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I decided to stay home, at least for the morning, due to cramps ... and now every time I stop thinking about it I feel better, but then as soon as I guiltily consider going in to work, there's a new stab of pain in my back and my stomach is tender again. I don't like this.

Didn't sew anything yesterday because I recorded the next ep of my podcast in the morning, realized it was too short, and so worked on that in the evening. Still working on that now! I just need a few more examples of folk dress ... I have bodice pieces all pinned up, flopped on the back of the couch, but I don't feel the urge to actually sew them together yet as it's not like I'd finish soon enough to wear it in the city, anyway.

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Petticoat finished! This was a pretty quick project, I did the cutting one evening, the vertical seams the next, and spent pretty much all of today gathering and finishing. Could probably be done faster if you were competent with a ruffling foot (or if your ruffling foot is less than a century old and doesn't completely stop working or make the needle fall out when you adjust the stitch length) or even used the ol' "super low tension on a modern machine" method of doing gathering stitches instead of sewing those by hand.

I'm making a light starch solution, but even without that it does pretty well at holding a skirt out. It does, of course, lack that very full hem + very full ruffle that your average nylon petti has to make a kind of solid bottom to the underside of your skirt (you know what I mean), but it's sufficient for what you need. Maybe with a second or with a lace edging, you'd get a prettier look.

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At last, the Antique & Artisan Show is over! Can't wait to get back to work and have people start hassling me about stuff they want me to do now that I no longer have "I'm really busy because of the show" as an excuse not to do their pet projects. There I bought a partial set of Hall China refrigerator containers (will be trying to collect the butter dish and bigger pitcher), a box of sheet music containing some real hits, a watch that I think was a bad buy but was cheap, and a 1944 McCall's.

I thought I was ready to send out a pattern to one of my smallest testers, but I misjudged how long it would take to do instructions - although with [personal profile] danabren's advice from the last one and the relative simplicity of this dress, these came together quickly! But writing out instructions makes it clear where I need to change things on the pattern itself, of course, and add pieces I just didn't think about before (plackets and so on).

Someone I contacted on Tumblr about drawing my logo got back to me! Having that will be nice.

Watching Cranford this evening. Real talk: I like it because I identify with the spinsters who are variously still looking to get married, disdainful of men, and/or regretful about never having had a family.

I've been playing Hogwarts Mystery, too. Pros: More HP stuff to engage with; intriguing pre-series setting (between chapters one and two of PS/SS); promise of seeing young Charlie and Tonks eventually; storyline with very fanfic plot and some sympathetic NPCs. Cons: Only one person can have each name, and since the OFC I came up with when I was 13 has a relatively common one I was not able to be her, MEGA DISAPPOINTMENT; for something with a railroad plot, it has terribly ugly animation/characters; said railroad plot doesn't allow for real exploration of the setting; the energy thing everyone complains about definitely detracts from gameplay, although the waiting period is better than on a couple of Playrix games I play; the antagonist is unconvincing and irritating. I'm more interested in the upcoming Niantic AR game, although after PokeGo it's pretty certain that the servers will be impossible to get on for the first week.

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I probs should have checked in with the Edwardian/WWI group on Facebook when I was choosing what to pattern - I tried several different platforms but I keep forgetting that the costuming community is all FB all the time now* - but it looks like everyone (bar one person) prefers my great-grandmother's 1919 or 1920 graduation dress for a pattern, so I'm working on that!

* It's so depressing. I'm used to comparing myself to more successful, attractive, and interesting bloggers and feeling bad about my lack of readership, but even the BNF bloggers are not getting the attention they used to.

I did all the digitizing of the base pattern yesterday, and have been working on creating sizes today. Then a few more days working on directions, intro text, and cover page design, and I should be ready to go. So far I've got Robin here, and people on FB are signing up quickly - so let me know if anyone else here is into it!

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The blouse is completed apart from the hem, so I'm feeling pretty good right now, although tired. It fits (not too tight, except maybe a little in the sleeve band), and it's not super flattering, but if you google for Simplicity 1692 and look at the versions with the short, puffed sleeves, you can see that it's not flattering on anyone, though it's very forties. If I pin curl my hair, I think people will get a kick out of the whole outfit at the concert, which is basically why I do this whole thing.

