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Hmm… so, the problem is that I’m a bit behind schedule on my three projects: the PoP: Tamina costume for the Historical Costume Inspiration Festival; my Birthday Masquerade outfit (AKA, Lady Luck Pierrot outfit); and a waistcoat for my young man (for work and for his steampunk outfit for my Birthday Masquerade Party).

  • Prince of Persia: Tamina – I’ve done a quick mock-up of the harem pants in natural muslin (that is, the English definition – I think Americans call it muslin gauze?).  They are very sheer, so I’m glad I’m going for the long-length tunic over the top, otherwise I’d be a bit of a flasher!  I have gone for a very baggy leg because the fabric is so sheer and drapey, which seem to work well, especially as I’ve also decided to pleat the excess fabric rather than gather it.  More on that another time. Still to do – er, pretty much everything?  I might have to go for just the tunic and harem pants in time for the festival, and leave the cropped waistcoat for another time.  Deadline – beginning of October.

  • Birthday Masquerade outfit – I’m still working on these damned stays, but they are an integral part of the costume (and any other 18th century costume I want to make in future), so they need doing.  However, I am currently trimming down the fray allowance and applying fray-check to the edges, so after today the stays will be in a wearable state, even if they’re not quite finished yet (no bias binding).  Still to do – again, almost everything!!  A pierrot jacket, a few petticoats, a sash and a mask.  I had hoped to make a cool hat and a fan, but these accessories might have to wait until a later date.  I have most of the fabrics (just need some cheap white sheets/fabric for the under petticoats).  Deadline – 24th November.

  • A Modern Waistcoat for an Architect-In-Training – we have the fabric (including a rather fun tartan lining, which was free from a friend!) and I’ve traced an existing waistcoat to use as a basis for sizing; his lordship has sketched what he wants (it’s a bit complicated!) and we’ve worked out the construction.  To do – tonight I should be pinning a mock-up to him so we can finalise the pattern; then it all needs making (still – argh!).  Deadline – 24th November.

As you can see, I’ve cut down on some accessories I had planned, so I’m going to try to continue with what I’ve outlined above.  But (isn’t there always a but?), if I get any further behind schedule, I might have to put Tamina on hold and use what I’ve done of my Birthday Masquerade outfit for the festival.

So, I’m afraid blog posts might be a bit thin on the ground as I’m so busy at the moment and I also have some work-related news to share with you in the near future (but more on that later), which means more busy times – goodness!

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For her Blog Birthday, the lovely Comtesse Olympe de la Tour D’Auvergne ran a giveaway – I was one of the lucky winners (remember, I said I had my lucky streaks!) and today I got home to find this fabulous prize waiting for me:

I’ve had a quick look through and it’s wonderful – lots of lovely photos, including some full-length pictures of garments I’ve seen parts of in Costume in Detail: yum!  I have some 18th century books and a little bit on the 17th century, but nothing on any other eras, so this book fills in those gaps and indulges my love of 1950s dresses and some Victorian bits and pieces – even better.  Thanks a lot, Comtesse!

But, before I can sit down and read it properly, I had a few things I had to do (both while watching season 2 of Daria!):

The start of a quick and dirty harem pant toile (complete with awesome photography!), using this belly-dance-tastic tutorial.

And tracing one of my Gent’s waistcoats to form a basis of my first foray into man-clothes – one of his Christmas presents (yep, it’s that late!) was an IOU for a home-made waistcoat and it’s also going to be one of the key pieces of his outfit for my masquerade Birthday party.  I’m a bit over-excited – he’s going for steampunk!  How amazing is that going to be??

So, I’ve done those two bits and now I get to snuggle down with my new book – and relax, aaaaah.

