchesses - Tissots and Savoys, both more than 50% off - so maybe I should hold off. We'll see how I feel after doing more tidying tomorrow morning.

Watching Interstellar. It IS amazing, everyone was right.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/882050.html - comment wherever you please.


Jan. 22nd, 2016

Cut out the main body pattern pieces and hip gore for my future CW corset. I feel good about it! Although I think tomorrow I might redo it, because it might now be low enough in front. The point, I mean, over the stomach. Maybe. We'll see. I'm thinking of using German whalebone, too.

I'm rethinking my next few HSM projects because I really want to make sure my clothing is perrrrfect for the Civil War Weekend this year so I can do some kind of clothing demonstration. Here's what I'm thinking: Tucks, a pair of drawers; Protection, chemise or petticoats; Gender Bender, ??????????; Holes, corset; Travel, hat or bonnet. (I realize this makes it sound like I was just wearing a dress, bad corset, and hoop last year. That would be a correct assumption.) How can I work Gender Bender into this? What about Tucks, petticoats; Protection, chemise; GB, drawers; Holes, corset; Monochrome, collar? That seems like a good way to make sure that I'm ready in time.

I have to do so much cleaning. D: My apartment is such a constant mess.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/881503.html - comment wherever you please.


Jan. 21st, 2016

Some of today's dresses were boring, but I did find some good ones! I shared two bad pictures on Facebook. The blue doesn't photograph well because it's that early 1850s iridescent kind of shot silk - blue and yellow. The top of the flared sleeve is pleated to fit the armscye and the pleats are stitched down. I have absolutely no use for an outfit from that period, but I really want to pattern and copy it. Maybe we'll do something a bit Dickensian around Christmas and I can justify it ... The other is from 1912, worn by the donor's mother on her honeymoon to New York. (It didn't really photograph well either ...) I love the one-sided lapel, because why? And it has a kind of apron overskirt in the front, because why not?

Edit: forgot to say, that sailor suit from a few days ago? The owner was elected secretary of the local or regional Red Cross in 1917, and I like to think she had that made for the occasion, because it's so military.

I was really hoping to get that grant for dress forms, but it was not to be. :( I got an email today saying they'd given out all the money in round 1 and can't have a round 2 (again), and since I never got a notification about the grant before that, I assume that means no. Very sad. I have another source to try but I think people in general are just heartless Philistines who don't understand the importance of historical clothing in building the public's appreciation for the past, ANYWAY.

To take pictures for the HSM, I've pretty much decided that I'm going to clean away my recycling from the one area in the apartment where there's space and clear wall enough for a backdrop, get fully dressed, and try to use the timer on my phone or tablet camera. Hopefully it works because the only other options are a mirror pic (and my mirror's better than the old one, but it's still very much not ideal since only one pose is possible) or putting it on the skinny dress form (boobs aren't in the right place, it will look stupid).

Edit: Reading the Pragmatic Costumer's recent corset review, and ... we are basically the same size, except I have more hips/butt. So why do I think she looks svelte in all of her pictures and I look fat in mine??

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/881021.html - comment wherever you please.


Things I do not have time for

I was browsing FB today and it suddenly seemed possible for me to make a quilted petticoat. I don't know. I'm not ordering the satin yet. But I feel like I could do it! Maybe that I should!

Put in three pintucks above each wrist in the checked dress. I'm not sure if that's enough to shorten the sleeves as much as they need, and it's too cold to check. Maybe I will test it tomorrow morning.

Today in Dress Fun Time: Edwardian stuff, mostly. One dress in fragments I stuck in the goodbye pile, and a net skirt with no number that I'm going to keep for dressing. (If we get the money for the damned dress forms! Why won't they hurry up?) One wedding dress ca. 1895 that's kind of shattering but it's so glorious and impressive that I had to keep it. Some of the Edwardian dresses were fairly large, probably about my size or bigger, which was interesting. One dress I could tell was something fancy, and it turned out to be from a big-deal designer from Fifth Avenue, which was exciting. I love the period to look at but it's the worst for patterning.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/880850.html - comment wherever you please.

Jan. 19th, 2016

Well, this cardigan is very loose in the waist, but it's warm. Nothing like wool to block the drafts! I was very happy to be wearing it today. It's so cold, I think it got up to about 12F after lunch.

