Tags: y'all i'ma gonna freeze

Oh. My. Snow.

Y'all.  There are 12.5 inches of snow outside of my house right now and it is still falling.  This is, quite literally, the most snow I have ever seen in my life.

It is beautiful and magical and if I hadn't gotten into a minor fender-bender today (really, I'm fine.  I just skidded into another car) then I would totally be sold on this whole New England thing.   It's just that whole STUCK IN MY HOUSE THING that keeps freaking me out.

Maybe I'll get around to pictures tomorrow?

Cloak and Mitt Pictures!

These pics were sent to me today from someone who took them a while back at Saratoga!  They are excellent of the cloak and the mitts!  Have a look-see.   AND!  They are SUCH good pictures.  That one of me in the cloak looking off to the side makes me feel like a movie star! (click multiple times for much larger versions.  You can literally see the stitches.)








Burning of Kingston

We had a lovely time this weekend at Kingston.  With the exception of torrential rains on Friday night (I slept in the truck!) the weather was absolutely gorgeous.  Brisk and cool in the evenings, warm and sunny during the day.  Where is all this cold weather people keep telling me about?

Regardless of the warmth, I did wear the fabulous mitts that quincy134 made for me, not only because they look really good and accurate, but they also covered up my wrapped hand!  Hot damn!  And, I actually managed to come into possession of a few pictures of me wearing them:





Sadly, neither are terribly close pictures, but you can get the general idea.  They fit me so well, and people always comment on them.  Thank you so much, Gloria!

We also got to sit down on Saturday afternoon and actually patch up a sail by hand.  When we finished, the guys actually rigged a little boat with it and went sailing.  It felt so awesome to be sitting there with 4 other people sewing up a sail.  It felt very authentic:





There was a ball on Saturday night, but my camera died Saturday afternoon so I didn't get to take any pictures.  Suffice to say that out of about 100 people, only myself and 2 other women were dressed accurately.  There were actually couples there in civil war gowns.  *headdesk*

I did have the pleasure of meeting the lovely lady_kathryn_r, which was a lovely surprise.  Sorry I didn't get a chance to hang out with you more!  (By the way, Tarra's hair looked amazing that night!)

Overall, very lovely time.

frantic update and Oracle request

Ok!  Sorry I vanished!  I'm moving on Saturday so I'm predictably swamped!   I should get back into the swing of posting regularly in a few weeks once I get settled. 

- I finished my cloak.  It's long and warm and surprisingly pretty.  I ended up lining the hood with a teeny piece of silk twill from Fashion Fabrics Club that I had bought just to see what it was like.  It made an excellent hood lining.  I will eventually post pictures of this, but it will probably be a while.

-Petticoats.  I am FURIOUS with Fashion Fabrics Club right now, since I ordered my wool from them on August 31 and still haven't gotten it.  The crappy little "tracking tool" that they have has had my package in Maryland for the last 2 weeks with no movement, and my e-mails to customer service haven't been responded to.  If it doesn't come by Friday, then I'm screwed, because I could never re-order something in time for Saratoga.  (quincy134, I think it's time for me to visit that fabric store you told me about in Dorchester.  What was it called again?).   Let's pretend I'm not freaking out about this, ok?

- Nightcap- On the shelf.  I just don't have time to worry about something so little.  If I start to freeze to death, I'll just tie a piece of wool around my head.   Or sleep in my cloak.

- Bonnet - I need millinery wire, desperately, because my buckram just isn't strong enough on it's own, but I haven't even had the time to think about getting any.  I doubt this will be finished for Saratoga, which sucks, because I was really excited about having one.

Also, I'm in need of a long sleeve pattern for a 1770-1785 dress.  None of my books have one, and I don't have the skills to draft one of my own.  Can the LJ oracle help me out?  Anyone have one they'd be willing to scan for me?

I'll be back next week!  Posting from Massachusetts.

(holy crap.  I can't believe I'm actually doing it!)

