anotheranon: (cool)
Last weekend I stuck to my initiative to get out more and went to see the Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes exhibit with Badger.

rambling, and linkage )

Picked up the catalog (I've learned my lesson re: Smithsonian publications: snag it when it's there, because they do very small runs) and it's very well illustrated (ObFencing: one of the costumes employs a fencing mask).

So, glad I went, would heartily recommend.
anotheranon: (costume)
It got off to a rocky-ish start, but it's a fine little con :)

The rocky: driving in traffic in 90F weather with no A/C. Also, my calf seized from freezing on the brake too long and the "ping" took the rest of the weekend to work itself out up my right side - not pleasant.

But, the good:

Good people! Dress U is small (only 35 people, but, hey, it's only their 2nd year) so it was easy to keep track of names and faces. I got to hang with [ profile] danabren and co., and conversation flowed easily and hilariously. I was surprised but pleased at the number of people who came from way out of town - New Orleans and SF were represented along with much of the mid Atlantic.

The classes: many were Victorian-oriented, which isn't necessarily my cup of tea, but I find that I can find something unusual and interesting in almost any costume-related presentation, and this was no different. The class on presentation at the Edwardian court was a nice slice of social history, in which I learned to curtsey in a train. And speaking of trains, I attended a class on dust ruffles which illuminated just how one kept one's dress train clean during the 19th century.

Possibly the one most immediately useful were tips and tricks on how to get decent costume photos. Simply changing the angle and lighting can make a huge difference, even with a smart phone. Need to employ this new knowledge SOON.

The events: I enjoyed that there wasn't the pressure of a competition or masquerade, but plenty of events to dress for: formal dinner, mad tea party, tiara and jampagne (which unfortunately I couldn't stick around for). It inspired me to pull out the stops, bring my gear and make an effort! I couldn't hold a candle to most of the people there - these folks are disciplined and far more talented than I, and it was a joy to just look...

I am also starting to see the appeal of tiaras, though I imagine it would take some doing to find one that will stay in short hair.

My wardrobe: not as cumbersome as expected; I got most of it into a single large Tupperware bin, 1 hat box, and a couple of hangers. I restricted myself to two changes a day for convenience, with a fairly even split between women's (mock Fortuny, front lacing kirtle, Regency ball gown) and men's (tux and top hat, doublet and venetians, militaryesque vest and bicorne) throughout the weekend.

[ profile] danabren was kind enough to help me get into my Regency outfit and I was pleased that it still fit after ~3 years. Even with shift, stays, and petticoat underneath it was still surprisingly cool, and I DID finish the accessories to go with (picture forthcoming).

Give my muscle twinge it was convenient that I spent most of the first day in stays of one sort or another, as they helped support my back (as an aside, they also make doing push-ups easier. But I digress).

Also of note: much as I love historic women's clothing, I am too severe looking to meet the ideals of most historic periods' ideals of female beauty, but damn, can I rock the menswear! (It's also easier to dress myself).

My only regret is that there wasn't more conversation. The first night was an absinthe-fueled gabfest of getting to know you and wild costume adventures, but by Saturday many of us were tired. In a way it was for the best - I needed to spend some time flat on my back.

Will definitely consider doing this one again, for the chat aspects at the very least!
anotheranon: (cool)
Because I found a few gems that couldn't wait for a long link dump:

anotheranon: (busy)
Given that this was a 3 day weekend and next weekend is Dress U, I decided to use the time filling in some gaps in my costume wardrobe, specifically accessories for my as yet unworn white Regency gown.

I was partially successful in my efforts.

I needed headwear - in almost every historical period women covered their head with something, and to hide my anachronistic hair. My initial plan was to create one "casual", one dressy, out of sari fabric I picked up last weekend. This worked out partially.

I am so enamored of the green that I decided my test run would be on the red, using Lynn McMaster's directions for creating a wrapped turban (alas, site is down, this link is Google's cache).

Um, no.

Wrapping a turban turns out to be too much like doing hair - managing a long strip of fabric is difficult when I can't see what I'm doing. I couldn't wrap it even once that tucked in everything as I liked, so creating a sewn together version wasn't possible either. I like the idea, so maybe I'll try it again when I have more time/patience/help, but on to plan B.

The cap turban/beret (scroll down). It's not my favorite look because to my modern eyes it looks excessively fluffy and chef hat-ty, but it was blessedly easy to make. I used the same pattern I used back in '04 for Think Pink (damn, has it been that long?) and lined it with plain muslin.

