e. st v. millay

Mondays

I am so useless on Mondays - I always have been but when you're still at home it's so hard to make yourself go back to work.

Have y'all seen Emma? I'm pretty enchanted with it, apart from some of the casting (Jane Fairfax looks much older than Emma, Frank Churchill isn't very handsome or charming, and Harriet is supposed to be gorgeous - Harriet being very ordinary-looking in the movie annoys me both because I wrote a whole fic based on the sexual tension of Emma admiring her and because I also read a great chapter on how Austen played with the 18thc trope of the deserving, lovely illegitimate girl who gets taken up by a great lady and turns out to be legitimate after all). While I've thought before that the world doesn't need any more Austen adaptations, I would actually love to see a Pride and Prej movie in this same brightly lit and ironic-but-realistic style. 2005 is of course heavy on the realism but for the sake of playing up the romance (muddy, farmy Longbourn vs clean, monumental Pemberley) and 1995 looks ironically at the grotesque characters and seriously/romantically at the others while using realism for that '90s candlelight-drenched heritage-film experience. An adaptation that makes Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy look a bit silly at times, like Emma holding up her skirt in front of the fire/getting a nosebleed or Mr. Knightley being dressed by his valet/flinging himself on his parlor floor, and filmed with bright colors and wide-angle shots of the landscape overlaid with Maddy Prior singing English folk songs, would be a welcome addition to the canon.

First spencer test has come in, and I've screwed up the shoulders! Need to lengthen the front from them (and therefore grade the collar). Sometimes I just don't adequately visualize these things. Original post: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1029745.html - please comment on Dreamwidth: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1029745.html?mode=reply
e. st v. millay

Media Update

I try to take fiction breaks between non-fiction book, or every couple of non-fiction books, and this time I picked up The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz, a YA novel set in a world where magic is real, Merlin is borderline immortal and helped England win the Hundred Years War, and in 1900 the heir to the Anglo-French Empire is being married off to the Prussian prince to end a serious war. Very interesting concept, but in the end it's YA, and so I wasn't very surprised when it turned out to be more like Gossip Girl or Elite or some other show about rich teenagers having relationship drama. Then in the last chapter or two it suddenly went WHOOOOSH and a ton of plot landed. Apparently there was supposed to be a sequel but the sales weren't good enough, which ... the author has all my sympathies because I sure know how that feels, but I can also understand why the sales were bad, because it's not a great book.

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Working from home allows me to put on mindless television, which has led me to watch Married at First Sight, a reality show where people submit themselves to be paired up with someone to marry, and they literally first meet at the altar. The show sends them on a honeymoon and makes them move in with each other, and if they decide they can't take each other they have to go through the divorce process. It's terrible but I want to know how the couples turn out (one broke up during/immediately after the honeymoon). Also interesting to watch around the same time as Unorthodox, a drama about a woman fleeing the Orthodox community in Brooklyn.

In more earnest entertainment, I've been watching The Princess Weiyoung, a Chinese historical drama on Netflix. With no knowledge of any Chinese history beyond the broadest possible strokes, I can never get hung up on inaccuracies, the costuming and most of the actors are gorgeous, and the story is full of delightful DRAMA. It's similar to Magnificent Century or Empresses in the Palace in that it's what I call a "harem drama" - lots of "she is hurting our position, we need to get her out of the way while appearing polite and kind, let us make her trip and spill tea on the most high-ranking woman, then she will be banished" kind of stuff, which I love for whatever reason. The basic story is: a prince from the Northern Wei kingdom kills the royal family of the Northern Liang kingdom except for the princess; she gets away and is helped by the illegitimate daughter (technically not illegitimate, but the daughter of one of his concubines - they just always use "illegitimate" in the subtitles) of the Northern Wei prime minister, who was sent years ago into the country and who gets killed by an assassin on the orders of the prime minister's official wife. She poses as the daughter and moves into the family home, falls in love with the brother of the prince who killed her family, etc. I'm trying not to binge it because the episodes are similar enough that it gets boring when you watch them back-to-back.

Original post: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1029345.html - please comment on Dreamwidth: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1029345.html?mode=reply
e. st v. millay

(no subject)

There are a lot of people on Tumblr who are so smug about their highbrow taste and their non-fannishness but are also obsessed with UST between male characters who will never be in a relationship in classic lit and tv shows. Just saying!

