Author Archives: m d b

patterning

I’ve been trying to tidy my life a bit by transferring fabric and card patterns to paper, but frankly some patterns need to be card. Like all those multi seamed bodysuit patterns, and the armour. I gave up half way through what are apparently my “full” sets of patterns that are not. Fem Shep is in three places (Turian bits, armour, bodysuit.)

So I decided to try and actually pattern today, my Cranach dress:

Again, it’s those multi-seams that is making life difficult.

In this case, the evidence of extant garments and patterns all use the same sleeve head which is a shallow sideways S. There are no all in one cuts with the body. And yet.. those do look like piped seams that follow up to the neck.

This is also why I have been redoing all my patterns. I put too much work into geometry of sleeves when they are all annoyingly based on the same basic set of patterns.

There is a totally fantastic long gown with puffed sleeves in the Swabach tailor’s manual. The piecing does support cutting panes separately at least which is enough. If this painting is based on a real garment Cranach could have used then I think I know how it would actually look vs idealisation.

The popped collar is also very annoying. It’s high enough that it collapses in simple layers. And I can’t get it the neckline to sit quite that far into my shoulder. So I am taking a break and looking into my stash for canvas and hair cloth and twill tape to figure out what I want to do.

I also am working on how to talk about historical fit and scale. Because it really is counter intuitive- and is part of why this dress in particular is annoying. There is a heck of a lot that connects 16thC tailor’s manuals to 19thC dress making. To the point I’m working on teaching some 19thC cut and fit (like the difference between American and “French” systems- hint they are totally different but not if we use modern interpretations.)

And I do really want to review and link more books in my database.

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attempting

Currently trying to get warm to be able to follow through with my project of tracing all my patterns (self developed) as it is feeding into anxiety that has cropped up pretty intensely recently. My self esteem plummeted a while ago and it got so bad I nearly didn’t go to an SCA event last weekend- a pot luck dinner, no pressure, except my own.

After a cry- yep- I managed to say to myself even if I just get into my frock that is more than I have done, so if I wound up unable to move then it’s still something.

At this point in a chronic illness there are not so many spikes in pain and fatigue, but the usual therapies are less effective, leading to much the same outcome in terms of the final equation of Energy = therapy – (pain x fatigue)

I know that, and still feel like a failure for being too sore and tired from my shower.

However. I did get to the SCA event, in the pink frock of pinkness, and got to be enthusiastic about teaching, and it was also inspiring just to be in a room where people are being enthusiastic. To the point I’d really like to organise a full day/weekend of classes.

However. I do have a bit more reading and transcribing.

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Ideas

I’m currently rereading Wyrd Sisters and am identifying with Hwel right now.

Particles of raw inspiration sleet through the universe all the time. Every
once in a while one of them hits a receptive mind, which then invents DNA or
the flute sonata form or a way of making light bulbs wear out in half the time.
Some people are even more unfortunate. They get them all.

Wyrd Sisters

Leading to this:

He made the mistake of pausing, and another inspiration sleeted down,
sending his train of thought off along an entirely new track.

Wyrd Sisters

Basically this is me currently, and for one of my dream projects.

I have vivid dreams just before waking, and most of the time they are stress/anxiety related so I spend a few moments just shedding those images and words to start the day in a better state than they would lend. But sometimes, sometimes that vividness works in my favour and I wind up figuring out how to make or do something either as intended or within new limitations.

And my limitations now are more than during the making, but also wearing, and also storing.

So to figure out how to get over all of that? Pretty impresseive.

And that is what happened to figure out a safe to make and wear Chimera gown after the original.

Chimera gown by Thierry Mugler. Promotional photo.

It will work really well for the back, and can be adapted for the front.

I very much though want to make the silver leather Freya gown from the second Hunstman film. Both require accuracy in scaling scales that scale. Hah! Scale as in doing a 1/4 test fit. Scales as in the scales you can see, and scale as in they start one size and scale up or down or both.

Freya from Huntsman 2.

I will need to then accurate files for a one off chance for my cutting machine. And from there have a plan for storing the in progress and finished works. At the moment the materials are stored in parts with other stash.

