* Karen opens door. It creaks, and a bit of dust swirls around her feet. Karen peeks in. *
I haven't been here in a while. 2020 has been an interesting year for everyone. When the USA went under stay-at-home orders to try to stem the spread of Coronavirus, I spent a few months at home, sewing and relaxing and getting a much needed vacation. I blogged a bit, then, since I had new projects to share. But then I got a new job, and though I've been sewing, I haven't been blogging about it. There are two reasons for that.
My silence can be partly explained by my increasing sewing skill. There was a time when I could make a whole blog post about a hem, but now I barely take pictures, and I find the write-up boring. When I was a beginner, I found plenty to interest me in talking about the basics. Now I'm more intermediate, I do the basics without thinking, and so I need to rethink how I approach my project diaries. For instance, I've really enjoyed sewing new shirts for my brother and sister, but not blogging about them. I've really enjoyed blogging about the Basque project because it's new territory, and I've got a lot to learn and a lot to say.
Another reason for my silence here is that there's so much going on in my world, my mind, and my heart that I can't focus to write. I feel like I'm swept away in deep water, and I need to keep my nose above the swells. Later, when the waters shallow out, I can perhaps write about the parts of the experience that make sense to me. (Or maybe, as my sister reminds me when I'm months overdue in replying to her letters, I need to just write something and let go of the need to encapsulate my whole life experience in one place! The word "essay" means "attempt" or "trial", not "success" or "perfection", after all!)
BACK TO THE BASQUE
Anyway, here I am again, to update the Victorian Basque project. To recap: I have a cool antique bodice, circa 1880's; I copied the pattern by drafting and by draping. Assembly being complicated, I broke it down into six steps:
A little while ago, I thought I should revamp my tags to be a bit more useful. So that's been an ongoing project. Here's what I've done.
"Historical" is history
The tag Historical was too broad because it encompassed history lessons and tidbits, historical costumes, and historical inspired modern clothes. Plus, everything from the dawn of time to yesterday is technically historical. So I went through everything with that tag and replaced it with one of the following, more specific, tags:
"Project Diary" Problematic
The Project Diary tag was originally meant to distinguish between posts where I simply showed a finished product (not a diary!) and posts where I did a step-by-step walk-through of making it (diary!). I no longer care about that distinction, and I doubt my readers ever did. So I went through all those posts and filed them according to era or one of the following:
Other New Tags
Added the following:
Previously, my stash was organized by color. But as I have recently been digging in there for projects, I realize that color doesn't cut it. So now I have re-organized.
Finally, there are two overflow bins: one for fur (faux and real), and the other for upholstery stuff that I like using for historical looks. It was good to sort the stuff: I have fabric I'd forgotten, and I am excited to work through it in my quarantine downtime.
This blog has been quiet lately, as I have not had much time for either sewing or writing in a while. Plus, winter always gets me down, and I find it hard to get excited about things when all I want to do is sleep. But, today my life took a detour: my job is closing its doors for the next few weeks to help curtail Coronavirus spread, which means the next few weeks are a vast vista of unscheduled time for me! Wow.
I am determined not to let this time go to waste. I have unfinished sewing projects, blogging ideas, a garden I'm putting in, letters unwritten, et cetera. Oh, and while I'm unemployed, I need to find new income sources. So here's my tentative schedule for all the time that's opening in front of me:
MORNING: Gardening, while it's still cool and quiet outside. Use that time to talk a little to God. Try to listen more than I speak.
MORNING: Important phone calls, because if I don't make them, I'll procrastinate them.
AFTERNOON: Sewing/art -- no computer
EVENING: computer stuff: blogging, research, et cetera
I do not promise regular posting, but you will certainly see an uptick in posts while I am "sheltering in place"!
Patterns are expensive... around $20, sometimes, for the Big Four ones. I understand why they cost a lot: a ton of work goes into making a decent sewing pattern! But I am glad of that work and want to support the people who do it.
I also like to scrounge through the second- or third-hand patterns at a thrift store and find cool patterns to try! I find patterns I might not spend $20 on (because I would save that amount for a truly unique or special pattern), but patterns that nonetheless are fun to sew and often become favorites. My thrift store experience is broad: I grew up with the Salvation Army thrift store and local church and charity shops, and as an adult, I now frequent Goodwill thrift stores, which are plentiful in my area. So if you want to buy second-hand patterns, here are a few tips.
I have long felt that--for me, at least--clothing is a kind of armor. Of course, it can also be a diary, a poem, an invitation, or a window... but some days, it's the armor I need.
Recently, I encountered the word "gorget", realized I didn't know how the pronounce it*, and looked it up. A gorget is a piece of medieval armor that covers the neck. That lead me to do a Google image search, which led me to this interesting bit of machine embroidery. So much to love: the concept of a purely decorative fabric gorget, the way it's a variation on the idea of a tie, the tesselated bird pattern...
Now, obviously, a wee little gorget like that wouldn't protect anyone's neck in battle, even if it were made of metal, but gorgets have evolved with modern warfare into badges of authority rather than actual armor:
This is more of an idea-post than a project-post... but wouldn't it be cool to make a similar embroidered gorget, to wear with collared shirts? It's a neat idea!
* It's pronounced with a hard-G: "GORE-jit". "gor-ZHAY" is a common alternative pronunciation, as people think it's a French word and they make the -et sound like -ay by analogy with "ballet" and "valet". However, it's not a French word; it's an English word with a French root. It comes from the Old French word "gorgete", but the modern French word is "gorgerin". I'll say "GORE-jit" but not correct people who say "gor-ZHAY".
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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