Archive for August, 2009

Sims Geekery

I’m such a geek – messing around on the Sims 3 (as The Boy’s gone to bed early – he as festival flu!) and decided to make a new family with an evil mother and nice teenage daughter… So when I made the daughter, I tried to make her look as 18th Century as I could – strong blusher and lips, beauty spot, ‘powdered’ hair (ie, greyish) and a brocade-y pattern with red roses (an attempt at matching that lovely blue bodice from the other day). What a geek!


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Huzzah – The Boy is back from his festival!  So I’m taking a break from sewing to spend some time with him.  I’ve kind of gone off on a tangent with the neck of the shift (ie, making it up as I go along), but I’m hoping it should work out well – photos when the neck is finished.

For now, here’s a quick bit of fun from my 18th Century file…

Being the owner of a sizeable sweet tooth, I have always loved sherbet.  What I didn’t know until I started researching the 18th Century is that it was also (and is still) a drink of Middle Eastern origin.  Also, sherbet-the-sweet was originally a powder that you mixed with water to make a sweet, fizzy drink.  So in my over-fertile imagination, sherbet-the-drink and sherbet-the-sweet came together with a splash of alcohol to make the equivalent of champagne in Quin’s world.  Effervescent yumminess!

I’ve found a site that tells you how to make fizzy sherbet-the-sweet, but I’m really curious to know how to make the drinkable kind – from what I’ve read, it definitely sounds like it’s different, but similar (and it sounds like the Middle-Eastern drink is even more different).  The search is quite difficult as apparently the American meaning of sherbet is a frozen dessert (looks like sorbet from what I’ve read).  I have found this page, with a recipe for fizzy drink powder.  I must try it out, but I’d like to find a way to flavour the sherbet, but have no idea how I could add a dry flavouring.  Perhaps flavoured sugar (eg, vanilla flavoured) would work?

If anyone has any tips or has tried making any of these forms of sherbet, I’d love to hear from you!

And here’s something pretty to keep your eyes amused:

Fan C1760-80

I really must find some way of getting my hands on pretty fan sticks so I can make one of my own.

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I think, think, I’m finished putting all my MA files and things together.  I’ve got a killer headache, but I think it’s all done.  I just need to get a folder and print it all.  I’m in shock!

Anyway, I know this isn’t an interesting post to look at, but because I’m sad like that, I’ve made a cover for the CD containing the electronic copy, so maybe that will entertain your eyes for a little while:

A Thief & A Gentlewoman - CD CoverRight, I do believe it’s sewing and film-watching time.  No rest for the wicked!

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Beautiful Blue Bodice

Wow, I have found a really unusual and gorgeous 18th Century bodice from the MET:

18th Century Bodice

The fabric and the colour are divine,yes, but I particularly love that peplum with the long point at the back – it’s amazing!  Here’s a better shot of it:

Blue bodice - back

I’d love to know more about this – unfortunately, it looks like the MET doesn’t know much about it, just giving a vague dating of 18th Century… I might have to start a search for more of these pointed peplums.

I’m also trying to work out how this would have been worn – the straps suggest they’re stays and they seem to be boned, but the volume of the tabs and that long tab/peplum at the back makes it look more like a jacket… How intriguing!

Having spoken with the lovely people of the Historical Sewing Forum – we’re starting to wonder if this is a jacket that’s missing its sleeves.

If I can ever find a fabric that is anywhere near as lovely as this one, I might have to make myself this little bad boy.

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Melty Brain…

Doing the last bits for my hand-in. Unfortunately, the last bits are also the boring and brain-destroying bits – collating appendices, writing reference lists, converting to PDF…

Nearly there, though!

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Hello my dears!  Another late night working on the shift (after essay-writing – hand-in on Friday!!  Eek!) – I’ve attached one sleeve to the body and the other one is gathered and partially attached.  I just need to finish attaching the other one and sew down the sides and they’ll be proper sleeves – my first ever!

I was quite pleased after pressing the seams of the one that is finished – it’s starting to actually look like an item of clothing – so I pinned it closed and tried it on:


Not too bad, right?  For my first attempt, anyway.  I’m wondering if it might be a little too tight around the armpit (despite careful measuring), but I won’t really know until it’s finished. If it is, nevermind, I’m sure I’ll end up making another one at some point (ahem – when I have my sewing machine!), and this one will do for now.

I also went out for a wander today and bought some heavy duty cable ties from a local hardware shop:

Cable ties

22 to be prescise!  They’re 9mm by 45cm, so I’m hoping I should be able to make one tie into two sections of boning for the shorter parts.  I’m also wondering whether it would work to use the tapered ends for the parts that go down into the tabs – they are still quite stiff and wide, and they’re already rounded off and uniform in shape… Any thoughts?

Tonight’s Viewing:

Plunket & Macleane – So fun and a lot more grown-up and gorey than I was anticipating.  I loved their take on the period.  It was also a real treat to see so many British actors I recognised – it felt like each scene I was saying “oh, he’s in such and such” or “isn’t she on thingy?”  And Alan Cumming was F A B.  Oh, and I liked Liv Tyler’s character – I like her feisty.

Persuasion (2007) – Meh!  I was trying to get the 1995 version after it was so heartily praised on the Historical Sewing Forum, but this was the only one I could find.  Goodness me – at times it was so bad I thought it was meant to be a comedy!  Most disappointed.

And a bit of TV to end the evening: Being Human, Episode 1 – I loved this brilliant take on the urban fantasy genre.  It’s about a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost who live together… yes, that sounds like one of those dodgy “An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scottish man all walk into a bar” jokes… But anyway, this is wonderful – there are plots and intrigue, but it’s also, as the title suggests, very human.  Each character has a struggle and emotional baggage.  (Oh, and if you need any more persuasion – the guy who plays the vampire is rather lush – and I could totally imagine him as some darkly handsome regency hero.  Cor!)  Highly recommended!

For now, however, bed time!

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A: Pretty things, of course!

Specifically, I’ve found two lovely things from the 18th Century which a Person of Quality might keep in their pockets…

The first, is bringing me out in ‘I Want’ sweats… When you see it, you’ll understand why…

Pink Purse

Isn’t this all kinds of gorgeous???  Yes, it is three questionmarks’ worth of loveliness!  That colour, that embroidery and,   Perhaps my favourite part is the wording on the two sides:


... and again...

Apparently, it means:

“Everything is pleasurable when you are in love.”

And so when the purse is closed, we’re left with one word visible on each side: Pleasure and Love.

If you’d like to know more, there is information at the website offering it for sale (with a hefty $800 price tag!).

Also, from the same site, I’ve found another piece of embroidered loveliness:

A Pocket Book

This is a pocketbook, again, further details are here.  This one has strips and chains of silver sewn onto the silk damask.  Such an elegant design, too.

The pocket book and the purse are both couched (like my earlier post about the chenille waistcoat), this time with metal thread.  Definitely one for the wealthy, methinks!

I’m feeling the terrible urge to re-create these – what writer wouldn’t want a gorgeous, hand-embroidered pocketbook?!  And so I have another project to add to my wishlist!

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