For once I’m starting early!

A photo of my dressform will do as a costuming icon until I think of something I like more.

For once, I’m getting started on a costume in good time. The Regency game isn’t until April 1st, and I’ve already got the vest and pants already (mostly) sewn, leaving me with the coat.

The coat, and a million and twelve buttons. I should have thought of that before I said I wanted to play a nineteenth-century naval officer.

<subconscious whines, “But it sounded fun! Er, not the buttons part.”>

Assorted thoughts: I really don’t have the body silhouette to pass for a man, what with my hips being bigger than my shoulders. (Caused more by lack of shoulders than pelvic endowment.) Which leads to trouble when the only measurement they give on a men’s pattern is the chest; I basically had to cut different sizes for the top and the bottom, and only figured that out halfway into the cutting. I am, however, getting more confident at modifying patterns. Someday this may lead to me sewing without a pattern, but that day is not today, nor tomorrow. True to form, I’ve made several mistakes so far that required ripping out one or more seams, but I must be getting used to it; I’ve hardly sworn at all so far. Then again, the project is still young, and holds a million and twelve buttons in store for me.

Also? The Horatio Hornblower series is pretty good, though I still think I like Aubrey and Maturin more. Ioan Gruffudd makes me appreciate Hornblower more in the movies than in the books. But I do get a little tired of somebody constatly taking a dislike to him for no good reason, when We the Audience can clearly see that he is noble, clever, loyal, and kind. It is not, however, a flaw that gets all that much in the way of my enjoyment.

0 Responses to “For once I’m starting early!”

  1. kurayami_hime

    At least it isn’t a coat of a million and twelve zippers. When you want to rip out your hair, remind yourself of that. ::shudder::

    What you really need is a cub scout or boy scout troop. Those kids, they know how to sew buttons. Maybe it could be someone’s Eagle Scout project?

    • Marie Brennan

      Zippers: true dat. can attest to how she had to save me from the zipper on the second Morwen dress when she came over to rag-curl my hair. I was about ready to burn the house down.

  2. sapphohestia

    But is it really a costuming experience with out curses and blood?

    I envy your dress form. Someday I too shall have a dress form.

    Good luck! Hopefully I’ll get to see it!

  3. stevenagy

    I really don’t have the body silhouette to pass for a man, what with my hips being bigger than my shoulders.

    I think that’s part of the fascination men have about women hiding among them in some stories. “Argh, there’s a woman aboard the boat. Tis bad luck.” Yet she’s standing beside them, and it’s pretty obvious. (I’m flashing on PotC2 here, where Elizabeth sneaks aboard the ship bound for Tortuga to search for Will Turner.) It probably says something about men that they find this such a fascinating theme.

    • Marie Brennan

      Keira Knightley could pass for a tall, gangly boy, though. Have you ever really looked at the shape of her body? <g>

      • stevenagy

        Yes. Frequently. My desktop pattern is a promo still from PotC3. I’ve loaded it into a post for you to see.

        Though I still think the fascination men have with women in uniform speaks to a Victorian, homoerotic undertone. And putting a woman into a man’s clothes just makes it easier for them men to accept. 🙂

        • Marie Brennan

          I think it’s fascinating to both sexes, frankly. For women, it answers (though not necessarily in a satisfying way) the desire for female characters to acquire freedom/agency/etc. in contexts where they don’t have much of either.

          • stevenagy

            Very true. And definitely a point that’s worth making if you were writing something where the situation arose.

            I might get to that in the next book after Fallen. It’s set during the 1920s. Sort of my take on The Sun Also Rises.

  4. khet_tcheba

    You just need to ship the whole thing off to and bribe him somehow. He’s easily the best and most thorough button/hook-and-eye-sewer I’ve ever met (a fact I’ve exploited on numerous occasions).

  5. unforth

    I think it’s awesome that you’re playing a guy – I thought about doing it, actually, but I really don’t feel like I could pull it off.

    I’ve put some thought into how to modify guys coats for girls, we’ll see if I pull it off when I make my coat lining (which I intend to work on over Spring Break)…my plan is to make it pretty big, and then fit it around myself as I’m making it to give it a danged shape. I wish I had a dress form, it’d help…one of these years, maybe, if I find that I’m making costumes after I leave Bloomington (which seems vaguely unlikely, sadly, actually. 🙂 )

    And I LOVE Hornblower. I think people take an instant dislike to him precisely because he’s a prissy honor bound know-it-all holier-than-thou jackass (just another way of saying noble, clever, loyal and kind…). I love Aubrey/Maturin more…they’re very different in a lot of ways, though.

    Good luck!

    • Marie Brennan

      The only real problem with my dressform is that I can’t alter the length of the body, and I’m bloody short-waisted. So it wouldn’t work for doing really close fittings. It saved my life when I had to completely redesign the skirt on the second Morwen dress, though; if I hadn’t had the form, I truly don’t know what I would have done.

      I think my issue with Hornblower — and I’ll grant that maybe I just wasn’t paying close enough attention, given that I’m watching it while sewing — is that it feels like our sympathies are meant to lie automatically with him, and the writers don’t show often enough the ways in which his nobility, cleverness, loyalty and kindness can also be read as prissiness, etc. Things like Mr. Hunter taking a set against him because he came up with a clever plan that took La Reve without much fighting seem more like unfounded sour grapes on Hunter’s part than a real flaw in Hornblower himself. Does that make sense?

      • unforth

        It definitely does make sense. :)Hornblower is much less deep than Aubrey/Maturin – shallow, even – but they are fun none the less. And on the plus side, no 20 page long discussions of tacking the forecastle stay sail… 🙂

  6. diatryma

    Do we have the same brain? I’ve just started reading Hornblower– read one book last night and part of one during dinner before studying tonight. It’s not Aubrey, but I kind of didn’t want it to be. It’s confusing enough remembering that this is not the same Royal Navy– for one thing, Hornblower starts with Spain as an ally.
    I did have a moment in the first book where I sputtered about prison. “You’re using up all the good war!” went through my mind more than once.

    • Marie Brennan

      “You’re using up all the good war!”


      I’ve only read maybe two of the HH books, and not the first two, either. They didn’t have the first one at the library every time I checked, so I just gave up and read a few random ones instead. And I didn’t read more than that because the library finally got in the first of the O’Brians, and once I read that, Hornblower seemed too straight-laced and uptight. Which is part of what I mean when I say Ioan Gruffudd makes me like the character more. Maybe it’s just the curly hair, but he seems to have less of a stick up his posterior. (Or, as one memorable line of dialogue called it, “the dishonorable part of him.” Whoa.)

      Look! A ship icon! Because I loves me some sailing geekery, and I’m sure I’ll find uses for this. Maybe it’ll be my travel icon, in addition to my Aubrey-Maturin/Hornblower/Pirates of the Caribbean/etc. icon.

      • diatryma

        I keep comparing Hornblower to Vorkosigan. Very few can handle that comparison.

        I like the second book more than the first so far because it has a plot rather than a series of chapters strung together and it’s not from Hornblower’s point of view, mostly. It’s interesting to compare it to the Aubreyad, too; the midshipman’s view of authority is rather different.

  7. gollumgollum

    Ooh…PBS just had something–To the Ends of the Earth, perhaps–that was pretty good. I want to say it was written by the author of Master & Commander, but i could be making that part up. Anyway, if you wanted to rent and watch it, i’d be all about it. I caught bits and pieces when it was on PBS but never the whole thing.

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