Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Sunday Morning: Tea and Corsets

This is a late post, for which I apologise, it's been a little hectic since, but all the better to remember a lovely, quiet Sunday morning spent nursing a cup of tea and fiddling with the corset pattern.

First though, back to the tea, a Christmas present from the lovely Mrs B.  It is "alcoholic", Blueberry Merlot on a Sunday morning, how decadent and just gorgeous.  I couldn't resist a photo or two.

Suitably fortified, I set about comparing the busts and discovered that although the pieces are all the same I had made two quite different shaped busts;  I did, for a few minutes, think that I'd sewn one side in back to front.  Muslin two is closer to the pattern, but muslin one suits me best.

I took the muslins apart where needed and retraced the fabric pieces onto the pattern.  I followed the same technique around the rest of the pattern, using whichever pieces (from either muslin) work best on me.  The paper pattern is looking busy and it's amazing what a difference a matter of millimetres can make.  

I've now retraced the new pieces and am going to make a third, full, muslin in a heavier weight fabric.  My final test piece.

And last but not least, an utterly gratuitous picture of Finn, proving that dogs will indeed sleep anywhere, even the 11yr old's foot! 

The Owl Prowl, Wordy Wednesday 30th January 2013

The dogs, D90 and I took a walk at dusk on Sunday, just hoping... and look who we saw.  I could still benefit from a longer range lens, but we did far better than my previous attempts and I couldn't resist the share.

I'd love to know what they were all looking at!

Friday, 25 January 2013

The 1873 Corset, second draft

This week, I have slowly been working my way through the second draft of the 1873 corset.  It shouldn't have taken so long, but it has been a case of snatched moments here and there.  After the first redraft, I have also edited pieces as I have sewn the muslin together and then annotated the paper copy with (dated) reminders.

I was even more pleased with my new system when I put the second muslin on Miss G and realised I'd not increased the width of the back piece, which was probably the most important adjustment from muslin number one; dopey does not even begin to describe it!

I have also pinned and marked points on the muslin at which the fit or line is not right as it is sat on Miss G.  I'll need to double check everything on myself before I transfer the markings to the paper pattern though.

The main issues is that the bust area needs looking at a little more.  The first muslin is pinned in reverse on the right hand side of Miss G for reference and it sits far better over the bust than the new muslin does.  The second is quite puckered and doesn't look anywhere near as smooth.  The measurements on those pieces have not changed, so I am wont to blame my sewing; but the bottom front panel, which is a good deal bigger than the original has also distinctly (and unexpectedly) raised the waist line.  I actually rather like it, but I fear that this line will be too short on my body and another reason why the main side panel will need looking at further. 

That said, barring these last few tweaks to the front pieces, I'm pretty happy with how it's progressing.  the changes to the bottom pieces have certainly given me the exaggeration to the hip that I was looking for.  Here's some photos, with the hip padded out to give a better idea of how it will look once boned.

You can see in this last photo the difference in waist lines.  It definitely needs to be revisited though the second muslin looks so much crisper with the shortened waist. 

I am also getting slightly nervous though about how the final piece will go together, the muslin goes together so well because the fabric is so flexible and I won't have that luxury on the final pieces.  Last, but most definitely not least, I now need to decide on some fabrics.  Never mind that I can keep tinkering with the pattern, I can't go any further past that point without some fabric!

The Owl and The Camera

One of the lovely boyf's stipulations, when presenting me with my Christmas present, was to use it to get a good photograph of the Barn owl that we are occasionally lucky enough to see in the back field as we walk the dogs.  Yesterday afternoon I was planning to take my camera on our walk but it was bitterly cold and sleeting and didn't really seem like the best plan.  The snow is (slowly) going and I couldn't imagine there would really be anything photo and bone-chilled fingers worthy.  Famous last thoughts and all that; not only do we have a Barn owl, we have two.  Two, very unfussed by the crazy lady and her dogs, owls who, for a delightful 20 minutes, showed me exactly why we are so keen on getting a good photo of them  They were positively showing off, swooping, hunting, posing and preening and all well within range of the D90's lens.

