A few things you didn’t know about me….

I don’t look very good in baby blue.

But burgundy is ok.

I’ve always wanted to take up archery.

I tried it a few times in high school and was pretty good at it.

I want to do a costume photo shoot in a horse-drawn carriage…may be this summer.

But, I want it to be an open carriage.

I hate bike riding.

The seats hurt my delicate body.


Where would we be with out the light bulb?

I think that without the light bulb we would be in the dark!  Ok, so I’m not a commedian!

I was thinking about a movie I saw with Spencer Tracy in the lead.  It was called Edison the Man and it was from 1940.  I love the old films…especially when they are trying to interpret long gone days.  The movie is about Edison as an old man looking back on his life and the things he has invented.  There are some big inventions that are still part of our lives today or are the grandfather to the things we use today.  He made the phonograph which later became the record player which became the CD which became the MP3.  He invented motion picture cameras which gave us movies.  Who doesn’t watch movies?  The cameras have upgraded but the practice of going to the movies started with Edison’s machine.  He made other things like a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, and a battery for an electric car.

The light bulb is still a big deal.  Edison didn’t invent the light bulb but he made the first practical bulb that could be mass-produced.  Other bulbs from other inventors didn’t last long, or were too expensive to make in large quantities, or used far too much electricity.   He had his ready to go in 1879.

Now the reason I was thinking about this movie and the light bulb specifically was at work we were doing a regular program for our seniors.  It is call Wierd Science.  My co-worker dresses up as Dr Wierd and I dress up as his bumbling assistant Igor and we do science experiments.

Igor! Don't eat that!

If truth were told, our seniors like it best when the experiments sink like the Titanic!  But, I had one experiment that worked wonderfully!  It was to build my own light bulb.  (the experiment came from the internet.)

I bound 6 batteries together with electrical tape.  I taped 2 alligator clips with wires to a toilet paper tube.  Then I was supposed to clamp a refill for a mechanical pencil between the two alligator clips.  I had decided this was going to be one of those Titanic experiments when the refill broke the first 9 million attempts.  Then I finally got the thing hooked up and I put a mason jar over this set up and attached the batteries.

My light bulb all set up and threatening to fail me.

The first two attempts produced a “POOF” noise and lots of smoke.  That was when I thought “I better not try this experiment in front of the seniors because if the fire alarms go off I’ll get fired!”  My co-worker talked me into it so I reset the thing up and we presented it to the seniors.

Igor was shrieking like a little girl! It works! It works!

Maybe that is how Edison felt!

I’m getting to the bottom of my cabinet card stash….

I have only two more cards left to show you.  Good thing I got on to eBay and ordered 7 more for a mere song!  Hopefully, they get here before I need them!  The one I am going to show you is actually a carte de visite (to speak French all you have to do is put and e on the end of every second English word and put de in between.  Lol, my French mother would cringe if she read that!)

Now the beauty of this card is it has been colored!   Her hair and the ribbon at her throat have been colored but not the dress so one may assume the dress itself is a black or brown color.  Who did this photo?

C. Shakespeare Photographic Artist 162 King's Road Chelsea London.

According to this site, C. Shakespeare (Charles) was born in 1835.  In the 1881 census he is listed at 162 King’s Road as a photographic artist.  The census 10 years later has him listed at a different address and as a photographer.  So my card is at least 1881-1891.  I could believe the skirt part is from the 80s but those big sleeves stumped me.  Those seemed so 60s or 70s to me!  And the hair is early 70s too!

I sent out a request to watch the birdie  who has extensive resources on Victorian photographers and when and where they set up shop.  I asked her look and see if she could get some better dates for the photographer.  I got an email from her today (I must commend her on her promptness!) saying her sources put Mr. Shakespeare at that address from 1871-1886 so I’m thinking this card is in fact early 1870s….cool!

Must have Tuesday is here again.

Today we move up another 10 years to 1760 to this pretty little number.

1760 Robe a la francais from the Met.

Now, for must have Tuesdays I talk about what I would or would not change if I recreated and existing dress.  I’d keep everything about the structure of this dress but I don’t think I’d go with the yellow.  I have a hang up about wearing yellow.  It screams “look at me” and you know that I’m not comfortable with that.

Ok, despite evidence to the contrary, I don't like to be blinding center of attention.

 But, in spite of its color, I do like this dress.

Maybe in a more calming green color....

And here is the back.


 How about you folks…would you copy exactly, tweak a little bit or totally reno this look?

So it isn’t the bodice from hell!

I’ve had a super productive day and I’m really pleased with how my pagoda sleeve bodice is coming along!

There it is, on Trudy. It really isn't that wrinkly in front. Wierd lighting.

I’m really please with how I matched the pattern in the front.

It is just pinned in place right now but it looks like it is going to be a perfect alignment!

Even the back looks OK.

Of course it needs a better ironing. I pressed the seams and that is it!

But, it can’t be all good.

The sleeves come all the way down to my knuckles. Pretty sure that it too long!

I haven’t decided what to do about the sleeve problem.  I’d really like to not rip the sleeves out and apart for a redo.  I had thought about turning them and making a cuff.

The trick will be to turn them without the wavy lumps.

I like the chocolate-brown at the bottom of the sleeve…it picks up the chocolate at the bottom of the skirt and it will pick up the buttons I will be adding.  I just don’t know if they had cuffs on pagoda sleeves (authentically) and if I can do it without it looking bad.  And I don’t know how far up I have to turn them.  I need to look at some pictures and figure out how low those sleeves went.  (I also need to have a closer look at where the shoulder ends during this era.  I believe there was a drop shoulder…if mine is too low then I may have the answer to my long sleeve problem.  I hope not because I want to redo that even less than I want to redo the sleeve.)

I’m also having another problem.  The weight of the skirts is bending my hoops in odd ways and I may have to reinforce the top hoop with something stronger (and heavier).  Also,  the hoops, petticoat and skirt are slowly sliding down the corset on my dress form.  I don’t think it will be a problem on me as I have more flesh squishing out from under my corset than Trudy does and that should hold everything up.  But, I think I will add some hooks and eyes to my corset and hoops to help hold it all in place.  I think I will also add hooks and eyes to the bodice and skirt to keep the bodice hem down and the skirt up.  I’m thinking I’ve read this was a fairly common practice.

The other funny thing is, the weight of all the clothes is pushing the telescopic stand in and Trudy gets shorter and shorter every day!  May be that is why they wore corsets!  They would collapse under the weight of all their clothes without it!



One step forward two steps back.

I took one step forward on my bodice and bought some boning.  I had heard these work pretty good.

Yeah! One step forward!

Then I pulled out my sewing only to find I had taken two steps back!


There had been a pen laying on top of it….arg!  Luckily, I have miles of the fabric still left!  There would have been some wailing and gnashing of teeth if there hadn’t been left overs.  I was just annoyed because this would be the third time cutting this piece out!

I had to cut it the second time when I decided I needed to take it in by an inch and a half on both sides but screwed up and didn’t leave enough material for my hips!  I hope this doesn’t turn into the bodice from hell!