Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Wrap-Up

Friends, please excuse the lack of professionalism on this post. I'm posting from my phone so I can show you a couple of pictures from the crazy amazing month I've had. I haven't felt like this since I stopped working in retail!

The train trip was such a delight, and my corset held up quite well to the vigours of a 4-hour train ride, roast beef and mashed potato and gravy meal, and shopping in town afterwards. Big Valley was established in the early part of the 20th century, or at least this jail dates from that time frame. 

I also managed to finish a bonnet! Nothing like a deadline to get a girl motivated :)

The day after the trip, I performed at a family festival with my belly dance studio. I was so nervous, and I definitely messed up more than once. Sometimes I have an odd disconnect with photographs of myself performing, because how I feel and think about myself doesn't match what I feel the camera shows. And yet I can look at photos of other dancers who don't have socially-accepted "perfect" bodies and I don't see those so-called "flaws" -- I see a beautiful woman who has taught her body to move and even without seeing her perform, I know she is a smart, capable, and stunning woman. So how come I can't connect that same idea to photographs of myself? 

That's a post for a different day, however, so please enjoy this photograph of me dancing. Despite my disconnect with photos, when I'm in the studio learning and practicing and watching myself move, I absolutely love how I look!

Photo by Kazoo Productions. 

The very next day after performing 4 times, I went to the registry office and tested for my drivers license. I've had my learner's for nigh on 100 years (which is code for 15 years, give or take) and once I moved to the city, I never saw the need to get it. I've always lived relatively close to work on decent bus routes. But more and more I was finding that being able to drive would open a lot more of the city to me. I was SO nervous. I think there was three of me, I was shaking so badly. But I passed the test, and last week I brought my first car home. It's parked since it's a manual transmission and I don't know how to drive a stick, plus I'm waiting for the chance to register it and get my own plate on it. But still, now I will be able to get around much more easily!

I really don't recommend three events like that in such a short span, especially if you're a worrywart like me. But there was no rest for the wicked, because then it was onto a wedding, and finishing up a gown and three frock coats for the Regency ball! 

I will do a full write-up in the near future, with as many photos as I can scrounge. My camera (meaning my phone) was stowed safely away for the night as technology was expressly forbidden in the ballroom ;) But we did take a few pictures beforehand. 

 Did I take a wedgie picture, and also talked some other ladies into taking one with me? You bet I did! I ended up wearing the paisley gown because the commissions took priority :) The ball was wonderful. Everyone looked so amazing. I can hardly wait for the one in February!

And of course, since having ONLY a ball to attend at the end of the month would be much too easy, we also had a local version of Comic Con to attend. I rewore a costume I made about a hundred years ago (this time: 18 years) that has held up very well over the years and was well-received by the people who recognized it. It will undergo a remake in the near future, however - the sleeves are much too short, and one sleeve has become faded from hanging in the closet for a number of years. Still, my choices that morning had been Victorian (even got my corset in, then decided nope!) or the whore-I-mean-handmaiden Game of a Thrones gown, but since it was just a handful of degrees above freezing and windy, I opted for more coverage. 

But first, let me take a selfie. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Mid-Month Post

Hello there friends! It's been awhile since my last post. I wish I could say I was a busy little bee working on projects, and while it wouldn't strictly be a lie, its not precisely the truth either.

My Yellow challenge was put aside and will remain so for another short (I hope) while. My Partner in Crime and I agreed to make some frock coats for the musicians at the Regency Ball in 2 weeks, and neither of us are tailors, nor have gentlemen that we regularly sew for. So that's been a bit of a learning curve!

I've also been working on a commission I took on for the ball. The customer requested a muslin gown, and since I knew that the muslin sold in stores is not the same kind of muslin historical uses made of it, I was searching all over for muslin made in India. I was having a heck of a time, until I found a pair of references. The first on the glossary, that muslin gauze is the specific term to search for, and the second that muslin made in India is virtually unchanged in the last 200 years (but I have lost that reference! If your blog is one that refers to that, please let me know so I can credit you!). So when I searched for that, I found what I was looking for almost immediately! Huzzah!! Then of course it was a waiting game for it to make its way halfway across the world to me, which it did in rather good time. I bought 10 yards, and I couldn't believe how light and airy it is. This dress will weigh practically nothing!

