Period Crochet – Long Treble (& Crochet Snood Pattern)

I’m in the process of making some snoods for the upcoming Ren-season… (Alright, crocheted snoods are more of a 1940’s thing, but snoods were cool back then, too. Just… not crocheted. But who will know? Kekeke…)

And one of the stitches I’ve encountered from 1942 is the “long treble”. What the what?

Well, thank goodness for the Godey’s Lady’s Book of January 1857 for they have been so kind to clarify it for us:

Long Treble Crochet.– Pass the thread three times, before drawing it through the stitch, thus having five loops on the needle. Draw the thread through two at a time, until all are taken off. This will require four movements.

Translation:

  • Wrap the thread around your hook three times.
  • Poke your hook through wherever it is you want to be making your stitch, and draw up a loop.
  • You should now have five loops total on your hook.
  • Draw through only two loops at a time, until you are all done. (You should only be doing this four times.)

Go forth and snood yourself.

(Just a note: I don’t use a ribbon, I just crochet it right to an elastic headband thing. It’s easy. And when I’m out all day in the sun at the faire… the last thing I want to be doing is fiddling with something. To do this: don’t tie off your end, just pick up your hair elastic, and throw about two or three sc’s in each “hole” to attach it.)

I lost my super-awesome sewing-on-the-go kit. It had lots of good quality stuff – never buy those pre-packaged “sewing kits” they are crap!

  • The needle threader included with those pre-packaged kits are only good for one use. Then they will break. This is an official law of the universe. Invest in a good one.
  • Buy thimbles that are super comfortable for your style. Do not skip this – do not learn the hard way with an ER trip for a needle through your finger.
  • Retractable tape measure.
  • Embroidery snips.
  • Regular scissors.
  • Glass jar of safety pins.
  • Bobby pins.
  • Extra buttons, elastic, hook and loop fastener, etc.
  • White and black thread.
  • Varied hand needles.
  • Ergonomic seam ripper, a really nice one. (This is my best friend.)
  • Extra jewelry findings.

So I will cheer myself up with some reminders…

Arctica’s Sewing Rules of Acquisition

  • Never buy trim from the craft store. Always buy in bulk.
  • Never buy needles from the store – always, always buy in bulk. Change needles with every project.
  • Clean machines and oil at least every week. Always buy thread in bulk, the best you can afford. Buy compressed air to help keep machines free of debris.
  • Never buy fabric from retail chain stores. Buy local from fabric wholesalers or online in bulk. Buy in bulk when the price is good and build up a stash.
  • In fact, stay away from retail chain craft stores, and buy in bulk.
  • Sewing supplies can be bought very cheap and in very good quality from cleaners/tailors/dressmakers suppliers.

Something About Passion, Creativity & Purpose in Life

Peek into the brain of a forensic anthropologist… gone designer… something…

Even if you know me, you may not know about the driving force behind most of my actions. Throughout my life, I have had one obsession, pushing me through my actions and consequences. My obsession is death. It’s pushed me to pursue forensic anthropology, and in the same vein, the theater. I’ve become passionate about costume and fashion design. The two have a lot in common actually. Death is a beautiful design. There’s no reason for our evolution towards a peaceful death – but it is there. It is a gradual process which can take months to complete. Our bodies are wired to make the transition pleasant. Or even in unnatural death – there’s a fascinating, grotesque process of making the transition from living to dead. On the other side of the coin, life has it’s own strange, complex design which I am still trying to figure out. But the theater brings clarity to it. It’s a pure, untainted catalyst for human soul, emotion, and experience. It’s timeless; a pristine design. The costumes are not only costumes – they are a vehicle in their own right, able to capture your consciousness and transport it through the narrow window of theater. It focuses you. It moves you. Life is its own facade, a costume we wear until our show is over. What we wear says unspoken volumes about us. How confident we are, our worldview, our character. It’s a vehicle of focus that enables you to hone in on life’s design. The ironic part of our costume is that it is a constant cycle of reuse and recycling. Life is a process of reuse and recycling. The business of death is really a business of life. I would argue that they are really one and the same.

