HSM #2 – and the hits keep coming

(found on Pinterest)

(found on Pinterest)

It’s now into March, so I’ve obviously missed the deadline for the overskirt. But I could see it coming and decided that I’d rather have it done the way I wanted it than have it done “on time.” Which is a good thing, because there have  been nothing but headaches with this project.

I’ve unpacked all of the sewing room boxes and I can’t find my iron. My Rowenta iron. Aargh! It is nowhere to be found. So I ended up buying a very nice, lightly used iron at Goodwill for $8 and so far it’s been a peach.

I finished with the new trim on the right side overskirt and back tail, then went to pull the left side pieces and…NO!!…I can’t find the pieces for the left back tail. I know I cut them out. They had been laying on the cutting table in the old house, along with the side pieces. And now they’ve disappeared. I have the sinking feeling I might have accidentally thrown then out while I was packing up the fabric, mistaking them for scraps.

So now the challenge is to see whether or not I have enough fabric for the bodice and an extra tail piece. And that means that I have to cut out the bodice and conserve as much fabric as possible. The tail pieces are 32 inches long, so it’s going to be interesting.

On the other hand, I’m very happy with the revised trim scheme.

As you may recall, the first idea was to layer black and white woven check ribbon over ruffled black organdy.


The concept was to echo the ruffles on the fichu that will be worn with the bodice.


But it started looking disproportionate and the folds of the overskirt did not hang smoothly with all the bulky layers of trim. (My apologies for the blurry photo – bad camera day.)

2015-10-14 11.56.26


Getting rid of the bulk improved the drape and the layers hung correctly. So I went with a simple, single layer of ribbon trim and I think it looks tons better. How about you?

the new trim


Back Into the Fray



I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been silent for a while on the subject of actual projects. The reason is, besides fighting off a mystery bug for more than a week, I’ve been suffering from Total Bustle Burnout. I am sick to death of fiddling with what seems like miles of pleated organdy, making innumerable adjustments to the overskirt sides so they hang the way I want them to, and looking at the same blue cotton fabric for days on end (although I still love it – I’m just tired of seeing it).

I’ve been so temporarily Over It that I forgot to post my HSM #10 project, even though I finished it weeks ago. I forgot Your Weekend Wow, for which I apologize profusely. Such a mental muddle tells me it’s time to set this beastie aside and move on for a while until I’m ready to love the process all over again. (Although if I’d actually been sewing, instead of moaning about it, I’d probably have been done by now. Oh, well.)

So. Onward. There are only two HSM Challenges left in the year. Considering that last year (my first attempt at what was the HSF – “F” for Fortnightly) I only made it to March, this year I’ll make it to the end of the challenges. Fortunately, December is a “re-do” month so I can make up for the two that didn’t go so well – January’s “Foundations” and April’s “War and Peace.” And because I’m loathe to start any clothing, at least for now, I’m going to focus on accessories – smaller, though not necessarily simple, projects yet still things I need to complete my period wardrobes.

The HSM Challenge for November is Silver Screen: “Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.” Well, I’m not feeling up to doing an entire costume. I had planned to make a Regency cloak. I’ve had the wool and quilted lining piled up in the sewing room for months and was looking forward to finally getting it together and off the table. However, I ran into a small problem.

I’d ordered the wool online. It was a nice, dark. inky blue that would span quite a few decades rather well. But when I picked it up to lay it out for cutting my fingers said “wait a minute…” and I noticed that it didn’t feel right. The online description said it was a tightly woven 100% wool. My brain said it felt like tightly woven 100% polyester. So I did a burn test. Under the match it turned into a tightly globbed 100% ball of plastic. Grrrrrrr.

Today's lesson: Natural fibers do not glob up into a shiny ball when burned.

Today’s lesson: Natural fibers do not melt into a shiny blob when burned.

Now, I can give myself permission of fudge on some things with my historical sewing. Using the machine for hidden seams. Modern elastic. Snaps. Knee socks instead of over-the-knee stockings. But I draw a solid line at using polyester in an age when it didn’t exist. Sadly, I’d ordered the fabric eons ago and no longer have the receipt. I can’t even remember the seller. So I set the whole thing aside to wait until I find some wool I love and start from there.

