Higgledy-Piggledy Month

Since I last posted things have kind of turned upside-down and inside-out and higgledy-piggledy.

Ron and Toshiba have amicably separated, as of February 1.

Ron is working on getting a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) endorsement, so he can drive big trucks. At this point he’s passed the written exams for his CDL learner’s permit, not sure when he gets behind the wheel.

Since Ron has been at home, he and Robin made most of the baked goods we sent to the Capricon Cafe – banana bread, corn muffins, and many different kinds of scones (I did a few scones).

Nageswari definitely seems to be getting more used to us – she’s been seen out soaking several times.

Robin cleaned the pantry a couple weeks ago. Wow, space!

I could *not* come up with any good ideas for birthday/Christmas presents for my Mom, and finally in a fit of possible insanity I ordered her a reproduction china doll (with soft body) similar to mine, and sent here a couple Japanese-style outfits. She was thrilled. Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance!

More natter about things that have been worked on over at the Otter blog.

Last Monday I fell off the step-stool while spot-cleaning snake enclosures. Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch. Mostly just stiff Tuesday, pretty sore and uncomfortable (and stayed home) Wednesday and Thursday.

I was going to do some sewing last Monday afternoon, but instead I spent the day flopping around the couch being sore and headachey (did go to acute care, they didn’t think I needed imaging after physical and basic neuro exam).

We have new neighbors (house to the north sold, finally), Mom, Dad, and four grade-school-ish boys. They seem very nice.

The weather last weekend was insane. 30-40 degrees F would have been warm for Capricon weekend. Mid-60s was mind-boggling. Then last week lower-70s.

Had the house open to get fresh air in much of last weekend.

Then it got cold again, and so for the last week or more I’ve been reminded on or off that my sinuses hate big temperature swings.

Capricon: Robin commuted and worked for Dave, Ron commuted and lurked around the Cafe a bit, I stayed home.

We have a new stove, since the oven died in the old one (a while back).

Also a “portable” countertop dishwasher. Was not willing to sacrifice more floor/counter space to a larger unit.

Got rid of the full-sized dish drainer and mat, and obtained a small mat and a roll-up grate-mat that can sit across the sink for larger items that don’t go in the dishwasher (cast iron, larger pots & pans, etc.).

The downstairs bathroom faucet has been replaced with a high-arch bar faucet, with a hose adapter, and there’s a coil-y hose with good spray head hanging on a rack in the bathroom. Watering snakes is much simpler now.

Got the drafting table mostly cleaned off again (see Otter blog), and used my big cutting mat.

Did sewing this weekend – two vests and a jacket, all un-lined. The jacket is kimono-style, vests have kimono-style collars, and square shoulders. Finished the vests, except for a good pressing that will hopefully tame trim issues on one, hand-sewing on the jacket to go.

Vests are to wear over mock-tee shirts at the annual floodplain managers’ conference next week.

Waiting on a new enclosure for Fezzik, Tanami, or Nageswari – depends on how big they all are when it arrives in a couple months. Yes, a long wait, but worth it.

Catching Up, Again

Since its been almost a month since I last posted, let’s revisit some of the topics from last time.

Ron’s still fighting insomnia. Visited our family physician yesterday to discuss options. We’ll see how those work out.

The Tree of Damocles (an American Elm) is scheduled for removal the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, along with another little elm and a branch coming over from the back neighbors’ yard. We could take care of the little elm and the branch ourselves, but the minor cost increase is definitely worth letting the professionals take them out/down, and dispose of the remains. Emphasis on the disposal part.

Banjo and guitar lessons still going well.  And Ron got me a wonderful new guitar-like thing, an “Inuk” by Godin Guitars, which is based on an Oud (middle-eastern-ish). It has 11 strings – the highest-pitched 10 are tuned in pairs, same tuning as a guitar. The lowest string is a single. All sets of strings are wound, usually the three highest guitar strings (on metal-strung guitars) are smooth. And the strings fan out as they go (each pair stays parallel). It does have frets (Godin also makes an oud, which does not have frets). It has its own unique sound. And I need to fret it differently than my regular guitars. Short audio/video clip of somebody that knows what they’re doing with it here.

