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Found the Victorian boots, and got the Big Case out of the loft. Inside that, I have an extra petticoat, three lots of drawers, three aprons, the chatelaine, the sontag, a few pairs of stockings, plus some Posh Bits that I won't be needing. Also, the nightdress - the one item that isn't reproduction, it's the real thing (and very comfortable too). If I have room, I'll put the wrapper in - yes, 1850s style not 1880s, but it's a useful dressing gown and gives me a change if I need it. The white blouse goes in on similar principles.
What I can't find is any suitable headgear. There's a little lacy thing, a slatted bonnet (far too Southern ACW in style!) and a crocheted snood. Not sure what I need, but I may take white cotton with me and sew something when I get there.
And now, having drugged myself awake with coffee, off to make some food and then get back to the sewing of the blue blouse and skirt.
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Today was a working day, so didn't get a lot done in the way of sewing.

This morning, pulled out the real fabric, took off a 5" wide strip (so 45" long) that will eventually be the skirt waistband, intending to iron it to the right shape. Sorted through the fastenings drawer, found some big skirt hooks that will do to fasten said waistband, and a strip of hook&eye tape that may get used if I really run out of time - buttons can be decorative.

This evening, put on the corset, put the blouse body mock-up on over it, tried to sort out what was wrong with the yoke to put the shoulder seam several inches down my back. It seems that the sizes they give are fine for around me, but less useful when scaled by the same amount up and down. I've shortened the front by a couple of inches and lengthened the back by the same amount, while keeping widths the same, and the body now fits, with join between yoke and pleated body in the right place.

Tomorrow I make sure the sleeves fit (I expect they will, the armhole looks fine and gathering sleeves to fit the hole is easy enough), and check the cut of the neck hole and collar. Then on to the real fabric!

One other important step taken today: booked Thursday as holiday. I think I'm going to need it.
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 A bit more sorting happened (sock drawer and a few others), more washing got done and hung, and that got the dining room clear enough to be used as a sewing room.
Pattern traced on to clear plastic.
Cheap calico dust-sheet ironed for use as the blouse mock-up (thanks, Dave).
Calico cut out from the patterns
After much puzzlement, faffing, pinning, unpinning, and re-pinning, mock-up mostly assembled: yoke is together, fronts and back are pleated and attached to yoke, sides are together. Sleeves and collar are assembled ready to be fitted to the body.
But I still have to try this on over the corset, make any adjustments, do the same cutting and assembly on the real fabric, , plus actually fitting the sleeves and the collar and doing all the hemming and buttons and button-holes.
Plus the skirt needs doing.... solid waistband with hooks, pleat fabric on to it... I think I may completely cheat and have a selvage at the bottom so  that I can avoid hemming if if I have to. I may decide to wear the blouse tucked into the skirt, not over it, so that I don't have to hem the bottom (and can get away with less buttons)
Because I have to get all this lot done, plus packing, by Thursday night (and not too late Thursday either), and I'm out Wednesday. Three evenings. I may take sewing into work with me to do in lunchbreak, and on the train on Wednesday. I'm starting to consider grabbing a short-notice day off to get the sewing done.

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Yesterday, and Friday night (they merged). Far too busy to post more than a quick one-liner. I may have forgotten a few things, but...
Dealt with a spreadsheet/scheduling issue for the RK game that's been hanging over me making my mind go blank for far too long.
Got the cookery books back into the cupboards in the (newly decorated and almost finished) dining room.
Sorted through T-shirts and tops, discarded some that are stained, some that are worn out, some that I got because they were cheap and Dave now looks at and says "oh, no, doesn't suit you at all".
Put the remains in the drawers where they belong, tidily and with added mothballs (a few too many holes have been appearing).
Realised that I have more than enough geek/weekend Tshirts, and then some.
Made the most of a new catalogue that came through the door, plus Daxon, and ordered some new "smart-enough-for-work" tops, plus a trouser suit, at loadsa-money-off prices.
Re-assembled dining table, found plastic, patterns, and marker pen, started working out the Victorian blouse pattern.
Two loads of washing, realising in the process that the tops-for-work situation isn't as bad as I'd thought.
Baked experimental gluten-free soda bread. Nice, rose enough if not well, but usual problem - too crumbly! I have ideas on how to improve that next time. I'd like to be confident of doing this before we get to France, as I'm not convinced the local shops will be up to keeping Shirley fed. Speaking of which....
Pete and Shirley came over for the afternoon and evening, and the French holiday is now fully planned and booked. We'd already done the train, now we have the hotel in London for the night before travelling, the hire car when we get there, and two self-catering places for a week each, one in Arles and one in Marseillian.
Nice (gluten- and dairy-free) dinner for four.
Sewing as we internet-surfed and looked at maps, so the Victorian petticoat I got at TORM has an extra slit and a waist-band extension: the side that had a button closure has the button moved out on a tape, and the other side has a matching slit (where I wanted pocket access anyway) and ribbon/tape ties for closure.

