Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Change is as Good as a Rest

So they say.
Here's to packing up all your old stuff (or almost all) and bringing it to a new place. It's still your stuff, even if the horizon is all new. Is one different or just the scenery, does it matter? It's change. Terrible, terrible change. And like me, all y'all have a lot of stuff, stuff of dreams, stuff of nightmares, stuffing to be kicked out of you and re-applied, like the Scarecrow in Oz. That's you all over.
The weird re-homing, like a lifelong Summer camp, a little home sick but happy. There will be crafts!
Horizon A

Horizon B
A funny thing, I kept on remembering little phrases my Dad and Sister used to say, tiny nostalgias that bubbled up, inconsequential and unbidden. Non sequiturs of encouragement that catch you unaware.

Still life with Napoleon, antique sewing machine, wicker dog and playing cards.
Time to sharpen my pencil, my scissors and my wits, for filling in the blanks and cutting up didos,
and for some "chaotic stumbling-about" as I find my footing.

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Swoop, the Curve, the Serpentine.

The hurly-burly of the to and fro.
Not any real time to sew anything deep, only slips of time. And if one needs a new corset, go to the professionals. It's my least favorite thing to sew, so, I found The Boudoir Key on the FaceBox and Etsy. The beautiful swoopy 1880's corset was just the thing, just the thing!
Do I have a nice length of pick coutil with roses woven in, sure do. But I would actually rather have an  actual corset.
The darling! 1880's reproduction corset copied from an original.
Elizabeth was lovely and professional, she made mine one layer only, because California can be hot.

Isn't she lovely!

The pinkness!

And Manet's "Nana", just because.

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine

Saturday, April 20, 2019

All the Things Ascendant

I'm carrying my hobby on my back.
Like a macrame snail, like a wicker bustle basket.
Like knitters, knotters, shuttle loomers and metal embroiderers. 18th century Wonder Woman cos-players, hand stitchers of stays. Happy quilters, natural dyers, spoon carvers and painters of faux Elizabethan miniatures.
 Who did I leave out? Makers of Roman segmentata, mini medieval trebuchet aficionados, lucet cord braiders. Hatters (mad and sane) huskers, for dollies, tatters for doilies and on and on and on.
We all have so much stuff. And now we are told it's a bit shameful, that a kind of modern asceticism is the way to live well (2 sheets on your bed, is that necessary).
Your collection of gilded lilies should give way to the contemplation of a twig in a simple box.

I have been getting rid of a lot of things, but I don't want nothing. I don't want to sit in a joyless cloister warmed by my lack of a blanket. Well, well, enough MAY be as good as a feast.
 For now, I will practice Rococo reticence, to this I will add, why are closets so big?

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine

Monday, March 25, 2019

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Such a pretty changeable color pink and golden, almost a sorbet.
 After finishing a big-ish project I like a little palate cleanser, a Roman Punch if you  will. Citrus, slushy and boozy, served between courses and FANCY. Maybe that's putting it a little too fine, but you get the point. I stumbled on a piece of changeable silk taffeta, just enough to cover a parasol. So I set to work. Usually I buy one or two yards for future parasol covering and never do it. I need to face the fact that I dislike this kind of sewing, boring and finicky all at once. But I did the thing! I set it out and cut it out and damn if it didn't fit. I have done this many times- tape up a panel that's the most intact, true up the sides, make a paper pattern or use the original piece, add seam allowance, finish the curved edge, sew it together and bam! it's done.
Only this time it was too short.
Luckily I have a few other parasols in the queue, one that also needed 10 panels and was a smaller size. I took in the sides all around and it fit, almost like I had planned it.
The lucky other 10 sided frame
The copper color will have to wait and wait...
The parasol is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism, representing compassion and protection from suffering. Alright, alright, no need to to over do.
I have loved them since childhood. Such a lovely idea, a canopy of color over your head, like flowers, like Springtime, like bubbles. Shading with diffused candy light. What could be better.
My grandmother walked me to kindergarten under a plaid one.
She believed in shade.