I made an executive decision to move onto dresses in boxes instead of doing the hanging men's clothes. SO MANY BLACK WOOL COATS. Boxes are the best, it's like Christmas except every present is an antique garment. I did the corset box first - unremarkable, there was a child's bustle hoop, an adult's Natural Form hoop, a 1920s(?) pink Thompson's girdle, a white Kabo style 110 (1890s), and a blue Kabo "hipless corset", style 356 (also 1890s; considered a "short" corset for bicycling and riding). Perfectly normal, workaday corsets. Got me excited to make a new 1860s corset in/for May!

Then I went to a box that said it had five things in it. A lie! (The boxes only have accession numbers on them, so I have a little bit of an idea of what's there but it's still a surprise.) There were two - a sapphire blue sailor-esque suit from 1916-1917, and a cross-barred silk dress from probably about 1863 with, you know, those ribbon cockade "buttons" down the front, although it seems to be a remodel. So I ran upstairs and got this 1874 wedding dress I found mashed into a plastic bag on the floor months ago, which has been sitting out for ages, and put that in the box as well. She's kind of a sad thing, but it seems like she might have been sad since before she got here; the note says the owner wore it for her fiftieth anniversary, so maybe it got some rough handling then.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/880531.html - comment wherever you please.

Jan. 17th, 2016

Today I realized that absentmindedly not cancelling my Amazon Prime trial subscription and actually paying for it means that I get to watch Amazon Prime! I watched the pilot of The Americans ages ago when it first aired, and now I'm catching up with it. Depressed Matthew Rhys is best Matthew Rhys.

(So many ugly cars, though.)

I finished my cardigan, apart from the buttons! ... It's very big in the waist. I mean, it's a tube, so this isn't surprising, but it's not very flattering. I will probably wear it loose and open most of the time. I don't think I plan to start knitting something else right away, but I've dug out my 1940s sweater book and plan to use that next time instead of Knitty. The only trouble is that all the patterns are so shoulders.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/879882.html - comment wherever you please.

Jan. 13th, 2016

Done with my last coatrack of clothes, loaded up another of 1930s-1940s-1950s-1960s. I think I can get one of the permanent racks out of the room now! I would really love to be able to space out everything that's hanging more, but IMO it's better for everything if I keep the hanging garments just as tightly packed on the racks but have some space to maneuver boxes around.

We desperately need a new vacuum, there's a hole in the bag of ours that blows stuff back out if it's held at a certain angle and also I can't take the bag off to empty it because I can tell I won't be able to get it back on. :( I plan to write another tiny local grant to get money to buy a new one, because grant writing experience! OTOH I might just buy us a vacuum with my own money as a donation.

Real talk time. Since things have died down, I've been thinking about pattern stuff for me'n'Julie. Since we've never done a graded pattern before, obvs the first one should be simple. But at the same time, it should be something people are interested in making (OBVS), and especially something people (you??) might be interested in pattern testing. The things I'm thinking of right now are:

- 1920s robe de style, unpanniered. The original is pretty fantastic, pink satin and gold lace, with a gold lamé-backed velvet ribbon

- more traditional 1920s waistless evening or afternoon dress (I don't have a specific one in mind)

- some type of chemise

- a 1910s shirtwaist with a, you know, a kind of stomacher front that buttons on one side

I'm leaning toward the robe de style, but then I'm like, what if nobody feels inclined to test the pattern because it's not something they planned on making? This is probably crazy but yeah.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/879695.html - comment wherever you please.

Jan. 8th, 2016

FINALLY have gotten back to the clothing inventory as all the Christmas stuff is done. 1930s right now - yay, good condition! boo, ugly. Although it's really growing on me the more I handle them.

This morning I woke up at about 5 and could not get back to sleep because my finger was hurting. Yesterday I noticed I had a teeny cut right next to/slightly under the side of the nail on my right ring finger, and it was slightly inflamed and hurty as of course the nail is always touching it. When it was finally 6:30 I got up and looked at it and noticed it had healed over but *cough* needed lancing, so I sterilized a pin and cleaned it out. But wtf? What did I do to make my finger get infected and hot and swollen? It's not like I don't wash my hands a dozen times a day at least. It's still hot but getting less so and less swollen. Why me?

Also when I was setting up the rack yesterday for the 1930s dresses I managed to make part of it fall down and bang me on the right wrist, so that hand is basically a wash today, which is unfortunate.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/879290.html - comment wherever you please.

