9 articles tagged as sewing

(via Achieving the Edwardian silhouette – but how? | Atelier Nostalgia)

This is really good stuff – Edwardian is a bit too “modern” for my interests but it’s a wonderful look at how different underpinnings change how you look and the authenticity of your outfit.  

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I’m being very productive at work today. You know what that means, don’t you?

Exactly. I’m avoiding working on my editing project.

I got a good start on it…I think it’s funny that, several years ago an editor rejected the manuscript for The Book Formerly Known as Balancing Act because there was a scene where the main (male) character sounded like a sixteen year old girl. I was annoyed…not that she didn’t like the book, that comes with the territory, but that she’d not been a little more tactful.

I’m kind of laughing now because I read the passage and thought, “By Jove, she was right!” Yes, I did say by Jove, darn it, I’m trying to cut down the cussing.

It’s kind of fun to do, though. This book has been the longest journey for me…the first book I ever finished, it was a book that when I needed a creative writing project in University I pulled it out and worked on it. Back then the main character was a vampire, herself (hence the name Andromeda) and Alistair was a cop. Now Andromeda’s the cop, and Alistair is an out of work English department adjunct who runs a herb shop.

I wrote the newest incarnation when I was 25, 26. I’m 35, and I see that I am a different person, just as I did when I was 21 looking back on what I’d written when I was 16.

And it’s not just a story of what I’ve been as a writer, but of my attitudes. I re-wrote a scene because my reaction was, “That’s not romantic. I know that there, that scene, is supposed to be romantic but it really isn’t.”

Also, in the random fact category:

New tires are love.

I sincerely believe that if I survive driving up the narrow, twisty, steep, icky road to the main connecting road, that the main connecting road ought to be better than the icky twisty road as an award. But it’s not. I further believe that I should not be tailgated by some idjit who apparently perceives the road as much nicer and safer than I did. has the 7.1 weight linen on sale. I love 7.1 weight linen. It drop tests so nicely. I am, however, avoiding the site studiously because I have enough linen, really I do. (In fact, I have storage issues…more related to the fact that I’ve stopped throwing my fabric in garbage bags and stuffed them under the train table. My fabric is now organized…by use, rather than kind. There’s the “Box of doublet fabric” and the “This is for armor” and “dress fabric for out of period dress I may never make.”

I need to sew faster, but I didn’t really feel like sewing over break. Which sucks because my best intentions promised me that I’d have the doublet for Rodrigo done by now…I have been more like, “It’s cold. I want to drink tea and read, not bend over a cutting table.

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OK, I am failing on my re-try of the happiness meme. Maybe I’ll just list, at random, things that make me happy when I become maudlin.

Today is exciting because I’ll be spending half of it in a Doctor’s office reading…the ear Doctor who actually fixed the problem (my ears don’t drain right, it’s sort of like having swimmer’s ear all the time…) is very popular, and the wait is always an ice age or two. But I get out of work early, so muaha? He’s going to be displeased with me, because I keep forgetting to put ear plugs in my ear when I shower. As in, I just remembered today, that, a couple years ago when I went to him, he told me to do so. Oops.

Yesterday was made of fail because I completely slept in late and forgot about going to sew at the barony. But I needed the day…I was dead tired by the time I got home. I spent it reading and cleaning up some odds and ends, instead.

And Saturday was the best, because I went to War College. There wasn’t a large turnout, but we did a lot of fighting…Corwin worked with me a lot, and then I authorized in parry objects. I feel I still have a ton of work to do, especially in cloak, but it’s nice to have another authorization under my belt. I also have to work more on using just one sword…I need to make sure that I balance and practice all arts so I don’t lose what I’ve learned. I still, also, need to decide what kind of buckler I’m going to make/buy, I’m struggling between the fact that a flat surface is nice and sticky and helps control the blade, and the fact that a metal boss is useful in deflecting a blade. I really need to get Sionn’s buckler back to him, I hate putting so much wear and tear on his.

One thing that’s been buzzing around my brain has been trying to define how I want to play in the SCA…how can I make the most of my time in the SCA, how can I do what I want to do without…I don’t want to say ruin, maybe dent or smudge…the experience for the people around me. I’m mostly worried, to be honest, about clothes. Because I like clothes from a few periods, but I’m worried about being a “time twister”…I wouldn’t normally care (really, I wouldn’t!) but it’s sort of like story telling. I don’t want to pop people’s suspension of disbelief. But I spent a lot of time talking to people, and from their attitudes I realized that there is more leeway than I think.
Really, it all comes down to doing what I want, but doing it with respect. Which is what I do, anyway, in all aspects of life.