Isaac Mizrahi sums it up best: “Style makes you feel great because it takes your mind off the fact that you’re going to die.”

Backstage Costumer

I have learned the hard way that you always have to have certain items on hand backstage.

What is in my costume designer backstage kit:

  • Baby food jar with safety pins.
  • Band aids.
  • Triple antibiotic ointment. (Neosporin.)
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Baby wipes.
  • Bobby pins.
  • Hand sewing needles.
  • Thread in white and black.
  • Mechanical pencil.
  • Retractable sewing tape measure.
  • Pony tail bands.
  • Small scissors.
  • Extra buttons and stick-on hook and tape closures. (Velcro).
  • Duct tape.
  • Small LED flashlight.
Organizational skills ftw:
  • Binder with:
  • Sheets for male and female measurements for the actors. Always write in centimeters because they will look and they will give you all kinds of comments.
  • Lined paper for notes.
  • Blank paper for sketches.
  • Plastic sheet protectors for everything.
  • Fabric samples.
  • Costume research.
  • Budget worksheet, receipts, records.

Corset Addiction

Best thing I’ve read all day… “I normally like to use a super-fun lining layer on my corsetry to hide my shame.” -LJ: Corsetmakers.

One of my absolute role models is Mayfaire Moon Corsets & Costumes. I finally got the chance to meet her – and I love her! I was so nervous, I thought I was going to vomit all over myself somehow. I love her work, it’s very creative and original, and her craftsmanship is impeccably perfect. I’m pretty sure there were cartoon hearts floating around my head when I saw her. Hopefully with practice and passion I can have even half of her talent!

I’m trying to decide whether to use spiral steel or flat steel. I don’t know! I guess I’ll have to do some trial and error. It would be easier for me to use the spiral steel since I have the tools to cut and finish it. Hmmm. What would I do without the Corsetmakers LJ? I don’t know!

I’m making something that’s not really going to fit me extremely well, anyway. I’m actually not really sure *what* I’m doing. I might give it away to someone. I just want to practice construction techniques – and how to get a busk sewn in accurately and efficiently.

My ultimately evil goal is to get everything all tied up neatly so that I can get some sort of Steampunk ensemble going. I swore I’d never touch it because I was soooo into cyberpunk/raver/dystopian post-apocalyptic something/renaissance stuffs that it just didn’t interest me. But… I love history. And I love science fiction. And I love all kinds of stuff like that and despite my best efforts to keep it away – I have been swept up in it. I still miss the cyberpunk days, but I guess it’s one of those things… like the 80’s.

I need another theater show to work on so I can stop sitting here idle. And I need some practice!

I’d really love to get into waist training – but I’ll take it one step at a time. First I need to figure out this pattern drafting thing.

Late Victorian Corset

I’ve decided to work off of a 19th century pattern for my corset. I’m not sure why. I’m almost certain that it’s going to cause a lot of headache – compared to myself, the woman the pattern was made for had quite a gifted bust with a long torso – two things that I am not in possession of. But I guess there’s a bit of happy nostalgia in there somewhere about the oncoming project. All I need to buy is a busk, the boning is sitting on my couch, and the fabric is floating around here… somewhere.

My rules of corset making and wearing:
-The floating ribs are compressed and folded in and down. I need to breathe through my chest. Not panic and die.
-Don’t mess with the sciatic nerve. That’s a good part of my body.
-Any numbness, tingling, etc. and it needs to loosen up. It’s not going to go away.
-Just because I can lace really tight doesn’t mean I should, start small and work in over time. I guess spreading around my adipose isn’t instantaneous. I’m always reminded of that Dr. Who episode…

Corset, Early Italian Ren, Fabric

I’m probably going to go for late Victorian, first, and then worry about something renaissance later. I’ve always been in love with the Italian Renaissance, and I’ve decided to opt out of wearing a corset. I hear that’s kind of okay.