Ideally I'd be able to get a wonderful ostrich feather plume as trim, but I can't find any from my usual sources and my creativity is maxed out enough that I'm not coming up with any other ideas.

I used another 3 yards to make a matching shawl, which still leaves me with plenty left over to make a Miyake tunic I've been sitting on for awhile.

The punch line: I may not even be able to wear the gown unless I can find someone to help me dress. This is one of my grievances with historical clothing: it's damn near impossible to dress oneself, which offends my modern sense of sartorial autonomy. But, I do have a back up outfit and if not next weekend I've got the accessories now.


May. 19th, 2013 06:01 pm
anotheranon: (busy)
After being felled by a rotten cold last weekend, I used this one to do all the stuff I'd not been able to:

Local sari shop: that I've known about for months but never visited due to my astounding capacity for passivity, I finally found it after passing it 3 times and it was worth the effort :) I was looking for fabrics that I could potentially use to create a turban and/or lightweight wrap to wear with my Regency gown, and found both a cotton (day) and silk-like-enough polyester (evening). One sari = ~7-9 yards of fabric, so I might be able to get quite a bit more else out of them.

Went with D., Badger, and C. to the latest Star Trek, which I enjoyed. No spoilers, but while I thought the intro scene was a bit over the top (which I guess it had to be, they had to try and top the first movie somehow), I thought Benedict Cumberbatch made a spectacular monologuing baddie, we finally get to see Kirk learn to be less of a jerk, and there was Moar Pegg, which makes everything better.

(Aside - I've also seen Iron Man 3, which D. and I saw opening weekend, because Iron Man. Also enjoyed, though it felt like they were trying to cram in too many different story lines. It also had more badass/competent Rhodey and I didn't think I could enjoy the Pepper/Tony dynamic more until I saw it).

I'm juggling several sewing projects: patching a saber mask for a fencing buddy (I want to see how good my curved mattress needles are at these kinds of repairs), D.'s scholar's robe (which needs a draping, to figure out just what the neckline is doing) and a sized-up Miyake (to see if sizing up one of those cracky patterns is even possible). Save the turbans/wraps I don't think I'm making anything new for Dress U due to lack of time - needing a summer skirt for work is a larger priority. I am also discovering that I make more headway when I stop fidgeting with notions and fscking do it already.

If you can't tell by my typing rhythm here, I'm also drinking more coffee than usual. This may or may not be a good thing, but it's acclimating me to upcoming greater caffeine requirements created by a con (1st weekend of June) followed the next week by an uncon (the second).

brain work

May. 2nd, 2013 06:17 pm
anotheranon: (books)
Surprise travel this past weekend gave me the chance to do some reading.

I was able to read all of When the Girls Came Out to Play during my round trip flight, not just because I had time because it was good. I'd told a Costume Society acquaintance about my embryonic fencing gear research and she recommended it as a "dry academic" background read, so I was expecting a slog. But no, it's quality non-fiction and turned out to be exactly the book I needed that I didn't know existed.

geeking )

So I realize rather stunningly that this research may lead to something other than noodling on my desktop and in my LJ :P

It is cutting into sewing time though. I doubt I'll have anything new for Dress U, and guess who is taking forever and a day to put the sleeves on D.'s scholar's robe?

Time management, I can not haz.
anotheranon: (adventure)
Also this week I:

anotheranon: (busy)

  • Two Not enough to slow things down, but enough to look pretty and make the freezing weather a little more bearable.
  • Cut out and pieced the scholar's robe that I've been threatening to make D. for some years now. This is technically an update for the past 2 weeks as it took one weekend to draft and one to cut out/piece back together.
    some background/geeking - this got rather long )

    To give you some idea of the size, this is just the back, and not laid out flat either:

    D.'s scholar's robe-to-be taking up my workroom floor )

  • Go the F**k to Sleep, Avengers version is the funniest thing I've read all day. Here's Samuel L. Jackson reading the original [YouTube, starts about 1 min in, NSFW] if it helps you imagine Nick Fury reading it.

  • Lesson learned from brief illness earlier in the week - sometimes it's better to just give in and be sick, hydrate and rest than try to power it out. Yes, I know, this shouldn't be a revelation, but it is.

  • Weekend: getting rid of clutter and getting a proper lamp and something to put a suitcase on for the guest room.

anotheranon: (cool)
Gathered from here, there, and everywhere:

Learn to be a better writer by reading fanfiction - especially the bits about villians needing motivation and using crackfic to get unstuck.

