Training Log: October 13

Benched and biked last night! My goal for benching is to get a single or a double at one kg more than the last time I benched. I’m up to 33kg now! Bench press is a funny animal. The set up is so odd and uncomfortable but when I get it right suddenly there’s power in my chest and arms. I’m also a fairly wide grip bencher. Good things happens when I place my hands wide.

I only had time for a half an hour on the bike but at least I got that!

It’s snowy here again today. I can feel Christmas carols humming the back of my head already…



Life and School update

So my grad school applications are done. I ended up applying to two schools, Queen’s for the Art Conservation program and UAlberta for the Textiles and Clothing program. I really don’t know which would be better for me. Who knows if I’m going to get in anywhere? The term is progressing quickly and I have a ton of work to do *sigh* I don’t see how I’m going to accomplish it all. My next big event is my french midterm this friday. Lots of revision to do over the next couple of days.

Issues with the Medieval Studies program have recently been causing drama on campus. Essentially, cost cutting measures taken by the administration are going to result in negative effects on many of the interdisciplinary programs offered at Laurier. As sad as I am to hear this I have come to the conclusion, after much thought, that these changes are inevitable. The budgetary situation at Laurier is dire and the time to remedy that is long past. The Faculty of Arts administration is doing everything it can to preserve the programs but there really isn’t much they can do. I’m just thankful that I am graduating from both the Archaeology and Medieval Studies programs when I am and before these significant changes.

In  costuming news, I’m making an 1860’s day dress in a slightly different style.

I got this image here:

What struck me about this image was the incredible simplicity. No piping, not even a waistband! I’m reinterpreting this simplicity into a day dress that could have been worn by an average woman. Although upon further reflection it might be quaker garb… I did a significant amount of piecing at the hem of the skirt in order to keep the skirt as long as possible. I only had 4 meters of the fabric to work with and I have used up nearly every scrap! I’ve got the bodice put together although I put pleats in instead of the darts in an effort to make it more of a work dress. I’ve tried grathered bodiced and they just don’t seem to work for me! I will post pictures of the finished project when it’s done. Did I mention I’m had sewing the whole thing?

So that’s the state of the nation here in Brenna-land. I hope those of you who had a reading week enjoyed it!

1860’s ball gown

So in the interest of continuing my trend of posting I decided to post about my current project, an 1860’s ball gown.

So I had this silk… I bought it when was having at sale on silk taffeta a month or two ago. It’s a bit dark for my taste but it’s the first silk I’ve bought so I’m darn well going to use it! They sent me a few meters extra of the stuff because they had to send it in several pieces so there is plenty to go around. I decided to make a separate day and evening bodice that share the same skirt. See under the cut for my sketch and more details.


The design for the day bodice and the skirt trimmings come for this 1856 fashion plate here. I’ve already got the bodice mostly put together but I shortened the front point and used 1860’s seam lines and such to update it a few years.

The ball gown bodice trimming is from this example from Montreal’s McCord Museum which I highly recommend you check out if you’re ever in montreal. I’ve visited the past couple of summers and their special exhibits have always been excellent. Anyway, my dilemma comes from wanting to maintain the blue(ish) and black colours of the original fashion plate but I’m not sure what the third colour for the lacing and organza trimming would be. For now I’m thinking white but it might just come down to what fabric I can find. I’m interpreting the decoration as pleated organza and net on the bottom of the ribbon with lace on top. I might even work up some simple scalloped needle lace for that.

So far I have been working on the day bodice. I need to pick of some for hooks and eyes before I can get much farther. Next up are the chemisette, and undersleeves which I will post about as they progress

I’m way tired so time for sleep now. Good night!

