Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from September, 2011

Film Review- To Kill A King

"To Kill A King" is a film set in that rather under-represented era in English history, the Civil War. It details the relationship between Lord Thomas Fairfax, who has helped to lead the overthrow of King Charles I, and his deputy, Oliver Cromwell. The two commanders seek to implement a more egalitarian government, but almost from the start are at odds about how to achieve this, and what the new government should be.

Muddying the waters somewhat is the relationship that each man has with Fairfax' wife, Lady Anne. She's of noble birth, and she and her father don't make her husband's political decisions any easier. Neither does the fact that Cromwell, at least in the beginning, has a not-so-secret desire for the lady, though he himself is married.

Tim Roth gives an impassioned performance as Cromwell, the man history loves to hate, although his relative youth in the film did puzzle me a little as he would have been 49 when the majority of the events depicted …

And I Quote- Homer on Helen of Troy

"Weaving a growing web, a dark red folding robe, working into the weft the endless bloody struggles stallion-breaking Trojans and Argives armed in bronze had suffered all for her at the god of battle's hands."  

Downton Abbey Preview Report

For those, like me, who have been anxiously awaiting the new season of Downton Abbey (which will air in the USA in January), I bring you this preview report. Be forewarned, it does contain spoilers, but it tells you before you get to them so the first half is still safe to read.

Advice for Young Women of the 1920s

I just love all of the references to how good health and hygiene make for good mothers, because that's the end goal; and if your children are blind or malformed it must be because you or your mate are unclean and lack virtue. So glad we don't think this way anymore.

Tudor Outfit- Part 2

Things are not going smoothly, to say the least. Remember the tear in the back of the bodice that needed fixed? I went to check the seam and found a place on the inside where the seam was coming apart...then another...and a place where the skirt wasn't fully attached...and then a spot where the lining and outer fabric seams weren't lining up...and a gap where the "stomacher" part in the front didn't sit against the skirt, but left a gap.

In short, the dress was a mess and with fraying fabric and needing to take it all apart, well, it started to get worse the more I picked the seams apart and I finally just separated the skirt from the bodice and tossed the bodice. Unfortunately there isn't enough leftover fabric to re-cut the bodice, so I put the skirt away for future use and checked my pattern for fabric requirements.

10 yards of 45" wide fabric. That's a lot, and I do not have 10 yards of fabric lying around, so it'll be out the fabric store fo…

Green velvet Tudor outfit- Part 1

I'm trying to downsize my fabric stash and finish up old projects, and one of the things that I've wanted to finish for a while now is my green velvet Tudor gown.


If it were simply a matter of moving forward on this outfit I'd only have to add closures to the front, make and attach oversleeves, and make a gable or a french hood. Heck, I could even forego the hood and wear a snood. Sadly, this outfit has been languishing in my closet for a long time because it is full of problems that need solving.

1) I made the kirtle from the Tudor Tailor pattern in the book, but this was years ago before I really knew how to scale up patterns properly, and I was in a crunch trying to get the outfit done for an event, so I skipped the mock-up and went straight into fabric. BIG MISTAKE! Always make time for a mock-up. The bodice came out a bit high in the neckline and large around. It fit, but it wasn't snug. I thought that it would "tighten-up" when I added in the boning an…

The Nineteenth Amendment: Women's Suffrage

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

After years of frustration when women's rights advocates had argued that the preceeding amendments granting suffrage regardless of race should include the same regardless of sex, finally a proposal was drafted and sent to the senate for consideration in 1878. The senate did not even vote on the proposal until 1887, at which time it was rejected by a vote of 16 to 34. At the beginning of the 20th century, however, women's rights again became a hotbed issue and suffragettes won support in many states, especially in the west where several states passed legislation granting "partial suffrage".

On August 18th, 1920, after much urging from President Wilson and a special session of Congress, it finally passed and was ratified by the states. Despite …

This Day in History- September 11th 2001, a personal note

I am an American, so it's impossible for me not to reflect with feeling on a date that has had so much significance for my country and myself. I am not interested in discussing blame, or policy, or politics. I am not interested in being angry. I am grateful that my own father was not where he was supposed to be on that day, for he might have been killed. I grieve for the people who lost their lives, and for the families who lost them. I am sorry for anyone who suffers needlessly, and I think it only underscores the fact that humanity has very far to go still. I will always remember where I was when I heard the news, as will every American of my generation, and people around the world.

I deeply appreciate the support and solidarity of those everywhere who have given it, and I have more than one reason to know that tragedy has a way of bringing out the best in people. I remember, I am grateful, I am humbled and hopeful.

This Day in History- John Gerrard's Escape from the Tower

I love a good prison break story like "The Shawshank Redemption", or "The Count of Monte Cristo", but sometimes the best stories are the true ones.

In 1597 a Jesuit missionary named John Gerrard was imprisoned in the Tower of London for all of the usual reasons; plotting against the queen, being the wrong religion etc. Tortured for four days by being hung from his wrists via chains, he steadfastly refused to name his co-conspirators, or even admit there was any kind of conspiracy. Taken down, finally, he was determined to escape.

First he knew that he would have to regain the use of his hands, which had been rendered immobile by the torture. He bribed his gaoler to bring him some oranges, which he squeezed, peeled, and ate. For three weeks he exercised his wrists by cutting the peels into small crosses, which he strung on a silken thread to make a rosary. Why squeeze the juice out, though?

He requested a piece of paper with which to wrap the rosary so that he co…

The Cloche Hat

Cloche is french for "bell" and the cloche hat of the 1920s was shaped just so. When one thinks of that era it is one of the most pervasive styles and the first to come to mind for me. They could be any color, and made out of velvet, felt, wool, straw, or even knitted, trimmed with flowers, bows, buttons, feathers, pretty much anything you can think of!

Strictly a day-wear item at first, they showed up in films, fashion plates, and advertisements, and many were in fact made specifically to match certain outfits. Invented by a milliner named Caroline Reboux in 1908, they continued in popularity until about 1933 and were sported by stars, socialites, and celebrities as well as regular working-class people and, of course, flappers.
In more recent years the cloche has made a comeback and versions for both day and eveningwear can be found everywhere from Etsy to in-store at Target and Macy's. This is one style that is far from gone.