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I’ve mentioned bits and pieces that I’ve ordered and a something special for the Lady Luck Outfit, and at last it’s time for show and tell, with some things less exciting than others:

Fray-stop glue (wooo, exciiiiitiiiiing  ;P  ) and spray-on fabric stiffener – that’s a little more exciting as you can build up the stiffness the more you spray it and it washes out.  I think that’ll be useful for all sorts of things, like pleats/ruffs, hat decorations and perhaps even kanzashi.  I also suspect that it’ll be useful to keep bows in shape and for using fabric strips for cockades.

Ostrich feathers – fluffy!  Now I’ve seen them, I’ve decided they aren’t long enough for wearing in the hair (~10″), but they’ll be great for decorating a mini-tricorne or …

… masks!  These two are for moulds for papier mache – they’ve got pretty good shapes, though the black one (which I love!) needs eye-hole adjusting, but with that, it’ll be FAB!

Yay for the Tamina slippers!  I thought they were lovely when I saw them online, but they’re even prettier in reality – very pleased with them, indeed!  I’ve worn them around the house a bit, but I think I need to stretch the front very slightly as they dig in a little, but that’s no big deal.

And, finally – my super-awesome-special-pretty-surprise for the sash of the Lady Luck Pierrot:

I found this lovely on ebay – it’s an 18th century silver and paste shoe buckle that was at some point turned into a brooch.  I slipped a scarf through it to give an idea of how it’s going to look as the buckle at the front of the Pierrot sash.  I really love it rather a lot and am so pleased – it’s my first 18th century antique!

Wow, I really am too obsessed with that century.

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I’m away for a couple of days (it’s silly-looking cap and gown time, AKA, my MA graduation!), so while I’m gone here are some more inspiration/reference images, this time for my Tamina-type costume.  Click on the image for the full-size inspiration board:

The harem pants – the harem pants!!  They must be made.  I have some natural muslin, which I tried to bleach (I don’t want harsh white, but the natural was a bit too dark) but it didn’t seem to make much difference – it’ll do for a mock-up though.  I bought some white (so cheap!), which I think I’ll tea dye lightly, just to take the edge off the brightness.  I’ve also found an online pattern for the trousers – quite simple, really.

I think I’ll put a belt with the pants, just to add some decoration, something like this:

As for the top half, I’m a bit torn – I love that long, kinda empire-line blouse she’s wearing, with the embellishment down the front and around the collar, but I also love the little cropped waist-coat type thing, also decorated, plus I suspect that the sheer fabric blouse she wears beneath it would be more flattering on someone not as slim as the actress (alas!).

Or maybe I could go for a combination – short waist-coat over the embellished blouse?  And yay for the natural colours of her outfit: I think I can get away with making the cropped waistcoat from calico with embellished natural and gold details.  Similarly, the blouse could be made from calico or muslin or a combination of the two (calico bodice/sleeves with muslin below the bust line?).

Here are some more details of the blouse and waist-coatlette:

In my searches, I also found this gorgeous photo of the costume she wears when we first see her – properly princess-esque:

I do love the cloak she wears – that hood just drapes beautifully:

Maybe one day I’ll do this version of her costume (under-bust corset, hmm … not my usual thing, but really works in this case!) and ask (make) my Gent to dress up as Prince Dastan – his outfit looks relatively simple and rather fetching, methinks!  There are pictures from the actual costume creator, Penny Rose, here – gorgeous work – and an interview with her here.

(I know I’ve been posting a lot about writing lately, but I have also been sewing, it’s just I’ve on the slow hand-sewn parts of my stays at the moment and that’s not terribly exciting to post about!  There will be pics when they’re done, though!)

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Oh dear – leave me alone with my computer and a pay-cheque and I get up to all manner of mischief!

I could spin it and say that it’s good – what I have been able to find in the shops has helped me make a few sewing/costuming decisions:

Pretty leather shoes from India – they’re not quite curly-toed Turkish slippers, but they are close, cute and more practical as I’d actually wear these in real life (plus they were a bargain at less than £7 including postage!).  I do wish I’d bought some curly-toed shoes when we were in Dubai, but I wasn’t feeling very well that day and we were on our way to dinner when we went through the souk.  Oh well!