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I made a simnel cake! Without thinking about how I would dispose of an entire fruitcake ... I'll be bringing much of it in to work and cutting it up to try to get other people to eat it. Spoiler alert: they won't, because nobody ever eats what I bring in. Maybe I'll just cut it up and stick it in my lunch for the next month instead.

On Saturday I got basically nothing done - went out to see the Met's Così Fan Tutte at the Roxy in Potsdam (it was set on Coney Island in the 1950s, with all these people who actually work at Coney Island now doing contortions, snake-handling, etc.) and then went to JoAnn, where there was a surprise pattern sale! I just needed zippers but picked up a good handful of Simplicity patterns, including - very importantly - 1940s pants without pleats.

Sunday and Monday I just sewed; Sunday I never even left my apartment or put more clothes on than pajama pants and a sweatshirt. Finished the gold and black dress and started on my 1940s blouse, which now just needs sleeves and the hem and zipper ... it felt like I'd done more before I said that. But I'm feeling extremely optimistic about finishing it and making a plain black skirt before the concert on the 14th/15th. Hair is the only real concern.

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Remember how in love I was with this fabric? Well, it gave me a bit of a shock - I'm so used to using solids or patterns so small or big that you don't bother to match, but this is one that you actually have to match. And it was in the sale bin at Joann, so it's listed as out of stock on the website. But I'm happy to say that I just barely made it work! I unfortunately had to recut the front of the bodice (I initially cut it out before realizing I needed to center the pattern), but by cutting the front of the skirt on a fold and piecing two corners of the skirt (one in back and one in front), it all works. By sheer chance, the bodice and skirt fronts are both on the same axis - as you can see, you can have the flowers facing diagonally in or diagonally out. That was very, very lucky.

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Media Reviews

In order of watching.

Black PantherCollapse )

Jessica JonesCollapse )

A Wrinkle in TimeCollapse )

I need to reread the L'Engles I have read and read the ones I haven't. Mayhap I will stop at the library tomorrow and see what they have.

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I bought three Haslam books last night - My Vintage Wish gives you a little discount if you buy three at a time. One a lingerie book from the war years (it says "lingerie" but contains blouses, skirts, pinafore dresses, housedresses, dressing gowns, a "service overall", etc.), a similar lingerie book probably from about 1948-1950, and a dresses/coats/suits book that's probably ca. 1953. (IMO the intermediary period is so interesting. The A-line skirt, the padded shoulder, but no puff to the sleeve and the hair generally sleek and the skirt significantly longer - yeah, the '47 Bar suit has a pretty fluffy skirt, but in the famous photo of what I assume is a sample/runway version it hangs in an A-line, and the one made for the woman who donated it to the Met to actually wear feels like a much more '40s style, with built-up shoulders and a narrower hip flare.)

I want more. I want all the Haslam books. This is bad! I can't make all of these dresses! But it's so cool.

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Sewing talk

Just finished everything on my silky drawers save the button and buttonhole! These things are enormous when I lay them out flat but I've got to accept that turning my three dimensions into two makes for something that is not dainty. It'll be interesting to see how they wear - I think I noted before how my fuller slip has formed weird ripples in the weave where it sometimes catches between my legs, and both slips have certain places where they look a bit like they're fraying near seams, but they've been like this forever and it seems like the silk warp/weft are generally strong enough to hold up even when they're being pushed around.

But I want to get some crêpe-de-chine and try making some underthings out of that to see if it just works better - it's certainly the traditional weave (according to various stories in my Dorothy Parker collection, probably also some of the Needlework magazines I have in a box and have never finished going through). But Dharma only sells it in white (boring, impractical) and all the options at FFC are dull colors, probably for fall/winter, and various pinks. I want light blue! I would make do with a pink but I really want light blue.

Next try at drawers will also be set on an elastic waistband, maybe.

I'm also trying to figure out what to make for the spring concert. I think we're really going with the pastel on top, black on the bottom rule that's always printed on the schedule - in previous springs we've worn sixties clothes to go with the theme of the music, but I can't imagine he's going to ask people to dress 1930s-1940s because nobody but me would be prepared for that. Still, I want to do it! Technically some of the music goes later, but it's mostly '40s, so I want to do that instead of my usual '50s.

On the one hand, I'm thinking of making a skirt based on this dress and then one of these blouses - not sure which one, but probably D as those high necklines just look like they'd be so unflattering on me. I have these patterns and I've even made that dress (so I know that the skirt yoke is a pain in the ass).

On the other, I'm looking at actually paying for an e-copy of a Haslam book - this 1940s one has a bunch of separates. Edit: And I just found a handful of antique '40s patterns I was given, one of which has a perfect plain A-line skirt. I'd need to make the waist ... a bit bigger, though.

Still not quite brave enough to try 1930s! My hair is more 1940s anyway.

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I may start sewing again!! The pajama pants I wear every day after work and typically most of the weekend are worn out between the thighs; I accidentally put my thumbnail through them in one place last night. Cotton flannel is one thing I feel like it's safe to rely on JoAnn for, so in a bit I'll be driving over to Ogdensburg. Their website showed a cute sea-turtle print that I might get some of, if they have it in the store, to make another pair of pants for Melissa.

Watching this Chinese fantasy movie on Hulu called Once Upon a Time - I'm not sure if the worldbuilding is really wild, or if there's just a set of assumptions about mythology going on that I'm not familiar with. Probably a little of both.

Having a sore throat is bad enough, but having a sore throat and period cramps is simply too punishing.

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So tired today. :/

Between the awfulness that is Facebook and the stupidity of a decent number of members of the Costume Society of America (who are apparently engaging in a contest to see who can most misunderstand how a mailing list works), I am really feeling over a lot of social media.

I am loving my stub nib - for a long time I didn't want one, because I saw samples of messy printing on r/fountainpens and thought it was silly, but in cursive and with nice handwriting it makes everything look like you wrote it with a quill pen. (Link goes to an actual quill pen letter, not a sample of my writing.)

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Yesterday I roughly filled up the spindle, then plied the wool; after work I wound it and rinsed it and hung it up to dry. I have no idea what I'm going to do with this, probably I'll need to finish spinning the entire bag in order to have enough, but I like doing it.

After work I also stopped in at the new bakery and bought a strawberry cream puff and two macarons for a very reasonable price. Could see stopping in again.

I decided today that I should actually get into the local SCA in order to have something going on socially IRL, apart from chorus which always makes me irritated. So now I'm really going to make a fitted cote as I have been thinking vaguely of doing for years! This light blue cassimere would be nice for it, I think. Tonight I worked on draping a pattern ... it is very, very hard to do this on yourself. The back and sides are pretty easy to do, actually, but the front is proving impossible past a certain point. :/ The angle is just all wrong. I'm hoping that once I run the back and side seams under the machine, somehow the pinning in front will become simpler. (It's particularly tricky because nobody with a a dress diary on one of these seems to have a body shape like mine - everyone's smaller or larger.)

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Drop spinning again! I wore some socks I made ages ago on Saturday, since I had to walk to work as the weather was bad, and that made me miss knitting. (Also, I haven't sewn in ages, I think because it's just too cold for some reason. Does anyone else find themselves not sewing much in the dead of winter?) But then I went looking through Knitty's sock patterns and they were all so cabley and lacy that I was turned off - I want to make sturdy, every-day-wear socks. Eventually I came across these on Canadian Living, but in the end I decided just to go back to the drop spindle as I don't really trust myself to finish a whole pair of socks, tbh. Had to pick out some frass and dead bug bodies and peel away a few strands that had been chewed through, and I think plying with the older stuff on the bobbin is going to be problematic, but I've practically doubled what there is already, so it's not going to be too much of a problem.

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The Tweeter went well!

You can read my thread starting here! Let's see if an embed will work:

People seemed to enjoy it, and when I read it through while posting I was very satisfied (though now I'm noticing what an incredible number of quotation marks I've used). I was concerned that because I don't have a long-term research project to share findings from, my presentation wouldn't be quite up to snuff and wouldn't fit with the others, but I think it does. Going to figure out how to make it work on Tumblr tomorrow, I think they'll like it. And I did feel significantly better afterward, though that was preceded by some really intense bad feelings just before I started posting.