As for the polyester, I do like the color and it has a nice weave. So there might be a 1950’s or 60’s swing coat in my future. Maybe there’ll be a HSM 2016 retro challenge. I can only hope The Dreamstress reads minds.

What to do for November and HSM #11?

I have all the makings for a Late Georgian/Early Regency bonnet, a pair of embroidered mitts, a Victorian lady’s pocket watch and chain, and a Late Georgian/Early Regency embroidered (or not) reticule. I also have everything I need for a corded petticoat, but that might prove a bit much at the moment and is tricky to work into the “Silver Screen” theme unless the heroine is falling down a lot or takes a tumble down the stairs. (Although Jane Eyre seems to run down the stairs quite a few times, revealing her petticoats. Hmmm…)

The only thing left to do now is choose a project and dig in.

No Need to Hustle with the Bustle (sorry)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) Marie-Thérèse Durand-Ruel Sewing, 1882.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) Marie-Thérèse Durand-Ruel Sewing, 1882.

Well, as it turns out I don’t have to worry about burning the midnight oil to finish the bustle dress after all. It’s a long story that involves re-financing my car and having to make an extra payment to fill the gap while the paperwork dragged. (Apparently, when there are people involved, electrons flow as slowly as paperwork shuffles.) The end result is that, until my extra payment gets refunded, I can’t afford to go to the Impressionism exhibition in Seattle this coming weekend. I would have gone even without the dress, but the costs of these excursions (driving, 2 ferry trips, admission, lunch) add up quickly and it’s just no longer an option. I’ve known it for a little over a week, when the need for the car payment arose, and thought it time I let you know.

While I am truly disappointed, all is far from lost. I’ve decided how I want to trim the dress and this allows me plenty of time to do just as I envision. When the Victorian Heritage Festival rolls around again in March I’ll have the bustle dress I wanted from the start and a pile of fake hair to support the hat. I can wait for that.

In the meantime, it’s time to put together another post of hair-raising vintage Halloween costumes and there are a lot of creepy photos I really want out of the folder so I don’t have to keep looking at them. Especially the clown…

HSM #8: We Are Not Amused – a Fairy Tale in One Part.

Once upon a time, a humble servant (aka, moi) found a pattern she believed would make a good “base” for an Enchanted Edwardian Gown. It is difficult for her to recall whether it was found in the Land of Etsy or the Land of eBay, but in one of those there lived a Retail Princess who offered the pattern at a price below that which was found in any Kingdom. Delighted to  have been so favored by the Sewing Universe, our humble servant inquired as to the health of said pattern. The (scheming) Retail Princess smiled and assured the humble servant the pattern was uncut and in excellent health, although the envelope had suffered slightly in a recent scuffle with a pair of scissors.

Antique Thai Scissors

Antique Thai Scissors

Knowing how scissors can be, feisty underlings that they are, the humble servant felt assured all was well and offered her custom to the Retail Princess. Days later, the pattern arrived by Mechanized Woodsprite Courier Services. The humble underling mended the sliced envelope with Magical Transparent Tape and set it aside.

Yesterday the sun rose and filled the Kingdom with warmth. The humble servant completed her duties in the Land of Blog and the Empire of Facebook, then gathered her fabric and the pattern envelope – eager to see the Enchanted Edwardian Gown come to life.

She shook out the yards and yards of fabric, iron them carefully, then set them aside. Next she opened the pattern envelope and – behold! – there were crinkly bits in the bottom, stuffed inside the pages of directions.

2015-08-03 08.37.08

At that, our humble servant was immediately suspicious, since crinkly bits are not commonly found in any uncut patterns in any Kingdom. So she proceeded with care, teased apart the large leaves of pattern paper and cut the pieces need for the Enchanted Gown. In the end, she discovered that the (dastardly) Retail Princess had lied. The pattern was not uncut, nor was it in good health. The front and back bodice pieces were missing.

Casting a disparaging eye over the crinkly bits, the humble servant gently opened them up, only to find oddly suspicious negative shapes. Shapes that look as those that would have surrounded front and back bodice pieces.