No progress on Bollywood films.

Got a vest made for Robin (the black and silver), which came out well. Got another made for Ron, without the collar of damnation, which came out ok. I thought I could fix the wrinkling on the neckline by adjusting the shoulder seam, but more investigation while Ron was wearing it makes me think the real fix involves alterations to the body.

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 Got a new outfit made for myself. Dark brown skirt, made like hakama, dark red shirt, and a gold brocade jacket, cut along the lines of a kosode, with burgundy trim. The jacket went together as planned, although the very fussy details I committed made it take a while. The shirt, from a Simplicity pattern, turned out well, once I added gussets down the side and underarm. The pattern is set up for different bust sizes, and fits pretty well. I’ll be modifying my gussets (so they play nicely together) and making another couple. I also plan on re-drafting the sleeves, which are fine if you never want to get your elbows away from your sides, but make the shirt ride up funny otherwise.

Teslacon was interesting. I don’t know how to just attend a convention. There were some (IMO) issues – a schedule that was in micro-print, didn’t include the dealer’s room or entertainers, and which left off the hotel map (that was in the PDF version on-line), and opening the dealer’s room an hour early on Sunday without telling the dealers.

Ron got two corset/vests at Teslacon. He looks very very snazzy in them. Also a couple ascot ties. I got a cowl (hood) that matches my new outfit fairly well, a couple big scarves/shawls, a pile of books, and a cuttlefish.

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 Robin got a hat and mask from Blonde Swan. I will post a picture of Ron in one of his corsets and me in my new outfit once I get it from Ron. I also got extremely drunk on Friday night. Ron assures me I was not an annoying drunk. I remember the general gist of everything I said, which was pretty much lacking any brain-mouth filter.  I do remember torquey-torquey-turkey (I was wearing one of Ron’s torques), and that my drinky was smiling at me.  Which it totally was (pumpkin martini).

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Took a vacation/recovery day yesterday, have today off for Veteran’s Day.

