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Sometimes it takes a village

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I had the privilege of attending an amazing Big Ass Hat Tea hosted by Jennylafleur week before last, and while I had a wonderful time others have done a nice write up of the event and I’ve been thinking pondery thoughts. Specifically about community.

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Widdle baby Wobbin. In a class Simplicity number, please admire the variegated snood.

In the dark ages when I started costuming (1997…wow) I met a lot, and I mean A LOT of my friends through costume journaling on LiveJournal, and most people have left that medium. Some wandered off when Facebook became the monolith it is, some left when Livejournal became a Russian company. I see more and more of the costuming community on Facebook and Instagram and while yes I have and enjoy both of those mediums I feel a deep sadness for the 13 year olds looking to get into costuming today.

Why? they have even MORE access to costumers! You don’t need to scan things to find them online these days. I feel this because with the death of dress diaries and journaling you lose the reinforcement that NOT EVERYTHING IS PERFECT. The number of my projects that have turned out the way I wanted compared to those I’ve never admitted to on this blog or elsewhere is probably 10:1 in favor of the trash pile.  Having a rich community of people sharing their process helped me feel okay making mistakes and growing.  I worry that the costumers who come after me will think it has to be a perfect instagram photo before it’s worth sharing.

 

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Can we take a moment to admire the twisted sleeves, suuuper narrow skirt and baby face? also hello super heavy polyester upholstery fabric *shudder* 

Okay Robin but you were talking about an awesome 18th century tea. What on earth does this have to do with anything? You may have noticed that I don’t have many 18th century costumes on this blog (do I have any?)..and the truth is that I don’t FEEL pretty in the 18th century. Why? I’m not good at it, and I’m surrounded by people who are freaking AMAZING at it. When sewing for the tea I had some *ahem* struggles.

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The wrinkle ended up winning I put in a dart

But here’s the thing, I felt comfortable with an amazing group of women who’ve taught me so much, and I showed up and said HELP.  You see sometimes it takes a village.

33902012946_3208755ff9_oAlice sewed my waist darts to help it fit. Katherine sewed my sleeve trim. Jenny-Rose lent me her AMAZINGLY decorated petticoat and stomacher as well as a delightfully ridiculous cap. Adrienne let me wear her hat. And in the end? Well I won’t say it made me as giddy as if it was silly 1830s, but I felt a million times better.

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So I guess the point of this is two fold. 1. If you’re new to costuming and looking for some community the LJ group has mostly moved to Dreamwidth. I’m Robinsnest over there and please come on in. The water’s great and it’s so fun to have friends to really talk the details through with. and 2. If Instagram and FB and snapchat or whatever the cool kids are using is your jam? GREAT. But don’t hold yourself to what you think are unachievable standards. Sometimes you’re going to a party for a friend you love in an era that hasn’t clicked with you and it just takes a village.

Stay tuned next week and I promise an actual construction write up of my oufit (the 1/16th I made)

A Tale of Two Pineapples

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A Tale of Two Pineapples

Pineapple the first

A long long time ago, in an apt far far away (okay about 10 miles) I was minding my own business and plotting things for Gettysburg in 2015 (I told you it was long ago) when Katherine found this awesome pineapple reticule.

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The original was sold on Ruby Lane but the posting is no longer active

It’s the pineapple knobby knitting pattern that is well reproduced, BUT it’s weird. And we know I love weird. It’s navy, it has TWO beads, and well…it’s weird. We all know how I love the erm bold.

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I did manage to finish it in the cabin at Gettysburg, see? it’s in the tintype…and that’s the only photo I have of it that weekend. oops? Did I take ANY in progress photos? of course not, cameras weren’t invented that long ago.

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Photo stolen from Amanda

 

I used DMC perle cotton from Joann’s and glass beads on size 00 needles. I would not recommend this combo.