Because I am so very busy, I of course restarted the novel I've been working on for 15 years. Excerpts to come in a bit. I am loving reflecting on the honking big differences in my style from 17 to now (total ripoff of Sorcery & Cecelia -> authentic period voice) and in my plotting (villain going to do Big Bad Magic Thing -> smaller scale and focus on social relationships). I also love that a character I initially stuck in a few years ago because "all the women other than the protag are bad, she should also have a female friend" leapt onto the page as a real cool customer and now she's the love interest. The original love interest will be just a friend and financer of their Boston marriage.

Original post: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1027388.html - please comment on Dreamwidth: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1027388.html?mode=reply
e. st v. millay

Buying vintage clothes is now a business expense

(Although I don't overly benefit because I obviously can't wear them - my measurements are roughly 44-35-44.)

I shared video of them live on IG and saved it as a story, and then posted two of them as plain old Insta posts, if you want to see them. But I'm going to be long-winded about them here, too.

- The "Very Easy Crinoline". They've had several of these in the shop for a while and I've considered them for potential patterning, but only now actually bought one. It's basically an A-line skirt of stiff net with a ruffle on the bottom, the waist edge and ruffle hem bound, raw edges basically just pressed to one side and sewn. In just this evening I've fully turned it into a graded pattern and saved as letter and A4 printouts; I've sent it to be printed so I can have physical patterns as well. (I'll eventually print the Bessie patterns, but I want to figure out how many I really need first as they're like $7 apiece to print, they're so big.) I don't think I even need testers, the grading is so basic. It runs from a 21" waist to 51".

- Fancier crinoline, the "Barbizon Petti-Beau"! It's a gold nylon-orlon with two black net ruffles on the underside. The way they're attached is so interesting - basically, they're set in place, then the nylon is pinched up with the top edge from the outside, and that whole bit is bound on the outside, so you get some extra stiffening. Elastic waist, just slightly too small for me, depending on your definition of "slightly". Technically also pretty easy when you get down to it, but it doesn't look very easy.

- Dressing gown, pattern as yet unnamed. It has a "fashioned by Delro" tag, but that doesn't really have the cachet of "Barbizon", so I'll probably give it a lady's name. Rayon, somewhat translucent, with a black, pink, and blue floral print; reddish purple piping. Fairly broad lapels with pronounced point, and it fastens with two buttons in a kind of double-breasted configuration. Magyar sleeves with cuffs. (No sleevils!) This might actually fit me, but I haven't tried it on yet! Although I do know that it's super long, it would drag on the floor if I wore it.

- Green wool skirt suit - I'm having a hard time dating it because it's a little contradictory. Overall '40s styling with the jacket coming down over the hips and a just-below-the-knee skirt, but it has only the most minimal shoulder buildup and the skirt is straight. I'm thinking it's early postwar, maybe? The back-of-the-neck label is for McLean's, a department store that was in Binghamton, which is some pretty cool local history, and then there's a label inside the front for the designer, Rafi. Some cute detailing with these applied horseshoes on the jacket. Once I turn this into a pattern I am definitely making this for myself. I would kind of like to name this "Phyllis" for my grandmother, who would have probably liked to have worn a suit like this in that bank job she had right out of high school but could not at all have afforded it.

- Last but very much not least, a black velvet cocktail dress from the early 1960s. (Possible names: Holly, Audrey, Tiffany.) It has a boat neck in the front and a deepish V neckline in the back, where it fastens in a crossover trimmed with a velvet bow. It's so cute and also so small that I will never ever have a hope of fitting into it, but I think it would look fantastic on my mother. It'll probably not be too tricky to grade, although it has bust and waist darts, which I haven't really dealt with yet.

In general I don't want "modern" stuff to be an overarching theme for my shop, because my #brand is historical and I'm more interested in making interesting museum garments available to the world, and also I don't want to step on Lauren M's toes (though I don't really have to worry about finding 1930s and early '40s stuff at Underground Attic, most of what's there is 1960s and later).

The shop owner came in as I was making my purchases, which was great as I hadn't seen her in months, and I got to tell her that I'd really started my business. She told me she has a lot of stuff that isn't in good enough condition to sell in the shop which she'd be happy to make available to me for patterning - plus her personal collection of antique clothing. We talked a bit about my doing a multipack of 1890s capelets because she has some interesting ones!