2015-08-03 08.38.19

By then it was too late in the day to act, so the humble servant had a large glass of wine with dinner and called it a day – after issuing multiple verbal curses and conjuring a few lightning bolts against the (truly dastardly) Retail Princess.

(found on Pinterest)

(found on Pinterest)

This morning, the humble servant worked her best magyk upon the Ether of Internet, only to find that the pattern was to be found in none of the local Kingdoms. Special Delivery via Golden Unicorn would take too long. There was nothing to do but mount her trusty steed and search the land.

Sadly, the trusty steed had gone lame in one foot and so time was needed to have the beast re-shod. Eventually, however, the humble servant was underway. To her delight – and, admittedly, more than a bit of exasperation – she discovered that the pattern in question was indeed available in a neighboring Kingdom. Having shaken the last coins from her purse, she held the precious pattern close to chest as she rode home where she decided that another large glass of wine would not be amiss with tonight’s dinner, either.

As for the Truly Dastardly Retail Princess, to her our humble servant offers a wry smile…and about 20,000 volts.

(from giphy)

(from giphy)

Better: slow but sure.

je suis malade

Getting over this whatever-it-was is slow going. You’ve probably noticed the dearth of posts. That’s because my hand-eye coordination is still re-tuning itself. Knitting helps and I’ve been doing a lot of it. But my hand sewing is a bit too shaky for the look I’m after, although it’s improving steadily, and my machine sewing tends to drift from a straight line unless I focus every bit of energy and concentrate. Then I’m exhausted after 20 minutes and frustrated.

In general, I start my day feeling like this:

A couple enjoys an old fashioned zipline on a weekend afternoon. (1923)

A couple on an old-fashioned zipline. (1923)

It doesn’t take long before I’m feeling like this:



And by late afternoon:

Sick person going to Lourdes to take the water.

Going to Lourdes to take the water.

I try to be patient with this *tap foot, tap foot, tap foot* while my body heals. Today has been a really good day and the worst has definitely passed.

The knitting is going pretty well now. My stitches are even again. I can do math for the patterns in my head.

I’ve been hoarding collecting 1930’s prints to make a simple quilt for my bed, and I feel good enough to re-start my machine swing on that. This one will be pretty simple and I don’t need to completely finish the top to polish up my skills. Not to mention this will finally get me going on something I’ve been putting off for a long time (hard to choose a pattern, decided to go easy on myself).

In addition, I started English paper-piecing a reproduction of an 1840’s quilt. It’s going to take a while, but there is no rush – I’m just doing it because I’ve always wanted to try and now I have the patience for it. I’ve already cut the fabric hexagons for the next panel, so I think I’ll work on that for an evening or two to get my fine hand-eye motor coordination back up to snuff.

And then it’s back to business.

The top portion of my Edwardian petticoat for HSM #6 is mostly done. Happily, the worst of the fiddly bits are finished. Before all this happened I’d purchased some lovely pink jacquard-weave ribbon for the beading lace. After lace meets ribbon, I’ll start hand-finishing the armholes. Then it’s make a tube, sew on a ruffle, gather the top edge and sew the whole thing onto the bodice portion. After that it’s just a matter of using hooks-and-eyes up the front for an easy closure.

Hmmmm. Probably shouldn’t have said “easy”….

A Bit of This and That: updates on HSM #6 and HSM #4

HSM #6 – The Pink Stripe Edwardian Dress

Thanks to feedback I received, I’ve decided to change the dress. Isabella (extantgowns.com) sent me this image. One look and I was a goner.

1912 (Augusta Auctions)

1912 (Augusta Auctions)

Sleeve detail

Sleeve detail

I love the treatment on the skirt – not really hobbled, although I’d be loath to attempt running (as if) – but softer looking, and a lot more interesting, than a circle of pleats. Not to mention less time-consuming. However, instead of cutting the bands with the stripes running parallel with the vertical stripes of the skirt, I’m planning to cut them so the stripes run horizontal. Or I might do them in solid pink. We’ll have to see.

