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Aug. 27th, 2015

Just made a Mississippi Mud Cake in a bundt pan with powdered sugar on top. :3 A little bitter, could do with a bit more sugar. It's basically cocoa powder held together with butter.

Guess who still hasn't finished her dress? (I was/am very tired this evening.)

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/859435.html - comment wherever you please.

Aug. 24th, 2015

So everyone in my family is in agreement that I should never have bangs. (Except Mom, who originally suggested it to me a few weeks ago when I was home, and who cannily avoided saying she thought I should try them again on FB after everyone else nixed it. And just a while ago she texted to tell me I shouldn't. Come on!) Even Owen said "defs no". They're probably right, I just hate wearing my awesome dresses with my hair either down or in a kind of severe bun with my big shiny forehead on display. Going to try to part it farther to the side so it swoops over my forehead more, and I'm considering trying to do a pin-curl set, although there's just ... so much hair, it's exhausting to think about.

The seams of the dress are sewn and the hem is pinned up, I just need to put the zipper in and do all the hand finishing. I'm really not feeling it, though. Every time, I think what I make sucks and is too big before I put the zipper in, so I'm trying to motivate myself to put the zipper in, but I think the fabric's too coarse and the print's too big and that I'm not going to want to wear it after I finish it. Not that that stopped me from just buying some fall/winter discount fabrics at FFC.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/858945.html - comment wherever you please.

Aug. 23rd, 2015

Last night I came across someone in the vintage sewing machines group on FB who said that she couldn't sew for herself because her mother had instilled such a high level of self-criticism in her, and then she shared some pictures of things she'd made and her mother's comments - and it made me so sad, because a) this sounds exactly like the way my great-grandmother treated my grandmother (her graduation dress was beautiful but she was pretty awful) and b) my mom is soooo supportive of my ridiculous sewing projects, even if she does point out the same little mistakes that I point out to other people. So I texted her and when she finally got back to me around 9:30 I ended up having to troubleshoot her phone data/WiFi problem via text for about 45 minutes. No good deed etc.

I finally decided I should probably be using sewing machine oil instead of 3-in-1, so I went to the Walmart in Potsdam and used it as an opportunity to get a few other things I've been kind of wanting but not enough to actually drive somewhere in town and get them (or I want to get something just above bottom-of-the-line and you can only get bottom-of-the-line here). But this is College Students Coming In weekend, and so not only Potsdam and Clarkson students were there but also Canton and SLU ones, because we don't have a Walmart. Anyway, that's my convoluted intro to saying that it was an AWFUL trip. There were a ton of people moving slowly and I already go kind of vague in big stores like that, so I was probably walking around like a zombie. And I knew that everybody thought I was a student whose parents forgot to get them a vacuum and a pillow and some tools and sheets. Just awkward.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/858797.html - comment wherever you please.

Aug. 21st, 2015

So this pattern is bumming around in my room. I haven't done it yet because it requires about six yards of 45" fabric, and whenever I go to Joann's the bolts run out around four, at least for the fabrics I like. But it's cooled down since the rain last night and now I'm thinking more seriously about it - I should get something online for it. Ooh, what if I could find a blue/black plaid like Peggy Olsen's S2 dress that was very similar to that pattern?

I do have a 7 yard length of 53" linen that's somewhere between dusty rose and lavender that I thought about using for it. I originally bought it in the city to be an anglaise, but you know, in the intervening time it turned out that solid pink linen is not appropriate. And then I learned that dusty rose isn't my color. I've been hanging onto it to be an Edwardian summer suit or something, thinking that with another color at the neckline or something it would work for me, but it's all silly. So I'm going to put it on Etsy! Remember when my Etsy shop was for sewn items, instead of antique books and fabric?

Let me know if you're interested - I'm going to put it up for $70 (+ shipping) but if one of you wants it first you can have it for $50 (+ shipping).

My full bust adjustment has been performed. It was surprisingly simple and fun! I'm kind of marveling at how it seems to have solved the issues that I've always had with bodices, the shoulders being too big and the center front too short, i.e. the things that literally every description of an FBA tells you it will fix. Marveling, I tell you!

(Because it rained last night and is now in the high 60s, short sleeves with cute pointed cuffs suddenly seem much more palatable. Funny how that is.)

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/858464.html - comment wherever you please.


Aug. 20th, 2015

I really thought I was going to sew when I got home today, because the museum is naturally very cool and the idea of manipulating fabric seems okay there ... but it's just as humid and gross as it was yesterday. Well, not just as. I don't feel like I need to have the fan pointed at me. Maybe I can cut out the bodice pattern pieces and perform the FBA on paper. It may rain tonight!!