So, yes, it does look like I’ll be making a Princess of Persia type outfit!

Oh, but wait, there’s more …

Two 10″ ostrich feathers for £2 including P&P(!!!).  They’re not the massive ones, but (a) I have a feeling that I’ll look rather silly with HUGE plumes as I’m so short, (b) I’m not going for super-tall 1770s hair, so I think shorter feathers will be more in proportion with a 1780s hedgehog and (c) if they don’t look right in hair, I’ll put them on a hat or mask or somesuch.  Y’see, I also bought two cheap plastic masks in different shapes, which I plan to use as moulds for papier mache masks for my Birthday Masquerade Party.

I also purchased some spray-on fabric stiffener and fray-check (which I never seem to see in fabric shops – maybe I’m just being blind!) to play around with and perhaps make some kanzashi type prettiness.  I think they could make pretty hair clips to go with the hedgehog and earrings for my Prince of Persia Princess.

I think I’m going to have to get a big bottle of PVA glue as well (I gave what I had to my Mum) for papier mache-ing and for experimenting with fabric stiffening.

So what 18th century outfit am I going for for my birthday masquerade?  Well, I must have been thinking about it a lot before I went to sleep last night, because I had a dream about a particular extant outfit I saw fairly recently which is utterly gorgeous.  I thought I’d saved a picture on my computer, but now I can’t find it.  Poo.

As far as I remember it was a blue pierrot jacket with a white self-stripe(?) petticoat and a red and white striped sash with a buckle at the front.  If you have a picture of it, or know where one is, please let me know – I’ve just spent the past hour and a half trying to find it!

Anyway, more thoughts next time …

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Happenings


I’m back! I was much too tired to say hello the past couple of days, so apologies for the late update, but without further ado – stuff what I did last week:

Played! I was pretty excited to find that there is now an adventure playground with a ZIPWIRE (!!!) by the regular playground (with swings, which are almost as fun). I was extra excited to find that there were no children around (7pm on a Sunday evening – homework time for them, perhaps?), so we hijacked the balance beams (despite the stiff sea breeze, I managed not to fall off!) and the ZIPWIRE (!!!). Then the boys hijacked me on the zipwire – they wouldn’t let me off and kept dragging it (with me on it) back to the start to go again. It was fun, but after the fourt time, I wanted to get off! Such cruel boys – definitely not gentlemen.

The Boy did pretty much the same thing to me with the swing and kept pushing it when I wanted to get off – what a git!

Read! OK, perhaps less deserving of an exclamation mark, but since when did that stop me? I met up with my friends from the MA and we sat in one of their gardens (a lovely, lovely garden out in the countryside – I saw a fox that had caught a squirrel!) and ate and drank and read our work to each other. It was a wonderful afternoon – I do miss my writerly friends living up here.

Dressed up!! Prepare to laugh at me looking rather foolish indeed:

Yep, that’s me dressed up as an old lady for The Boy’s 25th Birthday. Charity shop dress (£2.80), saggy tights, hair rollers, grey hairspray and one of those plastic hood/cap things that grannies wear to keep their hair dry. Oh, and truly frightening make-up. The Boy looked equally hilarious and carried his pipe around all evening (except for one point when he dropped it in the middle of a crowded dancefloor – luckily I have eagle eyes and rescued it before it got stomped on!).

Hosted! (Yeah, I’m keeping up the exclamation marks, I’m afraid.) The Boy’s parents visited us for the weekend – it was lovely to see them, particularly as up until this month, they had been living in Dubai!  The weather on Sunday was glorious – this was my view whilst lounging in the park:

So that’s the brief low-down of my trip and time off. In the near future, expect a writing-related post, and this week or next I hope to finish the Butterick wrap dress and get started on embroidering my pockets (I’ve had a pattern drawn up for weeks now, but haven’t yet started – it is rather over-ambitious, but since when have I ever let that stop me doing something?!).

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