Monday, September 8, 2014


You know what's heartbreaking?  Hand-sewing about 55% of a pair of trousers, including side seam pockets, and then realizing that they are about 4" too large for their intended wearer in all areas except the waist.  Carpenter jeans: not a good Regency look.

Actually it was more super-annoying than heartbreaking, because taking out backstitch without a seam ripper (I can never find one when I want one) is a whole lot slower than ripping out machine stitching.  Ah well...they should fit now.  Once I finally put them back together, that is.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Not dead, just married.

Most likely nobody noticed, but I disappeared off the face of the internet for a while.  Now I'm back, with a new name and a permanent reenacting, I mean, husband.  That's the same thing, right?

Did I mention we got married at a Tudor mansion in the UK?  
Anyway, now points to my blog, as does  It'll probably be a simple redirect for a while now because I'm lazy and don't feel like re-learning all that fancy-pants borderline-programming crap that Real Bloggers and Real Web Designers need to know.  I'm an amateur and I have -3243 hours in the day right now, so there you go.

We're still in the process of completing all the paperwork for Rich's immigration process, but we've already started to talk about what kinds of reenacting and history groups he's interested in.  Whatever he decides, he's going to need all new clothing.  And so am I, actually.  So, you know, lots of sewing ahead.

As for the blog...I make no promises.  I'm dealing with about a million other things, some of which are time sensitive (like, you know, filing the right paperwork to keep my spouse in the country) and, let's face it--blogging is work.  I'm not a great writer and I don't get into the whole "dear readers" thing, so it'll happen when it happens and I appreciate everyone who sticks around for it.  Have a good one, and hopefully I'll be back here sooner rather than later!

Monday, March 24, 2014

That (Not So?) Stupid Dress

I started what I not-so-affectionately have been calling That Stupid Dress almost two years ago now, I believe. I liked the idea, I liked the fabric, and it should have been a really nice and fairly simple project.

Yeah no.

That Stupid Dress gave me more dang trouble than any of my other projects, ever in my life. The bodice refused to sit right, the sleeves went through two or three versions, the skirt had to be re-set three times, and basically that damn dress has spent more time in the naughty corner than in any other place. So, after round one of ugly sleeves and wadding it up in the "screw it" pile, I started calling it That Stupid Dress, and That Stupid Dress it has been for the better part of two years.

Well. As of last night, That Stupid Dress may have redeemed itself. Maybe. Let's take a look at the evolution, shall we?  Staring a year ago, when I'd already spent several months arguing with the dress:

March 2013

Looking back, this definitely isn't as bad as I remember--I think the biggest thing here is that I wasn't happy with how I looked in the dress. Also by this point I had already re-set the skirt twice (and it was STILL too long!) and this is also at least version 2 of the sleeves. So I was already grumpy at it in the first place.

June 2013

Here's the second wearing and you can definitely see how much too long the skirt is. Those cartridge pleats never sat as nicely as I had wanted, and they made my back look boxy. Which, I mean, it kind of was, but that didn't help. Also they settled as the dress hung in my closet, so the skirt went from just-a-bit too long to holy-crap too long. Sigh. The undersleeves turned out relatively well, however, and in my opinion helped the dress look more finished. Unfortunately that weekend in June was ungodly hot, so in addition to still not being happy with the dress, I was also incredibly sweaty and felt utterly gross most of the weekend.

After that, I shelved the dress for at least six months, maybe longer--I can't exactly recall. At our last First Regiment work party, I brought it along to re-fit the bodice and shorten the skirt. And then, still being grouchy at it, didn't wear it for another few months!  I've barely even attempted any new projects in the past year so when all of a sudden the annual Regency Ball was right around the corner I figured I would give That Stupid Dress one more chance to not suck and then get rid of it.  My hopes, however, were far from high.

March 2014 didn't suck!  Admittedly I've upped my accessories game here, what with the gloves and the tiara and all...but that's not the biggest difference by far.

Obviously the biggest difference is that there's about 20% less of ME than there used to be, which definitely has improved my satisfaction levels with how I--and my clothes--look in photographs.  However, I also completely removed the skirt and changed how it was distributed and am much happier with the shape.  Especially in back:

Knife pleats--a big improvement!
SO much better!  Getting that hem off the ground really let the corded ruffle do its work in kicking out the hem, and the knife pleats give the skirt a much better shape overall.  I also added a tie at the waist--very last minute, just a piece of twill tape held in with safety pins--that helped to hold the 'waistband' tight to my body.  Otherwise the wool (with linen lining) is pretty stretchy, so the waist tends to look a bit 'mushy' or undefined without the tie to hold it in place.  The back neckline is now a little wonky but that's what happens when you take three inches out of a bodice at the center back.  Seeing as the alternative is to take the sleeves (those g-d Ver. 3.0 sleeves) off and re-fit the side seams, I'm good with the current solution.