Life Update

So it’s been forever and a day since I’ve posted anything but I’m in a sharing mood tonight so here goes:

-I’m graduating! Very soon! Well it feels that way anyway. I double and triple checked with everybody that the courses I picked over the past four years were the right ones. I was never quite sure until I got the email from the resgistrar’s office confirming it. My odd combination of majors resulted in more than one substituted course over the years and my undergrad advisers had no clue beyond the very specific individual majors and were utterly unhelpful with my “big picture”; questions. In any case all has turned out for the best and I’m on my way to convocation

-I’m applying to two grad schools, Queens and UAlberta. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. Queen’s is definitely the program to break me into the conservation field here in Ontario. It is well known and recognized as essentially the only choice and as such is supported when it comes to internships and such. It offers only minimal textile content however, with textiles only covered as one topic in one course. I would be spending another 2 years studying topics similar to textile conservation but not quite getting into the nitty gritty of the field. UAlberta on the other had usually offers textile conservation as an option however their conservator recently left so now there’s no one on staff to supervise me. They have a great textile collection and the way the program is set up would allow me to study a great variety of topics like dress history alongside conservation science. But unless they get another conservator in or offer another solution I’m kind of stuck.

-It may be that grad school just isn’t in the cards for me for next year but I’m going to make it happen eventually one way or another. It might be for the best that I work for a year prior to launching myself into tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Which means I need to start job hunting right about now. Ideally I could find a government job or something that pays better than minimum wage. I’m less interested in experience this summer than I am in saving up some money for school. My parents are happy to welcome me back home so at least I don’t have to worry about living arrangements for a little while.

-School continues with some new challenges in the form of a directed study with an archaeology prof and a really cool course on medieval scribal culture. Sewing continues with an 1880’s corset and soon-to-be bustle dress based off of one in the Victoria and Albert Museum. After that I think I’ll be turning my attention to a regency ensemble which would hopefully be ready in time for the 2012 anniversary of the war of 1812, not that I’m reenacting or anything, it’s just an excuse for a new dress!

And there, my dear (and few) readers I will leave you. It’s way past my bedtime so I should pack things up. Wish me luck!

The Future is Coming!!!

Uggg… So I’m contemplating the future again. I got another vote from a textile conservator I interviewed in favour of a Masters and I just went over the graduation requirements for my degree. I’m really wishing I had had the big picture view that I have now when I was in first year. I took courses I shouldn’t have bothered with and were basically a waste of time. I’ll make all my requirements but I thought I’d only have to take 4 courses a term in 4th year since I took 2.0 credits on my summer field school but it turns out that I’ll maybe be able to have one term with only 4 courses.

I’m tempted to look into taking a chemistry class this summer just to lessen the work I’d have to do in the term. I almost wish I could stay here for the summer just to fit another term in. *sigh* I’m thinking about going to see one of my profs just to talk things over and get some perspective.

Its really irritating that I just noticed a note in the academic calendar stating that a combination degree is a bad idea for students planning on continuing to grad school just as I decided that was the path I should try to take. Hopefully my interdisciplinary degree is appropriate for an interdisciplinary graduate field of study.

The village and a wig

I recently watched the movie The Village. I really enjoyed it. I’m not usually one for horror movies… ever… but The Village is not your typical horror movie. Sidenote: I would totally run off and found a village where I’d get to wear 1880’s style cotton dresses ALL THE TIME. My favourite scene is about 3 seconds long and at the very beginning where there are two girls sweeping a porch and they start spinning around their brooms. The one girl’s dress swirls really prettily!

I am done, done, done the 1780’s zone-front dress. I tacked the ruffles on to the sleeves a couple of nights ago. I’m really into finishing things lately, hopefully I can hang on to that urge for a little while. Inspired by demode ‘s post a little while ago about her wig styling I decided to give it a try. It didn’t turn out completely horrible! I’ll post pictures of the whole look once I get around to taking them.

Reading week is coming up! I have a ton of stuff to do before I leave but clearly lj is much more interesting…

Housing search

So I just got back from looking at a prospective house. uuggg…. It was a basement apartment which the girl on the phone neglected to tell me. It had all the negatives that goes along with being a basement apartment. I seriously think that if I had lived there I would have become clinically depressed. Plus tiled bedrooms = cold feet in the mornings. The only positive side would have been that there was only 2 other roommates and from the look of the one girl I met I doubt that would have been a picnic either! So moving on now….