John Cleese on creativity - “Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.” - so true. Hat tip @ITSLENNYHENRY (yes, the real one).

Femme Doctors and crossplayers: not that different - elegant description of the what cross play is and isn’t, and why it’s appealing. Wonderful fun, but also put on your gender studies hat.

Dates to remember for 2013 - first two weeks of May are looking awfully good. And there’s gonna be a 3rd Riddick movie? Hat tip D.

The Star Trek-Middleman crossover you’ve been cautiously excited for - seriously, if you never watched The Middleman, go forth and view now. It’s rather like Firefly, killed before it’s time, wonderfully witty and only 13 hours of footage. Related: Middleman-Doctor Who crossover.

Edit 7:45 pm Links fixed. Dunno what LJ was doing adding extra quotes.
anotheranon: (neat)
Saturday. D. and I went to see Epic Win Burlesque, a show of, by, and for sci fi/comic book/pop culture geeks.

I'd heard of these guys, or something like them, but didn't know they were going to be in town until [ profile] nminusone mentioned it on his Facebook feed. I'd enjoyed the burlesque I saw with C. in Las Vegas and thought D. would at least enjoy the nerdy angle, so I got tix and we met up with [ profile] nminusone and [ profile] geekchick at the venue.

Oh, it was AWESOME! Just the right blend of silly and sexy. They did only a sampling of their repertoire but they've covered almost every major fandom I can think of and encourage the audience to post their videos and photos, so there's a lot more on YouTube, etc. Both men and women perform, though IMHO on this particular evening the women were hotter [YouTube]. ObCostume: evidently at least some of the performers make their own, and go to a great deal of effort on them as well.

Perhaps the funniest part of the evening was when it dawned on us that "KittenBot" was doing her act to the "Fruity Oaty Bar" song from Serenity [YouTube].

So if these guys come your way, go out and show some support, 'cos there's not enough of it in the world. We'd definitely go again!

P.S. Obviously none of the links are work safe. Wouldn't want y'all getting in trouble at work :P
anotheranon: (creativity)
Sick day wasn't entirely wasted:

Bicorn hat with black grosgrain ribbon cockade embellished by a silver button

For the Adam Ant show, inspired by Vivienne Westwood's 1980 Pirates collection. The button was purchased in Norway by my mother in the 1960s - according to her these used to be worn on school uniforms and became a symbol of resistance when they were banned by the Nazis during WWII.

Another fairly simple project, using a wool felt hat blank shaped with a steam iron and online ribbon cockade instructions.
anotheranon: (neat)
anotheranon: (Default)
I took off time this year, which I never do, even though the actual day was Saturday. But I had good cause:

I made a day trip to Philadelphia on Thursday for a museum collections visit. Six gorgeous Fortuny gowns with all the variations I could hope for (two sleeveless, two long sleeved, one short sleeved. Two were "Delphos", a dress with over-tunic). Lined up like Rockettes, for close inspection and careful notes!

I didn't sit down for the two hours I was allotted, I just kept circling the table and taking notes furiously. I wasn't allowed to touch the dresses, but the curators were there to move, turn, and otherwise handle the garments. I was even allowed to take pictures, and though idjit me forgot the camera D. had carefully set up for me, my phone took surprisingly good images.

I answered a lot of the questions I had about how these pleated gowns are constructed. What I'll do with this information I don't know; I suspect what I figured out isn't new to any collectors or curators so I doubt it's anything publishable. Possibly I'll experiment with shibori pleating on the silk remnants I got last month.

It will have to wait because said remnants are in a box with tape on, in preparation for moving. No - NOT across the country this time! Just across town (maybe even only across the parking lot), because our unit is going to be remodeled. We need to be out in two-ish months. Not sure where we're moving TO yet, but in any event culling and boxing took up Friday, in addition to my original plan of typing up Fortuny notes.

Saturday was my actual birthday and was coincidentally the same night as a big charity gala that we were invited to by some of D.'s colleagues. So we put on evening finery and after a minimal struggle with D.'s bowtie we went out for good food and wine with smart and generous people. Having been told it was my birthday, they had set us up with a junior suite in the hotel, along with cake and champagne on ice :) It's the kind of elegance and glamorous goings on I dreamed about as a kid while isolated in the exurbs, and it may seem strange but I'm just tickled that I get to do things like this now!

Sunday was trying to get back into the swing of things at home, continuing to weed out the bookshelves, starting the laundry, and more notes.