The night was finished off with a lovely dinner with amazing people. The day was pretty much perfect.

Also, saw a woman with gussets where my green dress’s gussets are. YAY! Maybe they can go form tragic to perhaps documentable. I am beginning to think that there is…sort of a gradient in historical costuming. There’s “You really can’t do that, ick!” which includes, like, bright orange filmy pixie clothes and pink plastic buttons, and “Oh, that’s perfect and admirable” which includes everything hand sewn and the person even made their own buttons, and a grey area in between. And I think a lot of people live in that grey area, and the grey area won’t get you awards, but it won’t get you snark. I like the grey area in costuming. It has comfy cushions.

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I’ve been running around like a mad woman, and I keep thinking, “Oh, I want to blog this or that” but usually that thought comes to me when I’m driving or trying to go to sleep, so it never gets done.
So if this becomes a bit of a catch-up salad, I apologize. Part of this is just end of semester stress, part of this is because I had car troubles with all three of the vehicles that I can use…people even told me to get rid of my car, because obviously the problems it has are permanent, and the repairs promised to be expensive, but I sat and thought about it, and decided to ignore the advice and go with my own feeling. So I got a second opinion on the car, and the repair ended up being nearly half of the first estimate.

As you can see on the right, I’ve become part of a group blog! I’m part of Charge of the Write Brigade, and I’m co-authoring the blog with several very cool people. There will be a new post every day, I’ll be there every second and fourth Friday. I have not, as of yet, decided whether to cross-post or not. I’ll probably just link.

We’re on the very cusp of summer, here. The SCA seems to be kicking into full swing as all us would be swords-people (of both the rattan and rapier varieties) are chomping at the bit to get out and fight. I went to my first major melee event (melees are, in case you’ve forgotten, battles between two teams of fighters.) last weekend, Blackstone Raids, and had a pretty good time, though my realization that I was really, despite being very well prepared by Ivan for the situation, overwhelmed. I was just…there’s so much data to take in, and I’m on one of those flat places in my learning where I’m not, despite picking up a sword every day, feeling like I’m getting any better. I was very frustrated with my lack of ability, really unused to the heat (there is a lot of running around in melee combat), and therefore I fear I was slightly less verbally graceful than I like to be. Not bad…I wasn’t a harridan, but I was not up to my standard of behavior. I should have remembered my new mental exercise sooner…actually, it’s an old exercise that I just took out of the mental closet, where I imagine myself as a cool, peaceful, deep mountain lake. Sure, storms come and mar the surface of the lake, but it never lasts, and when the storm passes you never know that the lake was touched at all.

The best part of Blackstone was that the proto-incipient college of Vulcan’s Forge is now incipient…we’re officially a college in training. The students here worked really hard to see this through, and I’m very proud of them. It was also sort of fun, being called up into court. I was a bit nervous, I have no idea why. The King gave our Seneschal a token to prove that we were a college of the SCA, and we all sat down again. The other best part of Blackstone was meeting some awesome people, one of whom worked with me on cloak (not as much as either of us planned) and even gave me his cloak so I’d have something to work with. He’s now on my list of must-do-something-nice-for, which is getting a leetle long.

And, continuing with the cusp-of-summer theme, many of my fellow fencing students and members of Vulcan’s Forge are going home…today is the last day of finals. It’s very quiet, here…most students just come in, drop off a paper, then leave. One is currently trying not to be distracted by my typing while he takes a test.

Now that I’m back to the point where I don’t have to pour so much of myself into my job, I’ve actually gathered all of my writing projects into one place, and have been reading and thinking about them. It’s time to finish something…and I’m torn between starting something utterly new, and working on one of the books that are 60% done. So I’ve been picking up loose ends, playing with stories in my head, seeing which one is ready to run…because just because I’ve not been typing doesn’t mean I’ve not been actively writing. It’s there, it’s been worked on in the background, I now just need to prove to myself that I have what it takes to actually write a fourth book.

So, here’s my summer: Going to events, sewing (I plan to make one fancy dress in linen, one chemise, finish the red dress, make some shirts and breeches, two doublets and four fencing shirts and a second set of under arms…I’m actually a bit excited because I bought my first Alter Years pattern, for a side closing doublet), fencing and writing. And yard work, but that’s no fun.

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On twitter (Yes, I do that, too…I use twitter to update my face book status) I am debating whether I want to sew a pretty red dress in case I need a new pretty dress (My black one might have to be repaired…and every time I wear the black one, I get lots of compliments, so I want to…well, save it for when I want to look extra good!) for Ice Dragon ( OR, do I want to make my fencing cloak so I can practice with it and become authorized in off hand parry objects.