The second thing on my list is how I’m going to put the thing together. On my last late Victorian corset, I sewed each layer together, and then basted the layers together, and sewed through them for channels… I was on a deadline, and I accidentally drafted it 4 inches too big, instead of 4 inches of squish because I was rushing. (I don’t squish this much anyway, what was I thinking in the first place?) But this time I was thinking more along the lines of the “quilt as you go” method, which would let me sew it together super speedy-like and sew channels as I go. The only downside to this is that I really need to make sure the toile fits amazing, since taking it in will not be an easy option. And my seams will be bulky. It would have to be a double layer at the max. I was thinking that if I’m really in a pinch, I’ll cut one layer of fashion fabric, one layer of the innards, and then just treat it as a single layer corset. But I have no boning casing. I don’t know. I should probably do it the right way and not try and save time.

Anyway, it would definitely help if I ordered myself some steel boning in the meantime. That’s super helpful! I’m getting continuous boning – it’s the cheapest per yard, and I can cut exactly what I need. I’ve heard that duct ties (not zip ties) are a really great substitute. You can dry clean them. I haven’t taken a trip to Lowe’s or Home Depot yet, but I’ll have to see what the cost for them is per yard compared to the steel. (And also what they are made of. I can’t imagine they’re good for the environment when they decompose? If they do?)

I think that corset making is a dying art, since places are disappearing *fast*! Greenberg and Hammer is gone. This scares me, but I’m sure that there will always be places for supplies. Hopefully!
My favorite places are:
http://www.corsetmaking.com/
http://www.richardthethread.com/ (They carry soufel!)
http://www.dragontowncorsetsupply.com/
http://www.voguefabricsstore.com/home.php
And others, but just for corset supplies, these are great.

I just used up my last bolt of muslin. (I buy in extreme bulk.) That bolt became toiles for many things: witches from Hamlet, togas for a music video that ended up getting canceled, doublets, Puck, vests, bodices, computer monitor covers even though that makes no sense… probably mostly flat-lining and lining though. I’m addicted to lining things in cotton. I found some great wholesale linen, however, dyeing is out of the question – I never dye it consistently. (Read as: I get distracted and forget to stir it.) I’ll keep practicing on some cheap muslin, though. I have a habit of turning on the TV or a movie when I’m doing something that involves waiting. Sometimes, if it’s too interesting, I’ll forget all about what I’m doing. Like soaking the greens for kimchi.

I said to myself, “Eh, this is yellow linen, just go for it.” I had totally forgotten why I had ever bought a ton of mustard yellow linen, but it became a version 1.0 for an underdress. It doesn’t look bad, and it’s definitely wearable. It does need a permanent lacing method. I was thinking about just lacing right through the fabric layers, since I hear it’s one method of the Italians. (Which would make a lot of sense from some of the paintings I’ve seen.) Or maybe half visible lacing rings. (Also would make sense.) I don’t like how the temporary lacing rings pull the interlining and lining out, and make it all visible from the gap. It’s a lot of stress, and it can’t handle it apparently. I think I went a little overboard with the front gap, but it looks alright, and I’m going to have layers over it anyway. My last bit of business for it will be to hem it and take out the temporary lacing rings and put something sturdy in. It’s currently hanging in my bedroom because linen is slippery stuff. Hopefully it’ll settle soon and I can hem it.

I finished patterning and draping for an overdress. My love is definitely for the Italian Renaissance so I went with early renaissance and decided to wing it. Learning through trial and error, I guess – gotta start somewhere. And I really haven’t felt like rebuilding my garb since… who knows when. Back to the overdress… I’ll be using a dark red jacquard that I bought ages ago when I first watched The Tudors. After that, I researched *HARD*, amassed tons of information, and then realized that the era really wasn’t *my* era, and that I was just fascinated because I was super into The Tudors at the time. I still love and treasure my copy of The Tudor Tailor, though. In other news… Showtime has a new show coming out soon about THE BORGIAS. Am I excited? SO EXCITED I COULD PEE MY PANTS. I might even BUY the DVD’s if the costuming and story is good. It’s this kind of awesome stuff that reminds me of my love of history. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I will never really make any money. It’s making me feel better about my sort-of decision to keep going for an MA and PhD in something historical.

Anyway, I’m actually having a hard time coming up with references and information about trim and embellishment in the Italian Renaissance. I don’t want to make any assumptions, but I guess there’s going to be a point where I just need to wing it.