And now the cleaning fairies are here, so I’m going to get out of their way…


Catching Up

Oops, I see its been over a month since I last posted. I blame the journal app I got for the iWhatsit (Day One). So to recap:
 Mid-September: Cleaned the dining room and the front entry. I can now use the dining room, and the doorway between the front entry and dining room is actually passable. IIRC I posted on the Otter Blog about it.
 Late September – Early October: The HVAC system at work went berzerk. It was up over 90 degrees F for a couple days. It still isn’t exactly fixed, but it is back to the same chronic state of not-quite-broken we’ve been living with for something like 10 years now. Low bid system, etc. etc.
 Various personal things were personal things. There’s been angst and ups and downs and Ron’s gotten really sick of not getting more than 6 hours of sleep a night. I suppose we should just admit than the term I’m avoiding is “insomnia”.
 Otter Necessities stuff has been happening. See the Otter Blog for that.
 Also for making chocolate babka. Or rather, marzipan-chocolate babka. Yum yum yum.
 Pippin is Pippin. Elrond is old, weak in the back end, has questionable vision, and is more or less senile. Back-end weakness means we’ll be replacing throw rugs at some date in the future, but for the moment he seems comfortable and reasonably happy, so we’ll put off the replacing of the throw rugs, thankyouverymuch.
 Been calling arborists today to see about getting the Tree of Damocles removed. The one right by the power and phone lines to the house. Fortunately, the neighbors are OK with having the work done from their side of the fence (which is only inches from the tree, at best). Yes, finally. I didn’t realize how long it had actually been since the Tree of Damocles incident.
 Guitar and banjo lessons are going well. I’m up to playing 5 of my 6 strings, and I expect to be formally introduced to string #6 in tomorrow night’s lesson. Working on learning “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”. Got the triplets (faster) down, now working on the slower bits (which involve things very like chords, except they only involve two strings at a time, not 3+, and which initially broke my brain when I tried to wrap it around actually playing two notes at a time – in theory was fine, execution not so much).
 Robin seems to be one of the more dependable employees at “his” Little Caesar’s, including understanding the operation, disassembly, and reassembly of dough-mangling machines. AFAIK he hasn’t learned to run the register/customer service yet, because he’s been too busy trying to keep up with making dough, pizzas, and doing dishes. See above, re: dependable.
 We’ve discovered that there’s a pretty good Indian restaurant 2 or 3 doors down from Little Caesar’s. Unassuming/unimpressive little hole-in-the-wall with the simple name “Indian Bistro”, but clean, the food is good, abundant, and more or less cheap. Ron and I like the Aloo 65, which I’ve taken to calling “danger potatoes”, which are bright screaming red, spicy, and served with raw onions. The (vegetable) samosas are big. Like half a pasty in size.
 Last week I was watching something Bollywood while waiting for our food. Not sure what was happening because I don’t speak Hindi (I assume it was Hindi), but I was able to identify the smart (-aleck) kid, the heroine in the form of his beautiful older sister or mom, bumbling pickpockets who were outwitted by the kid, auntie/grandma and her comic-relief spouse (gargling floor cleaner instead of mouthwatch, thanks to kid), handsome hero (possibly kid’s dad?), and the Other Woman who the hero was romancing at that point. And then there were the musical numbers. I have no clue what they were about, I really don’t know the tropes. But they rival, no, exceed, any of the big Hollywood musical production numbers.
 I think . . . I think I need to watch some more Bollywood stuff, with subtitles. I expect American pop culture is equally inexplicable if you don’t know the language.
 Saturday night we went to see “Young Frankenstein”, the musical, at Cutting Hall. It was pretty good. It wasn’t a complete re-do of the movie, but it was clearly a direct descendant. Ron, Xap, and I all want to know how in the world they were stuffing all those sets back in the wings. We’ve been back there, we know how much room there . . . isn’t. And nobody was bitten by bats.
 Saturday and Sunday we worked on garb, a vest for Xap that didn’t go quite as planned, and had the side seams and front buttons replaced with lacing. But it came out pretty well, I think. Xap did the majority of the work, I advised, did a little pressing, and some top-stitching.
 Cut a Folkwear-pattern vest out of muslin, and tried it on Ron and Robin. It fit Robin with relatively minor changes needed. Not so much Ron. Teslacon is coming soon, so I didn’t want to wait to mail-order a pattern that went larger for Ron, but Reconstructing History had one I could download, print, and tape together. Which we did. And despite adding 4″ in length, it still was too short, too tight in the arms, and needed other changes. Printed out another copy to go up one size, decided what additional changes to make, and Ron and I have been puzzling over the collar. Today, after fussing about with muslin pieces and puzzling some more over the directions, I determined that the pattern and directions for the collar are . . . pretty much useless.
 I did find one blog/review about the pattern, and the author also had collar capital-I Issues. I’m going to have to come up with the collar on my own. I think I can do it, but it annoys me.
 3rd annual staff meeting for work on Thursday. Meeting stuff in the morning, in the afternoon we’ll be seeing the a project to burn off coal tar underground/under water (I think) in the City of Ottawa, IL.
 – Posted using software from hardware

More Doll Clothing

Oops, meant to post this a week or so ago:
 Shortly after MuseCon I posted pictures and nattered about Japanese-style doll clothing. At that point, I’d finished these kosode (robes) and kariginu (vest) from a set of fat quarters:

 I’ve finally finished the last two pieces made from that bundle: a robe, the exact name of which escapes me, which is essentially a kosode without the overlapping front extensions:

Back view, to show off being picky about the placement of the koi:

And this hakama-style skirt. Which is more of a muted olive in person:

And now, the fan-pattern kosode, which I meant as a bottom layer, with the hakama. Sorry, I still haven’t gotten my PVC display stands made yet:

And the layered robes. You’d probably actually want a plainer kosode as the center layer (instead of hiding the koi), but you get the idea:

And a more casual outfit of kosode, kariginu, and hakama:

You may notice that the flowers on the kariginu also show up on the large koi robe. And the koi three of the five fabrics. I wouldn’t have thought of using an olive with the other colors, but it works. Which is an advantage of using fat quarter bundles. Granted, the collars for the koi robes and the kariginu didn’t come from the bundle, but they’re good color matches and work.
 – Posted using software from hardware

Moving Closer to Sewing

Ron didn’t get the hems pinned on my long vest over the weekend, but that’s because we got busy doing other things.

