Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Maybe dead, but not idle!

Yes, I know it looks like I haven't been doing anything, but really, I have! Ok, a lot of to-do lists are lying around but that counts toward something, surely!  Actually, I finished a striped bedgown and half-boned blue stays that are moderately more comfortable than my fully boned ones, but the shape could use some re-working; I'm very short-waisted and the stays ended up long-waisted. And why oh why didn't I make them front-lacing?! Having a husband to lace is not at all useful when he's in bed by 9pm because what seamstress ever accomplishes anything of note until the 9:30 - 2am time slot?

My current large project is a very respectable dusky-blue sacque that has languished on the back burner for the last year, and it's now about 3/4 done. Hopefully I remember to get some pictures tonight. It has a few construction issues since I'm drafting rather than going by a pattern, which makes me very glad that this was just thrift-store fabric I chose for the first-ever sacque. All the more reason to make another one at a later date. This one was meant to be more middle-century middle class, since that's the most useful to me in Nouvelle France, but part of me is so tempted to go Versailles-level crazy on it.

However, I can't very well tote seven yards of fabric back and forth to work without something horrible happening to it, and since I like to have a sewing project, it has to be something small. 

My mother-in-law and I took a trip to IKEA recently, where I bought some of the Sigbritt fabric for a future jacket:

(I think it's very pretty and it looks a good deal like some extant Indienne prints I've seen)


 an artist's figure. What?
Meet Renee. She's in early stages but eventually she will have real hair and a wardrobe of clothes. I half-finished her little chemise tonight during my dinner break. If she looks sassy it's because she's named after one of the more documented French women in the area, Renee Drouin, who outlived at least three husbands (she loved sergeants in particular, must have been the uniform), conducted several side businesses like laundry and inn keeping, and is so far the ONLY named seamstress I have found in any records around here, so I feel a kinship to her! Renee the Doll will hopefully be a fun teaching tool about 18th century clothing because for some reason eyebrows start raising when I start stripping in front of people to show them all my layers. Up next: a teeny tiny pair of stays. And maybe hair. My co-worker thought it might be a voodoo doll tonight. Oops.

                             (She's showing off the itty bitty gussets in her not-yet-hemmed chemise)

I've always loved 18th century dolls, and while Renee won't be extremely accurate (I'll leave that up to my idols over at The Old Pretenders), hopefully when I'm done she'll look like a little French lady with hair I can dress up or down depending on her wardrobe. From habitant to fine lady, she'll eventually show off some of the various styles of clothing mentioned in local inventories. It'll be a lot easier to get clothes off and on her than myself!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Ball...of sorts.

Just south of us is a tiny French town with deep 18th century roots, and every year they throw a "12th Night Ball." It's a fascinating mishmash of re-enactors, people who just like dressing up, people who don't dress up at all, and a lot of little teenagers in prom gowns. Quite the mix. But hubby and I were excited to go because we had taken a dance lesson the month before and really enjoyed it, and were encouraged by the teacher to come to 12th night to help keep order along with the other couples who had been taking lessons. I'm sure the dances don't seem very complicated to most people but I have two left feet and a desperate desire to get it right. My gentleman had to keep kicking me in the shin and saying "It's just a dance, stop stressing!"  We had a great deal of fun though and danced for hours!

            The paper called up any participants from the neighboring county so we did get to be in the newspaper later!
   My lovely handmade shoes did pretty well for the night although I started to get blistery toward the end.

It took us a little while to remember what we'd learned at lessons, I'm sure the poor teacher felt like she was herding cats from the stage. I took my neck handkerchief off...too hot...but should have taken the apron off too...oh the things we regret when photo evidence turns up.

I've given up on a pair of stays I was hoping to finish soon and think I'll just do slightly boned jumps. I've got nothing to support!

Hopefully next time I post, I'll have pictures of my finished crafting room which has been loooong in the making, but now has beautiful shelves full of folded fabric, and a cheerful color theme of light grey, gold and hot pink. Can't wait to finish it up soon!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

*creeps in slowly*

What a disgraceful lapse of costumery and news...but I have a legitimate excuse! I am now married and trying to keep house with a lovely but absentminded husband, a giant hunting dog, and a very young and incontinent puppy. Good heavens. 90% of my time at home (which isn't much since I'm still working full time) feels like it's spent cleaning up other people's/animals messes and the other 10% is used for looking in despair at the jumble of fabric/trim/art supplies in my new craft room. Which occasionally has water running through it thanks to a leaky basement, yay!

That being said, at present I'm back in the swing of sewing because the debilitating migraines have lessened and I've actually felt very anxious and unsettled during the long stretch of time when I couldn't do anything hobby-related.

On the work table right now: a striped 1750s vest for hubby, a maroon brocade one, and a maroon 1750s-60s coat (that will be plain for a while but eventually I'd like to try my hand at embroidering button covers and maybe down the front of the coat edges and pocket flaps.)

Also I have finished a brown work gown (I might have gotten that mostly done last time I posted though), and here are a few photos of that in action at the local Fort:

                                                            My good man and myself

                                                           ...and with some friends.
          Yes, I do favor Chardin-sized aprons...the more voluminous, the better. When in New France...

By the end of this week I will have a chintz shortgown finished for a local dance so I'm hoping there will be pictures from that this Saturday). The much-neglected blue sacque may yet get finished in the next couple of months, even my mother is eager to see me get done with that because it's such an ambitious project and I mean to trim it nicely...we'll see.

I'd love to do the HSF '16 but I think I'll just plug along at my own pace and enjoy everyone else's inspiration. Deadlines seem to have the exact opposite effect on me than is intended.