Update on my To-Do list

Here's the cold-weather to-do list that I posted a bit ago:

So here is what I need to go to get ready for (very, very cold) Saratoga at the beginning of October with my most recent updates:

  1. Finish the wool gown.   (completely finished as of last night)
  2. Sew up the cloak and add the hood
  3. Make 2 (or three, if I can swing it) wool petticoats.  I can make the underpetticoat out of the wool I have left over from the gown (Finished as of two hours ago), but I'll need to buy some more for the other petticoat.  I'm hoping for a sale from Fashion Fabrics Club.  (My order for more wool was shipped yesterday, so it should be arriving soon, at which point I can whip these up.  I do have a 16-hour car ride coming up IN TWO WEEKS OH MY GOD, so I shouldn't have a problem making those)
  4. Make a wool kerchief (ditto on waiting for the fabric)
  5. Make wool mitts (oddly enough, this is what I am the most horrified about.  I've tried to make mitts before, at it was a disaster, and they are currently relegated to my "I can't work on this without screaming and breaking things" pile.  Any tips? (Being taken care of thanks to the ever fabulous and talented quincy134)
  6. A nightcap.  I don't know if these are actually period, but </a></b></a>sweet_lil_yank has one that she wears when she sleeps and it ties on under her chin.  It's cute and practical.  I need one.  Has anyone ever seen one of these or made one?
  7. A bonnet.  I finally broke down and bought some sorta-crappy buckram from Hancock fabrics so I need to just get down to it and start putting this together.  I don't have any black taffeta, but when I order some wool for the petticoats, I'll pick some silk up also. (I also ordered some silk from FFC, but I've played around with the buckram and it is being very difficult.  I may not get to this)
I've finished the most difficult thing- the gown- so most of the other stuff I have left is pretty simple.  If all goes according to the plan, I shouldn't die at Saratoga.  That's always good news!

Progress update

Over the past few days I have made a lot of progress on the brown wool en forreau.

I have:

-assembled the entire bodice (sans sleeves, of which I can only find one at this moment)
-pieced the sides of the skirt so that they are at full width
-pleated (and re-pleated and re-pleated) the skirt so that it fit the bodice
-attached the skirt to the bodice using a small whipstitch

Here's what I have left to do:

-attach the sleeves (damn!)
-hem the skirt (which worries me slightly because I didn't leave quite enough extra length so it will be a bit short)
-turn under and whipstitch the front of the skirt openings
-figure out what in the beejeezus to do with all the extra fabric that I had to turn under when I attached the skirt to the bodice.  Since the lining was already entirely stitched down, I can't tuck it up like I normally do.  I guess I'll just have to trim it down and whipstich the edges and just let it hang out down there.  I know I've seen examples where the extra pleated fabric was turned under so that it helped to fluff out the skirts a bit, but this isn't very fluffy fabric and this isn't a dress that needs a fluffy back.  I doubt it will make that much difference in the way it looks, but it just kinda bothers me, you know?

I have also made progress on the wool petticoat I am making out of this same dress fabric.  So far I've sewn the sides together and pleated the front panel.  I've backstiched half of those pleats.   I'll finish pleating today, but I don't have any linen tape so I have to wait for that to come in before I finish the waist.

Brown Wool En-Forreau

As I mentioned yesterday, I am working on a wool gown to have for Saratoga.  I'm using a wool/linen blend that I got from ashariel a while ago.  It's a lovely dark fawn color in a  fine twill:


It's beautiful and easy to work with, though I have realized at this point that I have no idea how to match up patterns, so the twill lines are going in different directions on every. single. piece.  Ah well!

I decided to make this on a little unusually after I read the description of the 1770-1785 polonaise gown on page 39 of Patterns of Fashion in which it describes the gown as having each piece made up and lined individually, then sewn together.  After seeing all_seaming_eye do this on a recent jacket, I thought it seemed easy enough.  I also figured this would result in a gown that has a lovely interior finish to it without much hassle.