I spent most of Saturday working on the latest program book (for the floodplain managers’ conference next week), and bits of Sunday morning and evening, so I could send it off to the printer Monday morning.  Yay! I have my life back!

Placing a PeaPod order on Friday, I was tempted strangely by a frozen “Cajun” Turtucken with sausage, which was on sale. We had it for dinner Saturday. It was more like a turkey roll with an inner layer of duck, and some bits of softer brown stuff that I think was either sausage or stuffing, with green herby bits. It was rather dry. It was greatly improved by making curry out of it on Sunday, chopped up and mixed with browned onions, coconut milk, a chicken bahai (spelling approximate) seasoning packet, a slosh of key lime juice, and chunks of oriental sweet potato, all cooked in the crock pot. The oriental sweet potato (as well as the seasoning mix) was from Eurofresh. It had a darker, more reddish skin, and white flesh. It also seemed to be less sweet than the standard sweet potato/yam. It wouldn’t look right in a sweet potato dish on Thanksgiving, but I’ll probably buy them again for things like curry. The one I got was really big – one was plenty for a batch of curry that mostly-filled the 4-quart stock pot. That may just be a function of time of year, IIRC the available yams were also big.

Other not-sewing things done Sunday included getting new hiking boots for Robin, since his old pair had developed a hole, and hitting a couple places looking for a new case/cover for Ron’s iPad (he ended up with an Otter Defender).

Getting closer to sewing, on Sunday afternoon Ron went with me to JoAnn, to look for fabric to coordinate with my long-vest brocade to make a sash, to wear if I don’t want to wear a corset (externally), and possibly trim for the neck opening and cuffs of the shirt. We couldn’t find any brocades/fancy-schmancy fabrics that coordinated with the dark burgundy, but I did find a pretty teal sari-ish fabric with a gold brocade pattern and selvedge borders. I got a couple yards of that, which is more I need for a sash, but I wanted to have enough selvedges for shirt trim. I also got 5 yards of solid teal kona cotton, to make a skirt or pants or something with, and for the back side of the sash.

Found sash directions on a Civil War-era forum I’ve been lurking on for a while, which confirmed how I’d pretty much planned to make it – sew the fabric over a stiff lining, close with hooks and eyes, and use a fake knot or sew the tails to hang one from the back side and the other to flip over the top edge.. I suspect I may have read the directions previously. Not sure if I’m going to go in search of buckram to stiffen it, or hit the stash for cotton duck. I’m thinking I may get some embroidery floss

The sari-ish fabric was on sale, I’m wondering if I should have gotten another yard or so to make a vest for Ron. Or maybe that would be too much matchy-matchy, not sure.

Debating what I want to cover my butt for this outfit. So far the choices are baggy/blousy pants, as in the ones in the Folkwear Sarouelles pattern, a split skirt, probably this one from Laughing Moon Mercantile, or the Folkwear Walking Skirt, which I think is more Edwardian than Victorian, but whatever. I’m not sure the walking skirt is going to work on my figure, I suspect it may not have enough space over the hips.

Currently a split skirt is the front-runner. The Folkwear version has the front panel permanently attached to one leg, and one review implies that it’s awkward to wear/walk in. There’s a version from Truly Victorian, based on a 1901 tailoring guide, which I like the look of but thought I wouldn’t have enough fabric for, but I see now that I was looking at the longer version. I like the back pleats and side openings, which I think would work better if I need to take it in for shrinking-me. Hmm, decisions, decisions. Neither the Laughing Moon or Truly Victorian goes big enough for my hip size (unless I’ve lost more there than I realize), so maybe I will go with the Truly Victorian one.