If I really wanted to overhaul this thing, I'd take the skirt off and gore the front piece, re-fit the bodice properly (or at least unpick the CB and do the alterations right instead of just folding over two inches on the upper side and then overlapping it a lot), but  Just no.  At least, not right now.  That Stupid Dress has maybe redeemed itself to the extent that I'm not getting rid of it, and I might even wear it again!  But we've had a rocky relationship and I'm content to just let things stay as they are.

So there we go!  That Stupid Dress in its (hopefully) final incarnation has finally caught my fancy the way I had hoped it would in the beginning.  Yay for happy endings!  It's nice to not feel an overwhelming desire to light the thing on fire anymore...besides, burning wool stinks.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Accidental Ebay

So, I've talked about my love-hate relationship with ebay before. Mostly, I love it and my wallet hates it. However, every so often there comes a listing for something that both I and my wallet love. The shawl pictured below is one of those items. The auction had three shoddy pictures, but I was in the market for black chantilly lace and so I figured, what the heck? It says "antique lace shawl," and the pictures there are looks like it's at least decent-quality lace. Even if the poor thing is all full of holes, it might be worth it. It's only like, $25. Can't beat that for lace, even if it's not a usable garment.

So I put in a bid. And I won. And I paid, and I waited. And then it arrived, and it was BEAUTIFUL

Julie and her new white dress modeled it for me because my dress was a dark color.

I actually already owned one black lace shawl, and it was also an ebay steal. This one, if anything, was in better condition than the one I already had, and what I think is really neat is that there are a couple places where it has very obviously been mended--skillfully, but definitely mended. Which to me says that someone else owned, used, and loved the shawl enough to take really good care of it. How neat is that?

The internet tells me I should end my blog posts with a question to encourage discussion. It also tells me I should call you guys "dear readers" or "darlings" or something like that, but there's no way in hell that's gonna happen. I like you guys,, sorry. Anyway, I might not be all about the fluffy nicknames, but I can probably handle a question. Do you have any amazing antique finds to share? I'm sure we'd all love to see them (I know I would!)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Last time, honest.

Happy 2014 so far!  I’m not sure where everyone here lives, but I know that I and a lot of my friends and readers must be feeling pretty chilly right now.  Make sure you stay warm and be safe, okay?  Super-cold weather is nothing to sneeze at (although it may cause some sneezing in its own way…also watch out for cold and flu season!)

Some of you are aware (and others are not and perhaps couldn’t care less) of some recent drama that splattered itself across several social media sites, including but not limited to Facebook, Etsy, and unfortunately also my blog.  If you missed it, don't worry--it was pretty typical internet stuff.  I won’t go into details, but I do want to mention that I have again edited my entry regarding where to buy collet necklaces to reflect the fact that amends have been made by the principle involved parties and that I have also received an apology for some rather upset and upsetting comments that I received here. 

I also would like to add my “mea culpa” to the pile, and to say that while I intended my original post edit to be wry and tongue-in-cheek, to some people it came off more offensively than I intended.  And honest, this isn’t a “gee, I’m so sorry you got offended,” apology—I really did intend it in a humorous way, but I can also attest to the fact that things do come across more harshly on the internet where you don’t get the full benefit of tone, facial expressions, etc.  I will endeavor to be more careful and/or more obvious about my sometimes unfortunately dry sense of humor in the future! 

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve disallowed comments on the unexpectedly controversial post and hidden the existing comments, in addition to marking the inflammatory messages I received as spam.  All of them still exist and have not been deleted, but I think it’s time to move on and internet drama rarely needs to be revisited.  All the shops I’ve mentioned there in past edits are now linked, and (as far as I know) nobody’s out to get anybody else.  I did add a brief footnote with the recommendation that we all need to go indulge in some shopping therapy, though!

So, whether or not you’ve been following teh interwebz dramas, I think we can all agree that great historical or historically-inspired jewelry is always a good thing, and you can find where to buy yourself some in this post.

Thank you, and stay warm!  Unless it’s summer where you are, in which case…um, wear sunscreen.  

P.S.  I am sewing.  No really,  I swear.  I would even post pictures except it's stupidly boring stuff right now and nobody needs minute-by-minute updates of me handsewing petticoat tucks.  Interesting stuff soon, though, thank goodness!