It also has sleeves that are very close to what I’d imagined for my dress. I like the solid band of color, which I think I’ll also borrow, plus the fabric rosettes on the sleeves and the skirt. The gridded lace looks a bit harsh, though, so I think I’ll play around with some antique lace from my stash and see if one of them grabs my fancy.

So the stars aligned and – bingo! – I have a final plan for the dress (which will still go through a number of iterations before it’s done because that’s how I work).

A+B=C, right? Using visual math done (I love visual math) I end up with the bodice of the red dress and the sleeves and skirt of the blue dress…

…which will end up looking something like this:

Scan0003 (2)

However, considering we’re talking Edwardian here, the bodice is woefully lacking in decoration. The extant blue dress has a fabric rosette on the left shoulder. I could do that. Or I could put a rosette on the center of the bodice at the bottom of the V. Or…

A long time ago I found an antique Edwardian, hand painted, ceramic brooch in pristine condition and snapped it up on the spot. It’s a pretty good size and it features roses, which fits the theme perfectly. It looks good on the fabric. Fingers crossed, it will work with the dress and I’ll finally be able to wear it.

(photo copyright 2015 Susan Quenon)

(photo copyright 2015 Susan Quenon)

(photo copyright 2015 Susan Quenon)

(photo copyright 2015 Susan Quenon)

Now it’s time to start playing with pattern pieces-parts. Good thing I buy muslin by the bolt!


HSM #4 – The 1856 Cage Crinoline, or WT&%#*@!

As you may recall, in my previous post about the HSM #6 Pink Striped dress, I’d causally mentioned that my dress form was too short. Apparently, sometime after the move, the tightening nut loosened and it slipped down the support rod. Quite a lot, as it turns out. One would think I’d have noticed a six- or seven-inch drop. Sadly, one would be wrong.

As I was working on the crinoline, while it was on the dress form, I was concerned that it seemed a bit short, as in too far from the ground. But I’d measured carefully, marked everything, checked the markings when I made them, and checked again before I started putting it together. (Engineer’s daughter – it’s genetic.) And still it looked short. But I this is new territory for me, fashion era-wise, so I kept plugging away and ignored the unsettled whispering in the back of my mind (faulty genetics, that is).

Enter the draping for the pink striped dress and the noticing of the too short dress form.

(3 seconds pass, during which the unsettled whispering is laughing maniacally.)

Wait a minute! If the crinoline looked too short on the too-short dress form…NOOOOOO!!!

(5 seconds of hyperventilation. Maybe more. Can’t recall.)

For the first time, I put the crinoline on and *brain freeze* – the last hoop rides just a few inches below my stupid knee. (Sorry, knee – it’s not your fault.)

Don’t ask, just don’t ask. Because the answer is so far away from “I don’t know” that I can’t tell where to start.**

I want to speak with Heather at Truly Victorian patterns. The materials are kinda pricey and I want to understand what happened before I attempt to fix it. Hundreds of these have been successfully made, so I’m pretty sure it’s me and not the pattern. Needless to say, HSM #4 is in limbo and may be so for some time.

**Note to self – breathe deeply and repeat: Sewing is fun, sewing is relaxing, I love to sew. Sewing is fun, sewing is relaxing, I love to sew. Sewing is fun, sewing is relaxing…

Aw, nuts!

(original source unknown)

Wouldn’t you know it. Just as I’m on the last leg of this project, I’ve run out of hoop casing tape – three hoops worth!

Even though I’d already marked the cutting lines, I decided to pay attention to the sage advice of “measure twice, cut once.” There were two lengths left and, as it turned out, I’d marked one of the lengths twice – once on each side. Such things happen when I’m tired and should be sleeping instead of sewing. Silly me.

What to do, what to do? I rummaged through the notions drawer and discovered I have two packets of double fold bias tape with 3 yards of each. One is in a creamy ecru and the other’s in a dark mocha. They’re a smidge wider than the hoop tape, but not by much.

Will it be a problem if I use this for the hoops? There’s one way to find out. If it turns out this is a bad idea I can always replace the tape later. And, since I have no immediate plans for a sheer dress, having three different colors of hoop tape should not be an issue.

