ricardienne: (Default)
I've read two pseudo-historical-fantasy-teen-romances recently: Marissa Doyle's Betwitching Season (Regency/Fantasy Wrede-Sternmer knockoff) and Anne Osterlund's Aurelia (psuedo-18th-century, fairy-tale, empowerment romance). They both have those fashionable photographic covers: pretty girl in a pretty, frilly dress.

This is a silly and petty thing to get annoyed about I know, but it's so obvious, even at a glance, that the lace is cheap machine-done stuff, and that the embroidery was machined onto the fabric on the bolt, with the dress-maker not bothering to make it match along the seams at all. The fan is most clearly plastic, and its ribbon trim isn't even pasted on evenly. The lace of the sleeve is not only the flat and cheap Barbie's-Bride-Costume variety, but it isn't even sewn on well. I bet I could photo-shop something better.


May. 31st, 2006 02:15 am
ricardienne: (angelo)
Aren't these hats absolutely nifty? I wish I could knit like that, but the only one I think I might be able to do is the Monmouth Cap (and that's because I found several other patterns for it elsewhere on the web.) I feel so unskilled.

I got impatient with my farthingale this morning, mostly because I think I am going to have to take out the straw rings and put something more reliable in, so I decided to start draping the bodice of my dress, because I shouldn't need an accurate sense of how the skirt will fall for that, should I? I want to do a doublet-style bodice, because a) They look much nicer than the standard low-cut kind, b) I've already made several "Renn-Faire" Elizabethan bodices, and c)women's doublets were semi-controversial in the 16th century, because they were men's clothing, and this makes the project more interesting!* I haven't decided whether to do the doublet + shirt + separate skirt/kirtle version or the doublet + attached or at least matching skirt + sleeves. I'm kind of leaning towards the latter, because all of the paintings of the former kind have lots of poofs and bows and decoration that I'm not sure I could do at all.

I managed to download Phillip Stubbes' Anatomie of Abuses to get the exact passage, which I transcribe here (I don't know how to get the s that looks like an f (does anyone know how to make this character? It looks all wrong when I change it to regular s), so I have to change it -- sadly, no Stan Freberg joke here):

Philo. The women also there haue dublets & Ierkins, as men haue heer, buttoned vp the brest, nd made with wings, welts, and pinions on the shoulder points, as mans apparel is for all the world; & though this be a kinde of attire appropriate onely to man, yet they blush not to wear it; and if they could as wel chaunge their sex, & put on th ekinde of man, as they can weare apparel assigned onely to man, I think they would as verely become men indeed, as no they degenerat from godly, sober women, in wearing this wanton lewd kinde of attire, proper onely to man.

It is written in the 22 of deuteronomie, that what man so euer weareth woman's apparel is accursed, and what woman weareth mans apparel is accursed also. Now, whether they be within the bands and lymits of that cursse, let them see to it them selves. Our Apparell was giuen vs as a signe distinctiue to discern betwixt sex and sex, & therefore one to weare the Apparel of another sex is to participate with the same, and to adulterate the verities of his owne kinde. Wherefore these Women may not improperly be called Hermaphroditi, that is, Monsters of bothe kindes, half women, half men.

Spud. I neuer read nor heard of any people, except drunken with Cyrces cups or poysoned with the exorcisms of Medea, that fmaous and renouned Sorceresse, that euer woulde weare suche kinde o attire as it is not onely stinking before the face of God, offensiue to man, but also painteth out to the whole world the venereous inclination of their corrup conuersation.

I mean with a recommendation like that, who wouldn't want to make one?

Hee! Stubbes is incredibly subtle: his pamphlet is entirely about that fictional country Aligna… I don't think I'll have time to read the whole thing, but the bits I am finding are quite funny.


May. 27th, 2006 09:09 pm
ricardienne: (chord)
So yesterday I got to wait for two hours at the DMV to renew my learner's permit (because I'm embarrassingly 19 1/2 and still afraid to get behind the wheel). [I know. Driving isn't that hard. Lots and lots of people have learned how to drive, many of whom probably have less good hand-eye coordination than I do (not that I have wonderful coordination, but playing cello must help some!), and it is a necessary skill, and so on.] At [livejournal.com profile] voglia_di_notte's instigation, I was reading Henry IV Part One, but I finished it, so I started reading Holinshed exerpts in the back. From the bit about the reconciliation of King Henry and Hal, there was this description of the latter:

"He was appareled in a gown of blue satin full of small eyelet holes, at every hole the needle hanging by a silk thread by which it was sewed."

Isn't that lovely! Of course, I have many questions: how small were these eyelet holes? Wow widely or narrowly spaced apart? How long were the silk threads hanging? I suppose one could get an interesting patterned effect by varying the lengths of the threads according to some rule. Even all regularly, it would be beautiful to see: all of those little silvery things swinging back and forth and catching the light, like a walking mobile. I should think it would be a bit dangerous to embrace people in, however, and particularly your father who already suspects you of wanting to off him.

It always happens that whatever costume project I'm on, I want to be doing a different one, because I would give up on the Elizabethan dress in a minute to start some sort of houpplande-type thing with needles hanging off it right now! But I am not going to waste either my cloth or what I've started. I need to start working faster. This evening, I finally tried on my corset again, and then ripped the side seams out before I could persuade myself that it was the right size. As usual, I made it too big -- and corsets tend to stretch. I tried pinning it smaller, but I think I shall have to baste it, because cloth stuffed full of straws does not like to be pinned. Specifically, when I try it to put it on, it all falls apart. This means that if last night we had scorpions, tonight we are likely to have pins on the floor.

