Running on Empty

I’m having one of those days with sooo much that needs doing and I’m feeling so overwhelmed by it that I have no energy to do it. The Victorian Heritage Festival is one week from today and all I have completed is the underwear, which is a bit problematic from just about every angle (no pun intended).

The underskirt is awaiting its ruffle, which depends on which shoes I’m going to wear, which I have not yet decided.

The overskirt front piece has absolutely no life and the center hangs from the side pleats like wet paper, so I decided to go ahead and line it with the last of the black fabric. Except I somehow measured incorrectly and the lining piece is two inches too narrow. I set that aside earlier this morning to ponder the options.

The 10-day forecast calls for highs in the 40’s and overcast/cloudy skies next weekend. No rain, but there will be wind – out here on a peninsula with the entire Pacific Ocean just around the corner, wind is a fact of life. And if it’s going to be that cold, I’ll freeze without a wrap. So, to take my mind off the overskirt debacle, I decided to just cut out the fabric, the flannel flat lining, and the lining so it would be ready to go when the time came. It’s a large-scale brocade-like print done on a mid-weight home dec cotton fabric. I ordered enough, I hope, to allow for matching the print. But I cut the first piece, the left front, and my brain just kinda snapped. Which way to mirror this saves more fabric? Do I really have enough fabric? How did I calculate the yardage? Thanks heavens it’s only 4 pieces…uh, oh…that back part looks a little tricky. And just when do I think I’ll have time to make the waist for the bustle dress – which just also happens to be my Historical Sew Fortnightly project?

Then there’s the petticoat for the Victorian Undergarments class that’s nagging at me.

And the project for my 1880’s Bustle Hat class that I’m making completely by hand with the goal of wearing next weekend needs attention. The tip and crown are wired, the brim is next. After the buckram frame is together it needs the mull, then the fabric, then the trim. And I’ve never made a hat from scratch before, so I’m not rushing it. At least, trying not to.

I took a break and played with my Pinterst boards, only to get confused by how to tell a Victorian house dress from a tea gown when they look the same to me: one piece, front button, princess seams, Watteau back, embroidery work, lacy bits – how does one tell, or are the people who post them confused, or are they really one and the same, or…

My mind is spinning as if I had one foot nailed to the floor so I can only run in circles.

In the past, I’d just push through and force myself to do something – anything – towards getting these projects done. But I have learned two very important things.

First, when my mind is this jumbled, forcing myself to keep going only creates more problems than it solves. And fixing those problems will take twice as long as it took to create them, if not more. (I can be extremely creative when it comes to “alternative” ways to mess things up.)

Second, I’m a bit slower than I used to be and, when coupled with learning how to make clothing that I’ve never tackled before, I need more time than I’m giving myself to get these projects done. My allotted time frame needs a serious reality check.

So for the rest of the day, unless inspiration strikes earlier, I am going to back off the gas. Lunch is way past due, so that’s next. Then maybe I’ll knit a bit or read or even take a nap. And, while I’m calmly sewing the wire to the buckram for the brim of my hat, the rest of this jumble will be percolating away in the back of my mind, sorting itself out, and I’ll then be ready to pick up the scissors again and sally forth.

At least I bloody hope so.


Your Weekend Wow!

It’s not often that one has the opportunity to see an antique garment being worn by its owner, so this is special indeed. Not only does the sepia-toned image spring to life, but it also shatters the “they only used dull colors” myth to shreds. The seller described it as an 1879 trained red wool embroidered “at home robe” with Watteau back, and showed it adjacent to a cabinet card photograph of the original owner.

1879 trained red wool embroidered "at home robe" with Watteau back, shown adjacent to a cabinet card photograph of the original owner.