I got a commission! Yay! I’m making a late 17th/early 18th century sailor’s outfit for a circus friend. Because of the nature of ropes acts, there have had to be some compromises accuracy wise, but the effect is going to be pretty cool, I hope.
There’s a shirt, made to the standard rectangles and triangles pattern that was common in the period, only, it’s made of a vile 2-way stretch cotton that’ll be soft and breathable to wear with plenty of give for acrobatics, but has a faint stripe in the weave that gives it the appearance of linen from a distance. That’s from a distance. That stuff was an absolute son of a bitch to sew, even with every trick in the book, like using paper under the seam, and it’s full of little wibbly-wobbly-seamy-weamy things. *unsubtle doctor who reference* I’m currently baulking at sewing in the final sleeve.
Or we could just cut an arm off my circus friend…
There’s also a waistcoat, which will be brown linen, very simply cut and with fake buttons painted on (because real ones can result in nasty bruises when combined with ropes acts).
Finally there’ll be a set of breeches, also stretch for flexibility – but not stretchy enough to qualify them as the Breeches of Satan – gathered to a cuff below the knee, again to avoid rope burn. I haven’t started on those yet.
I reckon the overall effect will be quite good, but the primary concern is functionality.
And while I was off buying fabric for that, I got some to make a petticoat and jacket! The fabric for the petticoat is a lovely soft white silk twill (I’ll make other cotton petticoats to go under to boof it out a bit), and the jacket fabric is a beautiful honey-coloured stripe, which I keep forgetting to photograph in daylight. I’m dubious about my stripe-matching ability, but it was so pretty I couldn’t pass on it. If the bodice goes well, I’ll just pop down and get a little more and lengthen the skirt to a full on robe. If there’s any left. The sales assistant was eyeing it off too like a seagull after a chip, so I might have to suck it up and get it soon.
Pretty. It’s more white with honey-stripes in daylight.
I couldn’t find any linen or cotton I fancied for a chemise or these fabled other petticoats, so another day I might pop down to Cleggs or *shudder* Lincraft and have a trawl through their selections.
But in the meantime, I’m having lots of fun rolling around in my new voice like a dog rolling gleefully around in a pile of poop. It just feels so right. I’m now an official card-carrying member of the fach of Angry Ladies, which is great because I am an angry lady. Anyone who thinks otherwise just hasn’t seen me pissed off yet, or perhaps has been reading this blog. Gushing about robes a l’anglaise is calming. Many, many things are angry-making. Like the assumption that being tiny means I only have a choice of singing Zerlina or Susanna and that’s it, ‘kay thanks. Not that they’re not great, but if you’ve heard me sing vedrai carino recently… it’s something like trying to use a chainsaw to cut a sponge cake. Comical, but overkill.
Anyway, I have compiled a glory reel of angry ladies singing pissed-off arias, some of which I have the incredible good fortune to be learning, and some of which I’ll probably never do but can’t resist putting them on the glory reel:
Ahoy Diana Damrau as Konstanze in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail getting pissed off at the Pasha Selim (who always looks like Max Brenner in every production ever for some reason). He’s just threatened to torture her if she won’t give in, betray her lovely man Belmonte and do him, so her reaction is pretty fair.
Laura Aikin, upon whom I have the biggest lady-crush ever, as Alban Berg’s Lulu, who’s fed up with being used and objectified by everyone and their dog and is about to shoot the man on the floor, who is one in a string of jealous, controlling husbands. Twelve-tone coloratura. That’s right, bitches. You do not get more hardcore than that.
Miah Persson as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. Her anglaise could use a bum-pad and some extra petticoats, but her triplets are insane and I think she looks a bit like Tara from Buffy. (Plus there’s surtitles on this one)
Edda Moser, as the Queen of the Night, my other giant lady-crush. Oh. Mein. Gott. This is what voices like mine dream of growing up to become. If anyone ever decides to write Anita Blake the opera, she has to be like this.
Birgit Nilsson as Puccini’s Turandot. I will never ever sing this, but she is just a gun. Calaf looks dismayed because he knows she’s walking the crap all over his sound in her steel-capped-boot high Cs.
I could keep going, but after Birgit you have to let the eardrums rest a while to recover from the magnitude of her awesomeness.