Not a bad way to start my 39th year :)


Mar. 11th, 2012 09:52 pm
anotheranon: (busy)
Given my recent lethargy (lifting, thank goodness! Better living through chemistry!) it was chancy to plan as much for Saturday as I did, but damn, I just wanted to do it all:

Went to a series of lectures on early 19th century clothing at a historic home one county over - two of my Costume Society acquaintances were presenting, with extant garments to boot! Sometimes there is just no replacement for seeing an actual, three-dimensional object to figure out just how that bib-front bodice buttoned up, or how the bodice stays put with an apron front skirt. Turns out that knowledge about 1800s underwear is still incomplete, so the slip pattern I cobbled together to go under my white Regency may be as good a guess as any. One of my CSA buddies nudged me towards early 19th c. re-enactment, and I wouldn't say no except I'm still struggling to find time to accessorize what I have, and am about to get busier until ~July (see below).

After lectures and lunch I had some time to kill so I went to a nearby used CD store and ended up picking up Depeche Mode and Duran Duran "best of" comps. As someone who grew up in the 1980s it was kinda unexcusable to go without these "little black dresses" of 80's pop any longer :P

The day finished with a fencing competition, the qualifiers for the big National event each summer. It started on time and was well run, and I was surprised that there were only 6 of us - me, Badger, and 4 unrated people I didn't know.

I came in second! Which means that for the first time I get to fence 2 events at nationals, div 3 (moderately scary) and div 2 (really scary). To be very honest it was not one of my hardest competitions, so while I'm glad I placed 2nd and look forward to fencing all the other women foilists who finished ~top 3 in their divisions I'm trying to remember that I'm not a superstar. To steal a line from Rupaul, I bettah work: the usual practice, lessons, footwork, bladework plus weights and [gack] more cardio.

Today I resisted sleeping in and got the grocery shopping done and the laundry is in progress. I also stopped off at Local Awesome Fabric Store(TM) and found some goodies in the remnant section: an almost-black green silk charmeuse (bias cut top!), gray of same (test fabric for pleating!) and a heavenly smooth silk twill (summer robe for D.!) Got home and promptly fell asleep on the sofa while reading.

I foresee much ironing next weekend.
anotheranon: (busy)
Coming out of the winter lethargy:

A couple of weekends ago D. and I caught the Anglo Saxon hoard exhibit. It is small, but excellent, and not only is the detailed work breathtakingly beautiful (I'm still in awe that tiny filigree and inlay could be done in the 7th century, and in such volume!) but the story behind it is one of incredible good luck: a weekend metal detector treasure hunter found it after searching for half an hour on an acquaintance's farmland. No catalog because it's going to be years before all of the thousands of pieces are sorted, cleaned, cataloged and restored.

Given that we don't get downtown often it seemed a shame to pop back out, so we went out for truly dangerous pies afterwards: all fresh ingredients and real fruit instead of processed everything and corn syrup!

This coming weekend has a lot going on as well: a morning of Federal/regency-o-rama costume lectures followed by lunch with [ profile] skill_grl, finishing with summer nationals qualifiers in the afternoon. Whether I qualify or not it's gonna be a good day :)

And I got permission today to view another museum's 6(!) Fortuny gowns behind the scenes! I'm excited but nervous, as I indicated in my application for viewing that I'd be open to publishing my findings if I discover anything worth sharing. While this is true, my research on the Peplos gown construction has been going on intermittently for about 2 years now and at this rate I'm skeptical that I'll be making any sort of breakthroughs - this is to satisfy my own curiosity.

Badger is inviting me onto Pinterest to share shoe pictures. A worthy endeavor to fill out gaps in my schedule (haha!)
anotheranon: (surprise)
As a tongue tied college radio DJ my hero was John Peel, the legendary BBC Dj who would play anything and everything as long as it was new and fresh, from major labels to nameless cassettes sent in the mail. I first heard him on BBC World Service on my dad's staticky shortwave and his dry humor between records only added to the thrill of discovery. Oh, to flip through his record bins....

And through the joys of the internet WE ALL CAN! Peel's entire 65,000(!) record collection will be going online! Not only preserved but accessible to everyone!

Meanwhile, Tate Modern's photographic archive was narrowly saved from the garbage, while the V&A's is long gone(!). The moron at the V&A should surely be haunted by the ghosts of librarians and curators past!
anotheranon: (busy)
I've been non-communicative (surprise!) and reclusive lately. Not winter weather ('cos we've not really had any) but just a lot of small things constantly going on.