I had a frank discussion with Ron about all of that. If you’ve been in personal contact with me at all over the past few months, you would know that I have plainly had a breakdown about what sort of academic and work career to pursue. I burnt out during my last semester and went on a little sabbatical.
The conclusions here are:
1. Humans are good at many things, but suck at so many more. This means me.
2. I’m smart enough to do any one of the few things that I am good at, and none of them will ever make me money I can live off of.
3. I’m an indecisive human being.
4. I was totally born in the wrong time period. But I do love the internet, computers, antibiotics, advanced medicine, Bath and Body Works, and spicy kimchi.
5. No matter what job I have, I try and help people, and they will still be horrifically cruel. Ron says I might just want to stick with research if I don’t have a backbone to handle humanity.
6. Our society operates off of debt. It’s normal for it to take decades to pay back a student loan. It will be okay. I can go to school. It will be okay. I will never be able to pay all of that back. Jeez. OMG. *panic attack*
Life would be so much easier if women didn’t have to work. Ron has expressed his feelings about him and his life purpose as a biological male need to go out, kill something, drag it home, and proudly slap it on the table. But in a more metaphorical way.

I really shouldn’t be sewing anything for myself. I currently owe about 3 pairs of tailored men’s pants to people.

Cloaks

My mom: “Do you have that blanket thing that I could borrow to go trick-or-treating with Alexa?”
Me: “You mean… my cloak? That I use for re-enacting?”

My cloak is one of my favorite things. It’s warm, it was easy, and it was one of the first things I ever made.

  • If you’re lucky and you have a large 60″ piece of fabric – Measure how long you want it to be. I measured from the hollow of my throat between my clavicles down to where I wanted it, which happened to be my ankles. Or you could measure down your back. Use the longest measurement. When it’s all said and done, let it hang for a while, and then cut off what you don’t need. (So the bias can stretch.)
  • Cut a piece of string that long, including seam allowance at the neck (if you want to do a neckhole) and hem allowance.
  • Pin or sew it to one end of your fabric, and swing it around with a pencil or something at the end until you have a half circle. You can stop here and hem it. Or sew another half circle together with it and have a full circle cloak.
  • If you wanted a neck hole, you need to take the measurement of how long you wanted it and add the radius of your neckhole. Then pattern out the half circle or circle.
  • If it *really* doesn’t sit on your shoulders, even after a neck hole, add darts at the shoulder that end at your acromioclavicular joint. Human osteology is coming in handy, here, eh? eh?
  • So, the chances of finding a giant piece of fabric that big that is also affordable might not be as great as finding a narrower width. Sew a few widths of fabric together. Or pattern it out in fourths of the circle.
  • When lining the cloak, sew the layers together at the side seams. Do not sew the layers together at the bottom – it won’t drape in an awesome, swishy, way. Cut the lining layer(s) a little shorter than the outer so it doesn’t show. Or if it’s not swishy enough, maybe weight the hem with a wide hem allowance, facing, or something.

And now mom is going to get her own cloak.
My favorite fabrics for cloaks:

  • Wool. Warm, repels water, and classic.
  • Twill with fleece lining. Tough exterior, and warm inside.
  • Georgette. (Getting married…) I might just become good friends with basting spray…

Work & Play

I don’t think anyone knows what I’m thinking when it comes to work & school anymore, and sometimes I think I’d prefer it that way. I’m hitting one of those clichéd life revelations, that’s why…

