Sunday, November 11, 2012

WTF: Sew Regency!

Happy Veteran's Day! 

That goes for everyone who has been in the armed forces or who has loved someone who served. A Thread-Headed salute to you all, and a smile of gratitude too. So naturally, this particular voyage into the vulgar and trite is in honor of Veteran's Day. (hey... I do what I can.)

Occasionally, while trolling the vast network of images and information that my mother calls "the ninnernet," I come across Regency-era fashion plates that have absolutely nothing wrong with them.

No, really! It's true!

Luckily, these are not those.

First up: The Hand Jive.

I am seriously in love with that pretty red vine border she's slammin' down on that kerchief. I have some concerns about her choice of a fork handle in place of a sewing needle, but what do I know? I've never been schooled in the feminine arts.

Except for lying, of course. And eating chocolate instead of paying my taxes every year... wait. Where was I?

Next up: Pink Fink. 

Ahh... VELOUR. No word conveys the expectation of class and elegance quite like "Velour." Our Mauve Mavin seems to have found a clever way of avoiding the needle-related difficulties of her compatriot up there above: simply embroider without a needle. Or thread. Or scissors. Well, really. Who are we  to judge? Maybe on alternate weekdays she just likes to find a few moments alone to sit on her special octo-stool and cuddle her embroidery. Maybe she's the embroidery whisperer.

Maybe she's embroidering... with her mind.

Somebody please explain the physics of this dress. How is this position possible in this skirt? She's attained the elusive 9-point wedgie and STILL that hem is hanging evenly!

Moving on: Knits Knot What You Think.

Okay. So I'm not one of those girls who has ever, EVER, had difficulty seeing her feet. I wear a bra much in the same way kids hang out Christmas stockings each year: with hope that one day soon, they'll wake up and find the thing full.

But I digress.

Our knitter extraordinaire here clearly does not share my plight. You'd think that a woman with such... "great tracts of land" would have figured out a way to hone her craft ABOVE the equator by now. Because really, there is no chance that she can see anything that's in her hands at the moment, even with 4-foot long knitting needles. Nor can she go by feel. Why? Because she's knitting while wearing opera-length leather gloves.

As we do.

Based on the size of needles and the World's Biggest Ball of Twine chillin' out on the floor over there, I'm guessing she's making a scarf.

For Napoleon's ego.

Which brings us to: Rove, Rove, Rove your Boat.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the image below is the description. Or rather, the lack of description. We think we are gazing upon a fair maiden spinning the Pope's salt water taffy into fishing lures, while wearing a tragic front-opening vest apparatus and the most unnecessary collection of ruffles EVER (bicep garters??), all of which is surmounted by a kerchief that she clearly stole from color-blind Gypsies.

And what does Costume Parisien have to say about all of this? For answers, we turn to the source:

"Cap of Organdy."

Cool. Thanks for clearing that up, Costume Parisien!! Back to spinning, now. His Holiness's delicious snook bait ain't gonna twist itself.

Furry Finis.

Here we have the curious image of a woman who is expressing the timeless, universal hand sign for "What the hell is this thing?"

Maybe it's vaguely related to sewing! So I'll include it in this post! And even if it isn't, perhaps she can somehow use it to MacGyver a solution to her "prehensile amputated monkey tail boa" problem.

I'd like to think that there are a bunch of little Regency-lings huddled on the floor behind her, listening with rapt awe as she rambles about "the old days"... you know, before the Directoire. Sure, a lot of people lost their heads. But not her! No sir. That "Demi Turban Palatine" is holding on for dear life.

I assume "Demi Turban Palatine" translates loosely to "Bundt Pan With A Fear Of Heights."

In other news, Liz at The Pragmatic Costumer is celebrating a blogging milestone: 100,000 views! That's awesome for several reasons, namely because she has only been blogging at that particular venue for about a year. A YEAR. It's also awesome because she's great at what she does. If you haven't discovered her yet, treat yourself: start with the "Pragmatic Manifesto" and go from there.

Happy reading!

Today's pile of plates brought to you by Nuranar. Viva la Nuranar!


  1. Bwahahahahaha! These are fab! It's good to know my terrible sewing skills were once considered très chic.

    My favorite has to be Ms. Bosoms. Seriously, how does she fit so much perky into that dress in an era without the benefits of fashion tape? One gentle inhale and *poof!* WTF Regency turns into Regency Gone Wild...

    1. It appears that Our Lady of the Immaculate Embroidery is having that exact problem. I decided to take the high road on that one, but seriously, I think she's in the midst of a full-blown wardrobe malfunction. The knitter owes a great debt to witchcraft and sorcery though, because in a Scientific world, there is NO POSSIBLE EXPLANATION for them daddy bags. Gravity: she doesn't have it.

  2. Well, once again I fell off my spinning office chair in unseemly laughter. You ladies need to put up a giggle alert, at the very least, for those of us hired for our librarian-like sobriety on the job! As to the sleeve garters, maybe she was time-traveling to the 1970s and doubling up on the Regency equivalent of short-sleeve-over-long-sleeve t-shirt look, but forgot about that pesky ruffle ending? And Miss Organdy Brain looked to me like she'd taken a splintery spear to her left endowment...

    Keep it coming! My proofreading brain needs the endorphins,
    Auntie N

  3. You've topped yourself with this one, and that's hard to do. My stomach hurts with laughing and my cat blames you for the interruption of her nap. Keep 'em coming, I love your blog!

  4. Oh great, I am chortling loudly at my job which, to borrow AuntieNan's phrase, actually DOES require me to have "librarian-like sobriety"...being in a library and all. So many fantastic WTFs I hardly know where to look, especially as I am trying not to look too hard at the logic-defying bosoms. That first bonnet looks more like something that Regency dentists might have sent home with patients to keep their jaws tied shut after pulling teeth...and then the big ball of twine in #3 resembles a mummified baby or an alien cocoon more than anything else, look at the weirdly swaddled shape of it :( I'm thinking the ginormous knitting needles are more for stabbing the hell out of the alien cocoon if it starts to crack open.

    It's funny how drawings of Regency gowns rarely seemed to have a happy medium...either you were swathed to the neck like a puritan, or had it all hanging out while teasingly hinting at modesty with a cut-away jacket that would NEVER meet over them puppies, or a scarf dangling uselessly on the sides of the "endowments". WTF.

    1. It was a troubling time for everyone. And brava for the Regency dentist slam! The knitter is really the most difficult image of all to absorb. There's just so much to deal with, and that doesn't even count the Udders of Doom parked like twin hams under her chin. Why is she wearing one scarf, yet apparently (recently) discarded a second behind her? How is she leaning on a table that is clearly on wheels and would surely lurch like an animated corpse across the rug if someone put their weight against it? What power in the Seven Kingdoms could possibly keep her boobs at that jaunty, yet improbably angle? Why is it that the ball of twine seems to be looking at her?? IT DOESN'T HAVE EYES.

      This is why the Victorians won. You just can't raise more than one generation with this kind of nonsense and get away with it.