The Folkwear Vintage Vests and Victorian Shirt patterns arrived yesterday. Shirt fabric is out for delivery today, but it doesn’t appear that the vest fabric has shipped yet.


Not Sewing Yet

I’ve been working on the floodplain managers’ conference program book, so sewing has been at a standstill.

However, I’ve been poking around learning how Victorian-era vests were made and what with. And then deciding what I was and wasn’t going to do along those lines, because steampunk isn’t exactly historically accurate.

Today I ordered patterns and fabric. I went ahead and got the Folkwear vest and Victorian shirt patterns. I don’t recall the authenticity-minded opinion on the shirt, but the vest pattern gets a thumbs-up. I ordered from Vogue, so there’s a chance I could have the patterns as early as tomorrow.

For the vests I got two black brocades, one with a grey fern-leaf pattern, and one with a brown floral. I also got floral (rose) brocades in green and amber. I got enough amber for two vests. Lining was typically muslin, so I’m good there. For the backs I got black, dark grey, and brown cotton sateen – vests usually had brown “holland” (polished linen) backs, but black and dark grey aren’t out of the question, and sateen is the usual modern alternate to holland.  So, I have enough fabric for 5 vests. Good thing I’ve develop an urge to make vests.

The two black brocades are actually stretchy, with 2-3% lycra content, but vests were typically interfaced, so a layer of muslin should both act and interfacing and un-stretchy the brocades.

Didn’t order OD twill for Russian-ish uniform tunics, the vest bug jumped the queue.

From fabrics.com I got cotton broadcloth ($3-ish/yard) in black, grey, and tan, for shirts. Or whatever. Dressy shirts were actually white most of the time, but given our hard water, I decided that I’d be making not-white dress shirts, thanksverymuch.

First step on the vests will be tracing the pattern onto the non-woven interfacing-ish material I have, then cutting out the basic shell in muslin to see what alterations may need to be made for Ron and Robin.  After, however, I hem my long vest. Ron has promised to mark/pin the hems for me this weekend, unless I’m busy with the program book and/or leatherworking.

Catching Up

So, as I mentioned on Monday, I got whatever Ron had. Instead of going to my lungs, it went to my sinuses, although the antibiotics or something kept it from getting too bad. Went to work Tuesday, Ron took me to get a fill in the lap-band Wednesday morning, then I had him take me home and I went to bed, where I slept for over an hour, On my back. I rarely sleep on my back. Made it to work Thursday and Friday, although I question how much good I was there.

Started feeling better yesterday/today, although I’m still tired.

Made successful chili-type substance yesterday, despite being out of chili seasoning.  So I remember, it was beef (chunks), somewhere in the neighborhood of a pound (whacked off a bigger piece, didn’t weigh it), an onion, cook the beef and onion, add a can of green chile enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes, a can of beans, some middle eastern-ish 7-spice powder from Pita Inn, chili powder, and cayenne. After a while I added a box of shoepeg white corn in butter sauce, and later yet a couple handfuls of crunched-up tortilla chips to thicken it up (a trick learned from AB).  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 quarts. Cooked in the crock pot.

Still waiting for vendor registration for Teslacon to go up, but since tickets became available again (I think they’re being released in batches), I went ahead and got 4 – me, Ron, Xap, and Robin. I also made a hotel reservation. Spaces in the main hotel did not appear with more tickets, and none of the hotels have great parking options (ie: pull-through 2-space long space) for the trailer, so we went with the closest option.

So, we’ll be needing steampunk or something related (dieselpunk, gaslamp fantasy, whatever).

My long brocade vest is still waiting to have the hem marked. Maybe this afternoon, since I seem to be at a holding point at the program book for the floodplain managers’ conference (probably more to come about that on the Otter Necessities blog).