But this is exciting as well; being inspired at all after three days of a fibro flare that had me crying is impressive. And I have graph paper already out and ready to use, and paper for my fabric doll that I probably could use for a test fit. Okay… let’s get showered and emulgel applied to hips and back. For the first time topically applied NSAIDs work.

That’s because my fibro really does start as muscle pain, transfers to myofascia (the delicate connection between muscles and muscle and skin) to skin. So stuff applied to my skin seems to help. Also diclofenac has analgesic as well as anti-inflammatory effects. Today is also the first day I can use my knuckles to work the tight muscles in my back. I still feel a bit sick doing so, and I can still feel like my knuckles are digging in but on balance it’s helping.

I wish I could afford a weekly massage, or actually daily, but I’ll see if I can find one of those foam rollers if I can use one without my hands.

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updates

Oh my. I’ve been having a bit of a hard time health wise and it’s really impacted my ability to do anything. But I’ve managed to stop my midnight tidying sessions (oh yes, yay insomnia as it runs through my family) so at least I can think about making. But I’ve wanted to get my patterns and other costuming files to help others for so long that I have dedicated my “on” time to that. So far I’m thrilled that my idea to do the modular thing. Right now I have a clear set of diagrams from Freyle-Anduxar for patterns to show how they work in the same way which is really exciting.

I made a paper tape at 1/5 scale and am confident that what I have done is right, I’ve just got a handful of pattern categories I’m not sure on. I might have..

I have noticed there is a clear link between extant patterns and extant garments, which is very cool and will help me justify how I use the patterns.

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ooooh

I am test driving an ibuprofen patch across my upper back as that is a source of pain that gets transfered by fibro. I can’t afford to do this often ($NZ25 for two patches, and can be used for no longer than 5 days in a row) but I think this is the first time I’ve found any benefit from an external application.

And I will be able to let my Rheumatologist and GP know in case there are any alternatives.

I’m also sorting through a huge backlog of research material, but am going to focus on some inventories that offer some explanation for why it’s taking so long to explain what is going on with Anne of Cleves and her hat.

And I’ve started clipping my own pearled pieces and am not happy with how it is going. I may have to resort to more glue than I wanted. The satin is so loosely woven that it is fraying even with a good 6-10mm allowance. But the cord looks good so I’m going to clip right to the edge and then glue the raw edges and then stitch the cord in place.

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research hiccoughs

There is not a lot of archival material relating to Anne of Cleves or her two sisters during their time at home. And there are mostly summaries of documents in the Letters and Papers. The original documents are being digitised so it’s been worthwhile to search for them documents every so often.

The North Rhine Westfallen documents are also being digitised, many documents that were in the Cologne Archives were photographed in the first half of the 20th century and those images are being uploaded as well. They were all on microfilm and I think were part of the same recording effort as what has now become bildindex.de.

Some of these images are too small for me to read, but saving them has meant I have an idea of just how much information is in them, and to keep looking for transcriptions.

What has emerged from the documents already available and the artwork is that despite the combined Duchies surrounding the entire region of Cologne there was very little influence in either direction. There does seem to be some influence between the Combined Duchies and the Duchy of Glederland, which seems to have two concurrent styles showing influence from both the Netherlands and the Combined Duchies.

The documents I have been able to read also suggest this difference, and this is why still now 16 years on I still don’t have the correct terms for what Anne wore in her paintings. I am pretty sure I have the correct term for her style of hat, I just need to finish that article, but it’s possibly not the only term, and it’s possibly not accurate for Anne’s specific headgear.

It’s also not helped by there being no real agreed on spelling for recent transcriptions, and the spelling in the documents mean modern search engines can’t offer suggestions for searches.

And it’s complicated further by having multiple databases that contain different information and use very different formats.

So today I start to tidy folders of archives because over the years I’ve had different ideas of how to organise them. But I think I do now have a better idea.

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Scanning

I’ve been in tidying mode, but am now ready to start the scanning of images and documents for the North Rhine section of my other site. Some interesting terminology used and I’m hoping to be able to find the originals online as well as a transcription as opposed to the summary I have.

If my printer can communicate to my PC that is. Okay figured out the issue so am now tethered to it.

And I just found an image of Anne’s brother with a beard that I recognise from another source, so that’s good.

I very much want to keep working on my kleinod (jewelry) but I’ve offered to teach online so I really need all of this sorted.

