Call Her Cordelia


My dear Mum got me a dress form for Christmas! Even better, she came with some padding that can be added for my specific *ahem* dimensions. While it is a bit creepy having a headless torso doppelgänger, (and admittedly have hugged it to see what it’s like to hug myself) I am still a fan of naming things. Hence, when my darlingest cousin Emily suggested that I name her Cordelia, (as I am very nearly Anne) I thought it was BRILLIANT.

The first project she has christened, are my early 19th century stays.

IMG_0049Alas, they look much cleaner here than in person.


I may have to have them dry cleaned when it’s all said and done.

I am an avid fan of many Historical Costuming Blogs out there, so I am aware of what I personally always wish for in a project post (pictures, pictures, and more pictures!)

But I also know that a good solid explanation always comes in handy too! As it has been like trying to find hen’s teeth to come up with a good run down on the construction of early 19th cen. stays, this is my bat signal, so to speak, for all the pros out there.

I’ve already discovered that it is best to cord ONLY to your seam allowances and not past. Else, you will have a terribly bulky seam. I am cording each piece of cover and inner fabric together, then going to turn the allowances on the front and front side and whip stitch them together a la Merja on her 18th century stays. The side back and back I will probably just sew together like a typical shaped seam. I’m making the lining separate, then binding the whole thing.

I HATE MAKING MOCK UPS. But I did one for this, and as I do like to pull quite tight in my waist, I added a bit in the hips so all the goosh has somewhere to go.

The pattern is Mantua Maker’s, but I lengthened it, made the bust gussets longer and reshaped them a bit (next time will lengthen them even more), beefed up the straps, and will potentially cut away a bit at the side hip.

If anybody wants to weigh in on the topic of early 19th century stays, be my guest!

“Will you please call me Cordelia?” she said eagerly.

Call you Cordelia? Is that your name?”

“No-o-o, it’s not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It’s such a perfectly elegant name.”

“I don’t know what on earth you mean. If Cordelia isn’t your name, what is?”

“Anne Shirley,” reluctantly faltered forth the owner of that name, “but, oh, please do call me Cordelia. It can’t matter much to you what you call me if I’m only going to be here a little while, can it? And Anne is such an unromantic name.”

“Unromantic fiddlesticks!” said the unsympathetic Marilla. “Anne is a real good plain sensible name. You’ve no need to be ashamed of it.”

“Oh, I’m not ashamed of it,” explained Anne, “only I like Cordelia better. I’ve always imagined that my name was Cordelia–at least, I always have of late years. When I was young I used to imagine it was Geraldine, but I like Cordelia better now. But if you call me Anne please call me Anne spelled with an E.”

“What difference does it make how it’s spelled?” asked Marilla with another rusty smile as she picked up the teapot.

“Oh, it makes such a difference. It looks so much nicer. When you hear a name pronounced can’t you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished. If you’ll only call me Anne spelled with an E, I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia.”


A Year of Finishing

So… I’m really good at beginning things.

Really really good.

If you need an idea, call me. I have about a swimming pool full.

Though, my swimming pool is full of people without noses, half knit socks, empty picture frames, and poems that say “work on later”.

I’m not so good at finishing.

It could be that I lose interest easily. Or sometimes I think of something else, and the excitement of a new project overshadows that last little bit. Occasionally I just get too frustrated when something doesn’t turn out like I had it in my head, and I give up. ADD can be blamed for some of it (the TV is going as I write this, and I’m about ready to throw the darn thing).

Focus issues aside, we all know that breaking most of our less than desirable habits simply takes a good dose of the ‘d’ word.


So this year, instead of starting or resolving, I’m finishing. I’m taking things one project at a time (and believe me, I’m back-logged a good six years.) This blog is finally formatted more how I want it, and it will be my accountability. I’m biting the bullet, hunkering down, and turning my wasted time into production.

I WILL finish.

I will draw things even if they don’t turn out right. I’ll just draw them again!

I will become a better AND faster knitter.

I will learn to draft patterns more accurately, and complete at least THREE garments (specifics to come!)

I will learn to spin.

I will complete a novel.

And now you all know!

Project updates to come.

What are you learning this year?


I’m Bringin’ Austen Back!

I am a Jane Austen/Regency Era FANATIC! I love the loveliness of the time period; the lace, the endless rows of buttons, the soothing colors, the airiness and general womanliness. There is also a fashionista tucked away somewhere in me. I love absurd fashion and the avant-garde. I find myself envying the waif-like amateur photographers and design school students who moodily clod about in careless ensembles that are oh so vogue. Well, they appear careless… I know they are more than likely poured over for hours the week before trying to find the “IT” piece to bring it all “together”.

Do these worlds mix? Austen meets Vogue. You see the subtle details, the lace, the pearl, the airy silhouette; still… I have often lamented the fact that I can’t simply parade around in a living history project. That turned into a dream of a place where I somehow introduce the look back into the fashion world… riggggghhhhhtt.

Today however, as I flipped through a book of street fashion/photography, I was struck with the vintage throwbacks… they begin somewhere in the 19-teens and progress to the ’90s… HAH! The ’90s! That’s a decade I remember the first time around.

Sooooo, if say, a respectable young art student can parade around in knickers and a news cap… please tell me why I cannot get my Eliza Bennett on?! There is only a good century of separation there ;). I have decided to answer my own question. There is no reason in this world I can’t channel my inner Catherine Moorland (my favorite Austen heroine next to Lizzy). I propose a revolution dear friends, a fashion revolution… all in favor of loveliness say “I” hummm… or is it “Aye”??? REGARDLESS~

I am at this moment searching for a good regency era walking dress pattern, I plan to shorten it to right below my knees, curl my hair, find some pretty pearls, some adorable flats, and hit the town. So who’s with me?!

Love the absurd fashion dear friends and keep those heads in the clouds!~