I picked up a couple of vintage sewing blogs, and one had a picture of the curvy blogger in an early '30s high-waisted dress - maybe I could pull that off. I'll have to try one out sometimes.

Later: it rained! And I cut out the pattern pieces. All is well. I've also made blonde brownies. I used butterscotch chips to fill it out and I kind of wish I hadn't, they're overpowering the chocolate ones. But it's not as bad as how the other day I mixed some dried currants and raisins into my granola before I baked it - they're charred little bitter carbon bombs, and every morning I have to pick them out of that lunch's serving and add fresh ones.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/858237.html - comment wherever you please.

Aug. 19th, 2015

I reviewed the hell out of Thinking Woman's Guide today. I was extremely long-winded but more polite than I could have been. I didn't even get into the fact that calling it "The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic" comes off as a cold marketing decision because it doesn't fit the book at all.

I have put in an incredible number of edits on FindaGrave over the past few months while doing the genealogy/relationships of the people in our photo collection. 70! Okay, that doesn't sound incredible, but when you consider that most of the edits are putting both of people's parents in, so the person not only has their parents turning up on their page but they themselves appear on each parent's page, it's really like each edit counts as three. And then another ~25 which have not yet been approved by the people who set up the pages. About a third of those have been sitting for a week or two ...

The sleeves are pinned in my bodice but I can't bring myself to actually sew them because hot. Once I have them in and have the front edges finished (not with hooks/eyes, just, you know, not raw) I'm going to try to get going on Butterick B6018 in this cotton that's been sitting on the back of my couch for I think over a month now. I would have started it already but I can't with the thought of wearing sleeves right now. (Did I find the high 80s that intolerable when I lived in Greenwich? I feel like I didn't. Obviously I could make it sleeveless but I feel like it would look better with the sleeves ... but you know, with those pointed cuffs it might be more adaptable with cardis if I just make it sleeveless. Make everything sleeveless!) And when I make this, I'm going to do a full bust adjustment, because I CLEARLY need to start doing them based on the way what I've been making fits. It might also be why the shoulders always come out way too wide on me! I'd also like to maybe do a little whitework embroidery on the collar, and to do a second summer version of B5813 with an FBA because I love this pattern, it's so nice and it comes out so flattering and it makes up very quickly.

I hope B6018 comes out better than the striped poly dress - it's hard to tell if I'm just so uncomfortable in it because the shoulders pinch so badly that I see it as unattractive, plus the FBA issue, or if it's genuinely awkwardly '50s instead of cutely '50s. I think the bra's a big part of it. I haven't tried it with the vintage-style bra yet, which is very slimming. The Lingerie Addict has a post showing a modern bra and a vintage soft-cup bra under the same dress, and yeah.

... I get very loquacious when I start discussing my clothes-sewing, don't I? Oh dear.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/857944.html - comment wherever you please.


Aug. 17th, 2015

I still keep running bits of the podcast through my head. Definitely a couple of things, I oversimplified. I also think I forgot a couple of the questions after I started to answer them and kind of rambled? My voice sounded creaky to me but who knows how it sounds in the recording. I'm just going to try to chill and not think about it until it comes out in September.

Was totally useless yesterday because of nerves. I had the choice of two times and picked the later one when I should have gone for the earlier one - I've always been the person who refuses to volunteer to do their presentation and so goes last, feeling sick as heck throughout everyone else's. For the most part I read (fanfiction).

Astronaut Wives' Club is pretty terrible, isn't it? I'll probably keep watching it, but there's something a little saccharine in it. Yes, some of the astronauts die, but there's a Hallmarky quality to the way all of the interpersonal conflict works out.

So the other day I was reminded of the Robert & Penny Fox Collection at Drexel where I was not hired, and I started looking into it ... and I think they may not have filled the position? There doesn't seem to be anything online about the whole project I was interviewing for. It's all back-end so I wouldn't expect there to be a lot, but it seems like nothing is out there. Hmm.

I JUST HAD THE BEST IDEA. I'm trying to find a specific FB post on early fashion labels which I think was in a certain group, and while looking through the group I found a reference to e-labels for an exhibition. E-labels! For SLCHA! For the period rooms, which are basically unlabeled!! The only trouble is that the WiFi doesn't stretch to the front of the building and AT&T doesn't get reception there either. Verizon seems to.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/857724.html - comment wherever you please.

Me again!