Oh, dear. To be a girl, or a warrior.

Pros for dress:

1. The red dress is cut out, save I really need to stop at Jo Anne’s and buy a lining fabric for the sleeves. And maybe more piping.

2. There’s a ball at Ice Dragon that I may or may not go to, and hence, a chance to dance with pretty people. I love medieval dancing, it’s tons of fun.

Pros for fencing cloak:

1. I think I have enough material, so no trip to eBay or JoAnne’s, but it’s not cut out and I’m not 100% certain how I want to make it. I want to use the black velvet I received at the novice tourney at Pennsic, though, partly because it’s LOVELY, partly because there’s not enough, really, to do anything else.

2. A lovely person at the Donnan Party thought I was ready to auth in buckler, which means, I think only case of rapiers and cut and thrust authorizations to go…

So, I open this to a poll!

1. Be a girl! Make a pretty a dress, dance with the boys!

2. Warrior, dang it! You need to learn how to swish your cloak to cause your enemies despair! Or, well, at least enough confusion that you can get to them with your sword…

3. Do both! You are the sewing queen!

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Do you ever have those days when you just don’t know what to do with yourself?

I feel like I’m spinning my wheels a bit. I’ve been having troubles getting into any particular book, and I want, desperately, to finish something. I first drafted “Grey lady” and am now writing another short story, about a young woman named Aziza who is a “bell witch”…she walks through her village at night, the bells she wears scaring off evil. So, at least I’m writing, but gah. Let’s finish one of my 13 books, shall we Miss Muse?

I know how very fast time goes, and the fact that it’s already the end of May makes me wonder if I’m going to meet my goal of completing another book. I’m not doing very well, because I forget that we find a million ways to fill out time…re-doing the filing system (Which is done! Yay!) cleaning the computer, re-doing the bathroom. I need to make myself set blocks of time aside better.

I did manage, however, to finish my bodice for Saturday’s SCA event. The costume is in evolution, I originally used a very sheer cloth to make the shirt and skirt, and now I regret it, because while it is lighter – it breathes very nice, and I don’t feel dead so quickly – it is rather too sheer, and if you thought that having an over skirt would provide enough shadow/coverage so that people couldn’t see your legs through the skirt, then, like I once was, you are mistaken.

So, gauze. I’m making my next blouse and underskirt out of gauze. At least the skirt. I can’t fence in a gauze shirt. I will photograph as soon as the bodice is ironed.

So, that’s it. My brain is sort of clogged up with the Pirate event that I’m helping with, sewing, fencing, reading, renovating the house, taking care of the garden. (The Irises look fabulous! I need to show them to you.) But these things, they are also in sort of a holding pattern. My father, we just have to wait until he heals. Fencing, I have to just wait and hope that I am doing the right things to make the club strong. The other stuff is all, well, you pick it up, you work on it until you can’t.

The good news is that despite the fact that I have apparently declared this the Summer of Self Improvement…where I am working on everything to see how much better I can make it…I am regaining my calm. I have this image, I’ve always had, of this pool of cool, calm water in my chest, over my heart. In the past, when I needed to, I was able to dip into that water, concentrate on it, and remind myself to be cool and calm…to have grace under fire. Between all the things that I won’t bore you with my reiterating, I’ve had cups taken out of that pool, but never at any time was there a point where I was able to tap into something to refill that pool. When I wasn’t upset about something, or wired up, I was asleep. Since last September my life has been a roller coaster of crazy, and I look back with regret at how skitzy I must have seemed to the people around me, because I used to be so proud of how calm I am. Dignity and decorum – those used to be my watchwords.

Note: I do act dramatic about things to be funny. Because I’m a nutter. And no matter what has happened in my past, when things are really, really bad, I still become dead calm. So, I guess the rule of thumb is, if I’m cussing and festering over it, it’s not really horridly bad. If I seem to be handling it with a serious, calm voice, taking it in steps, you should be worried.

Well, maybe not, since I intend to be more like that now. But we know what intentions are, right?

Anyway, point is, it feels SO good to be calm again. To sit and think of the lake inside of me, quiet and inviting, and know that I feel like I’m in control, like I’m ready to walk my path.

Maybe, to get back to my complaint about writing, the fact is, that I am in a healing process, and as I recover everything will start snapping back into place. It already is…I’m slowly recovering ground that I had lost, rebuilding everything. I’ve not gone through a lot, not compared to some people, God bless them, but I’ve gone through enough, trying desperately to juggle all of my goals and responsibilities. So, the moral of the story, if there is ever a moral to my maunderings, is to do one’s best, to try and be happy when one can, and to let life roll on – not over you – and just keep breathing.

