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Measure Twice, Cut Once

They have the wrong man!!!  Chris ought to have won!!!!!!  Oh, the injustice in the world!


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The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. Well let's see.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicise those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've only read 6 and force books upon them :>

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible - God
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


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I'm on the hunt for a nice (i.e. cheap but relatively good quality) historically accurate mid 19th cent straw bonnet and a reddish paisley pashmina/cashmere shawl?  

Any recommendations?


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(Oh that title's a knee slapper.)

No, I haven't died; I've just been really busy with work and uni.  But it's over!  Just two exams to go and I'm done for a whole month!

My German plastic bones arrived so I finally made my 1770s stays in a nice green cotton!  I just need to buy some yellow silk to bind and lace it!  I'll post pictures when I have a camera.  My pink polonaise fits PERFECTLY over the new stays!!

So I have sooo much to sew in the next month.

1.  I have to finish Maggie's ball dress.  It's a 1950's inspired number made from embroidered muslin and accents in that pink striped silk.  The bodice and shirt are finished and joined.  I just have to attach the sleeves and hem and trim it.  Oh and put the buttons on and hopefully make a belt for it.

2.  In order to finish Maggie's dress I have to finish my robe a la francaise, so I know how much of that pink silk is available.  But before I can attach the rucheing I have to bone and attach the stomacher, which still needs buttons made for it, case the decollete, and hem it....but before I hem it I have to reposition the drape and pleats on the skirt, tack down the back pleats and bone the gather in the back lining.  Wow, there's a lot more to do than I though1.  And I have to have that done in time for my ball at the end of Sept.!

3.  I have to finish my 1871 and 1867 Victorian dresses.  The 1871 dress needs work on the sleeves, trim, and front closures as well as all-around hemming on the bodice and skirt...in fact I think I still need to attach the skirt to a waistband.  The 1867 dress needs some broderie anglaise on the corset cover, the sleeves need to be attached to the bodice, the bodice needs piping and a waistband made and I need to hem all the skirts.  Before any of that happens I need to make to bustled petticoats though!

If I have time, which I probably wont at this current rate of procrastination, I'd like to finish the bulk of the work on my 1850s day dress too.  All that needs doing is making the front false waistcoat, making buttons for it, boning the seams, reinforcing the waist and gauging and attaching the skirt to the bodice.  After that I can make broderie anglaise cuffs and collars at my ease...as well as finishing off the three petticoats for it I have to finish the hem in broderie anglaise on one and make a flounced petticoat as well as a corded one.  

Whew!  Just typing it makes me a bit tired, but excited at the same time.  Think of all the beautiful things I'll have to wear if I finish it all!


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Okay, so apperantly I can't finish what I start.

I decided to buy this insanely cheap striped silk and make a dress inspired by this dress from the early 1790s.  The draping is going well!

Also, sorry for the horrible quality pictures.  My camera broke so I have to use my phone.

No other news.  Work and school has kept me away. :(


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I can report a sad lack of progress.  Work has been crazy, term is about to start and I had to move house!  Needless to say, no sewing has been done. :(  I've gotten the bodies put together for both the 1850's blue plaid dress and the 1872 dress and was working on fitting the sleeves to the 1872 bodice.  I've cut the skirts and run up the seams on the 1872 dress, but haven't finished it.

So I broke down and bought this beautiful cotton.  The softest, sheerest cotton weave I've seen with bands of silk run through it.

I love the simplicity of the fabric and I love the simple elegance of this dress so I think I'll recreate it with this new fabric.  This of course means putting aside the 1850s dress, but this way my mom and I will both match pretty much and be comfortable in the warm weather.

I also, finally got my half-boned stays in the mail and although I want to make a few alternations on them I was able use them (with the help of a few pillows) and a makeshift for for fitting my polonaise!  So now when I have time I can finish the front closure and officially call it done!  I'm excited.  It's to beautiful.  I love the fall of the fabric, the colour, the shape....  I just need to buy some hooks and eyes.

NB: My tags are off because I can't decide whether the twill dress is more 1871 or '72, but one year can't make all that much difference.  I'm basing it off of multiple sources, so for consistency and easy filing I'll continue to use the 1871 tag but I'll probably called it any number of things.  The pictures should help maintain clarity if anyone really cares to follow along.

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I bought the fabric for my dresses yesterday and got right to work on my 1850s dress.  It's beautiful fabric.  I'm so proud of myself.  I got the pattern to match at the seams!

Now I'm working on fitting the muslin of my 1872 dress. 


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I've managed to break or loose all my embroidery needles (I think I'm cursed) so I have to go buy more.  But while I'm waiting for my paycheck I worked up the motivation to start sewing the boning channels on my stays.  My fingers are so calloused from all the embroidery and other hand sewing I've been doing that it doesn't even hurt anymore!  Yay!

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After much wavering and research, I have finally settled on my next three to four projects and the oder of them (based on imminentnecessity).  My mom and I plan to go to the Oamaru Victorian Festival in Nov 2008.  At first I wanted the dresses to match in era, but then I realized that that was less important than having two dresses that we would wear more than once, i.e. they had to be comfortable, alterable and generic.  I also had to keep in mind the warm summer clime of Oamaru.  So I've decided to make these two dresses in a light blue and mauve twill and a dark blue tartan silk crepe respectively:

(The two dresses on the left of each picture.)
While I was shopping for fabric for these two I fell in love with a lovely dark olive green cotton voile that I want to use with some salmon pink velvet ribbon to make this dress.

With such a dark colour it wouldn't be very summery though so the project is on hold.  I've drafted enough of the pattern that I can buy the fabric so I don't miss out on it! 
Finally, because I'm completely mad, I want a robe a la francaise that I can prance around in.  I haven't found a pattern or a fabric but it's brewing in my mind.  This painting is to blame:

And I think I'll need to make some mitts and a quilted, fur trimmed caracao so I can wear my 18th century stuff anytime...I love how conveniently the 18th century can me mixed and matched!

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1. Five-eighths, one-half or three-eighths?
5/8, 10mm or I just eyeball it.

2. Linen, cotton, wool or silk?
Cotton for feel, wool for warmth, and silk for look.  But silk's the best.

3. Stripes, solids or prints?
Stripes.  Full stop.

4. Drape or draft?
Draft, I can't afford fabric for draping...but sometimes it's the only way.

5. Pins or weights?
Pins, although my foot make a good weight.

6. Nipper or seam ripper?
Razor blade, quick and painless.

7. Pleats or ruffles?
Pleats, I hate hand sewing ruffles.

8. Wheel or scissors?

9. Princess seams or darts?

10. Flat-line or bag-line?
Flat for accuracy, bag for all my modern stuff.

11. Serge or French seam?
French, but the seams they use in India take less fabric and accomplish the same thing.

12. Invisible or original sliding?

13. Hooks & eyes or lacings?
Hooks & eyes

14. Corset for comfort, or corset for look? (And no, you can’t claim both.)
Looks, but you get used to it, don't you?

15. Bind, pipe or face?
All of the above, depending on the project, but facing's the easiest.

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