Ha, the bodice is put together minus the sleeves, and it seems to be doing very well! I've learned to never ever judge the bodice fit before you ensleeve it, so I'm trying not to think about the side back seams, which seem to be puffing out. We'll see tomorrow. The sleeves seem to fit well on their own, but maybe with the lining they're too heavy? It's hard to tell if linings are too heavy when it's 80 degrees and any silk clothing at all is just too heavy. But I might end up unpicking it all and just not lining the sleeves.


This dinnertime I watched Leap Year, as they just added it to Netflix. I remember when it came out and there was a lot of critical talk about tropes etc., but I never got around to watching it. Fernwithy wrote a bit the other day about how Manic Pixie Dream Girls are essentially the Prince Charming rescue fantasy for men, and while I think there's something to talk about wrt both the male and female stories having the man of a higher status - it occurred to me that the trope I have a problem with in general (but not in specific, def. not here) is the uptight/straight-laced woman loosened up by the guy who never takes things seriously. Which made me reflect on how the opposite does happen - it's the MPDG. So why, when I'm thinking about one or the other, does it feel like only one way happens? Well, because it does. It's just the the "one way" is the main character being the uptight one, and the love interest is the one that fixes them. Although now that I'm thinking about it, I'll probably remember a dozen free-wheeling main characters who loosen up love interests.

I'm not really going anywhere with this, I guess? It just seems like an interesting complication in the often black-and-white world of talking about sexism in tropes. Anyway, the movie itself is not very good but ultimately inoffensive; Matthew Goode is in it and is borderline incomprehensible with his Irish accent because he's always mumbling. Amy Adams's hair and wardrobe are stellar. Although the plot device is stupid - "I need to get to my boyfriend in Dublin on Leap Day so Leap Day William will give us candy I can propose to him!" - it fades pretty quickly to the standard "have to travel with unlikely companion" plot and seems less like the sexism it was originally presented to me as and more like a flimsy rationale for having her need to travel quickly instead of sensibly waiting for the train. And it doesn't matter how dumb the rationale is, the characters still give you feels. They're still beautiful creatures.


Damn! I was going through pictures to find ones of a particular 18th century gown, and came across this one at the NYSM I meant to pattern for my book but totally forgot about. (TBH, so did Connie - she is not good at remembering anything stored flat, and I wonder how many other awesome things I never even knew were there.) It's a dress with two extra bodices, one ca. 1800, one ca. 1810, and the one attached ca. 1820.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/857561.html - comment wherever you please.

What do you think?

Well, it's taken until after lunch, but I'm pinning the bodice together. Question for the group: should I face the peplum of the bodice with the black silk of the bodice (the original does this, not in black) or the purple silk of the underskirt and bodice trim (exciting!)? The latter is my preference at all times even when, in this case, nobody's likely to see it - I just love contrasting linings and facings.

Same question goes for the sleeve ruffles, tbh. Although these facings are definitely going to be seen. They're essentially like this or the blue one (though there's gathering below the elbow rather than just a belled sleeve).

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/857161.html - comment wherever you please.


Aug. 15th, 2015

This morning I am going to SEW BUSTLE GOWN but first I have to go to the quilting shop because I'm out of black thread. And as long as I'm doing errands I should also get milk for yogurt, which is in the opposite direction but then all my errands will be done.

I have passed the halfway point in The Thinking Woman's Guide To Magic! I'm still mad as balls about the inept P&P "parallels", and personally I think being too descriptive of/sciencey with magic ruins it, but there's something in there that makes reading it not a total chore.

Real Hounds has updated and after reading the new chapter twice yesterday, then going back this morning and reading the previous ones, I started browsing around because reading fanfiction is important. And now I've found that somebody has written 150 chapters (300k words) of a R-rated epic in which Hermione stayed part cat in CoS. What a world this is.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/856936.html - comment wherever you please.

Aug. 14th, 2015

Today I found this gorgeous black faille/blue velvet early Natural Form dress with the bodice accessioned in 1983 and the skrit in 1966. (The skirt's acc. number is, of course, written on the lining in pen.) I'm torn between a need to figure out the provenance with genealogy of the two donors and a need to just sit around fantasizing about reproducing it, because it's so cute. Oh, and a desire to display it, supposing we had a mannequin or even dress form, because being faille it's in great shape. (Cannot find a good comparison piece to link to. It has a shortish cuirass bodice with a long tail in the back, and the untrained skirt has a panel down the front made of narrow horizontal bands of faille, with velvet ones at intervals.)

Sunday is my podcast interview, I'm scared! But 400-rabbits sent me a list of questions in response to my notes on the period, and I'm going to go over them and try to answer them so that I'll be ready.