I’m good at science. I feel like this is a fair assessment, not too braggy (I’m no Stephen Hawking) and I’m pretty sure I’m not dumb either. My fascination has always been with forensics – freaking out my high school teachers, all except for my history & chemistry teacher. They love the science-y side to anthropology. Dead, mutilated, half-decayed bodies? No problem. It never bothered me, and still doesn’t. But that’s what bothers me – that it doesn’t bother me. Shouldn’t it bother me? My indifference makes me feel soulless. I like sewing a lot – and it just so happened that Costume Design 101 squeezed conveniently between labs and genetics. It was fun, but I don’t think I really looked over my life until Vicki recruited me to do some costumes for the Philly Theater. Watching Macbeth – my costumes & my work, come to life and have meaning – that was something else. The bodies on the table in front of me were never people, and one day – that’s what I’m going to be. Nothing, forgotten. Another corpse in line, another disposable person. My life really isn’t going to mean anything to anyone years and years and years from now. The only thing I have is what my life is worth now – and I started getting the itch to devote my life to doing something that means something to me. I know the moment it started – I finished up my hand stitching and sneaked into the house to watch the tech rehearsal. It’s a small, open stage, and suddenly, you’re not watching but you’re IN it – not living it, but like you’ve left your body and disappeared into the energy and emotion. Like a wave sinking back into the ocean, pulling along the sand and seashells to dissipate and become something else. My consciousness shifted, and I lost myself. It was everything that I felt about my life; the actors will live and die, but the stage and human emotion will remain timeless. It’s how I feel about my life really… it’s ‘a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’ Sounds depressing, but it’s really not. Sort of like Buddhism. Everyone gets so down learning about it, that ‘life is full of suffering’ – but it’s not about suffering. It’s about rising up and escaping it.

Anyway, everyone’s pretty much figured out by now that I’m not thrilled about getting my teacher’s certification. However, I AM thrilled about grabbing as many certifications as I can so that I have a varied hand to pick from if the need arises. The economy is still depressing. From what I’ve seen and researched, I’m convinced that artisans and craftsman have a great niche to work from, and always will have. Hopefully I’m right, and my work-life will take off. Anyway, I’m just relaxing and enjoying my job at the animal hospital. I need a break from personal drama, living by myself (which is lonely, especially when you’re lovesick in a long distance relationship), and whatnot. But a lot of people have been asking me where this desire for art came from – out of seemingly unrelated science. I think they’re very related. But I’d rather spend my life creating something with worth and value than trying to scrape it up from something already destroyed.

Moving On…

Midsummer Nights Dream is coming to a close soon in Philadelphia. I will be seeing the show on Sunday, May 3rd. Vicki assures me that my costumes look great, but we will see!

In the meantime, I have been hired to design, pattern, and stitch 10 togas for the band’s music video. Filming begins on May 30th in Brooklyn, NY. It is a very do-able due-date. I have yet to receive the measurements of the 10 girls from the designer, but from the looks of it, the project does not seem too difficult… (Law of the Universe says: It will be ridiculously difficult, and I will never sleep.)

Random thoughts:

I have put out several resumes as a costume stitcher and technician, but I think I might need to spend a few seasons grueling it out as a volunteer costume technician at a community theater.

Graduate plans have smoothed over. It looks like I won’t be able to hit graduate school for another few years. In the meantime, I am looking for any work and opportunities that I can get in the theater field, while looking for a full-time job with benefits.

I’m still accepted into an MFA program for Fashion Design, but I might put those plans on hold for a while. At this point, saving and working seems to be what’s going on – and I think I’ll enjoy the break. (Hopefully I can find some time to relax!)

I’ve been working out some insurance plans and whatnot for myself, so everything is still in the “brainstorming” phase of action.

I did have a moment where I got frustrated and I wanted to give up… then I looked around I thought… well, naw. No matter what I was thinking of doing with my life, I always came home at the end of the day to my sewing room. So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and just build my way up.

A lot of jobs I see are for associate designers (which you need an MFA in) and I really do want that degree. I just don’t want to bother a sleeping giant… but I’ll see what’s going on in the Spring. I’ve scoped out insurance if I end up self-employed and it doesn’t seem too unreasonable. (Emphasis on *too*)

A lot of jobs I am qualified for are temporary, part-time, or they do not offer benefits. I will also still be working as a pharmacy technician, so together the time would be full-time but with none of the benefits. I was thinking about having an insurance plan on my own, but that gets into more complicated matters… and if I venture into the realm of self-employed, that’s opening a whole new world of taxes, laws, and bureaucracy that I just don’t know if I’m ready to face.

The complicated matter is that I already produce costumes and goods on a commissioned basis. Is this taxable? How do I know?! Have I inadvertently been shamming the IRS?! I think it’s time that somebody gets an accountant…?!