I got my cello back from Zoran today. He didn't like my Eudoxas, as I suspected, and advised me I should try either Prim G and Spirocore C or Larsen G and C to get a better balance. He let me play the cello he had just made, and I stupidly attempted the opening of the Schumann -- in the wrong key. That certainly showed how much I've been practicing.
ricardienne: (augustine)
I am feeling quite strange right now. I suppose I should either go practice or start trying to trick iDVD again. (I thought I had fooled it, but it caught on: the computer appears to be cleverer than I am.)

Today, I put the bottom two hoops in my farthingale. It was unbelievable how often the best laid plans of mice and men went awry during the process. I am telling myself that they only get smaller as I go, and I must get better and binding ~1 foot straws into several yard multi-strand bundles so that I can shove them through casings and not have them collapse, but I am not sure. I pinned it onto my dress-form so I could actually manipulate the "bents" properly, but I didn't do it with any concern for how it should actually hang; I hope that this is why it is collapsing in on itself instead of standing out completely. As it is quite full even so, I suspect I made it too wide. At the moment, I am not at all sure that it will support a skirt, even if I end up having enough cloth to make one full enough, but we shall see -- probably not until next year, at this rate.

I read King of Attolia today -- I got it from the library. I couldn't resist raiding the discards for sale corner: the Norton Critical Ed. of selected Canterbury Tales, "6 Restoration Dramas," a stupid-looking JV fiction novel about a girl who goes back in time to fall in love with Edward VI who, according to the back cover, "turns out to be kind of cute." I'm not sure why I have an affinity with this kind of thing. I also grabbed a paperback Wolves of Willoughby Chase partly because I read Joan Aiken's books when they were out of print, so I have an instinct to grab them whenever I see them. And then I found that I didn't have any change, so I ended up only paying 60 cents, although I owed more like 1.50. I always seem to find a lot of books I want to buy when I don't have the money, but I never am able to give them up. "I'll put money in next time," I have said several times, now, but have I? I really should make an effort, I suppose.

So. King of Attolia. I really like this series. Very much. And it isn't just because it fills a big gap where there should be more fantasy set in a vaguely classical era. That is, it isn't fantasy so much as ahistorical fiction. It annoys me that they have guns, though. I wish they didn't, even though they were slightly necessary to the plot of this one. I know they have been annoying you, [livejournal.com profile] voglia_di_notte, ever since Gen married the queen, and so this one will probably continue to annoy you. I liked it, but then, for some reason I didn't really have a problem with them getting married.

I find that I don't want to write too much, because the more I think about it, so little happens, in one sense, in this book, that to say anything would be to spoil it. At the end, everything seemed rather pointless: the wide-reaching political intrigue was there, at the borders, threatening to break into the story (and leaving much room for sequels -- I KNOW she is going to get sequels out of this) but in the end… something totally different turned out to be the focus. In one sense, this is a Book in Which Not Much Happens. But, I sort of like books that have a fantastical/historical setting but do not involve issues at the level of the country (Jackaroo is another rare exception to this pattern), if not the entire world. Obviously, with a title like "King of Attolia," this book does involve issues that are pretty big, but its ultimate concern turns out to be smaller. One of the really neat things here, is that the story is not narrated by Gen, or the queen, but mostly by Costis, a relatively nobody and clueless soldier of the Queen's Guard. This means we get an interesting worm's eye perspective on not just events but characters. Meghan Whalen Turner has had two books to build up Gen and Irene as interesting, severly flawed, passionate people, and now we see them as… something completely different. Costis's perceptions spoke quite a bit to my own ideas about, well, various things, and I would like to write more, but, again, I think it would spoil the book.

Also, I wish I got spam like Chaucer's
ricardienne: (Default)
…when you spend an afternoon analyzing the clothing in Tamora Pierce novels. You also know that you are a hopelessly irredeemable geek.

Not that there's too much method to it: I swear the description of Thayet's dress from Lioness Rampant is straight out of Gone With The Wind.

But, by the Kel books, she seems to have settled down. Male dress is either "breeches," "shirt" and "tunic" or, on fancy occasions, "hose," "shirt," and "tunic." Women seem to wear either "undergown" and "overrobe (overgown)" or "(under)gown" and "(sleeveless) surcoat."

These are, of course, woefully vague terms. Female costume for just about the entire period consisted of some sort of two-layers of dress. When she says "surcoat," though, I tend to think <link:http://www.silkewerk.com/images/luttrell1.jpg|"sideless> (i.e. mid 14th c), even though I personally tend to imagine them more in standard 15th c. or late 15th c./Burgundian clothes. I think she did mention on Sheroes once that her clothing tends to "Gothic" (or at least she thinks it does).

So fine. But what about the men? I suppose one could call something like this a tunic, as well as this kind of thing. But there isn't anything I would call "breeches" until the 16th century. Which is definitely out of period, at least, as far as I can tell. The other problem would be this "tunic" thing. Men, of course, were wearing robes/houpplandes/surcoats just as long as women (almost) for the 14th-15th centuries. Young men might wear short tunics (although I don't like the word "tunic" at all for this: way too vague and, I mean really: would you call any of these things "tunics" I wouldn't.) But older men would wear longer garments. And I'm sorry: calling this a tunic is stretching it. Really stretching it.

I have to conclude that Tamora Pierce just doesn't like the idea of guys not wearing pants. She'll let them get away with it on fancy-dress occasions, but not normally. None of her Manly Middle-Aged Men are going to be caught dead in an ankle-length gown!

I know, I should just get over it. They're fantasy novels, not historical ones. The author can do what she likes with clothing. But it bugs me. All of this pseudo-medieval fantasy that really isn't bugs me.

When I write my pseudo-medieval fantasy novel… If the women wear pointy hats, the men are going to wear houpplandes, too. With 12+ yards of cloth, if they can afford it. So there.


ricardienne: (Default)

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