I have a bunch of OD fabric samples, come Friday I’ll probably order a bunch of fabric for Dragon Corps gymnasterkas.

On Friday I’ll probably order a couple more Folkwear patterns: #202 Victorian Shirt, and #222 Vintage Vests.  With a shirt and a vest (thinking the shawl-collared (round collar) option and his top hat or bowler, and either kilt or pants Ron should be good. I might even be brave enough to make a vest with an obvious diagonal. The nice thing is that a vest fronts only uses in the neighborhood of a yard of fabric, so you can get pretty fancy without breaking the bank. Cheaper than, say, a floor-length brocade vest-ish thing, for instance.

Victorian pants were higher than modern – to a man’s real waistline, not the hips. Not sure if I’ll bother with those, since modern pants can probably pass for Teslacon, and kilts from UT Kilts are relatively cheap.

I figured a couple military-ish tunics would be fine for Robin with his kilts, but when I asked about the vests, he liked them. I don’t think Ron and Robin would be able to share, since that style vest is more fitted than the modern cargo vests they both like, but I won’t complain if they can.

Read Ben Aaronovitch’s “Midnight Riot” on Friday. UK title was “Rivers of London”, and have started the next novel, “Moon Over Soho”. They’re about an apprentice wizard/modern UK constable in London. They’re good fun. Mystery/police procedurals, but with a sense of humor. At least in spots. People with their faces falling off isn’t fun.

Yesterday: Not Quite As Planned

Robin and I had yesterday off (President’s Day), so Ron declared us in charge of getting the first pass of bins to the storage locker. Robin has clearly inherited Ron’s tetris genes, he got more into the truck than Ron or I expected: 10 14-gallon bins, 7 or 8 10-gallon bins, and our 5-gallon beverage cooler. That’s all the new bins we’d bought and filled (mostly from the spare bedroom), and the smaller ones that have been living in our bedroom. Still to go over are the air conditioners, coolers, and backpack(s) (backpacking type, with rigid frames). Not sure how much after that we’ll have room for, but that will be space gained in several places.

As noted over on the Otter Necessities blog, my plan for most of yesterday was working on a program book, but that fell through due to lack of content, and instead of cleaning the dining room/working on leather instead, I went spelunking in the dining room, found a project, and sewed instead.

I pulled out the long middle-eastern-ish vest, in a brocaded satin, that I cut out a couple-few years ago. Kind of a sleeveless take on the entari from Folkwear’s “Turkish Dancer” pattern. The satin is a pale gold, with a slightly darker pale gold leafy-flowery patterning, and more leafy-flowery patterning in burgundy. The lining for it is dark burgundy calico with a leafy-feathery pattern in black.  Silly, me, I thought it would go together quickly.

It may have, if I hadn’t lined it, or if the lining pieces had been the same size as the fashion fabric. But the calico was slightly narrower than the brocade, so the skirts of the lining aren’t quite as wide as the outer skirts, which made for some interesting little tricks in construction, so that I could do the necessary separate hemming of the sides of all the pieces parts. And there was a lot of hemming, as I cut it over-long, so its currently dragging on the floor, and the side seams stop at about waist level.

I also made my very own bias tape for the first and second times – I made it out of the lining fabric, to be arm hole facing, and made it too narrow the first time. After all the machine-sewing was done, last night I was hand sewing down the arm hole facings and tacking the fashion and lining fabrics together along the front edge, down to about the same level as the side seams. Got that all done, the only thing left to do is actually hem to length. I’d have had time last night, but Ron is not-sick-dammit, and didn’t want to get down on the floor to pin it up for me, and I didn’t feel like talking Robin through the process.

My original plan for the outfit that the vest is part of, which is a steampunk outfit, is that I’d wear the vest over either bloomers or a skirt, Gibson Girl blouse, and corset worn over the blouse and bottoms. I still haven’t gotten around to the blouse, and have been feeling a little intimidated by it (more fitted than I’ve ever done before), so when I went to the fabric store for pale gold thread, I got some pale gold fabric to make one of the “Shirts of Russia and the Ukraine” as an alternate. I think I’m going to make the center-opening version of the shirt. I may also see if I can find some coordinating mostly-burgundy brocade, so I can make a sash to wear instead of the corset, if I’m so inclined.

