Author Archives: m d b


I have reached an impasse with my physical and mental health. But I have a path which is so important. One of my books has landed in the country and so I’m excited and motivated to be prepared to be told everything I’ve done is wrong or if it is right. It may also not do either and even then it’s going to be helpful.

But I need a break.

I’m in limbo in ways I have no control over. It’s going to be lifelong too.

So I’m trying to protect what and who I love.

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Whoops. I have had to sort and categorise all my North Rhine research because I finally found a very small but very important stream of information in the form of both artwork and archives. One of the problems with both is being sure that what I’m seeing is indeed from the time.

One archive record I reread used a modern modern translation- both spelling and meaning- and I was about to put it in my stash of modernised records when I saw there was a scan, that while modernised it was not summarised so I was able to find the word in the scan. And yep. Modern translation and spelling but in a really easy to understand way so it means I now have a handful of matching modern records that I can use.

The second stream is potentially a record of four or five noble women that also confirm this. So another dissertation and journal on the way.

But all this tidying made it to my image files and I have now made 228 folders for individual paintings, and that doesn’t count the printed works and images of noble women. But it really has taken 15 years of repeated searches and not just in images and archives. I had to learn the dialect of the time to make sense. Interestingly one of the earliest articles I was sent (not OCR so I had to limit how much I hand typed from the 30 pages) confirms exactly what I have been reading.

But all of this needs to be presented as so many books are out of print, and I have had to back track a single repeated statement. I needed to do that as it’s become fact when it is really not at all.

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the joys of research

Just as I start editing my “Will the Real Stickelcehn Please Stand Up?” article I find a stash of images, *and* find an archive item has been updated with a scan and I managed to hunt out the section on clothing. A suspicion I had does seem to hold up and it also fits in with what I have noticed about spelling that has also been confirmed by language studies.

It’s great, but what I suspected is also true: transcriptions often modernise the language and that unfortunately strips out what makes the original spelling so important. So while I can include the archives that haven’t be digitised I can’t add them to my list of words. I’ll figure some way around this, even if it means requesting copies of the microfilm they are on.

But that spelling is varied in ways that make it nearly impossible to do either careful or brute searches. So I need to work on both my essay and an introduction to the language.

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a stash of new images

I have collected as many articles, as many catalogues as I could and have only found a couple of images not already in my site. Until yesterday. Eight. Eight of them. All noblewomen of the North Rhine making them really important for my purposes. Good timing as I finally got an article transcribed and translated that is really important as it discussing the written and spoken language.

So today I will be editing those images and sorting them. And I’m finally sorting my online citations which is going faster now that apps are playing together.

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more progress

I’ve been putting off transcribing and translating an article for over a decade as it is 28 (narrowed down to 26) A4 pages of 11pt text on in German with special characters every other word or so. OCR has come a long way since, but this article wasn’t available that way. So I now have apps and tools to do this in one day as it’s vital: it is part of my reasoning behind almost all of my use of NRW clothing terms. So it’s really important to be able to cite where the info is in the page.

It’s just tough as even using a really good spelling and grammar editor it is still not able to offer special characters very easily so even though I am now 6 pages from finishing I will have to go through again to put in special characters. But why would I have to do that? Because the special characters are specific to grammar in many ways. Not sure why a list of potenial words don’t pop up, but that’s where we are.

I’m finding I am able to read it pretty well, which is amazing. The last year of stress and fibro has made even thinking about trying to read another language just.. ugh.. nope. But I set today aside to get a bit of time in and it is helping. Not sure how long this will last, but I’m grabbing on to whatever I can manage today!

So I do have to have a lie down with all sound blocked out, fibro increases sensitivity to light and sound, and as they feel like they make up most of my head, most of my head feels deeply uncomfortable. Wearing glasses adds to the vision but also skin sensation as the weight on my nose feels like it increases.

So, hopefully this time tomorrow I’ll have a new page to share. But yesterday was spent tracking down all the apps I need to edit pdfs and then parse through OCR and to then edit as a text. It was A Lot.

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consolidating research

I am genuinely finally on the last stages of the next big update for my Anne of Cleves research. I’ve been collecting and drawing from as many digital sources as possible, images, documents, transcribed documents, and also in all that time paying attention to any improved sources and that has happened a few times now.

So I’m reorganising ALL THE FOLDERs which is quite time consuming, and there are a handful of images that are double ups in my timeline because I got a more appropriate date.

It’s also creeping ever closer to the time I need my Elsa gown made and I’m frustrated by my pain and lack of energy interfering in both. But progress is progress is progress. So I have to remember that.

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Elsa progress- finally!

