Saturday, September 30, 2006

Don't you judge me!

I know, two weeks is unacceptably long between posts. But in my defense, I have actually been working on my costume rather than gadding about online. I have managed to do lots of stuff - cut the crap out of a pair of shoes, cut the crap out of my finger, cut the crap out of a yard of my not terribly expensive but scarce fabric, and actually complete the jupe and a muslin for fitting purposes of the lining for the contouche (see, I said I was going to call it this). Of course, there were several moments when I realized that I am in WAY over my head here, such as when I realized that the sleeves in no way resemble modern sleeves. Of course, I also figured out from doing some judicious (read: panicked) research that the pattern I chose is notorious for ill-fitting sleeves, and that the redraft I did is nothing more or less than anyone else has done. They are snug on me, I won't lie, but I will probably fudge them rather than fix them properly, because I am starting to feel the press of time. Instead, I chose to spend six hours this weekend rebinding the corset, because when I tried on the lining muslin, it would not lie flat over that evil phlegm of Satan disguising itself as faux-suede trim. In the process, I also trimmed down the unnecessarily bulky shoulder straps, and miraculously, this seemed to make the corset fit better. If you care at all, which you probably don't, I am still getting a tiny gap at the back of the armscye, and I can't for the life of me figure out what to do about that. Whatever.

I am just going to pretend that I meant to do it. You will notice that although there is little I can do to actually appear slender, the shape I manage to achieve is very like the ideal 18th century silhouette. Thank Dieu.

I have ordered some gigantic ostrich plumes for my wig, and I am going to start working on the embroidery for the stomacher tomorrow, if I can figure out what I did with the sketch I made.

This is on an entirely different subject, but I discovered the name of my mystery crush and immediately disqualified him. Not because of his name, which is disturbingly like the last name of my ex-husband, and not because he's (ahem) eight years younger than me. No. It's because he is a JV. That's Jesuit Volunteer for those not in the know, and I have to say I have nothing against them. Except they are very Catholic and they go on retreats together. And most of them are vegtetarian. Not that I have anything against vegetarians. But I don't really want to date one. It's the same way that I love tiny purse-dogs, but I would never subject myself to the calumny of owning one. He is lovely though, and funny. I will have to content myself to prodding fun at him, and smirking in satisfaction when he can't follow my train of thought.

Shoes next time, my lovelies!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I'm only a few days behind my self-imposed deadline

But I'm not really done. True, the underpinnings are wearable, but they aren't really finished. The chemise is unhemmed and the sleeves do not have the engageantes, I still want desperately to change the trim on that ridiculous excuse for a pair of stays, and the pocket hoops need a different closure or they won't last the night. But it is sufficient for me to begin the part that people will actually be able to see, and none too soon. Halloween is right around the corner, although I am sure there are lots of you out there who think that a few days or even a week or two is lots of time to think about what to be and how to accomplish that. Well, fie on you. I'm not inviting you to my fabulous Halloween party, which I'm not even holding this year. Or have ever held, for that matter, but I think about it a lot, and how intensely marvelous it would be. I have a whole list of ideas to make it great. Or I would if I were the sort of person who makes lists. The point is that I have four or five times as much work ahead as I have already done, and that means no more slacking. Just working.

The picture you see to your left is B-Fed, who has taken a few minutes out of her busy schedule promoting her new album(Nap this, B**ch) to endorse my brilliant mothering skillz. You will notice, please, the tiny baby wife-beater, the low-slung jeans, the bare feet, and the insouciant expression, all courtesy of yours very truly, although the Look I'm not really sure I should take credit for. Rebellion is the natural consequence of neglect, which is what I feel I'm doing when I spend three hours holed up in the sewing room, ripping the same seam over and over again because the damn chemise is just rectangles, you can't tell top from bottom, and I'm too lazy to actually mark things with tiny notches the way you're supposed to. I know that this blog isn't about me, it's about Her Majesty, La Reine de France, but L. pointed out to me on the phone that I am the only blogging parent on the face of the planet who hasn't posted a virtual wallet foldout, and so this is my obligatory nod to my babes. I will hunt up a suitably intriguing photo of Cap'n Jack for next time, if I get around to it. And if I feel like it.
And by this time next week, the jupe must be finished and I think the toile for the robe finished. I think I should start calling the robe the contouche, tho, because that was the contemporary term for it. There is a little evidence that robe a la francaise was actually a French term of English origin. Damn Brits.

Alrighty, kiddies, that's the update. If anyone find a suitable cicisbeo to accompany me, my dance card is remarkably free of entries. Send 'em my way.

Friday, September 08, 2006

My pouf has arrived!