Did I mention that the dieselpunk outfit may have become a group thing? I may be making OD off-center opening shirts for Ron, Xap, and Robin also. Robin’s OD kilt is a good color, and Ron wants/needs new kilts, so all he’ll need is one in OD to match Robin. Robin also asked for a gray shirt, as his officer’s-style cap is gray, so we got some gray fabric while we were at the fabric store.  In a slightly surprising turn of events, Robin had decided to go to the fabric store with me. His intent was fleece to make terrain markers for miniature wargaming (which he got), but he didn’t argue about getting the gray fabric while we were there.

So, if we’re going to do a group outfit kind of thing, we need some kind of emblem. A couple-few years ago we made a Civil-War era cartridge pouch, and Ron commented that it would be cool to get a stamp to put some kind of emblem on it, like the US and CS emblems used on the originals. He came up with “Dragon Corps” and we made a stab at a couple designs that ended up looking more DC-Comics than we wanted.

At Capricon, I made a stab at a Dragon Corps emblem, with a Russian feel. Instead of the double-headed eagle, I went with a double-headed dragon. Not shown are the early attempts, that included feet and tail(s). Several iterations later, I got to one I was happy enough to photocopy and try coloring:


Dragon Corps, Eastern Division (of the Rodina, or Motherland)

No, not a great picture – taken with my phone camera, and Copic markers bleed more on copier paper than paper made for them. Which I could have tried putting in the photocopier, but forgot about while standing at the copier, oops.  Anyway, I think the general color scheme is good. I didn’t resist putting some shading in, although that wouldn’t be in an embroidered version. And my hand-drawn lettering sucks like a giant sucky thing of suckiness. My cunning plan is to find a font I like, and use the power of Illustrator to make the intertwined DC.  The next step is doing that, and getting Ron to do a tracing of the original drawing in Illustrator, so we have the image digitally (with and without color).

I think the horns need to go back farther, and maybe up a little, on the heads, now that I look at the colored version. Not sure why I didn’t see that before. At least this time neither of the heads are smirking.

More Dieselpunk

The good fairies haven’t blessed me with a pair of the brown and OD boots I found, but on the way home yesterday I remembered that I have a pair of these:

photo 1.JPG photo 2.JPG

Aerostitch “Combat Touring” motorcycle boots.

Robin has seen them fairly recently, and added that one of the latches is broken.  IIRC what’s broken is the toothy bit that adjusts in and out. I’ll have to dig them out, determine if they still fit, and if the part does need to be replaced, which is easily done. I’d also replace the yellow laces with black paracord from our copious supply.

Denver Fabrics has twill fabric in several shades of OD (and other greens). This morning I ordered 1/8-yard swatches of a bunch, so I can decide which I prefer for weight, etc., and for color as compared to my cap. I should be able to get some light blue cotton for piping at JoAnn or Hancock Fabrics. Yes, I’m thinking of making my own, the process should be well within my capabilities, and reliable sources say the resulting piping is nicer than the pre-made stuff.

Costuming Opinions Needed

This weekend was Military History Fest (formerly Reenactor Fest), held at Pheasant Run. There will be more natter about it from an Otter Necessities point of view on it later on the Otter blog, but this is the place to talk about the clothing.

There were people in everything from Roman to modern outfits, both military and civilian. IIRC we may have worn medieval garb on Saturday last year, this year we just wore modern/mundane clothing all weekend. But I end up feeling very dull when I do that.

(Excuse me if this is not my most coherent post, I’m suffering from con-brain)

On Saturday I saw a couple young ladies (I’m guessing 20-somethings) wearing WWII-era Russian uniforms, kind of tan-ish, maybe light olive. I know they were Russian uniforms, because I asked. Very nice looking.  But I didn’t get any pictures, d’oh!, because now I want one too!  Well, maybe not exactly a perfect replica of an actual uniform, but something like that. Their uniforms were a fairly standard button-front shirt/tunic with a stand collar, worn belted over slacks, with a garrison/side cap.