  1. The beads started gold..they look clear as running down them down the thread rubbed off. Spring for good beads if you’re putting in all the effort.
  2. One little hank lasts one bobble worth. so I was changing thread and restringing beads ALL. THE. DAMN. TIME.
  3. The size 00s I had were 4″ long and it was entirely too easy to drop stitches.

That said DO use this pattern.  I found it much easier to follow than the one I used for Amanda’s pineapple…stay tuned we’ll get there…

 

 

Pineapple the second

aka can our impetuous heroine learn from her mistakes?!

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Pineapple reticules like this one in the Koyto Institute that were actually, you know, pineapple colored were more popular. I mean how boring right?

Turns out I have friends with more *ahem* convention taste, so when Amanda asked? I offered? somehow I ended up in the bestest barter ever. Amanda Bonnet for badly knitted pineapple. I got the MUCH better end of the bargain.

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So this time I DID manage a few in process photos…WHO’S IMPRESSED

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This time I used Aunt Lydia’s crochet thread, nicer glass beads and size 0 needles. Why size 0? firstly I couldn’t find the 00s, secondly I prefer bamboo needles…however they do have oooone distinct disadvantage…

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someone thinks they look like sticks

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who me? I’m an ANGEL

After a fair amount of cursing, swearing and threatening to turn her into a rug I managed to get the stitches sort of back on three needles and use a set of four as opposed to the original five. awkward but I made it work. As much as I hate the noise I think I might need to buy metal needles for tiny ones from now on. At least until my assistant isn’t so “helpful.” I’m told someday she’ll outgrow being a puppy…if we still have walls then.

Overall I was happy with the crochet thread, it looks a little bulky to me and I might consider doing a micro-tiny one someday but for my current lack-of-skill level it worked fine. I decided to try a different version of the pineapple pattern, I’m not kidding when I say they were popular you can find a few different original patterns for them. I found this version a lot harder to follow, for a beginner I’d recommend the other pattern.

I also tried putting the ties through the eyelets on the top as it annoyed me when the blue one was gathered up the leaves were all flaccid and floppy…but it gathered kind of weird so I’m not sure I liked that better.

Overall STILL things I’ll do differently for my next one (and yes I already promised one more then I’m pineappled out for a while). But I’m fairly happy with both of them as learning opportunities.

1830s lavender voile dress

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1830s lavender voile dress

For those who haven’t been to the Historic Village in Allaire NJ it’s a sweet working village set up from the 1830s at Mr. Allaire’s iron works. Our friend Tessa was getting faked married as Maria Allaire on Sunday and that mustered some of the local Philly costume contingent to invade.

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The blushing fake bride is in the middle

It being June and hot as hades I figured a new voile dress would be a great idea…what was NOT a great idea was starting the dress the Tuesday before I needed it.

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Am I capable of not being talking during photos? I KNEW IT WAS BEING TAKEN

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I ordered 7 yards of voile form this AWESOME etsy seller, fabric was fabulous, got here ASAP from NYC, will be ordering again. ($2.99/yd?! yes thank you) I miss cut the front and had to recut it and ended up piecing one sleeve..so yeah only scraps really left.

The bodice is the Truly Victorian Ballgown bodice with a few alterations, second time I’ve used it for 1830s. The sleeves are out of Janet Arnold. Bodice and sleeves are lined with muslin and there’s a yard of hex net cut in half and gathered up in each sleeve. I would like to get around to making real sleeve puffers..but like I said started tuesday. The skirt is three panels two of which are in the back one in the front.

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I did also finish a corded petticoat which I’ll pretend will get it’s own post someday…for when I never get around to it it’s two length’s of Joann’s Premium muslin (not that crappy crappy stuff) and sugar and cream cording. I was very pleased with it, body but now super stiff.

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And a few more pictures

Before I re-wear it I need to add real closures (it has one at the waist and one at each wrist causing gaping) and actually iron it.

Alice’s Attic: 1898-1905 black and cream silk bodice

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