Jan. 3rd, 2016

Today I took out a red/brown/black wool check and measured it - 2 yds of 60" fabric - and decided I think I can make another full-skirted Simplicity 3673 with it. The only tricky thing is that I know from the ones I have made of it that it really needs an FBA, and I've already cut out the smallest size (14), and it's OOP* so I'm not going to get a smaller one. I've been working with newspaper and I'm optimistic that I'm going to be able to make it come out better than previously, and then I'll have a third new winter dress. But I'm annoyed that it's a jumper and I don't have enough fabric to put sleeves on, because I don't have many shirts that will work under it. It will be better than nothing, though. Yesterday I wore my heavier wool dress with my good knitted tights to walk all over town doing my shopping, and I was perfectly warm, more so than I would have been in jeans.

* I don't know why they let it get OOP. It's a great dress and they're adding more and more to the retro lines in all the Big Three ... It's only from 2007.

I also need to lose some weight. When it got cold and, more importantly, dark, I stopped walking as much - and then there's been SO much leftover dessert at the museums - and I've gained back every single bit I lost over the summer and fall. It's very frustrating, I walk to and from work every day, I do all my grocery shopping on foot, I don't drink soda or eat too badly. But I do like sweets.

I think it's because I'm a supertaster. (Which I was really reminded of over Christmas, because I get so used to only making the food I can eat, but when I went to Mom's and Dad's suddenly dinner was an issue. The sweet potatoes have bourbon in them, the greens are so bitter, sure I'll try a piece of your sashimi WHOA I can't deal with that texture.) They just taste so good to me, I can't deal with it - like grapefruit and coffee are unbearably bad, so the good things are mirrored going the other way. That's my excuse, anyway. So once the last of my Christmas treats are gone, I'm going to be stern with myself.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/878863.html - comment wherever you please.

Oh the huge manatees

I managed to start 2016 by freaking out at driving in lake effect snow in Blue Mountain Lake, leaving my car at the Adirondack Museum, and having a state trooper drive me to one of the very few motels still open in the winter. I sat there for about three hours, watching other cars whizz or creep past, kicking myself every twenty minutes or so for being such a baby. Even after the plows finally started going by, they leave a slick slush behind them, so I couldn't face it.

Somebody in a car with California plates and summer tires did actually swerve around and come to rest next to the guardrail right in front of the museum. So it really wasn't good driving conditions.

The state trooper was very nice about it and the people that run the motel gave me a plate full of their dinner (and I forgot about being a vegetarian for the evening because it was a really excellent pork tenderloin with potatoes). So I mean all's well that ends well. I'm tucked up in bed with a slowly ebbing migraine and in the morning hopefully the roads will be clear and I can get out.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/878752.html - comment wherever you please.

Dec. 31st, 2015

I finally finished watching Empresses in the Palace, after a long break in the middle of the third episode! All in all, I strongly recommend it. At first I was concerned about how polyestery all the costumes were, but as time went on and the characters settled into and gained different ranks I started to really, really appreciate the differences you can make out between a concubine, a noble lady, and a consort through dress and hairstyle. It handles the changing attitudes of characters toward the emperor well, too - he was a stern force in the beginning, when Huan was new to the court/harem, then became a kind of benevolent husband-ish when she achieved a rank and was somewhat happy, then by the end, as I was starting to get really annoyed at how much bullshit and cruelty and backstabbing went down in the harem over him, Huan basically did as well and he seems like a jerk. Five stars, would recommend, might not watch again because long.

2015 was a very good year for me. New job, new apartment! I wouldn't be cast down if 2016 held a new one of each as well, but even holding steady at this point would be okay. I've also found new groups to be a part of - the university chorus and English Country Dance people - and have done a lot more sewing than I ever thought possible, getting a lot better in the process. And of course let's not forget that 2015 saw the publication of Regency Women's Dress!

(Speaking of which, I've been feeling pretty down about it ever since Kristy told me that they would want a professional photographer to take pictures for any future books because they think the lack of photos was what held back sales, and then it got worse when someone reviewed it to say PoF and Hunnisett were better despite being a broad overview. But I've seen that some people got it for Christmas and will maybe use it, and I've just realized that they can send a photographer without me and do whatever the hell they want, THEY CAN'T DRESS THEM ON FORMS THAT DON'T EXIST, and if that's a problem, they can turn down the MS that they have the right of first refusal for and I can get on with self-publishing it with more detailed drawings.)

Also, I won a best of 2015 award on BadHistory for my post on inaccuracies in Downton Abbey corsets. Best media review!

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/878362.html - comment wherever you please.

Long time no see

Ugh, so many things to say that I keep putting off.

Star Wars: Totally Friggin" AmazingCollapse )

Doctor Who's special was excellent, watched it this morning. Downton's lacked something but gave the only three characters I care about (Edith, Thomas, and Daisy) some good stuff, so yay for that.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/878172.html - comment wherever you please.

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