First, I cut out all the individual pieces from the lining and the exterior fabric, then I turned under a 1/2" seam allowance on all sides and sewed the pieces together using as small (ish) running stitch:




(sorry that is sideways!)

Then, I pinned the completed pieces together and catching only the wool fabric, I sewed them together with a fine whipstich.  This not only resulted in a very clean interior, as I had hoped, but also unexpectedly created a very strong, solid seam.   I'm not far enough along to be able to try it on yet, obviously, but I think this will have the effect that light boning on the seams would have. 






(un ironed exterior)

I still have quite a bit left to do on this one, including attaching the other front panel and making the shoulder straps.  The sleeves are already made up and are just waiting to be attached when I finish the rest.  I also still need to attach the side panels for the skirt and pleat all of that to the bodice.  It is a very lovely feeling to realize that when i finish, I won't have to screw around with any lining!  Hurrah!  The only thing that I don't like about this style of construction, is that it took me a long time to get all the pieces turned under and sewn together.  I still think it is worth it, though.

UPDATE!  quincy134 pointed out that koshka_the_cat has done something incredibly similar on a gown already.   Here's the link: http://www.koshka-the-cat.com/polonaise.html (needless to say, her stitches are tiny and gorgeous and I'm in awe yet again)

A frantic to-do list

Alright.  I'm planning for an event that is upcoming:  230th anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga.  It is happening on October 6th and 7th, so maybe a month and a half away. 

Do you know what I learned about Saratoga, New York in October?  That it is cold, y'all!  In October in South Carolina (or Alabama) it's still 60-70 degrees on a regular basis.  It may get down to the high 40s at night, but that's pretty unusual.  Pete told me that last year when he woke up on Saturday morning at this very event, there was an inch and a half of ice on all the water buckets and kettles around camp.  Ice?  In October? 

(Have I told y'all about how I'm going to die when I move to Massachusetts?  You should probably start working on some black silk gowns to wear to my funeral, k?)

So, as I take a quick inventory of my kit and realize that I own one (ONE!) thing made of wool, and that is my flimsy little half-cloak, I realize I have a lot of work to do. 

The good news is, I'm already partially through a wool gown (I'll post later with more about this), so the main thing is out of the way.  I also have a bunch of heavy navy blue wool that I bought over and year ago to make an upperclass cloak out of that I haven't used yet (though it is all cut out) so basically all I have to do is stitch it together and add a hood and I'll have a nice warm cloak. 

So here is what I need to go to get ready for (very, very cold) Saratoga at the beginning of October:

  1. Finish the wool gown.  Still quite a bit of work left to do on that.  I'd say it is about 35 % done at this point
  2. Sew up the cloak and add the hood
  3. Make 2 (or three, if I can swing it) wool petticoats.  I can make the underpetticoat out of the wool I have left over from the gown, but I'll need to buy some more for the other petticoat.  I'm hoping for a sale from Fashion Fabrics Club.
  4. Make a wool kerchief
  5. Make wool mitts (oddly enough, this is what I am the most horrified about.  I've tried to make mitts before, at it was a disaster, and they are currently relegated to my "I can't work on this without screaming and breaking things" pile.  Any tips?
  6. A nightcap.  I don't know if these are actually period, but sweet_lil_yank has one that she wears when she sleeps and it ties on under her chin.  It's cute and practical.  I need one.  Has anyone ever seen one of these or made one?
  7. A bonnet.  I finally broke down and bought some sorta-crappy buckram from Hancock fabrics so I need to just get down to it and start putting this together.  I don't have any black taffeta, but when I order some wool for the petticoats, I'll pick some silk up also.
So this is already a kind of scary list when I actually sit down and look at it.  And, on top of that, I'M MOVING 1000 MILES IN A MONTH.  And I'm moving into a house that needs to be almost entirely repainted on the inside out (because I'll be dammed if I am living in a bedroom that has neon green walls thankyouverymuch).

This is going to be hectic.