Unfortunately, not so the camera phone's, but I tried... so here you are hon, one owl pic.  I've given you a little hint, I'm sure you'll agree, it's obvious when you know where to look!

Monday, 21 January 2013

What to do on a snowy Sunday morning?

Move the furniture round in your bedroom, of course.  It was all the lovely boyf's idea and a damn fine one it was too.  There are only two options for our room, the bed sat facing the main window and the wardrobe sat to the side (you get a full height wardrobe but you lose one of the two available lights, which has been gently annoying us, especially in the winters) or to swap them around.  

This was option one...

So swap them we did, easier said than done.  Moving bedroom furniture can be, at the best of times, a pain; moving bedroom furniture in a 600 yr old cottage with walls, floors and ceilings that curve, slope and undulate, is a whole other challenge!  The bed could go nowhere but the other end of the room by the front window and the wardrobe then had to be moved to where the top of the bed was (the only other spot in the room tall enough and with enough space to then work), before it could be dismantled and put in place properly. Getting it there involved dragging it, tilted at various angles depending on the ceiling height, frequently getting it jammed and stuck on the ceiling and some swearing and tears (both mine!)   

Moving stuff in tiny places involves a little crazy, Megs was not amused.
Then we, I say we, it was the lovely boyf, but I did take the pictures, set to "adapting" the wardrobe to fit it's new home.  I say "adapted" because it sounds nicer than we chopped the drawers and legs off, which we did!  

Man plus saw =
this used to be drawers +
much, much shorter legs!
And whilst that was happening, I found that the top of the wardrobe was lined with some pretty funky wallpaper!
The architect of destruction... rather enjoying himself too.
Half an hour later, we have a new wardrobe... and to give you an idea of just how wonky our floors are, look at the legs, the difference is nearly 4".

Since moving to this house, I have come to love collecting old weights, they are perfect for leveling everything out.  We have the wardrobe at 3" just now, but will need to go shopping for more; we also need some for the bed, unless we want to sleep with our feet raised!

And that's it.  Our new room.  We will need to find a matching light for the other side of the bed and I am going to take the opportunity to paint the walls as I have a pot of Craig & Rose's Hemp Beige which I've been itching to use somewhere in the house.

I will need to find something to use as a bedside table, as it seems that I may have now stolen, rather than borrowed, the globe lamp (!), and then came the fun bit; finding new homes for all my bits and pieces...

I love the red of these Moroccan slippers.
And the space at the top of the wardrobe to display a few, normally, hidden things.
The Wedding Basket tucks nicely into the gap and makes a good bookshelf.
And it's pair sits at the other end of the room, a depository for the contents of the boyf's pockets! 
I also needed a new home for the picture frames, some sit on the window to the side and this one, one of my favorites of the 11yr old (when she was about seven, I guess), sits on the main windowsill with my Omani silver, my Grandmother's pomander pot (which still smells wonderful after what must be more than 40 years), and one of my memory boxes....  and, yes, constantly foggy windows are a fact of old, cold cottage life....

Finally, my Grandfather's card table, which sat at the end of our bed, needed a new home. Originally it came upstairs because the wood was too dark in contrast to our furniture downstairs but, with the addition of a couple of other pieces, it now works just fine.  

It is, as the decoration suggests, to be a drinks table, and a card table when I find the cards. I feel rather grown up, with a drinks table in the house!

And so, on a budget of nothing (the boyfs stipulation was that we could only spend money, eventually, on a new light and any weights we may need) we have a new room.  It certainly works much better; the bed is no longer near the cold outside walls and window; the full length mirror can be used properly as such and already it's brighter, as the wardrobe isn't blocking the one available light source.  Sleeping with my head to the hallway wall felt a little odd, rather like there was space behind my head, not solid wall, but that's just my crazy talking. The room feels much lighter and airier which, as my old amah Chan would have said, is because the feng shui is "Good!" (not easy in our house) so I'm expecting lots of lovely nights' sleep!  

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