So I’m pressing on. If nothing else, this will be interesting.

Electromagnetically Challenged. Again.


(photo by wdtinc.com)

Although I’ve been sewing along and keeping up with the deadline for HSM#4 (The Case of the Contraband Crinoline) and doing some other sewing as well, there is nothing to show for it. At least nothing for me to show you. There’s been a multi-phased electronic meltdown in the Threading Through Time Media Department with a rather annoying domino effect.

As you recall, I took photos of the crinoline and couldn’t upload them to Dropbox. As it turned out, my suspicions of impending iPhone death were spot on. It went completely bonkers. After a long and exasperating online search I discovered two critical nails in its proverbial coffin: 1) Apple doesn’t support iPhone4 anymore (4S – yes, just plain 4 – no) and 2) they also no longer support iOS 7x.x. I never installed iOS8 because the word on the street (and on-line and just about everywhere else) was that iOS8 was not compatible with iPhone4 and chaos would plague all who embraced the latest toy.

So: no iPhone and no money to get a replacement – not even a refurbished model.

No problemo, though, because I have a compulsive streak and still have two of my pre-iPhone flip phones, complete with instructions, chargers, ear buds. I pulled out the newer of the two and charged it up. I called my carrier before pulling the SIM out of the iPhone to make sure there wouldn’t be any problems on their end of things. There weren’t. Then I extracted the SIM cards from both phones and “remembered” that they’re different sizes. Oh, bother.

Finally something sparked and I recalled that when I got the SIM card package from the carrier there were two sets of cards – one for AT&T phones and one for TMobile phones. Even better, I still had them. So I punched out the center of the TMobile SIM card, which left a perfectly sized frame. I put my active SIM card in the frame, settled it into place and hey presto – a FrankenSIM was born! Even more amazing: it works. I don’t have all of my contacts, but I can transfer them from the iPhone, and the calendar didn’t transfer, but I can deal with that manually.

So: now I have a working phone that can take pictures. But it can’t upload them to Dropbox. Nor can I e-mail them to myself. Why? Because it’s so old that Gmail isn’t one of its options. Yahoo? Yes. Windows Live Mail? Yes. Do I use those? No.

No problemo. I have a camera, I’ll go back to using that. I only started using the iPhone because it takes better closeups, but so it goes.

Over the next two days I turned the office/sewing room upside down looking for the camera batteries and the charger. Because my friend packed some of the stuff and I packed some of the stuff, I had no idea where the camera stuff had ended up. I finally found both the batteries and the charger in a box underneath some knitting yarn. I also needed the card reader, but I knew where it was. Now the only thing missing was the camera. The camera. The camera? Rats!! Although it has a bright metallic blue finish, it’s also a small pocket model – and I can’t find it anywhere. This is super-frustrating because about four weeks ago it was sitting on my desk. I remember picking it up to move it put it somewhere safe. And then…I’m blank.

Still no problemo, though, because I still have my old camera. It’s only 5.whatever megapixels, but it does the job. I found it yesterday. The cards were in the case. Yay! It’s battery operated, so no charger needed. Yay! The lithium batteries were dead and I have no replacements. Boo! But it also runs on 4 AA’s and I can get those today. Then I’ll know if it still works. (Is that a half-Yay!?)

Hopefully, the next post will be replete with photographs. Some photographs. Any photographs.

Reflect, Reconsider and Revise

(Image found on Pinterest)

(Image found on Pinterest)

This past weekend was our town’s annual Victorian Heritage Festival. It was windy, rainy and cold. But that’s not why I missed it. I missed it because, once again, I hadn’t finished my Victorian clothing. And, once again, that irritates me.

