1910 Pink Evening Gown with Black Lace and Cream Sash and Gloves based on The Intrusion of Jimmy by P.G. Wodehouse

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I just finished listening to The Intrusion of Jimmy by P.G. Wodehouse. I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, but I love listening to Wodehouse, because his stories are light and simple enough that I can miss parts if I get distracted by housework or chatter, but engaging enough that they keep my mind from dwelling on the dullness of dishwashing. Anyways, I’m always up for a story where boy meets girl, everything that can possibly cause boy maximum humiliation and trouble happens, but all comes right in the end.

The thing I liked best about this book was Jimmy’s character, because although a lot of Wodehouse’s heroes are rather more like Jimmy’s friend, Lord Dreever – the kind of laid-back fellow who pre-empts criticism by describing himself as “a bit of an ass” – Jimmy himself was curious, capable and generous. Now, the first two of those are rare enough, but he also seemed to have a darker side than any of the other Wodehouse heroes I can recall. At the beginning of the book, Jimmy makes a bet that he can break into someone’s house, and later that night a burglar happens to break into his own apartment; Jimmy disarms him, convinces him that he’s an infamous European jewel thief and gets the man to take him along on a burglary, all without turning a hair. It’s not like he views it as a lark; rather, he takes the whole thing quite seriously, breaking into someone else’s house almost as much out of curiosity as he did from the desire to win the bet. I guess his background as a reporter made his ability to keep so calm plausible, but still, that’s all pretty cold-blooded. Things like that made me feel that, as much as I liked him for his curiosity and wit, there was something about him that wasn’t quite right, and even though he never expressed the desire to steal so much as a rhinestone brooch, there was something about him that gave me the feeling that he very well could go in for a life of crime if it was interesting enough. It turns out that in the original story that the book was based on, Jimmy really had been a jewel thief! I somehow feel like he makes more sense to me now, although I can’t really hold his past incarnation against him.

Jimmy falls for a lovely girl named Molly, and taking the standard meet-cute love-at-first-sight Wodehouse pattern to new heights, he doesn’t ever actually talk to her during this process, but just admires her over the course of a five-day trans-Atlantic trip. I always figure that the Wodehouse heroines have the most marvelous, flattering, feminine clothes possibly available to humans, because eligible young men are always falling instantly in love with them, so it’s a disappointment for me that Wodehouse seldom describes dresses in detail. The book is from 1910, so here we have a 1910-style gown, with black lace over a pink dress. I do like the dresses I’ve seen from this year – the shape seems like a nice balance between the Edwardian shape and the straight-up-and-down lines that are coming.

By the way, I’ve never thought to look up what P.G. stood for; it turns out to be “Pelham Grenville.” Might have to swipe that one for our firstborn.

Prismacolors used: Kelp Green, Pale Sage, White, French Grey 10%, 20%, 50%, 70%, Light Umber, Dark Umber, Tuscan Red, Black, Cream, Pink Rose, Clay Rose

1863 Ball Gown in Yellow with Green Ribbons over White Lace Skirt with Harvest Trimmings for Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who are celebrating it today! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I’m really happy to be celebrating it with my family this year, now that we’re all in the same state again. Most of my extended family is in the Pacific Northwest, but when I was young my mom, dad, brother and I moved around the country on account of my dad’s job, and so for me Thanksgiving dinners remind me of a very small group around the table, stuffing in the crock-pot and Alice’s Restaurant on the radio. This year, as I understand it, there’ll be a bit of a crowd, but that’s fine too — it means more people to admire my baklava, for one thing. (A friend of mine from Turkey taught me to make exquisite baklava, but my baklava-related self-esteem has taken a bit of a hit since my husband took pictures of it after it came out of the oven. Somehow, the pictures turned out rather alien due to the way the phyllo dough crinkles up and his penchant for close-ups — and then he adjusted them to look vaguely green and called it “Night of the Living Baklava.” I am not so sure I will let him have any.)

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, so for today’s dress I have an 1860s-style ball gown with harvest motifs. I hope you like it, even if you’re not celebrating Thanksgiving today!

Why not — silly poll time!

1882 Wedding Dress with White Flowers and Train

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So remember I have three types of grey pencils: French Grey, which is what I usually use, Cool Grey, which has a bit more bite to it and is what I used for the wicked queen, and Warm Grey, which I usually ignore. Now, when I was sketching out this dress, my Warm Grey pencils called to me, and they said “What about us? It’s been a whole week of white wedding dresses, won’t you use us this time?”

Do me a favor and remind me not to anthropomorphize my colored pencils. There’s a reason I never use my Warm Grey set, and it’s that they’re just too darn dark! I’m under no obligation to be fair to my Prismacolors, otherwise you would see a lot more Salmon Pink and Muted Turquoise. So I’m sorry that this wedding dress is a touch too grey, even though I started it fairly early in the day I didn’t have enough time to redo it by the time I realized it wasn’t quite what I wanted. Also, I didn’t have enough time to do the veil and bouquet either, and now I am rushing to post at least the dress before we possibly lose power. I will do them tomorrow.

Anyways, this is an 1882 gown, and I like it despite the fact that it’s a little bit too grey… I’m quite fond of Gilded Era gowns, even if it’s unwise to try to finish one in a single day.

Pink 1860s Ball Gown with White Scroll Pattern

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Well, today’s dress wasn’t quite what I wanted. I was planning on trying to draw lace with the white gel pen, but I ended up doing it all in pencil instead, and then I picked up the wrong pencil while doing the bodice and colored for a while before I realized my mistake. What I have here is totally different from what I wanted, because after my mistake the only thing I could do was to make it as dark as possible and draw something distracting on top of it. I probably wouldn’t quite so annoyed about my bodice mistake if that skirt hadn’t taken so long!

Anyways, I just thought I hadn’t done a hoop skirt for a while, and it would offer a lot of opportunities to practice drawing lace with the gel pen, which I didn’t even do…

… I’m just going to post this and be done with it!