Thursday, July 25, 2013

Meet our new Kittens!

Meet 5 month old Sabina, and 11 week old Owen! Both are black and long haired, but Sabina has a white diamond on her chest, and Owen has charcoal grey tips on the fur on his cheeks and belly.

We've wanted another cat for a long time, but with our older cat, Zimu, other adult cats just haven't worked out, she's cranky and they fight her. Our vet recommended we get a pair of kittens. Kittens are less territorial and set in their ways, and two will keep each other entertained and not bother her. So far, Zimu has been a bit grumpy and hisses when the kittens get too close, but for the most part, all has been well. The kittens just stay out of her way and play with each other. They've become best mates.

The local Humane Society had a kitten/cat adoption sale last week...only $5 per feline! It was the perfect time for us to find these little ones. We spent 4 hours at the animal shelter, playing with kittens, trying to find the ones that played well with each other, and bonded well with us. Jane picked out the little boy Owen (and named him), and then we found the little girl, and Carson suggested the name Sabina (I liked it and thought it fit her perfectly). We didn't initially want black cats, let alone two of them, but their personalities won us over.

Sabina is a curious little girl, although a little shy at first. She's claimed me as her human, and begs quite often to be held. Owen is possibly one of the most complacent, docile cats I've ever seen. I think he might have a bit of the Rag Doll cat in him. He's sweet, purrs almost all the time, and is floppy (if that makes any sense) and relaxed always. Jane carries him around like a doll everywhere, and he is content letting her.
We are in love with our new babies!

I've shot a short video of them...please excuse the silly music, it was either that, or the sound of a cartoon in the background. Jane thought the music sounded like cats singing, so that's what we went with!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly: Challenge #14: Eastern Infulence and The Jane Austen Festival

The Dreamstress hosts Challenge #14 of the Historical Sew Fortnightly Event: Eastern Influence.  My take on this was to make an early 1800's, Regency style Sari Gown, out of a vintage sari that I bought at last year's Jane Austen Festival, and to wear the gown to this year's Jane Austen Festival.  Every year, the festival is hosted by the Louisville chapter of JASNA. and it's splendid!

"Sari" gown, inspiration #1.

  Of course, the word EMPIRE, in empire gown, stems from what some would call the height of England's Empire, or control over most of the world.

"Sari" gown, inspiration #2.

Not only were spices and exotic foods being brought back from India during the Empire era, but so were textiles and jewelry.

"Sari" gown, inspiration #3.

The sari's brought back home to England were made into gorgeous gowns, shawls, and capes.

This stole, made from what I'm assuming is sari fabric, is from The National Trust Collection.

Portrait of Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis (Sally), by Edward Malbone, 1804.

For my gown, I used a vintage, green sari, with an elaborate dark blue and gold floral border, and with flecks of silver thread dotted throughout.  The design was drafted by me, and was an amalgamation of a few different gowns, but the portrait above was what truly inspired me.

The gown is done in a crossover style, and I used a pair of 1920's blue "sapphire" and "diamond" (not real) shoe clips to decorate the gathered part of the bodice, just as the portrait above does.

Portrait of Madame Thérèse Vestris - 1803, Le Brun.

This portrait influenced how I finished off the sleeves, and how I wore my chemisette at the festival this year (although my chemisette sleeves were a bit of a disaster, wonky and sliding all over the place around my arm - you will see in the photos from the festival.)

I purchased these silver buttons at Burnley and Trowbridge, and used only two, because my gathered sleeve wasn't as wide as the one in the portrait.

A close up of the shoe clip.  You can also see here the dots of silver thread shot through the silk.

Portrait of Madame Visconti, by Gérard François Pascal Simon, 1810.

The above gown also has similar sleeves, but the deep v-shaped back of the bodice inspired the back of my gown.

I hand sewed all of my gown, and put tucks in the back of the bodice.  It's a shame I can't see this when I wear the gown, because it's my favorite part!  The funny thing is, the back is where I had the most problems when I wore the gown this past weekend.  The fabric stretched a bit in the heat and humidity (and probably because of my sweat!)  You can see where it is warped and buckled a bit.  The right side annoyingly slipped off my shoulder over and over again the entire day.  I think the solution will be to pull in the right back panel, so that it is tighter across my back.

The family portrait, taken at this year's Jane Austen Festival.  Me wearing my new Sari Gown.  
(More festival pictures below.)

Just the Facts:

The Challenge: Eastern Influence, early 1800's Sari Gown

Fabric: Vintage silk sari.

Pattern: Draped by me.

Year: circa 1800-1810

Notions: Silk thread, 4 silver buttons, two identical shoe clips or pins, and a pin to hold together the front crossover bodice.

How historically accurate is it? I would say 100%...fabric, style, techniques, hand sewn, etc.

First worn: At the Louisville Jane Austen Festival last weekend.

Total cost:  Fabric was from my stash, but was bought last year for $ notions (shoe clips bought a couple of years ago)...about $75 total.

~~~~~~~~~~~~More Festival Pictures Below~~~~~~~~~~~~

The crew: Laura, Carson, Jane, Me, Natalie and Polly.

(Notice my wonky sleevil!)

A few more fabulous shots of the festival...including some people that captured my eye, as well as Laura's.  Laura was our own personal paparazzi.  I didn't bring my camera, so all of the shots below are thanks to her!

*Bingley's Teas - YUM!*

*The VEIL!!!!!!*

*There were many more handsome, dashing, Regency attired gentlemen at this year's festival than I've seen in the past.*

*The GORGEOUS interior of Locust Grove.*

*May we have Sedan Chairs in real life, please?*

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly: Challenge #13: Lace and Lacing

Sooooo, I'm over a week late on the Historical Sew Fortnightly Event: Challenge #13: Lace and Lacing.  I've good reason for being distracted.  My Dad recently had open heart surgery.  Spending time with him and my Mom was priority.  Also, I've been painting rooms in our new house, and diligently trying to finish up the stairs (we ripped out old carpet, which resulted in weeks worth of scraping old carpet glue off of the hard wood, sanding and staining.)  So, I'm going to make this post a brief one.  It doesn't take much of an explanation for this garment's a simple piece.

I've been in need of a new Regency era petticoat (specifically a bodiced one) for quite a while now.  When I recently saw this Original Petticoat from the National Trust Collection I new I'd found the one I wanted to make.  As far as lace and lacing goes...I do feel a bit like I'm cheating.  I mean, really, the lacing is so minimal...does it really even count?  Well, here it is anyway, a VERY PLAIN, linen, bodiced petticoat (that stretches a bit and feels and smells like it might have some raw silk in it, even though the company advertised it as 100% linen.)  The front skirt falls open at the side seams about 6 inches, and has cotton tape attached to the top corners at the side seam, and ties in the back.  The bodice, obviously, laces in the front.  It's incredibly easy to put on. 

Just the Facts

The Challenge: Lace and Lacing, Bodiced Petticoat

Fabric: Linen (supposedly)

Pattern: Hand draped and drafted

Year: Circa 1800

Notions: Thread, 1/4" cotton tape, embroider floss

How historically accurate is it? I assume it is very accurate...period extant piece inspiration, hand sewn, correct materials and construction.

Hours to complete: Oh, I don't know...I think I will stop answering this question from now on.

First worn: Will be soon... (Jane Austen Festival, KY, here I come!)

Total cost: A little over $10