But then, I have kind of been long-term researching this in dribs and drabs, so. Speaking of which, GBooks finally got through my latest request, opening up the full text of the 1918 Some Aspects of the Victorian Age, which I need for my Victorianism research. (Does anyone else request public domain books that are only in snippet view/preview be opened up to full view, I wonder? I always write in the "reason for query" field in a chatty way because I suspect it's only me.)

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A Year's Work

I had been thinking that I didn't do any sewing in 2017, but I did, really!

In April and May, I made the Clarissa dress (I, II, III).

Directly afterward, I made a fan-front dress that I never seem to have written up.

In the early winter, I made a half slip and a full slip.

At some point in all of that, I made an adorable bathing dress that doesn't quite fit in the butt. And started a couple of dresses that are still unfinished.

Things I really need and am going to make in 2018:

- SHORTS. I have literally no shorts that fit, just a pair of bamboo rayon capris that I almost never wear because they don't stay up, being knit rayon. I've got a 1940s pants pattern to use for them already, although I'm not sure I like those pleats ... I'd really prefer the Smooth Sailing pattern, but I'm trying to save money and all that because of that whole fantasy France trip thing (did I post about that? I want to go to France).

- More slips. The half slip is a little too full, so it goes between my legs and the charmeuse rubbing against itself is making it split here and there. The full slip is shredding slightly above the back waistline seam, below the straps, and I think with a bit more ease it might not do that. It would just be good to have a few to choose from rather than wearing one or the other every day, depending on whether or not the dress I'm wearing can work with the full slip.

- The wool dress that I started just before Christmas. It's mostly cut out and I think I can get it done before the end of the winter, which would be great as I just don't have enough work clothes for the colder months!

- At least one summer dress that will work for spring or fall with tights and a cardigan.

Things I intend to make but probably won't:

- Another bathing suit, one with ease in the bottom.

- A summer dress that makes use of the many extra yards of tropical-print cotton I made 95% of a dress with in 2016 (this pattern - there were some fit issues, but all in all I think that above-bust crossover thing is extremely unflattering on me and it's not worth fixing the waist. Good fabric, though).

- A 1930s-style dress to test out whether it can look good on me.

- A lovely wool coat with a fitted bodice and flared skirt.

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Belated thanks to [personal profile] lavinia, [personal profile] m_of_disguise, and [personal profile] mandie_rw for Christmas cards and, in Lav's case, excellent carbs! The cracker is actually just the thing for a pre-dinner snack.

Finally got started on my Twitter conference material last night, and mostly finished it. I asked the organizer if it's okay for me to put clips in from Meet Me in St. Louis, The Tall Men, etc. to show how corset-wearing was represented on the big screen in the middle of the century, and she said it's cool, so that's great!

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Dear Chocolatier

Hopefully I didn't request too few options, but I apologize in advance if I throw a spanner into the matching works for this exchange. Though I did offer quite a bit to make up for it.

cut so as not to bore everyoneCollapse )

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Last-minute thanks to my most recent Christmas card-senders - [personal profile] jennil and [personal profile] mrs_maupin!

Edit: and [personal profile] atherleisure!

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Okay, I have got blog posts for the twelve days of Christmas lined up with stuff from each month of my new 1835 Godey's! There are only five fashion plates in it, and the descriptions get really sparse by autumn, but the months with plates get those and the others get recipes from the back, which are generally pretty good-looking. I'd love to put a note in about what sort of ratio you use to substitute gelatin for isinglass, if anyone is into Victorian cookery and knows that sort of information.

I'd like to try a couple of them for myself. I'm not sure I've ever done period cooking from original recipes, and it's funny - before I lived by myself and cooked with a certain amount of sophistication on a regular basis, I'd look at these and think how impossible they were ... but with more experience in cooking, I know that a moderate oven is probably 325-350 degrees, weights make more sense for measurement (silly Americans!), and the slight uncertainty of directions like "boil until [thing happens]" seems reasonable.

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