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Jul. 27th, 2017 04:52 pm
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Last night I starched my petticoats - used this recipe/ratio - and just now I tried ironing them. The bodies were bone dry, but the hems were still wet ... I had hoped the heat of the iron would deal with it, but they were too soaked. Hopefully I didn't strip all the starch off of them while I was trying! But the parts I did iron look decent. Not as smooth and crisp as I expected, given the starched items I've handled in museums (probably because the fabric is crappy Sew Essentials muslin and I used corn starch rather than actual laundry starch), but it feels like a very light buckram/crinoline and stands out a bit. It'll be interesting to see how/whether it holds up on Saturday.

Lately I've been trying to research the 1950s the way I would the 1850s, but it's much more difficult as the relevant texts are in copyright and undigitized, for the most part. I'm very interested in figuring out what was "normal" in the '50s both because of my constant preference for being AuthentiqueTM rather than costumey, and because "what they did" is so often a more sensible and practical way of doing things. So I'm trying to figure out where the non-frilly-nylon petticoats of the book I bought and the many patterns I've seen stand - did people typically wear one floofy nylon bouffant with one or two plain petticoats on top? layers of floofy nylon? layers of plain petticoats? Is one option fashionable and one dorky? What do the fashon commentators say about slips?? While looking into this, I stumbled into the world of nylon petticoat fetishists! It's FASCINATING. In some ways, it reminds me of 19th/early 20th century tightlacing fetishism - lots of stories from men that seem to have a backbone of truth but are eroticized in very predictable ways, and a few stories from women that are more realistic but also weirder (because they're fairly normal reminiscences that seem to presume that everyone in the 1950s saw petticoats really sexually).

What a weekend

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:46 pm
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Used my extra day off well! Finished gathering up the skirt and whipped it on - deliciously rewarding, I want to gauge everything in the future - sewed all the basic seams in the petticoat, and cut out the paper pattern pieces for the bathing suit and bathing coat. (Then I got to fold them all up again and put them in their envelope! I love folding pattern pieces.) I tried out a few hem feet: the tiniest one just doesn't work, like it's too heavy for the feed dogs to move the fabric, and the regular hemming attachments are missing the screw that holds them to the foot. Eventually I realized I could take a screw out of my electric machine (they cost, like, $5 on Amazon with Prime - less without, but more with the shipping, so) but by that point I was settled into cutting paper instead.

Did a little FFC shopping, for 100% cotton shirting so that I know what I'm getting. Wanted to get silk crepe de chine to make a slip that fits me better, but frankly I know I am not at the level where it makes sense to spend ~$40+ on lingerie fabric ... cotton voile will do for now. I was planning to use VeraVenus's free (1930s?) slip pattern, but that seems like a nightmare to fit to my body, so now I'm sucked into an Etsy whirlwind of vintage patterns, weighing better prices against closer sizing.

It was wonderfully cold and rainy, just like October. Something* smells musty in my apartment, and that's bad, but at the same time the smell means it isn't hot and I love that.

* I'm 95% sure it's the bolt of muslin I got from Sue, because it came out of her mother's storage/attic

Grace & Frankie marathon here

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:06 am
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Skirt is mostly gauged! I need a smaller hoop to wear with it, though (unsurprising, since the pattern is technically from the early 1850s if not late 1840s) (but still, damn that 55"-wide fabric) ... I'll be starching my petticoats for next weekend and it will probably look "not terrible". At some point, I'm going to put three flounces on the skirt, which will help. Don't know if I'd say that I'm looking forward to Civil War Weekend, but at least I'm not dreading it due to costume unfinishedness.

I also cut out the yoke and flounces for a very ruffly '50s "Mexican-style" petticoat, and pinned the basic seams. The flounces are all circular, and like an idiot I cut the wider flounce circles all the way through instead of just halfway. ಠ_ಠ Right now my docket is looking like:

- finish 1850s dress
- make ruffly petticoat
- 1950s bathing suit
- second petticoat, less ruffly? (maybe a narrower one to replace slip layer)
- then finally new 1950s dress

I'd kind of like to make two bathing suits before we go to Cape Cod in September (Dad was like "hey when would be good for you to go?" and I was like "we have to do it for my birthday because if I stay at home by myself for my 30th birthday it's just going to be REALLY PATHETIC"), but I'd rather try out the whole "woven bathing suit with a zipper" concept before I completely commit to it.

When I do get to the new dress, bearing in mind that I have to do a FBA, should I make a shirtdress, a pretty pattern I haven't tried before with gathery darts below the bust, or revisit a pattern that has worked for me in the past (the version I have now is a bit big)? I can't decide.

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I'm getting burnt out on the Emerging Museum Professionals and Non-Profit Happy Hour Facebook groups. I mean, all Facebook stuff in general, but those two groups are draining - so much venting, and they also have a tendency to become a parody of social justice, being incredibly snarky and dismissive of institutions that need interns (and I could understand if there was more substantial discussion of what constitutes an unethical internship and what's volunteering, but instead it's just ranting about how "you shouldn't have workers you can't pay") and coming up with ideas about hiring solely based on resumés (but not their formatting or spelling or way of describing things). At least Costume People, while being ranty, manages to also actually discuss issues.

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Jul. 22nd, 2017 04:55 pm
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I put the piping on the lower edge of the bodice!



It's so funny, the idea of piping always completely intimidated me before I made my dress for the Hallowedding and I never bothered to actually try it (not that I had done that much Victorian sewing before then, anyway, but). My Cranford dress has this awkward, bulky hem at the bottom of the bodice, because I thought that would be easier than piping! I should write a blog post on that. Fortunately, the piping - and the bulk of the gathering folded up under the piping - helps to hold out the front panel, which was all squirrelly and didn't want to stay flat. Unfortunately, it's somehow ended up with much less of a point than I wanted ... which seems to be a regular occurrence with me. Possibly because I have a tendency to forget that it's not enough to just increase side-to-side for a large bust, but also to make the bodice longer.

I'm going to set aside balancing the skirt for now (I have a three-day weekend since I'm working next Saturday, I've got the time) and think about using that petticoat booklet after dinner to cut out one or two. My nylon tulle one is just stifling, so I hate wearing it, and anyway holes are developing in various places. But because of the need for flounces/ruffles, this means *sigh* learning to use my hemming foot and ruffler attachment, both of which terrify me. And I recognize the obvious parallel in the previous paragraph ... I just need to learn to do it, but it feels impossible.

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Jul. 21st, 2017 09:02 am
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Finally started my Hamiathes' Gift fic the other day - as usual with fanfiction, it's very hard for me to begin because I get all anxious about characterization and timeline issues. It's going to be good. >:3

Spent time spread out over two days agonizing over dating this dress with ca. 1880 sleeves, ca. 1900? bodice front, ca. 1906 bodice back and skirt, ca. ???? skirt decoration (faux-buttoning down the front, "opening" over a triangular panel with horizontal bands of black velvet), and evidence of alteration. Now of course I don't know why it took me so long ...