I had to totally change how I am making my Elsa gown which has meant going back to scratch while at the same time buying vital materials. Finally some powernet that is powernet has arrived! It’s the same as I made my Ice Gown bodysuit from so I do know what I can get it to do.

My problem is and has been down to two things.

  1. the neckline- it’s so low that I have to either accept not perfectly illusion net to hold it up from the shoulders, or some sort of very hidden corsetry to push it up. The very deep v in the back here is what makes the choise so hard.
  2. my sequin fabric has very definite vertical lines. The deep points of the skirt means I have to use these very carefully

So this power net is great. I can layer the netting where I need support but also can dip dye to match my skin tone so I can use it as it is or get a true illusion net over the top. Probably the latter.

I have a tremendous amount of super sheer tulle that was going to be used on my Bubble gown, so that can be layered up to get that snow effect but over the sequins to get that sparkle. Basically what I did for my Ice Gown (-frozen-elsa) but at least 4 layers.

Those layers of tulle will hopefully help protect the edges of the sequin fabric once I cut it. And will hide seams I have to put in to the sequin fabric.

The sheer layer if fine in terms of cut- I can either top and tail panels or do a kind of 1900s skirt cut, that is also similar to my Mina skirt foundation. I really want to to make the skirt in very narrow panels for each point.

Again though all of this is dependent on solving the neckline/support and sequin fabric direction issues. I really need to prepare for that in terms of fabric glue to tack down threads holding sequins as those points get very narrow and will be very finicky.

I have some nice gently stretched satin to line the sequins, but it’s not as nice as what I have for the ice gown or what I started making of the Frozen Fever gown. I wish I could remember where I got it.

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new ssd

My computer has had a refresh after my ssd had a minor hardware fail. So fast, so easy to use. All to get my research properly sorted and updated. I spent nearly all my monthly allowance on free articles on JSTOR so it’s quite timely.

I did swap some cables, got the vacuum out, so I think I have a few more years out of this pc 🙂

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mini update

I’ve been slowly working on my two Poysdorf shirts, I did cut down a regular shirt for that, so my gussets are too deep but it does work. I’ve taken out as much as possible from the back so it sits flat against my back to leave the gathers entirely where it is most needed in Kleve-Juelich-Berg and Koeln. That is my adaptation for a much warmer and humid climate that I live in. I am not comfortable with a lot of fabric gathered and creating pockets of warm air around my torso, so I very much need this!

I’ve spent a bit of time this year trying some rehab of my hands. It’s too expensive to get physio unfortunately but I do still have some resources from my carpal tunnel release surgery.

This is what I did do: Therapeutic Exercise Program for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (pdf.)

So I’m doing these again on top of a few simple RA stretches which have not changed or advanced but are vital: Slide show: Hand exercises for people with arthritis (series of gifs showing how to do each exercise.)

The “finger walk” is especially useful due to the drift of fingers.

My PC seems to have finally stopped working, so I’m tippy tappy typing on a smaller keyboard but my thumbs are curled under so it’s time to find a different posture and get some heat on my hands.

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found it!

Full if very fuzzy views of Joke de Kruif’s Second Managers dress 🙂 I have to admit, I’d love if this version (or rather set of variations as each show starts with multiple copies then builds and has to change based on availability of trims etc) had a longer waterfall pleated train, but it’s a very effective treatment with that stacked trim. It reminds me a lot of a garment at LACMA:

This is the best photo of one of the dress but as worn by Michelle van de Ven:

The extremely rich fringing over gathered or extremely finely pleated ruffles make each part very distinctive. And very easy to make out in very blurry images. And you can make out that the matching skirt has a straight apron drape, a feature on relatively few variations. Another photo of Michelle shows a different Dutch costume, though

So a fairly narrow skirt cut with a short flat train, a short bustle for a very vertical line for the pleats to lay on (the weight of these once lined and with trim is quite a lot. The panier drapery is long, no ruffle, but that heavy trim, and an extension built in like a waterfall pleat but less flared that hangs to reach almost to them hem, and a shorter waterfall pleated drapery that seems to be split as the CB seam of the skirt can be seen when Christine flees the scene.

The photo of Michelle van de Ven answers how this was achieved so I’ll be for sure adding in how to work out pannier and apron drapes and ruffles as they all work in together. I even spotted a curve cut sleeve ruffle which is just… well explains a lot actually.

I’ve meanwhile stalled on my own costumes as I think I really need another layer of net over the iridescent organza and I am not exactly sure how much I need. I decided at some stage the pleats needed an extension to be as wide as the original Australian waterfalls. And I lost track of how many folds were in what costume.

I have that sorted now.

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