April to August has been quite a ride in the Costuming Community, but we’re not going to talk about that today. Instead, I’ll touch on standard water cooler chat–the weather, weekend plans, and…uh…walking.
I’ve written this [no longer] Birthday Month blog post a handful of times. It seemed like whenever I was ready to publish, another issue would crop up in one of the costuming sects and I’d need a week to process. I try not to write for the internet when I’m in my feelings, so it’s now a lovely Saturday in early August (and I should be at a ren faire…any ren faire). I’ve finally had a quiet few days, and I’m caffeinated enough for proofreading, video editing, and planning ahead for fall shenanigans.
In May, we celebrated Black Fae Day with some super rushed outfits and glittered tea. I busted some stash, frolicked with the babies, and realized that I hadn’t cleaned my makeup brushes in quite a long time. I was reminded of how much I do not like [self-imposed] Con Crunch even though I have some of my best ideas while I’m sleep-deprived. My social media feeds were filled with beautiful, fantastical interpretations of the theme, and there was an outpouring of love and shares from the general costuming community. Following that up with a boost, Enchanted Asian Day happened in the month following, and once again, my feed was graced with magic and wonder. I fully support new internet holidays, so keep ‘em coming. In the fray, I realized just how much of my fabric stash consists of pieces too small for “real” projects, too modern for historically inspired projects, and too hard to work with for any project, which is why it’s still just sitting on the shelf tempting the carpet bugs. I have always trusted in my stash, so I won’t do a cull this year, I’m just speaking my truth and hoping for another good stash busting costume to come along and make some more space.
My 1790s Princess Tiana project has been stalled pretty much since it started. I’d been counting on having the refurbished embroidery machine in my hands months ago. The shop never sent me the promised update, and I am not a deal chaser. If the machine needs that much work and they’re too busy or held up by shipping delays to respond, then I’m too busy (and spitefully Cancer) to give them my attention at this time. But I also won’t travel to a big name store to buy a brand new machine, since I have a number of words about the sewing industry and it’s incomprehensible code of secrecy. I can continue to leave the big embroidery pieces on hold for now, while I rework the smaller motifs in the digitizing software. With a few good hours, I should be able to fire up my little Brother embroidery machine this week. The same goes for Regency Sailor Mercury, though that digitizing should require half as much effort and thread.
I put some more stitches into the generic renaissance shirt that I started last year. This experiment was supposed to be a camicia for my next Lady Poppy outfit, which has no real timeline so it’s nice to have one simmering project when I need a brain break. I cut some linen from my Fabrics-Store bolt and referenced Patterns of Fashion 4 for the pieces. My primary goal was to hand embroider the seams and a decorative neckline, so the actual construction was done by machine. I ordered a crapton of embroidery floss in colors with which I could create a lovely floral array above my bust. Too bad I’m easily distracted and not entirely sure that I added enough panels to the piece…. Honestly, I just like having pick-up hand sewing nearby, and when I’m watching horror movies with Hench Hubby, putting my eyes to my stitching is way cooler than hiding under my Blanket of Protection +1. Now that the Margo Anderson gamurra pattern has arrived and the cioppa is on the way, I might fast track the Lady Poppy ensemble. My mid-Tudor kirtle is sitting in a sad pile of questionable shapes on the sewing table, but I’m afraid to declare it as this month’s UFO project, so…yeah. Hawkgirl may not see the light of day at this point either, but TudorCon is still on the calendar for October and I have no idea what’s in my rennie wardrobe anymore.
Since we all know that I’m not going to get through this update without whispering some thoughts about recent events, I’ll get it out now, and hope that those of you without any context or ponies in this race will just glaze over and skip to the end. Please. If it doesn’t concern you, I invite you to scroll down to the next picture.
Some exciting developments this quarter included purchases for some WIPs, shoes, stays, kits, and books. I did a couple of backyard photo shoots–mostly for one-off IG posts or YouTube bits, so don’t judge me. I finished the first part of Regency Sailor Mercury, a pillowcase Tudor petticoat, that chemise gown for reaching Level 41, a Victorian bathing corset, Squidsmith for Blerdcon, and my first short sacque or pet en l’air with a new petticoat. I also randomly ordered some USB lights to supplement my ring light, and used it for a quick IG live with SheProp. We chatted about last year’s Georgian Princess Allura and geeked out about historically inspired cosplay.
In a meandering glance toward the future, I frequently get the suggestion to share my work in groups, compete, and take on commissions, but I very rarely comply. I’m hugely uncomfortable with self-promotion, don’t like asking questions that I can research, and am not motivated by accolades or even money. I’m busy enough with my nuclear family model and a soul-draining 9-to-5 that pays me in actual dolla-dolla bills. However, I do believe in positive exposure for overlooked groups. Sometimes, you just need to be a checked box, and in the “traditional” view, I am an old, fat, black, geeky wife and mom, so I check a number of boxes. You don’t have to like it, and the position is not for everyone. I love myself and am essentially dead to those feelings of indignation, so I’m planning for my first “real” competition piece in many, many years. It would be nice to revisit competition now that I have considerably more in my arsenal than when I started this hobby decades ago. There are no firm plans yet, but I’ll provide updates as they develop. When you’ve convinced yourself that you’re “doing it for the culture” because there isn’t enough visibility, you take that opportunity and do your very best to put forward your face–desirable to The Community or not.
And finally, on the docket for this weekend, I’ve smushed over 12 hours of footage into two slightly smaller chunks to cover my recent 18th century pet en l’air project (7 minutes and 1 hour). It was slated as my July project, but then BlerDCon happened and I just barely eeked it out in time for a super fun photoshoot with Dames a la Mode. If you’ve made it this far, watched the videos, and still want something closer to an explanation for any part of any project, I am happy to throw together content for you. You specifically. I’m not joking. One IG follower requested an 18th century hair video, so that’s next weekend’s recording task. This hobby has given me so much, mostly in the form of artistic expression, and I will do whatever it takes, however small, to encourage others to gain the same. Today, I’m also editing a dance video for the appropriately named “Hafla Con” where we perform belly dance routines as comic book, video game, and pop culture characters. It’s basically my favorite thing ever. If I decide to release that video, I’ll provide the link here on the blog the next time around.
I’ll wrap up with a simple note: We don’t all have to be going somewhere. We can just wade in the pool, sipping mocktails while trying to avoid the splashing and sunburn. Don’t be an ascot. I love you.