Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Almost Ready!

Back to my list of things to do. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but my black dress can be one of my day dresses, so I’m all finished with my dresses. Woot! I looked back and realized I meant to work up my red in the same style as an extant gown I saw, but I got so excited about a new pattern I acquired that I forgot all about that goal. I’m also nixing the second nightgown, unless I get everything done with several days to spare (haha). I really don’t need more than one nightgown; it just was a nice thought.  I’m definitely nixing making more bonnets before the retreat. I’ll be making at least one there, so no need to make more beforehand. The weather has already turned c.c.c.cold and rainy, so the likelihood of us jaunting about the grounds is pretty minimal. I’ve finished recovering the parasol to give away and I’m mostly happy with it; it’s not quite as taught at the top as I’d like, but I really didn’t have time to take it apart and redo all the seams. Mrs. Nora has a new pair of slippers, and she seems to be in love with them. :) I also drew up my pattern for the shoe workshop I’m giving at the retreat and it looks like it will be a good working pattern. Hmm, I’ve also completed the calligraphy for the name plates which will adorn each guest’s door.

Let’s see, today is Wednesday, and I have until Thurs around noon to finish the following:

Help decorate the center for the retreat.
Mob cap
Finish dressing Robe
Boots for me
Attaching my pocket watch to a short chain to pin to my dresses
Reticule from spare parasol fabric for the raffle

Look at that lovely handle

Completed parasol

Name plates
It’s not a completely outrageous list, and I just might be able to get it done.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Turkey Red

My absence has been somewhat productive. I’m not quite as far in my list o things to accomplish prior to the retreat, but I’m making headway.

First up, I’ve dyed some muslin. One is the pale green you see here, and the other is, obviously, red. I went to a great deal of effort, dragging Nora along the way, to achieve what I think might be a perfect Turkey red (not, as you will see, the fowl we are all about to devour in a couple weeks). Now, in the English Regency, our fair ancestors apparently had a hankering for anything from Turkey and, I believe, India. They loved the exotic as much as we do. Turbans were worn ‘a la Turk’, and Turkey red was well sought after. The process of achieving said color at the time was incredibly labor intensive, and amongst the many ingredients, I believe dung and lye are the worst of them. I am not so particular as to want to achieve this color authentically, so I went with mixing modern dye baths. Our first attempt came out a bit pink, and as I already have a pink dress, and pink is obviously NOT Turkey red, I set it aside to attempt again later. Second try produced the desired red. Now the only thing I’m unsure of is, if I were to try the color again, could I just use the colors I tried on the second run, or did I need that initial pink base to achieve the right color. I guess if I ever try it again, I’ll be able to answer that better.

Somewhere in between dying fabrics I made a soon to be needed maternity corset. I thought I might be able to hold off until 4 months or so, but after tying on my long corset and being extremely uncomfortable I decided that it was a necessity by the time the retreat rolls around as I will in fact, be 4 months along by then.
So I took my Mantua Makers pattern, chopped it down to my waist and added the splits along the bottom to accommodate a growing belly. The first rendition was a disappointment; absolutely no support, which was especially frustrating as I was so very happy with the appearance of the corset.
I love this color combo
However, 2 heads are better than 1 frustrated pregnant woman, and with Nora’s help on the corset and a pattern for a drawstring chemise (instead of the non-draw shift I was utilizing) I have accomplished a supportive corset!
I attempted to fix my green silk in order to wear to the opera last weekend. I removed the poly sleeves and modesty panel, replaced the sleeves with silk and stopped there. I had not purchased a wide enough swath of silk, so the sleeves are very, very short, and not at all to my taste. I was however willing to overlook that in order to have something to wear Sunday. BUT, when trying it on the Saturday before, it no longer fit my chest. I had not realized I’d expanded that much there already. So I put it aside in favor of the purple sheer for the day, resigning myself to not getting to wear it to the retreat. And then I thought, maybe I can alter it somehow (because really, I do not have time to make another ball gown), and lo and behold, I had left myself a good 2” of leeway in the back hooks! So I am going to purchase some more silk for the sleeves and reposition the hooks and I will have a dress to wear to the winter ball during the retreat. Yay! I also fixed my pink dress that I had worn on the ship in Astoria. I can’t remember what was wrong with it now, but I turned it into a crossover which I think will be much more useful in the coming months. I think the crossover is my new go to.
My handle, and it's near perfect for a cane length
This one's for me
I accompanied Miss Stephanie R. last weekend on an errand of acquiring retreat goodies. We successfully found 2 prizes for a couple contests that are planned, one if which is a parasol I shall be recovering.
Soo, lovely, and found at an antique shop
We found an item for the auction, and the necessary for making name plates for each dorm room.
The colors! the design!
More drool worthy design!
I also found some personal items including a parasol for myself I shall be re-covering, some lovely lace gloves and a couple bottles to be used in a workshop.
A couple of weeks ago I also acquired a gorgeous shawl I can hardly wait to use.
This shall be very useful
Well, one can get an idea of the pattern
And lastly, I finished a new drawstring petticoat, as I was practically bursting out of my button up one last weekend. Oy. I MAY be able to use the button up one at the retreat, but not for much longer I fear. I love the fabric I found for this one. It is a white on white paisley print, which one can only truly appreciate up close. I utilized a new sleeve pattern which was quite large for a petticoat, so I gathered in the edge and now it should be perfect.

But I am abominably behind. I made up a little calendar, replete with what should be done by what date in order to not be frantically sewing the night before. I am a week behind. A week. This is a lot in a month of planning. This does not bode well, and must be remedied right away. I am only blogging since I finished the petticoat tonight, and realized I would be happier getting this up to date now, instead of making a super long post later. Speaking of blogging, Mrs. Stephanie J. has given in to my wheedling and posted a blog on fishus, which I shall be using as soon as I get to that on my long list :)
Oh! Nora and I also attended a highly useful hair workshop, focusing on Regency styles. I was able to use the skills acquired there to have a blissfully frustration free morning in readying myself for the opera.
Cheeky Nora
A lovely updo
Look at that perfect Regency fringe! 
Another lovely updo
I learned that I needed teeny rollers for my fringe
Hair success!
Looking fabulous at the opera
Cheers, and happy sewing to all :)