Original post: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1026633.html - please comment on Dreamwidth: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1026633.html?mode=reply
e. st v. millay

Forgot to ask

Hey, anybody interested in two free tickets to the Chester County (PA) Historical Society? I got them in a silent auction at the CSA symposium and then forgot about them. I think a bunch of you are in that general area - I'm happy to stick them in the mail if you think you might actually go! But they expire on October 19 so I've got to do something with them.

Original post: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1018171.html - please comment on Dreamwidth: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1018171.html?mode=reply
e. st v. millay

Carnival Row

It's an interesting show. (Amazon Prime.) The basic premise is that humans and the fae - represented in two varieties, one with ram's horns, one with wings - coexist in a secondary world setting; some humans have been killing the fae and chasing them out of their lands, which leads them to flee to The Burgue, a human city somewhere, where in many ways it's a basic immigrants vs. natives story. Which does lead me to wonder, why bother making it secondary world fantasy? As someone who routinely makes up non-magical secondary worlds just for the purpose of writing alternate history without the pressure to make everything but the one changed thing the same, I shouldn't be so judgy, but there's a part of me that wonders, "If you want to make a show about prejudice, nativism, classism, deportation, and so on, why not just make it about our world instead of fantastic racism?" But then, the main mystery did rely on magic. (The fae themselves don't seem particularly magical. The ones with wings fly. I'm not sure if they're legit called pixies and the ones with horns are calls pucks, or if those are supposed to be racial slurs.)

The costuming of the wealthier characters is very interesting. At first I didn't like it: it's 1890s but with bustles, and there's one outfit I really hated with an Edwardian shirtwaist and one of those pointed belts with a smoothly-cut Edwardian skirt ... but it's also cut to smoothly fit over the bustle. It was ugly. But as the show went on, I found myself wanting to actually make some of the gowns, particularly Indira Varma's kind of vampy, bold princess-line gowns with 1890s sleeves, very reminiscent of that one Worth teagown. Tamzin Merchant also has some fantastic ones.

Original post: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1017780.html - please comment on Dreamwidth: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1017780.html?mode=reply
e. st v. millay

Actually, that last bit isn't such a bad idea

Gosh, Tumblr is particularly insufferable lately. There are always a few posts floating around re: "I was labeled gifted/smart in school and it gave me anxiety/meant I never learned how to study," but for some reason this week they seem to have set off a bunch of scorching discourse on why it's bad to do programs aimed at high-achieving students and if you enjoyed or benefited from them it's because you think you're better than everyone and are probably racist. Which is interesting, because I never thought my elementary/secondary school administrators were on that site! *rimshot*

Finally got the lunch buffet at the Indian restaurant. Went for quantity over variety and just ate a ton of chicken tikka (delicious but not spicy at all) and about ten pakoras. Then a serving of cream of wheat for dessert. Got my money's worth! it was good, not the best, but it is actually in town so that does a lot. I gave them a five star rating and review on Google to encourage other people to go there so it will stay open. Then went to a nearby thrift store and got a set of four goblets and two small tumblers with cute little silhouettes and the words "OLD FASHIONED" on them, because I did not previously own actual glass glasses. Hey, I came of age into a recession!

Did a little housewares shopping later in the afternoon as well - I got three of those cube boxes (in turquoise) for the cube storage unit I bought ages ago and barely ever touched, which let me put some of my sewing stuff away that had been sitting around. Also new cushions (turquoise) for my chairs, plus two smelly candles. And a couple of other functional things: a rack for toilet paper and a sponge-holder. (I really need to find some kind of organizational solution to my bathroom cupboards - they are extremely narrow, like 5" wide, and deeper than arm's length.) After getting the sewing stuff a little neatened up, I pushed three boxes of books into the hall and put them on the short bookcase out there. No more Box Island in the middle of the sewing room!

There's still a lot left to do in the apartment as a whole. I suspect I'll finally have everything put away by the time I move. I'm writing interpretive plans for a few of the period houses at work to explain how they should be furnished - I think I need to write one for my apartment, lol.

Original post: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1017593.html - please comment on Dreamwidth: https://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/1017593.html?mode=reply