In addition, March is almost at an end and I’ve only completed one of the twelve HSM 2015 challenges. I didn’t make it past April last year and I want to see the finish line in December this year.

sherlockI decided it was time for a good course of forensic retrospection to determine the cause and change where I’m getting off course. Identifying the underlying issues wasn’t too tough. It boils down to six areas of consistent error:

  1. I love recreating period dress. I love a wide range of eras and styles. I want to try it all. And I want to do it now. Think Historic Costuming meets ADHD, then add sugar.
  2. I sew more slowly than I used to. On one hand I’m more cautious about doing things correctly. On the other hand, I’m just slower and can’t stand to rush. I used to get into production mode when I was sewing and could go for hours without stopping (15 hours is my personal best). But not any more.
  3. I like challenges and tend to sign on to whatever looks enticing – regardless of whether I have even the faintest idea of what’s involved or not. And I choose the project for each challenge randomly.
  4. Because of #2 and #3 I consistently and chronically underestimate how long it will take to get anything done. I used to whip out a skirt in an hour, easily. But it didn’t involve yards of fabric, flatlining, plackets, hidden pockets, and all sorts of ruffles and other hemline treatments. I tend to forget that.
  5. Events pop up throughout the year and I think “Ooh – I want to do that one, too.” So I stop what I’d started, start something new, can’t get it done in time and find myself with two unfinished projects, instead of one.
  6. The corollary to #5 is that since my historically-correct underwear collection is, shall we say, sparse, heading into a new style means sewing everything from the inside out. An Edwardian tea coming up? I can’t just make a dress. I need corset, princess slip and petticoats, stockings, gloves, shoes. The same goes for Regency, Romantic Era, all the Bustle Eras and on and on.

The problem is glaringly obvious: I don’t really have a plan with/for any of this.

white lotusSo I let that thought percolate a while, after which I changed my perspective and the way I make decisions about my sewing. Instead of “What do I want to make?” I asked myself “What do I want to do in my period dress?” and “What do I need to do to make it happen?” Then things started falling into place.

First, I’m letting go of the 17th Century Challenge. It’s just too much and requires techniques I know nothing about – I can’t even correctly name all the pieces of clothing. That’s a clue. But I’ll follow what the rest of the folks are doing this year and learn from them so maybe I can hop back in next year.

Second, I’d like to complete three sets of period dress this year: Regency, 1855 and 1888. Here’s what involved with each –

Regency: a dress, cap, stockings, reticule and a spencer/cape/redingote. I’ll buy the stockings (silk). I have patterns and fabric for the rest.

1855: a dress, corded petticoat and a few regular petticoats, stockings, cap, bonnet, shoes, stockings and a mantle/pardessus/cloak. Have patterns and fabrics for everything but the bonnet. Will buy shoes and stockings (wool for winter). Should make a period-correct corset, but will cheat this year with the Victorian corset I already have and put a period-correct corset on next year’s list.

1888: a wintertime dress, two more petticoats, bonnet, boots, warm coat, muff. Have patterns. Have fabric for petticoats. Have antique Victorian coat buttons. Have lining for coat. Need fabric for dress, coat and muff. Will buy boots.

That’s a lot, but I have the HSM monthly challenges and I can revise them to do double duty: meet a challenge and finish my goals. Like this –


  • Foundations: make something that is the foundation of a period outfit.
  • Project: 1855 petticoat.
  • Title: A Pert and Pretty Petticoat


  • Colour Challenge Blue: Make an item that features blue, in any shade from azure to zaffre.
  • Project: A Civil War era houswife (hussif, husif).
  • Title: The Blue Housewife


  • Stashbusting: Make something using only fabric, patterns, trims & notions that you already have in stash.
  • Project: An 1888 petticoat.
  • Title: I Can See For Miles and Miles


  • War & Peace: the extremes of conflict and long periods of peacetime both influence what people wear.  Make something that shows the effects of war, or of extended peace.
  • Project: 1855 corded petticoat.
  • Title: The Ties That Bind


  • Practicality:  Fancy party frocks are all very well, but everyone, even princesses, sometimes needs a practical garment that you can DO things in.  Create the jeans-and-T-Shirt-get-the-house-clean-and-garden-sorted outfit of your chosen period.
  • Project: 1855 wrapper.
  • Title: That’s a Wrap!


  • Out of Your Comfort Zone: Create a garment from a time period you haven’t done before, or that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before.
  • Project: 1855 mantle/pardesus from a period pattern.
  • Title: Oops, I Did It Again.