I'm really excited about this, as you can tell. Now, I have to confess that between the departure of La Fab, and catching an irritating cold (not evil, really, unless it was caused by a really minor demon, possibly an imp), I have not taken a single stitch on this costume in a very long time. This is not to say I haven't been working on it, just that I haven't been sewing. I've been researching a lot, and I've decided on the embellishment for the robe and for the stomacher, and I've almost cut the pocket hoops twice. I really don't want to order hoopwire just to make these stupid paniers, so I am trying to track down a suitable replacement, and that is causing a considerable hold up in the whole process. I can't fit anything properly until these hoops are done.

I am in a fit of doubt about my own abilities again. The robe pattern I purchased is not quite the way I would like it, and I think that I am going to have to draft a pattern instead of using it. But anyone who knows me knows that I don't really buy into the process-not-product argument, and will take almost any shortcut in a reject, provided it does not cause a gown to magically melt away from my body. For example, I once made and wore an Alaska Day gown that had all the trim - almost thirty yards of it - applied with fabric glue. It warns you right on the bottle not to get it wet, and I just prayed that we would see one dry October day. Luckily, I got a ride, because it did rain, and I would have ended up looking like Cinderella at quarter after. The point of all of this is to say that pattern-drafting is painstaking and not for the faint of heart or for the impatient. But, dammit, the alternative is a gown that WILL NOT flatter me. I need a waist seam! I do! And this pattern is without one. So draft I must. All this necessarily takes place before the sewing.

And for those of you who are not costumers or obsessive checkers of facts like myself, a pouf is a construct of wire and wool that ladies of M.A.'s court wore to support the ridiculous hairstyles of the day. In my case, it is a wig of honey-blond curls and ringlets that I intend to stuff with tissue ( so it will hold its shape) and hairspray and powder to mimic those architectural miracles.

Once again, I have no pictures for you, but I have nothing nothing worthy of documentation, so there you are. I have given myself a new goal: all underpinnings completed in ten days' time in order to move on to more exciting things.

Fifty three days until Halloween. Fifty until the Ball.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Dear Sofia Coppola,

Well, I hope you're satisfied. You and your lousy little movie about the pop-ification of Kirsten Dunst, Baby Vampire/Reine de France have flooded every single thing there is to flood about popular culture and fashion this fall . What little is left after the complete enshrinement of women's bodies in overlarge, men's-wear stealing hideousness is inspired by Marie Antoinette, or in homage to Marie Antoinette, or because the designer is the big, fat best friend of yours and knows how much you love Marie Antoinette. Because of you, M.A. is on the hot list of every self-respecting magazine worthy of having a fall fashion issue. There are new biographies of M.A., there are articles galore praising your genius or lambasting your faulty sense of revisionist history ( and taste in books - I mean, Antonia Fraser? Really.), there are pictures of her EVERYWHERE. And that's where I have a problem with you, my little rockstar babymama.

My costume idea for Marie Antoinette was inspired. Halloween is all just a big excuse to dress up as sexy as possible, and there is nothing sexier than the good dying young. I was going to wow the crowds with the lusciousness of my constricted Orbs of Delight, I was going to shock them with my dramatic interpretation of her stately march to the guillotine, I was going to amuse them with my bon mots and double entendres, all of which had to do with cake. And I was going to do it in a manner that required little more research than a few viewings of Dangerous Liaisons, a novel by Rosalind Miles called To Dance with Kings, and what little I remember about the history of the Ancien Regime that I picked up while flirting with Jeremy Bailey in my World History class in 11th grade. But no. You had to come along and make a movie about her, and you had to do it in a really big, Oscar-buzz sort of way, and you had to debut it way early but not release it until the week before my big event. In short, you had to go and tutor the entire planet about MY ICON, so that every schmo I run into will engage me on my opinion of her political acumen while ogling my Orbs. Not only that, but half the town will be aware that the gown I am choosing to make and wear represents only the first decade of her reign, and is therefore entirely inaccurate for the aforementioned march to the Blades of Death. Shame on you! My weakness exposed! I hate being called on my knowledge of all things trivial, and if even one person, even one, so much as mentions that my meticulous robe a la francaise is made from synthetic material, well, I hold you wholly responsible.

My High Holiday will not be ruined because of your so-called masterpiece. I will hold my head high, and I will answer each and every question that I am asked, and each time someone begins with, "Well, in the movie...," I will make a mental tick against your name. Soon you will be seated in my mental principal's office, miss, with some explaining to do.

Sincerely yours,

P.S. - If you are considering a biopic about the love affair between Gustav Klimt and anyone before next year, please reconsider. Otherwise I will get a restraining order. Thank you.