Okay, here's a bad thing about Windows 10. It's not telling me when the battery gets too low, it just suddenly flicks into sleep and coming back is twice as painful as a total restart. Not crazy about that.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/856773.html - comment wherever you please.


Aug. 13th, 2015

I really identify with Difficult People. But I feel the replacement of Lucy Punch with somebody else in the second series of Vexed was a really bad move and I don't like it.

Posted my first blog post in a few weeks! Contains a pattern that I would love to make up but can't see when it would make sense to. TBH with my habits these days I could probably wear it to work and nobody would care.

Did I ever say that I found my Cranford bodice in my bag of various wool rovings? Because yeah, that's where it turned out to be.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/856429.html - comment wherever you please.

Aug. 12th, 2015

Grr, I really thought JeanMarie had unbuffered tissue in the archives so I bought buffered last time I ordered from Gaylord, but actually she had buffered and now we both have buffered and there's no unbuffered, and I've started to inventory the dresses and three - ca. 1865 wool check, ca. 1863? black silk, ca. 1847 green wool - are going to live in a box now, my only free box, and they can't have buffered paper, they're protein-based fibers! This is a catastrophe. I'm going to have to make another order ... which I have to do anyway because JM gave me the wrong type of archival envelopes to order, and I sent them back but never ordered the right ones. Of course the right ones are more expensive. I get $200/year for a budget and most of it goes into archival sleeves.

Today I posted a CDV depicting what I believe is an actual Garibaldi waist.

I'm probably going to keep my car as long as I live here, since I barely drive, but I'm thinking seriously about getting a new one once I leave here. I mean, new-new. There's a huge hole in the used car market, where everything that's available is either very cheap and old or else just a year or two old and practically as much as a new car. So why not just get a new one with payments that I can handle? (I almost wish I had a justification for doing this now because I'm so sick of how loud my car is and all of its various Issues, but really it would just sit around idly for weeks.)

Has anybody else seen Vexed on Netflix? It's pretty wonderful. Extremely silly detective show starring Toby Stephens and Lucy Punch.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/856166.html - comment wherever you please.

Aug. 6th, 2015

Does anybody know what the name is for the type of rayon cloth that so many 1940s/1950s dresses are made of? Thin, a little slippery? I'm finding it very hard to track down for my own sewing. Should I just look for lightweight rayon dress/blouse fabric?

The internet was so adamant that I was wearing the wrong bra size that I bought a 34DD online. It came today, and I'm pretty happy with it - 36 was definitely the wrong band size, why do so many instructions for measuring say to add 4 inches to your underbust measurement? Because it was from a larger-sizes store, it's that old-lady/vintage "full coverage" style. On the one hand, this won't work with probably most of my dresses. On the other, it's much more flattering, with more lift, I think.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/855600.html - comment wherever you please.


Aug. 5th, 2015

After accidentally messaging with a hacked FB account, my mother's finding that the word "gossiping" or "gospel" is popping up in a black box when she tries to text. Can't find anything at all on Google about this. Has anyone else ever heard of it happening? But I told her to turn it off and on and that fixed it.

Oh la la, what happened today? I closed on an 1889 Singer V.S. 2 for $80, that's what! It looks (like this and) to be in great shape, the table and case are gorgeous (although I'd have preferred a fold-down machine - but when I someday find that elusive affordable red-eye or lotus (unlikely) one, I can always resell this), and while you can't use regular bobbins in it, they still make bobbins for vibrating shuttles.

Although I was talking to Mom the other day and I realized that I'm not sure if I really am obsessed with the red-eye design or if I've just decided for no reason to fixate on it because I'm scared of committing to sewing with a treadle. Saying "I won't go for one unless it's a red-eye and under $100" was a good way to avoid buying one and then realizing I'm not coordinated or strong enough to use it.

I've been asked to do an episode of the AskHistorians podcast, which I thought was more of a conversation or even a panel talk, but then I listened to a few and it's really more of a 45-min lecture with occasional questions from the interviewer. For some people, it literally is a lecture. I have no idea what to talk about for that long! Especially if you take "what people would be interested in hearing" into it.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/855408.html - comment wherever you please.

Aug. 3rd, 2015

I went and found an online version of Jones in the Fast Lane last night because I remember liking that game when I was a kid. Um. Within a couple of turns I had no money, no food, no clothes. How are you supposed to play this game??

>:( They turned down my offer on the sewing machine - didn't even counter offer. It's not worth $175, people!

I feel like somebody, somewhere was looking for Regency dresses with tiny stripes, and now that I've found some I can't remember who it was.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/855258.html - comment wherever you please.