It's now Sunday, and time to really get going on that blouse and skirt.
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 Someone I spotted at TORM - no use to me, I don't do those periods, but may be of use to others. The big banners on the stand say "Black Swan Designs", but that's actually the needlework and embroidery arm (also very good). They're a branch of "Historic Enterprises", an American firm. They make Dark Age up to about C15, and they do it well. No shortcuts - the Thorsburg trousers are done correctly, the linen shifts have been properly finished, with gussets and inset skirt panels where they belong. The lacing up the front of a later-period gown is at about 1/2 inch intervals, not the 2-3 inches you'd usually see, so you can be properly tight-laced, not a "loose woman".
There's a whole range of headdress "kits", with pictures to show how each should be worn, what they looks like, and when they would have been worn and by who.
Take a look at their web-site, you'll find the same attention to authenticity and detail - they explain the sources for each garment, and where decisions have been to move away from total authenticity, why they chose them.
They're a little more expensive than your average off-the-peg Dark Age, but not by much, and not as much as you'd expect from the difference in standard.
Well worth looking for at future markets, I'd say - I certainly will be if I need anything from their range of periods again.

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It arrived in the post from Holland yesterday: "Truly Victorian"'s "1880s Yoked Blouse". The idea was that now I'd know what was needed, so I could buy such at TORM. Sadly, while it tells me I'll need 2 2/3 yards of material, it fails to specify whether that's 45" or 60". It mentions a need for buttons, but fails to say how many or in what size, and suggests the type of material to use for interfacing, but fails to say how much, and on reading, never suggests where to use it. This is a blouse, not an outer coat or rigid bodice, I can't imagine adding interfacing anywhere, especially not in the heavy materials they suggested.

Searching the internet finds a PDF of the pattern sheet, but with added info on yardage: "45"/60" wide fabric" Huh? There's a difference, unless your cutting pattern for the 60" is extremely wasteful.

What I've found on Ebay is 45". I want enough for a skirt as well, and that can be pretty flexible. I've measured the skirt on my nice blue dress, the one I bought rather than made, and that's a 5-yard hem. If I get enough fabric to do this the same (and 4 yards would be plenty) that should give me enough spare for the blouse, if they got it wrong. 8 yards in total, at £7.50. £60... I think I'll see if TORM has anything cheaper, but I already know Herts Fabrics don't carry cotton, I emailed him and asked. The other fabric stall doesn't seem to do "on-line" - re-enacting the Middle Ages rather too thoroughly.

I think I've got some MOP buttons somewhere, though if I have time I'd prefer to do fabric-covered. Better check I've got enough scrap sheet cotton to do a mock-up.

Oh, and we'd better find the big table in the dining room again. Dave decided to redecorate, and the table's mostly folded up, and what's left is covered in boxes and dust-sheets.
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Been de-stressing and hence not updating much. So a catch-up, with multiple cut-tags.

Weekend - Pete and Shirley came round for Saturday afternoon and evening.

Read more... )

Sunday, caught up on some sleep. Read more... )

Sunday afternoon was Summer, Read more... )

Monday... work, the usual. Helen's birthday, and I now have a really nice source of E-cards, so I used it. It had been a couple of days since I last did a note/card to Enid, so Read more... )

Should have gone back to slimming/exercise class in the evening, but still feeling tired (and achey from the gardening), so skipped it. Instead, pulled out the fabric for Dave's new cloak. Read more... )

And then, late at night, I did a final check of email/LJ, and found Vaurien's post saying that Enid had died. Oh. Oh, various words that won't be appreciated by filters. Yes, it was expected, yes, it was as he says, in many ways a relief, yes, she went in the best way that could be expected under the circumstances, but even so... Didn't wake Dave to supply hugs, it's not fair. Bears are perfectly capable of soaking up tears. I expect I'll drivel on more about this over the next few weeks, I'm just starting to realise how much she meant to me. Dave did the sums - I'd known her for 18 years.

Ah well, on to more cheerful topics. Tuesday night, I went back to back-swording class for the first time for far too long Read more... )
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What with Dave's back, we didn't camp this time. Took it easy, played motel militia, staying 4 miles down the road in Lutterworth - a pub/hotel called the Greyhound. Nice, grade II listed. Took one tent with us for changing, storage, and filling the line. I was a bit migrainey and tired to start with, so I didn't go on the gun - heavy wool uniform is not what I wanted. Work dress Saturday, full hoops and the new blue dress from Gettysburg Sunday. I need to add a hook or two to make sure bodice and skirt stay together, and possibly a few adjustments at the top - I've lost weight, enough for even corseted shape to change.

We didn't even cook - Tescos sandwiches Saturday lunch, general Washington pub meet Saturday night, packed lunch Sunday provided by hotel (yes, they can do sandwiches at short notice, but only from things out for breakfast. Bacon and tomato, help yourself to fruit).

And we strolled around, Dave getting admiring glances (and derisive yells from the Rockbridge). He does look good in waistcoat, cravat, frockcoat and top hat, and the silver-topped cane makes it.