Now that all that is out of my head, let’s see if I can get any writing done.

PS. The subject line is from a Tanya Donnelly’s “Landspeed Song”

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Is the title of the new short story I am writing.  I know the path of the tale, as it wends through a Victorian bed and breakfast, and I feel the fire and the circle of it, so I am confident enough in its completion to actually mention it.  😉  It’s a ghost story One of my friends and I are trying to keep ourselves motivated by running a competition to see who can reach 60,000 words by June 26th.  Yesterday I wrote 2,846 (the story is 3,929 words long so far) so I only have 57,154 more words to go.  I can do it.

So far today I’ve checked my email multiple times, cleaned, and started on my Great File Project, because I want to clean and organize every drawer in this office.  And I edited.  Also, one of the faculty members received a nude bust for some speech he gave, and he put it on top of my book cases.  It looks very…Greek.  Except that she has very well defined breasts, so I took tissue paper and pleated her a little toga.  What more can one want from a day?  Craft projects, cleaning, organizing, writing. 

When I get home I’ll work more on my bodice.  I’ll be going to an SCA event at the end of the month, and I realized I don’t really have any summer garb.  All the dresses I wanted to make didn’t really work out…I take ages to sew anything, which is why I won’t ever make anyone anything ever again…so I decided to make a new bodice, and wear a shirt/over shirt and shirt I’d already made.  The bodice will be of a lovely cream-gold brocade, with chrysanthemums a little lighter than the fabric and small flowers in red, blue, brown and purple.  It’s beautiful, and I hope I do a good job.

Now I will go get the mail, get something to eat in town, and come back to the office.  I love summer.  Freedom is a huge deal to me, as is flexibility, so it’s just so fantastic to have a job where you get that a couple months out of the year.

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So far, the vacation is going really well. I feel pretty rested and stress free. I think by the time I get back to work on Wednesday I’ll see my life as a bunch of little steps to get me through the day again, not a bunch of burdens to bear.

Thursday afternoon we had a really amazing storm that took out the power in our house. We didn’t get it back until Friday night. It forced me to go to bed very early, around 9:00, and I was tired enough to sleep through until after nine the next day. Both days were swelteringly hot, and we were worried about our food, so I had an idea that works really well if you find yourself in a similar situation: get a couple of garbage cans, metal is possible as they work a lot better (we had some in storage) and about 30 pounds of ice for each can. Put in a garbage bag, then pour in some ice. Put in a layer of food, then some more ice, more food, then top it off with ice. Wrap the can in another garbage bag and a bunch of blankets, quilts, afghans or whatever else you have. Our food all lasted really well.

I did some house projects, but mostly so far I’ve rested and written, managing to finally finish “But Can You Let Him Go?” And did some sewing. I finished the pink Tudor dress and am now working on a black and teal Gypsy/wench/pirate outfit. I’m using soft, sheer black cloth for the shirt and underskirt.

So, now I have two writing projects, I am going to write an essay about Cinderella, and take a second look at the Neil Gaiman Movie essay, because, since it’s not up yet, I want to use this as my chance to do another update.

And I need to work on another book…I started another, “The Gravedigger’s Song”, but I might just take a bunch of notes about all the twists and nifty things and shelve it until one of the partials are done.

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This day has been so, so bad. I mean, like, woah. Our truck broke down on the way to go buy some roofing tin, and after waiting for the tow truck to show up, I called and found out he was waiting for me to call back because he wanted to make sure I got the money for the tow first. But, we got home, thanks to a lot of prayers to the Lord…

But I’ve decided I’m not going to talk any more about it. Just trust me. Awful day.

Instead, I want to show you this: Christopher Walken cooking chicken with pears. What I love about it is that it’s sort of immediate. I felt like I was sitting in Christopher Walken’s kitchen, maybe drinking a nice wine or something, while he described the recipe to me. I like how his kitchen felt like any kitchen I’ve ever been in, small, but very nice. I want the thing he used to roast the chicken, but have no idea where to look or what it’s called.

I think I shall go sew a little more. I managed to get one dress sleeve done…I decided to start with the sleeves, which are huge, and lined in baroque satin. The satin is part of a roll I bought for my wedding dress, I managed to get it very cheap. I liked the satin, though it’s not the best satin you can buy, it’s very stiff, almost like lining fabric. Unfortunately, it also unravels a little, so I decided to sew the sleeves first to [prevent it getting too bad. I know people who sew around the edges of something that they are worried about…that’s a great way to do it, but this felt more efficient.

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