Now for shameless self promotion!
We are having a costume sale!! If you are in the Greater LA area on April 7th come to the Valley for all the things! If you need parasol frames, they'll be there with hats, books, shoes, fabric and finished costumes.  I have been collecting like I need to costume everyone, in my zeal to lend and costume everyone who wants to play. But now a lot of it needs to go. I don't need all the surveys of Western costumes, some I've had since college, they can be yours.
Check it out on the calendar-

Ever Your Thimble Servant
Miss Brilliantine

Friday, March 15, 2019

A Bit of Trim

Trim, it has a few meanings.
A fancy applied embellishment an attractive woman... among other things. Oh words, they are reprobate and sublime, they are supine and compliant, or not. They love to be dandled. They are promiscuous, adamantine and changeable. DO NOT lend them money.
The trim I mean is the kind you sew on.
The trim in it's original color and after a dip in robin's egg blue.
I'm finishing a dress for my Sister-in-law to wear to a Victorian ball in Bath. (Everyone can play!) I found some pretty trim with just enough sparkle-ation  but a little neutral in color. To the dye bath!
You can change the backing threads enough to reflect the dress color by giving it a dip in dye. The metal/plastic parts won't change but you may get enough color if threads take the dye.

It's simple and satisfying, I like the dyes from Dharma Trading Co. the colors are lovely and varied.  I have found that a little tan dye takes down the shine of  "metallic" gold trim, it mutes the under threads just enough to be passable.
Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Here's a Pretty Thing

Plique a jour-Translucent enamel work, it can be seen on Faberge eggs, gentleman's cuff links, every kind of jewelry, delicate trinket boxes and buttons.
"But how can I, a mere sewist of reproductions afford such a luxury?", I hear you ask.
You paint them, dear Reader. 
I know you haunt the hobby shops, I know you have friends who play war games with painted armies. The phrase, "Would you like to see my Zulu warrior?" means just that. I know you know a Janissary when you see one. Why be coy, you know your Testor model paints.

Iridescent model paint. The metallic finish gives the lovely finish.

I  love those luscious buttons, colored enamel and metal work. Very expensive if you can find them in sets, but I will show you a creditable substitute and it's easy. I have painted glass and metal buttons, they give slightly different effects but work equally well, I haven't tried it on plastic, but have a go, the paints are made for plastic models.
The top 2 are silver over black glass, painted with purple iridescent paint. The bottom 2 are metal painted with the green.
I sewed the buttons onto a cardboard scrap and painted them with a random brush. No special equipment required. The paint will settle into the low spots, you can dry brush some of the paint off if you want the metal/glass to show through the paint. This paint takes a good 24 hours to cure. I wouldn't risk sewing them on to a garment until they are completely dry.
Cheap metal buttons look fine, when you know the secret.
 I have only used the metallic finish paint. I think the gloss would work well but would look more opaque. Go forth and paint all the buttons!

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Practically Perfect Pleater

Tuck! Press! Sew!
So easy a monkey could do it.
Sure, most everyone who pleats has a love/hate relationship with the 'Perfect Pleater'. Do we yearn for crisp pleated edges, yes we do. Do we struggle with keeping the fabric tucked in the channel of the pleat above while we wrestle the pleat below. Yes. Some use plastic rulers, others slide a credit card into the channel to keep it neat. I have used a library card and kept faith with put upon heroines from literature.
Reader, I have found a better way! Bones. Two white metal bones, leap frogging over and under as you work your way down the board. It needs a dexterous hand as you have to keep them both tucked in or the fabric will slip.
Why use the talking, when there can be showing.
It works, just be warned the metal gets hot. But I will risk red fingers. The pleating is going along the bottom of the underskirt for my Sis-in-law's ball gown.
Pleat, press, leapfrog the top bone down. The perfect repeating pleater.
The HA way to finish the edges it to 'book' them before you start pleating, that's basically backing the strip of fabric with muslin. No stitching shows and it's nice and stiff. I'll describe my cheat, I don't want to risk censure from the Internet Marms. I press in a 1/4 inch hem on both edges and use the 1/4 inch Stitch Witchery in the hem, done. No stitching shows and it keeps the pleats super crisp.
Tell no one.

I love tools. My father was an engineer so maybe it's genetic, he was a precise person. I have a few tools from his office I still use, rulers, T-squares, pencils. And the best thing ever-
a 48" metal construction ruler. Get one for your birthday, no kidding its the best, use it to cut on the straight or make perfect bias strips. It will also keep fabric from slipping as you cut large pieces.
Measure twice, cut once, construction ruler, you are so wise.

Also found in his office, it has case anyone wants to borrow it.
This is my 90th post! Well, well.

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine