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When did the US start using the imperial system (inches, feet, yards, gallons, etc.), and why?

Some trivia for you:

Q: When did the US start using the imperial system (inches, feet, yards, gallons, etc.), and why?

A: Prior to 1965, even the UK was on the…imperial system. The metric system wasn’t even official in the UK until just 54 years ago. The US didn’t change on this. The rest of the world did.

When global trade started becoming more common, there came a desire for a worldwide standard. France proposed the first metric system in 1790, which was met with considerable resistance. Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg were the first to require its used in 1820, and France followed the mandate in 1837. The alternative was the imperial system, which was too closely associated with Britain to be palatable.

In 1875, most industrialized nations, excluding Britain but including the US, signed the Treaty of the Metre. The definition of a metre has changed over time, though, and a lot more recently than most people realized.

Initially, the definition was one-ten-millionth of the distance between the equator and the north pole. You might see the problem with this. The earth isn’t entirely spherical. So which ten-millionth? For which starting point? Thanks, France.

In 1983, the definition moved away from geographical distance to using lightwaves. As far as we know, light travels at the same speed, or some such nonsense that will be debunked a few centuries from now, as everything seems to be.

It had been changed in the meantime between 1791, when the first meter was officially set, and 1983, when it was set at its current length, the most recent prior it 1983 being 1960. The 17th Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures now defines a meter as:

The weight of the kilogram has also changed over time, including in the past few months, but I don’t work in weight, making this really irrelevant, though still interesting. Here is a starting point for your own research on this, and how there are three keys kept in separate locations that all must be brought together to access the official kilogram, which is a physical object kept under a series of bell jars, Whoville-style.

Seriously.  It is.  The real one rarely sees the light of day because Science, but this is a replica.  Now off you get to do your own research.

Consider this your  moment.

Nutcracker and the Four Realms

(Highlight the text in brackets to see potential spoilers.)

Although this movie did very badly (and deservingly so for changing the story beyond all recognition…if they’d just called it The Four Realms and use different names, I think they’d have done better), the costumes are gorgeous, and the sets are stunning. You have no idea how annoyed I am that such amazing designs were basically wasted on a movie that isn’t good. When I saw the promotional photos and the dolls and the other pretty stuff, I hoped so hard that they wouldn’t mess it up.  Just look at these.  Wow.  No joke on that part.  Almost any single still shot looks like an individual piece of art.

But when it turned out that the only things this movie has in common with the VERY-well-know version of the story we absolutely all know practically from birth is that a girl gets a gift {one gets a Nutcracker, the other an egg}) on Christmas Eve, and ends up in a magical world {(one really through a dream/”The prince takes her”, and the other through a wardrobe…like Narnia}, and the names, I knew it wasn’t going to end well.  And it hasn’t.  And those are all it has in common.  Period.  The Nutcracker stand-in is a {human} from the get-go, the gift came from a different person{(a gift from her dead mother)}, a relative in the story we know is {dead (her mother)} and there’s another relation who has no point {(she has an older sister)}…

I’ve read summary after summary, from several different reviewers, and the summaries are pretty consistent, and sounds like it could have made a semi-interesting story if it had been treated as its own original story to begin with.  Don’t offer someone warm chocolate brownies, and then give them an icicle and tell them it’s your version of brownies.  The icicle may be good, but after anticipating that brownie, it’s a let-down.

I’m still trying to decide if I want to spend $16.50 to see this movie when it would be just for the costumes.  If I went, the worst is I’d be out $16.50, which is less than Disney’s $110-mil loss so far (plus promotional expenses) (it’s made about $20mil worldwide on a budget of $130mil).  There’s no rush to decide.

But I do want to recreate some of the gowns.  So far, I haven’t seen any fan-names.   I also haven’t seen many people consider themselves to be fans of the movie.  So blue dress, queen dress {(she finds out she’s a queen…yes, a queen)}?  And Sugarplum’s costume name is obvious. She has one. And she’s Sugarplum.

So I will be attempting something of a costume study on them. Regardless of the story, I suspect there will be people wanting to cosplay, or who are just plain interested in more.

Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.5, Miscellaneous

Today’s post is fairly simple, just a look at the McFarlane Jareth figurine (link goes to Amazon’s listing).  I ordered this figuring, not expecting a lot, but was stunned to see how beautiful it is.  I like to buy figurines like this to compare them to the original things, and just because they’re fun to collect.

All photos are from McFarlane, except the one at the table by a Cornish game hen.  That’s mine.

This figurine looks so much better in person, and the photos are pretty sweet.

Right away the real difference that is apparent is that there is gold on the coat, and the it’s a lighter shade of blue.  But just look at that face, that face, that dangerous face…

I mustn’t be unwise…those lips, that nose, those eyes…could lead to my demise…. (Bonus points to those who can name the reference.)

Yes, he looks this realistic in person.

As you can see above, the black lace is blue on this figure.

His mask is amazing.  The bones on the hand at the end!!

And here is the big difference I don’t care so much for.  The three drips of lace and beading in the back or one dip.  The swirls of gold make me think of an 80’s denim jacked.  But the face…

I really don’t mean to turn this into a review, just a good view of the figurine.  I find that looking at similarities and differences between the real deal and figurines can make me notice detail in the real thing that I might otherwise miss.  (Edit to add:  In my home, Jareth held a place of honor on Christmas, and we gave thanks to our god, David Bowie 😀 )

Also, I’ve found that a new figure is coming out in June of 2019!  Dance Magic!  You bet this is pre-ordered.

Anyway, I will continue to be on the look-out for figurines, and lament the lack of anything Sarah.

Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.4, Back/Lapels

This post is just a comment less photo-dump of some details from the back and lapels to give a better idea of the kinds of sequins and beads that were used.  If there are other photos you’d like to see that I may have, let me know for a future post.  Tomorrow’s is photos of a Jareth figurine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.3, Back/Lapels

First post of two about the back and lapels!  Tomorrow’s post will be just a bunch more photos.  Remember, all photos enlarge when clicked.

This first photo shows a great selection of the types of beads and baubles.  The tiny little 16/0 beads are the only ones sewn on, and they follow a floral pattern that isn’t part of the lace.  The floral pattern exists only because of the beading.

The smooth beads that look like small glass fishbowl pieces are glass, as are the faceted rhinestones that come to a point at the top and the 9-faceted black rhinestones (the table is a facet).  The rest have the glow and roughness of plastic, which makes sense since they’re meant to be rough, and that’s a difficult look to get with glass.  Say hello to those strings of hot glue!  I will be experimenting with different options since hot glue melts in areas with hotter weather, like Arizona, or Burning Man! (I learned that one the hard way…also, m Green Fairy costume caught on fire. 😀 )  Even if not worn, traveling though hot areas could melt the glue.  So I’ll report on what I tried in post 2.5

This photo shows well the cut of the tail coat in the front.  The seaming almost gives the appearance of a separate vest, but there isn’t one.  The lace/baubled bits (I’m just going to call the decorated pieces “baubled bits”) follow the seams in the front down to about 4″-5″ below the waist, and continue up over the shoulders.

The exaggerated labels are glorious, and that wonderfully high collar are just…*sigh*  Notice also the single button on the front.  I’m going to come back to this on post 2.5.

Pay attention here to how the baubled bits on the back extend all the way to the waist, to the two buttons, before sharply curving back up, then to the waist again, like three long drips.

The lace is folded to cut over the sleeve cap, but is the same piece.  Click on this pick to make it larger, and you can see that the fold terminates about 1/4″ below a blue bead.

More photos tomorrow!  If anything isn’t clear enough, or more explanations of any sort are needed, let me know.

 

Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.2, Cuffs

I can hear it already.  “But, Aria, why are there so many pictures of just cuffs?!”  Well, I can tell you with authoritative certainty that the spot that people are most likely to skimp on is the cuffs because the main focal point is the back and lapels, and this is what drags down an overall look.  If more time will be spent anywhere, it’s usually going to be where you expect the eye to go.  Yet it’s actually the secondary features that need to be more impressive than the primary.  This seems counterintuitive, but bear with me here.

Let us call them Yummy, Chair-dude, Beach Bros, and Street Man.  Let us define primary clothing as that which you would wear to say you’re wearing something.  If you’re wearing a suit, that means the coat and slacks.  If you’re in casual stuff, it’s the stuff won’t take off if you’ve got friends visiting.  So, your top and pants (or skirts, but I’m using the example of men since women are too often used to make positive and negative points).  Everything else are accessories, the things you can change easily and still be dressed.

A suit is typically considered dressy.  Jeans and slacks without blazers are considered casual.  Well, Yummy and Beach Bros are wearing primary clothing that is considered dressy.  But Yummy’s casual undershirt and un-shellacked ponytail and the Beach Bros’ bare feet make them look like they’re dressed down.  They have a casual, laid-back vibe to them.  But Chair-dude and Street Man are wearing primary things considered to be casual, yet are wearing shined shoes, dress socks, a hella nice outer coat and scarf, with nary a hair out of place, and come across as dressed up.  If you have a business meeting, you’d be better off wearing Chair-dude’s or Street Man’s technically casual ensembles than to go in how Yummy or Beach Bros are dressed, even though they’re wearing blazers, and one of the thing making Yummy look casual–the t-shirt–is also on Street Man.

What’s so different here?  Well, the secondary things, also known as accessories, even when necessary (e.g. a shirt under the blazer), are the finishing touches, and those can make or break a look.  A couple common phrases are “the shoes make the man” and “the accessories make the outfit” (I don’t know of any equivalents that are about women in particular, though Coco Chanel is known to have been very much into accessories how how they can make or break the ensemble, regardless of formality).

What all of this means is that the thing you expect to be the main focal point isn’t the thing that will form your opinion on something.  Cuffs that don’t get much time because they aren’t the main focal point will pull down Jareth’s ensemble, but better cuffs with lapels, collar, and upper back that didn’t get as much time will come across as more put together.  The state of what we consciously think of as lesser important affect our subconscious view more than we realize.  Take my word on this–after doing this stuff for almost 20 years now, and fairly consistently being considered among the best, I’ve learned a thing or two, and if you critique my work hard enough, you’ll come to see that that thing you can’t quite put your finger on that makes my work so jaw-dropping (and that makes me cringe and think much of my stuff is so flawed, ironically) is the secondary details that don’t seem to matter, things like the lapels, or the stripes lining up even in the arm pits, even if that are small flaws in the primary parts of something.  If there’s anything to let go of, it’s perfection in the part people already expect see as perfect, and if there’s anything to make sure is perfectly right, it’s the part where people expect to find the flaws.  Since we tend to look for problems where we expect to find them, and don’t bother looking for problems where we don’t expect to find any, when those problems aren’t there, and we aren’t looking for them elsewhere, we see perfection.

It’s psychology, and that’s why cuffs aren’t just cuffs, and now you know my secret to everything.  And now I’m screwed since y’all will be looking for flaws in the primary things. 😀

So there is your answer.  There are so many photos of cuffs because they are more important than the lapels.  They are more important than the collar.  They are more important than the upper back.  This is the detail that will make or break your recreation.

So, to the cuffs.  Scroll four photos down.  Click on it.  Notice how there is a section there that isn’t decorated.  The rest is black lace with a bunch of stuff on it.  That stuff includes plastic green/blue plastic faceted iridescent buttons.

 

It also includes a bunch of stringy hot glue…

…with chunky glitter and beads tossed on top…

And some teeny tiny black seed beeds, the 16/0 annoying kind, and they’re the only beads that are definitely sewn.  Because of course.  Glue the beads with the big holes, but sew on the painfully tiny things.  What were you thinking, Brian Froud?  Giving the baby beads the power, were you?

I love the lace.  It’s such a lovely lace.  If it didn’t look so pretty with glue and glitter (we’re all familiar with my loathing of the glitter glue on the live action Belle yellow gown, right?), I might want to rip my hair out for it being used on such beautiful lace.  At least there are some teensy short glass tube beads mixed in.  But this is an ensemble where these measures not only make sense considering the quality of film at that time, but it makes sense for the character.

The beads used on the cuffs are the same as on the lapel, collar, and upper back.  Those posts will show a lot more detail about those beads.

Why yes, that is Ludo in the background, next to a Firey.

Glitter.  And beads.  On glue.  Over black tulle.

Now there’s been a question about hot glue and the heat….  Stay tuned for post 2.5, Friday for my public posts, Thursday for the day-early-Patreoners.  I’ve got some ‘sperimentin’ to do.

Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.1, Lining

The least exciting part first, shall we? 😀 Cherie Lovell, a follower of my page, confirmed that the serging is a 3-thread for both layers.  🙂 So if you want the same serging, that’s the method to use.

This photo shows well the fading.  It’s definitely not intentional.  This side, the right side, has a good deal of fading.  The left side doesn’t.

Here is the left side, and the fading is very little.

Another of the left showing how little fading there is compared to the right side.

Happy September Equinox!

At the moment of this post, it is the September Equinox, the official beginning of fall!  No more hot summer!  No more “Why are you already making pumpkin pie when it’s not fall?”  As if there’s any a time that’s not for pumpkin everything?  Psh!  I love me some pumpkin!  Time for the leaves to turn, and for more fires in the fireplace, and for our forest of a backyard to lose some green and hopefully turn into a winter happy land.  Since Charlotte is partly homeschooled, she won’t get out of school on snow-days!  (We all know the jokes about people here freaking over a little snow, but there’s a reason for this–the temperature hovers just above and just below freezing, and that few inches of snow melts, then freezes into ice, and that ice is what’s so dangerous and panic-inducing.)