  • Accessorize: The final touch of the right accessory creates the perfect period look.  Bring an outfit together by creating an accessory to go with your historical wardrobe.
  • Project: Knitted 1860’s sontag (“bosom buddy”).
  • Title: Sing a Song for the Sontag


  • Heirlooms & Heritage: Re-create a garment one of your ancestors wore or would have worn, or use an heirloom sewing supply to create a new heirloom to pass down to the next generations.
  • Project: Late Bustle Era petticoat with antique lace and trim.
  • Title: Ruffles and Laces and Bows…Oh, My!


  • Colour Challenge Brown: it’s not the most exciting colour by modern standards, but brown has been one of the most common, and popular, colours throughout history. Make something brown.
  • ProjectHand-sewn 1855 bonnet.
  • TitleBippity, Boppity, Boo!


  • Sewing Secrets: Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance).
  • Project: Hidden Traveller’s Pocket.
  • Title: My Pockets are Empty, See?


  • Silver Screen: Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.
  • Project: Regency dress and cloak.
  • Title: Hiding from Mr. Collins


  • Re-Do:  It’s the last challenge of the year, so let’s keep things simple by re-doing any of the previous 11 challenges.
  • Color Challenge Brown
  • Project: 1888 dress.
  • Title: Hot Chocolate!

This gives me most of what I need to end up with three complete wardrobes by the end of the year. I feel less mentally scattered and more focused on specific end points. I’ll be ready for this year’s upcoming winter events and won’t get caught short for next year’s Festival.

If all goes according to plan. *wink*

O Wherefore Art Thou?

An early 14th-century house at Via Cappello no. 23, Verona, Italy. Presented as "Juliet's Balcony" by the PR folks, but...

An early 14th-century house at Via Cappello no. 23, Verona, Italy. Presented as “Juliet’s Balcony” by the PR folks in Verona, but…  (photo credit styleoccasion.com)

Today I realize I haven’t posted since last week – yikes! So, you might ask, what’s happening to keep me from sharing the latest costuming adventure?

Simple. This “thou” has been pretty busy.

I can’t recall whether or not I mentioned this before, but I have to move. The landlord is putting the house up for sale next month so I need to relocate. Fairly soon. I’ve been looking for well over a month, but the rental market up here is virtually non-existent. Which means you must be at the right place at the right time to make your claim before someone else beats you to it.

I’ve been to look at other places, made calls, hit every source available and the listed properties were either too expensive, not in a place where I’d feel safe, or wouldn’t accept dogs. And I ain’t leaving Sophie behind – she’s been through enough in her life already.

Then, last Tuesday, I happened upon what seems the perfect place for me but the rent was out of reach financially. Wednesday the property manager I’d started working with called and asked if I wanted to look anyway – maybe she could work something out with the owners. Since it (usually) can’t hurt to look, we did. It’s a late 1940’s house that’s little on the outside yet feels spacious on the inside. There’s a yard for Sophie. There’s a sewing room for me. It’s within walking distance to the necessities. What more could I ask for? Affordability.

That’s when a miracle occurred – the owners lowered the rent to a number within my reach. I spent a lot of time last week crunching numbers to make sure I wasn’t going to get in over my head. (I’ve been renting from a friend and the “friends-and-family” discount had protected me from the real-world market. Ouch!)

Anywho, the numbers worked, the application has been filled out and submitted, as was the authorization for background screening and a couple of checks. Everything’s been hunky-dory, and (I feel like I’m tempting fate here) we’re just waiting for the results of the background check (no worries there). So I have a date to sign the lease, hand over the big bucks, get the key and start moving – February 10th. 24 days from today.

The upshot, since I didn’t make the long story short, is – surprise! – I got no sewing done last week. At all. Stuff is getting scattered around for sorting and boxing. Room to spread out and cut doesn’t exist anymore. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely I’ll be able to finish the HSF Challenge #1 chemise by the end of the month. And the frequency of posts might slow done a bit.

For January I’m thinking of just making a fichu, which I need anyway, and taking up the chemise again after the move. Or if I’m late with the chemise, I’m late. The world won’t stop turning.

But if it does it’s not my fault, OK?