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Fixers Upper

Gosh, it's so nice to have my computer working normally again.  If I had known reformatting my hard drive would be so easy, I would've done it a long time ago, but it seemed like a big mysterious and dangerous thing, so I declined from doing it for so long, letting the plethora of viruses my poor baby had contracted spin and bloom out of control and eventually shut the thing down completely.

It was never THAT bad.  I didn't have any blue screens, and none of my files were eaten or destroyed.  My internet was fucked up, and I got lots of annoying pop-ups.  Booting took forever, and all kinds of stuff ran more slowly.  Eventually it did that auto-shutoff thing, and that was it...time to reformat.  It's all gone now, though!  I've spent the latter half of this day reinstalling all my programs, and doing updates, etc.  All my personal files conveniently sit on my external hard drive.  Those are useful things.

So it's been a constructive weekend.  Mags and I did a lot of sewing-crafting-stuff yesterday -- got some notions for the blue coat, and nearly finished it last night.  I need to do some finishing details, like fixing the corners of the pockets, and sewing on the pocket flaps and buttons.  I had to change the original closure plan because I did not leave enough ease for lapping over and buttoning.  Instead, it meets edge-to-edge, and I have to use coat hooks.  There are false buttons on both sides, which look pretty sweet.  I won't be doing the oversized buttonholes after all, except maybe some fake ones on the pocket flaps.  Then again, I'm not entirely sure I want buttons on the pocket flaps.  The lines of the coat are so nice that too many buttons might gaudy it up too much -- might be too much in a concentrated area, on the pocket flaps.  'Course, that leaves me with lots of brown taffetta buttons, hahaha...I can put two on each sleeve cuff, I guess!  I'm very pleased with how the coat is coming out.  It's actually wearable, and fits.  Hard to believe!  The fabrics work nicely together, too.

What's next on the costume plate?  FINISHING stuff.  I have two unfinished bodices - renaissance golds/black, and the corduroy-velveteen mockup I guess I'll wear to the steampunk ball next month.  I have binding to trudge through on the 18th c. stays.  I don't think I'll finish the candycane victorian corset yet, or that weird tweed dress I cut out awhile ago.  Other than that, I'm ready for a new project.

Mags and I have been planning our Halloween gowns.  A little early, yeah!  She had an awesome idea of being a fox, interpreted as a Victorian bustle gown with four parts (yikes) - evening bodice, skirt, apron, and detachable train.  Insane, yes, so I've decided to also do a complicated and insane costume.  She's a fox...I will be an owl.  A barn owl, specifically.  There will be two pieces to the costume, done in late 18th c., as a chemise dress (gaulle) and a robe over that.  The chemise dress is straightforward, but the robe will have an enormous, slightly trained feathered skirt.  Completely feathered.  And when I say completely feathered, I mean COMPLETELY.  I've seen people do peacock dresses or other bird-inspired dresses and not put enough feathers on them and they just don't look right to me.  If you're going to do feather, do it all the way.  I can understand why people don't do this - A) it's not so easy working with feathers, and B) it's COSTLY.  Feathers are not cheap, especially if you need literally thousands of them.

The plans is to make the gown to the max, and blog every minute of it.  I want that blog to be popular; I want people to read it and to follow the progress and be impressed by the gown.  The idea then is to wear the thing for Halloween, which consists of Gaskells and Vampyres dances (the forseeable things), and then to attempt to sell the robe either on eBay or Etsy or some such place.  It will hopefully be well-known that the robe will go up for auction, and someone will actually buy it.  It is on this risk that I think it will be justifyable to spend the money on the feathers.  It will be a combination of schleppen feather trim (rooster tails, basically), and banded rock feather trim (longer and fatter than rooster, to use more towards the bottom).  By trim I mean the feathers have been attached to a band of some sort and can be sewn on in strips instead of one-by-one.  If I stack it correctly, the feathers should look somewhat natural.  The feathers will be sewn onto a base of probably broadcloth or some other lightweight, inexpensive cotton fabric, and the skir twill be lined with something sortof nice.  The bodice of the robe will be silk or something comparible, in a cream color, and the feathers will "emerge" from the box pleat openings at the waist.  Hard to explain, but I'll be blogging it, remember? so lots of pictures :-).

The idea is that it won't look ridiculous, but graceful, beautiful, and impressive.  The color palette is muted and natural, and I want to maintain the proper silhouette.  The lines of this dress are very important.  As for actually wearing the thing, I'm not too worried about weight, but it might be difficult to dance in.  I will have a loop at the hem, for dancing, and of course I can take it off and have the chemise dress underneath, which ought to keep me cool enough.  I will need to spend time on the owl mask and also find a wig and get it all huge.

I won't be starting on this gown for some time, although the chemise dress might become my next project.  I can wear it for other events.  I will need to work on the feathered robe for a long time, so starting it within the next couple months is not a bad idea.  It took me 1.5 years to get my Halloween bustle gown done! (but primarily because I didn't have anywhere to wear it the first year, so I just didn't press myself to finish it.)  After the chemise dress, I'll start on draping the robe and getting the pattern exact, as well as figuring out the particulars on the feathering, and how exactly this is all going to work. :-).

For now, I have a lot of voile to order.

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