Guido and Simon Meowell model the muslin.

Then, I've been going to belly dance practices 2x a week for the last few weeks. The studio I dance at is showcasing the choreographies learned in the past year at a festival this weekend. One of the dances I knew, one I did not. I mostly had to teach it to myself, which was extra fun because it also included finger cymbals! But the support I got from my teacher and the other students has been just fantastic. I will have to write a post on why I find dance so important to my life in the near future :)

I thought I wouldn't be able to go on this year's train excursion, because I didn't know when I'd be dancing at the festival. Then it turned out that I could! So tonight I made up a mini quasi-lobster bustle for my sister, or possibly for myself. I hate to say this, but we've had snow already this month (and it was MUCH worse in the southern part of the province! They got some 12-13", we only got a light dusting that melted as soon as it hit the ground). So this event, which we usually attend in August, will possibly be the coolest weather we've ever had for it. I'm quite looking forward to not melting out of my gown and actually wearing mosre accessories than I usually go with. But Ireally  do need a hat.

Finally, I made a Facebook page for my blog. I wanted to move my in-progress photos and the like away from my personal page. So if you want to see what I'm up to and are on facebook, please feel free to follow it!

We shall chat aain soon, my friends. I hope to have good pictures from the train trip and some ballgown pictures soon!

Monday, September 1, 2014

HSF '14: #16 Terminology: "Guimpe"

Friends, I have a confession. I feel like I cheated a bit with this challenge. There, I said it. I cheated.

This was another challenge where I had lots of ideas - I could make jumps, or work on some stays, or make something out of one of the many types of cloth listed in the glossary. Then I thought, but what about specific terms that aren't listed but are definitely historical terms, like bustles, or a habit shirt? But no - the challenge is quite clear that the item must come from the glossary. Hmm. What to do?

Guimpe caught my eye. From the glossary: A short blouse to be worn under a jumper, or a fill for a low cut dress. Similar to a dickey or chemisette. And then I looked it up on Google. From Wikipedia: From the early nineteenth century onwards, the term guimpe also described a form of short under-blouse or chemisette which was worn under a pinafore or low cut dress to fill in the neckline and, if sleeved, cover the arms. (Though if you look up the source linked with the quote, it's greatly paraphrased. The magic of Wikipedia...)

Further from Google, if you search guimpe in images, there are a few chemisette-like items listed as guimpes, and it seems to be a French term as the blogs that have these items are French. And while many are very sheer, a few are not, and that is good enough for me :D

I whipped this up EXTREMELY quickly. It was about 2pm on the same day I was leaving town for my sister's wedding. I was expecting my friend to arrive at 4, and my dad shortly after. That should be enough time to quickly make a chemisette, I thought, and still have time to shower. I put my fabric and pattern out and ripped and snipped and serged and stitched. Yep, it's 95% machine sewn and finished. I wanted it to be able to wear it with my new paisley dress for the pictures! I didn't hem the ruffle because I figured I could sew it in the car. I ended up leaving it ripped until I decided on the item I wanted to make for this challenge. I quite liked the fuzzy edges and the soft look it had in the light. Then it was just a matter of rolling the hem down (after giving the edge a "trim") and stitching. Et voila!

My biggest lesson learned from this is PRESS YOUR FABRIC before you lay out or cut patterns! Even though I had this folded nicely in my fabric bin, the end I cut from was a little "crunchy", which I ignored because I was in a hurry. It ended up being quite crooked and one shoulder is a lot narrower than the other. I really love how this looks with the entire ensemble and I will definitely be making more :)

The Challenge: #16 Terminology
Fabric: 100% linen
Pattern: La Mode Bagatelle
Year: 1810s-ish
Notions: thread, a metre or so of cording
How historically accurate is it?: Rather debatable. Most of the guimpes a Google image search turned up were quite sheer. Thoroughly modern construction.
Hours to complete: 2
First worn: August 2
Total cost: $5, perhaps. The linen was about half a yard ($4), and the cording was perhaps $1.

Closes with a single pin.
Serged seam under the ruffle to leave a smooth edge at the neck.

Road to Costume College 2018

Gosh, where did the first half of the year go? (I know where, winter was unusually long and dark and cold, and it's effect lasted longer...