Aug. 2nd, 2015

I've found a 1910 Singer 66 (really excellent machine, was apparently the most expensive in its day), treadle powered, with red eye decals, table in good condition. Going to make an offer! Let's see if this works. It's marked as "near Saratoga" so I don't think it would be a problem for Dad to pick it up.

Somebody commented on my terrible bathroom picture of my new gown that I needed to photoshop a better background and the phone out of my hand, so I complied:

I kind of love it, actually.

I bought two plums today at Nature's Storehouse. Wasn't sure if I liked plums or I would have bought more. Turns out I love plums!! And then just now I made a lovely blueberry buckle, with yoghurt instead of milk, which was an excellent substitution.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/854993.html - comment wherever you please.

Aug. 1st, 2015

I am so totally useless today. I thought I was pretty useless yesterday, but today's worse. (Sue's on vacation so I worked Friday night and Saturday day and have no supervision. It's killer.) I just have no energy and want to lie around on the couch. Also I have cramps. It was worse yesterday but there's just enough today - mainly just lower back pain - for me to want a hot water bottle or to basically not have to do anything.

I did get a few things done - donation checks and paperwork that came in the mail - but mainly I'm looking at sewing machines on CL and determining which are worth writing to for more info and which are too difficult to use. There are a MILLION in the Albanyish area and there is only like one up here.

If you would like a laugh, here's someone trying to sell a Singer red-eye in, to be fair, a pretty nice cabinet ... for $13k. IT'S ALMOST 100 YEARS OLD YOU GUYS

Or how about this one? "Great shape", except for the suspicious black-painted wood and all the exposed metalwork being covered in rust.

Listening to old I'd Do Anything videos on YouTube. Remember Jessie? Remember how she was perfect in every performance and none of the judges ever had anything remotely critical to say to her in any episode? They would just be like "I'm floored, you could be in a show right now, it's amazing." AND THEN REMEMBER HOW SHE DIDN'T WIN?? I hope she's gone on to star in something in the West End, it was a crime.

Edit: Oh, I should let you know! Despite my panicky meltdown, Early 19th Century Life is going really well. I took a breath on Thursday evening and contacted Aylwen, who responded a few hours later despite having fun at CoCo to say that it was cool to post an ad on her group. And now there are over 100 members, which is a nice start. So far I am very optimistic that it will lead to all of us stretching ourselves and basically trying to follow Sabine's lead.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/854533.html - comment wherever you please.

Jul. 30th, 2015

Everybody's working on CoCo, I feel so luxuriously chilled. (Know what else is luxurious? The way these keys pop up when I hit them. Damn!) But I still gots some sewing to do.

What I will do this week(end)
- Sew together the pieces of the black bustle bodice
- Put in the sleeve of the Regency evening gown and at least pin up the hem

What I will do eventually but is not urgent
- Two 1860s petticoats, pleated and/or gored
- Drawers
- Finish up checked 1811 dress - needs fastenings, hems, and regathering/darting of front

Personal sewing I need to get around to
- Something '50s with the dress length of cotton I have piled up in the living room. I'd like it to be sleeveless, but in that cool cap-sleeves-cut-in-one-with-the-bodice way, know what I mean?
- T-shirts with the ribbed jersey I bought ... the trouble is that I no longer seem to wear t-shirts because I wear dresses every day for the heat. Don't know what to do with this
- Underwear, because some of mine is looking real ratty

I was going to make a list of fantasy historical sewing that I'm obsessing over lately, but nothing is actually coming to mind outside of my actual projects. IDK? But when I think about it, what I really want for no particular reason is a smart picnicking outfit from 1868 with a small hoop. And an entire early 1810s wardrobe.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/854428.html - comment wherever you please.


Jul. 29th, 2015

So I just replaced my keyboard, and fiddled around with the old one a bit and now the spacebar seems fixed. SIGH. But I'm not really feeling inclined to switch them back and return the new one. It's just so clean and nice ... I suppose I'll wipe down the old one and sell it on eBay for a few dollars less than I paid, it's not worth it to swap them out again. But I can't help thinking, if only I'd taken it off to try to reconnect the right-hand spring instead of pushing on it from the top. But then, what if it's not fixed and it would just break again? No, reselling with an explanation about the spacebar is the thing to do.

Starting the group - called Early 19th Century Life - and why do they make you pick friends to join it? It's awks! But I stuck a few people in there, sorry if it's weird, you can drop it.

I'm going to have a studio headshot done for book publicity. :O Not ready, mentally. I decided it's also weird but I'll just pay somebody and have a good one. I'm not ready for adulting, it's creepy.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/854072.html - comment wherever you please.

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