Back to the 3kg book

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fly by update

It’s been a series of stressful months, good days are a bit rare, but today is one. While I’d love to use this day to do something fun, I am tidying. And happy about it. Or rather feeling confident that I can not just start but finish this project.

I have a few written and costume projects I really want to work on. But I need today to tidy the last of sorting, so I can go back into where my tools and supplies are. If I tidy when stressed I have a tendency to not remember where that very clever space to store went to.

And it will let me access my wardrobe space to save for some extra supports to get a bar right across the top to hang my clothes and costumes, leaving the wire shelves able to be used in lower levels I have a great start, it’s just that I really do need a very strong bar with multiple supports to do so.

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Opportunities

One of the things about chronic illness is that it goes against every single “overcoming” narrative. We know that a lot of things get better over time, so this feels like it’s a failure. It’s not. It’s that the risk to reward calculation gets harder over time due to the increased time to recover. For a lot of people this happens much later in life, but it’s been part of mine for 20 years (20 days short to the day.)

And it can be very hard as well when you make a sensible decision and feel better, because you think maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad. No matter how much experience says that no, actually, it would have been that bad. My foot starting cramping on my bus home and the last time that happened my entire right hand side started to cramp in the opposite direction to all the joints on that side. It was so scary I wound up being told I was having a panic attack but that’s because no one was there for what happened on the bus. It is something to see your fingers curling backwards and feeling the muscles down the front of your leg doing the same. It is probably a B12 thing, easy solution but I’m not tested regularly enough to track it.

There is a degree of unpredictability also when you have an immune system that detects very quickly and goes on the offensive very quickly. This is because bugs can spread before symptoms develop and that might be happening right now. My glands are usually sore but they are particularly bad today. I am obviously acting to protect myself but also I am aware that I’m far from unique in this, and I don’t want to be the cause of anyone else picking up whatever I might have. By the time I know what that is I’ll be in a transmission chain.

But today is a pause, take what ever I need to rest (heat is great, so too is a snuggly dressing gown, though the tie belt is a bit uncomfortable) and start again when I have a new chance.

I’m so excited to be able to focus on my pearl work. And I need to follow up asap about a potential hoard of pearls before my introverted self starts to doubt.

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Finally Elsa

After a lot of time I finally have the perfect chiffon for my Elsa gown, and apparently this particular brand sells out super fast. I can see why. It’s super soft and sheer and is ideal for both gathering and draping, and it has none of the sheen that you get in some chiffon, so, I get it. I have just enough if I can handle a fair bit of top and tailing of gores, and you know, that is easily in my wheelhouse, it’s the planning to do so. I might need to split the sleeve capes like I did my ice cape, but again, I’ve done that before.

It’s sheer enough but as soon as I dip dye the hem it will do exactly what happens in the film. It will make the hem seem to get more sheer. So yes, this is a really amazing fabric to be able to do all of that.

So this means that I can start the sleeve capes while figuring out how much charmeuse for the lining and exactly how to cut the sequin fabric. I think I’m going to do a slightly unexpected cut. Basically darting the sequins at each point so that I can shape over my hips and wind up with a fuller hem. There are a few strange things going on in the skirt because they went even further in making her gown as unattached to reality as possible. Knit fabrics do a lot of work in interpreting animation but this possibly goes even further and could only be made real with a machine that could knit or crochet the piece in one.

But I need a fun and beautiful project as it’s getting more and more difficult to do anything and it’s genuinely not something I can just get over myself. It’s not a personal issue, it’s an accessibility one.

Today might be the last relatively risk free travel I did locally, as unfortunately neither the flu nor CV vaccine will be available for me for several months, and it’s absolutely a life and death situation. My permanent cough from my last round of flu cannot be Dxed as anything until I get a CT and I can’t get a CT because nothing shows on an xray. And I am seriously looking at how much they cost. Okay. It’s the cost of a mid range laptop. Which I desperately need.

But I also really need to have Dx of this bronchitis as it is limiting my life. Okay. Tomorow. Tomorrow I call my Rheumy nurse, and GP. I will have to go through the respiratory clinic meaning a nose swab but I really need this current activity of cough to settle to be allowed a vaccine when it does become available.

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