In addition to my usual going and doing, I've made a dent in the pile 'o books, though "pile" is a misnomer as I'm still so enthralled at having thousands of pages in one slim volume that almost everything has been on my Kindle. Mike Carey's Felix Castor series = unputdownable, and I highly recommend it to Dresden Files fans who are itching for something new.

For online reading let me direct you towards Neptune's Fool. It's the travel blog of a friend of mine who is about to run away to sea aboard a tall ship for a year. Though boats are not my thing and I will miss her much, I wish I had the sheer nerve and tenacity to boldly live a dream, and look forward to reading more of her exploits.

[ profile] sealwhiskers is pointing me towards Anno 1790, a Swedish crime drama set in the 18th century that isn't on my local PBS (yet?) but might be on yours. I love me some history and I've never read much about Sweden's so there's not only the story and costumes but the new to look forward to.

I'm also editing down a few hours of fencing footage into bout-sized clips. Once I stop cringing at my mistakes and marveling at how closely I resemble a beer can on legs, I actually get some useful feedback from it in terms of form (good or bad), what works, and some sense of my mental bell curve (do well at beginning, stupid in middle, some recovery at end. Sometimes).

Aaaand I'm still working on the never-ending vest - hand sewing of any kind makes the most "instant gratification" of projects not so instant :P I'd like to finish it sometime this year month so I can work on. ..something else. A robe for D. or a 1910s Downton Abbey dress, or accessories for the Regency (hell, get the Regency photographed) or....

Speaking of D., a lot of the hard work he's done over the past few months is paying off all at once, but he's worked himself into a cold and is spending recupe time watching all the movies in the Marvel 'verse (Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, etc.). So I've been watching movies too.

Back to laundry/editing...
anotheranon: (Default)
..was an eventful one:

I had my last fencing lesson of the year this morning, with an exciting new twist - working on my lunge. As in, lunging and then shifting my weight back and forth between my back and front legs. While doing bladework. And keeping my back upright, legs stable, and no bobbing up and down. This is necessary for reach, stability, and injury avoidance.

Con: besides being technically difficult it hurts like a mother_)*(!_! Coach mentioned an ideal of being able to do splits(!) at which I laughed because I couldn't even do those as a child! Pro: this is something I can do while I'm at home/traveling without equipment. And I'll force myself to do it, because I won't be on a fencing strip again until January.

D. and I went to see "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" in the afternoon. Wow.. it is good, but so subtle, all of the acting is in the facial expressions so it takes careful viewing. I had some difficulty keeping track of characters and following the plot and I suspect it's easier to follow if you've read the book (I picked it up on the way home). ObCostume: The costumes and sets were straight from the seventies. I noticed no obvious shortcuts (like bad wigs) or anachronisms; the latter admittedly may have been easier because most of the actors were older men who are presumably less hung up on adding Hollywood style glamour where none is wanted. Go see it, but read the book first if you can!

Off to finish up Boardwalk Empire. And laundry.
anotheranon: (busy)
Here's what's been going on:

Fencing club has a new space - high ceilings and more space between strips means no more accidentally parrying into the air ducts or taking one's life in one's hands to referee. S. seems a bit disappointed at how much the restrooms take up floor space, but I think it's pretty sweet. Especially considering that fencing is small enough of a sport that having a dedicated space (i.e., not a gym where we have to set up/take down every time) is a good thing in general.

Received Moda a Firenze II as a late birthday gift from my mother-in-law. It is GORGEOUS! I'm at the point of trying to remember the vocabulary.

Turns out that manhandling cats 3 times a day to give them medicine stresses them out - who knew? :( Spice is having to wear a t-shirt to keep her from scratching her healing back and slinks around like something is pressing down on her from above. She's taking out her stress by peeing out of bounds :( Happily she's not soiled anything that isn't washable, and while I'm tired of cleaning up after her I can't blame her terribly. Trying to remedy the situation with liberal sprayings of Feliway, a new huge, clean litter and not pushing myself on her, but petting gently when she comes over. Kisia is only having her ears done, which she hates but is weathering somewhat better.

In between fencing and cat wrangling I've finally managed to finish the Palmer/Plesched vest pattern. Turns out I have large bust, hollow chest, rounded upper back, sway lower back and forward shoulders. I'd be more upset about not mirroring the norm but then I remind myself that clothes should fit the person, not the other way around. I'm going to try drafting the rest of the pieces to match this evening and start construction sometime after Thanksgiving.

Speaking of which, T-Day has snuck up on me and I realized with a shock that we fly out Wednesday! So I have to bring the pet sitter up to speed, pack, and cat-proof what I won't be here to monitor.

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