I’ve bought an e-book of one Osprey book “Heroines of the Soviet Union, 1941-1945”, which turns out to not have much in the way of pictures, more biographies of the heroines in question. But last night I ordered another Osprey book that may be better for uniform pictures. Not that I’m waiting for it.

Sunday I bought a garrison cap, olive drab (OD, from here on out) wool (I think wool, lightweight), with light blue piping. Its a US infantry one, but the styling and OD are pretty generic.

I’m thinking of using the Folkwear “Shirts of Russia and the Ukraine” pattern, off-center opening with the narrow placket, which turns out to be just about exactly a “gymnasterkas”, like this reproduction of older Imperial Russian one:


This one is the officer’s version, with the pockets. I don’t need any extra embellishment on my chest, so I’d go for an enlisted version without the pockets, thanks very much.

The shirt above is priced at just shy of $100. I can buy a lot of OD fabric for $100, and I’ve made the Folkwear tunic before, it isn’t difficult. But it does need to be lengthened, the one I made for Ron a couple years ago I lengthened, then still had to graft some more length onto.

I’m thinking an OD tunic, with light blue piping, to match my cap. I don’t think I want a light blue tunic, Robin says it wouldn’t look military enough. I think it would just look air-force-ish or navy-ish, which seems to not be what I want. I have an OD skirt, which is getting a little worn, but can be replaced, or I also have tan and black skirts – all the ones I wear everyday. Or for that theoretical $100 I should be able to get enough fabric for a tunic and skirt. But I’m fine with being lazy.

Robin informs me that WWII-ish alternate historical outfits are Dieselpunk (as opposed to Steampunk). So apparently I’m thinking of a dieselpunk outfit.

Other possible accessories I found for sale, in the general color scheme:

Buttons (Imperial Russian again, because this is alternate history, and I’m happy to mix and match regimes and insignia). But I think they’re probably too big/showy for a tunic:

imp_button_2.jpg imp_button_1.jpg

Shoulder boards. I’d have to double-check the color descriptions to see which are grey and which are OD:

shoulder_board_3.jpg shoulder_board_2.jpg shoulder_board_1.jpg



Gee, think I can make a belt?  Or is it just an excuse to order more russet (light brown) leather?  I refuse to answer that second question on grounds I may incriminate myself!

Medals/badges. The cavalry ones are Soviet, the eagle is Imperal:

soviet_cavalry_badge_2.jpg soviet_cavalry_badge_1.jpg IMPereal_hat_Eagle.jpg

So, opinions?  Which shoulder boards?  Or none?  I’d have to add epaulettes to the tunic, but that should be easy.  Maybe on the shoulder boards would be the right place for a pair of the fancy buttons.

How about the badges?  The eagle badge is a cap badge, not sure how big it is (I was just grabbing images this morning, not looking at sizes). The cavalry badges do say “CCCP”, but I think its fairly discrete, unlike some of the hammer and sickle badges.

I haven’t figured out footwear yet. I have a pair of tall-ish tan hiking boots, but they’re modern-looking (don’t see them on the Cabela’s website). Hiking sneakers are Right Out, I’m afraid. In an ideal world I could find comfortable riding-type boots that aren’t an arm and a leg, but I’m not holding my breath here in reality.  Oooh, I like these boots from Cabela’s (Chippewa 17″ Snakeproof boots):


But I don’t like them $260 much. Maybe some basic black pumps, or good old black combat-ish boots.

Where would I wear this dieselpunk outfit I’m pretty sure is a “when” and not an “if”?  Conventions. I could wear it at SF conventions, Military History Fest (there were steampunks there, as well as accurate reenactors), and Xap suggested that it would work at ACen, too.

I got another new hat and a sari, I’ll post about those once I get pictures.