Did some sewing on the second uniform blouse (fitting cuffs to gathered sleeves). Looked round the house - Stanford Hall itself is lovely! Picked up a few bits from the craft shop. Generally relaxed. It was good.
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Well, actually at Sewerby Hall, near Bridlington, with the ACWS. For once, we were trying to represent a real battle not just a "might have been" scenario, and it was one where the Washington Artillery were actually present. And, what's more, I'd visited the real site last autumn. So there will be lots of photos under the cut tag )
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Sorted my ACW uniform skirt last night. After a careful look at how the side join worked, took the waistband off the front, re-pleated, put it back on again. Same length waistband, but the last four inches has no skirt attached and is pure overlap. Made buttonhole, attached button (as the little hooks and eyes it came supplied with were a joke). So that's another job sorted for the weekend - we're off to Bridlington with the ACWS and I really hope the weather improves. Our "acquire and keep" licences turned up, too, so we can take home the black powder we'll need for Blaenau Ffestiniog (we're the only two going from the Washington). Dave is making boxes to store it in. If I get the time, I'm going to cut out the next blouse and do the main seams on the machine, then I can take it with me to hand-finish while I'm there. Also want to run up a bag for my hoops...

Caught up on the various PBeMs I'm in (though the Swords one is on to the next "scenario", and I now have to plan how a vampire will attack a nomad camp, and how the nomads would have attempted to defend it were it not for PC assistance). Warning - Swords players - please do not read replies, as they contain tactical advice!

Continued to discover the joys of home-made soup - until this week, my memories of recipes had included "now simmer for five hours stirring continuously". Looks like reality is more like "chop any veg you want shot of, simmer until softish while ignoring, put the result through the blender." Last night's effort was mainly celery and mushroom. Yum.

This morning I need to leave early to get to the post-office on the way, there's an important birthday present to post. Oh, and it's bin day, and I bet Dave hasn't...? no, he hasn't. Also I have a washing machine full of washing, and a dishwasher that needs running.

But, good bit, the Organic Veg box came yesterday, and had asparagus in it, and I just had some for breakfast. With smoked salmon, on rye bread. Mmmmmmm.

Work carries on with a major upgrade to a system I manage, and going by the last few days, we will continue to discover problems, and fix the problems, and the people who are meant to be assisting will be too busy with other projects to help. But I could really do with getting out early on Friday, so I need to make up the time today, so....

Then tonight we can sort out what needs packing for the weekend. I think ready-meals may be involved.
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First ACW event of the season, over at Doddington, near Ely.

Details and pics under here )
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This is supposed to be the first event of the ACWS season: over at Doddington, near Ely.

But I've been knackered all week, and today the not-quite-a-cold has turned into really-a-cold. I'm home. I'm doped. I'm dithering. I still haven't finished the blouse that's part of the new uniform (button holes, bottom hem). I tried the work dress for round the campfire, and discovered that while I can now get into it sans corset (four inches off the waist is good!) the comparative lack of curves for it to hang from means it's about 4 inches too long. Round a fire, that's not good.

I should be finishing the blouse, turning up the dress, working out what to do about the latest turn in the Swords game I run, and dealing with any emails that come in. But my ability to do three things at once, or even one thing at once, seems to have gone to sleep. Well, sleep, I can do that...

right, if I look through the last dozen Swords posts and combine them into one file, I can mull over that while turning up the dress. With a CD on. Might work. I'd wondered about watching one of the DVD stack while sewing, but not sure I've got the brain-power for that level of multi-tasking.

Coffee. That would help. If I can remember to drink it this time.

Update: drank the coffee. Dress pinned up, half seam hemmed. Swords posts combined, read, mulling got nowhere, creativity switched off. Off to bed.
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My ACW appearance will change this year - I've come to the conclusion that there is no way I can disguise myself as a bloke. At best, I looks scruffy, and the Washington Artillery does not do "scruffy". So, this year I'll still be on the gun, but in Vivandiere uniform.

I got West Point to do me the jacket (because it's hard) and the skirt (because they've got the Washington fabric, and they were charging about a fiver for labour) just before Xmas. I'm making the Zoauve trousers and the blouse.

Well, having pulled the skirt out of storage, I find it's now 4" too big round the waist. Not that I'm complaining, you understand.

And as of tonight, I've got the trousers done. Since they're going under a heavy wool skirt, I'm using a linen/cotton mix, not wool, but they're still bright red. I went for the Algerian pattern rather than the one with a fly (what would I do with a fly?) thus saving much hassle. Had to shorten a bit (must have been designed for a bloke?), but it's looking good.

Next, the blouse. Next time I have some sewing time, that is. Away for most of this weekend (talk/demo on dressing game, the Leeds Food Symposium, and a Wulfingas feast), and not too sure when my next free weekend is - after the start of the season, I think.

This should look good, when done, anyway. I've got most of the rest of the kit already, but I would like one of the proper vivandiere canteens at some point.


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September 2017



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