I’m more motivated to sew, more motivated to bake pfefferneuse…  Mmmm. Pfefferneuse.  Let me stare for a moment at my glorious pfefferneuse…  It’s a good time for reading, as if there’s ever a bad time, and a good time for snuggles and movies and wine and talking about all the travel we’d love to do, even if it’s to places not entirely possible.  Antarctica, anyone? 😀

It’s time agains to make gingerbread houses and sing Christmas songs in the store without the strange looks we got last month! 

Time to head out to the farms for fall produce, and to make cocoa and sit in front of a fire with my critters.  
But it’s also the time of year to remember that there are a lot of people who are struggling, and to ask everyone to just be a bit kinder to one another.  You never know who is without family, who is struggling harder than usual to get by, who just plain needs to see an occasional smiling face as well rush about enjoying a season that tends to be about togetherness, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs.  One of my favorite things about this season may be how it does tend to help bring out the better in a lot of people, at least at first.  Find that in yourself, and don’t let go of it.  Find motivation in the coming holidays, whether that’s Halloween or Dia de los Muertos (or both!), or Yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or the Epiphany (or anything else, or more than one), and find moments to do good, to send a letter.  Read out this year to anyone, and try to find ways to use your skills.  Charlotte wants to make blankets for the homeless.  I’m going to make stockings to fill with things people may need.  As we go into autumn, remember it’s a happy time for many, a tough time for many, and just aim to do good for everyone around you.

 

Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.0

(Please let me know if you don’t see 11 photos.)
This post has given me grey hairs. The first time I posted this one, it disappeared. I spent scads of time on it, then…POOF. Finding the time again has been very difficult. Then, when I finished it a second time, it wouldn’t work either. Thank goodness the text was saved! This time, I found out that the problem is too many photos that are too big. We had to increase storage capacity and a few other things, including having to resize some photos. So, at full size, some photos make be smaller than they otherwise would be. I also rearranged photos, and will have fewer n this post than I was otherwise going to have, and the rest will be posted every day or two (the posts are already set to auto-post, so expect a new post on Monday at 1pm PST, Tuesday at the same time, etc.) in smaller posts that will hopefully not have any issue posting.

Monday: Lining
Tuesday: Cuffs
Wednesday and Thursday: Back and lapel details
Friday: Miscellaneous

Those are all already done and scheduled, and I’ll be biting my nails waiting to make sure they post without issue.

Expect this post to be something of an overview with more photos for each part in the coming days.   One day will be more photos of the lining, another will be cuffs, another of buttons, etc., which will also make it easier to find the specific part you’re looking for.

I was also planning to make this coat as part of making this post, but then had the brilliant idea (well, “brilliant”) to have it be a make-along.  I’m likely heading back to Paris at the end of this year, and, if I do, I plan to try tracking down more of the metallic velvet I got before.  If anyone is interested in that, it was €75 per meter, and sold in 3-meter lengths, and I charged the actual cost converted to US-dollars.  It’s not cheap, but it’s perfect.  I got some for myself as well as for one of my followers.  Once tickets are booked, for those who are interested, I would ask for a refundable-if-not-found deposit, and fabric would be distributed on a first-signed-up order.  I’m regretting not choking down the cost of a few more lengths, but I was already over my baggage weight limit.  Having me get the fabric wouldn’t be required to participate in this make-along.

So let’s start with the lining and the hem.  The lining is a simple silver lamé, and it’s serged with cream.  I’ll be honest–I don’t serge enough to know if that’s a 3-thread or 4-thread, though it looks like a 3-thread.  (I serge so rarely that I got a Baby Lock Imagine since it adjusts all the tensions automatically, and I suuuuuuuck at that part.). Click on any photos for larger versions.

The bottom of the coat looks like it’s been light-damaged.  Yes, light causes damage.  This is why flash-photography isn’t allowed.  The flash from one camera seems like it wouldn’t do anything, but over time, all those flashes add up.  But it does make the hem of the velvet easier to see as well, and it’s also serged, but with navy.  You can see in these photos that the backing is woven, not knit and the metallic fibers are also easier to see.  In Monday’s post, you will see some tulle that I suspect was used for display purposes.

Movin’ on up, we get to some buttons.  There appear to be already-made buttons, nothing custom, and that makes sense.  Unlike the broach, this isn’t a detail that will get much notice.  There are two in the back, and one in the front.  more on that in a bit.  In place of a coat vent, there are three pleats under each button, and this piece is cut separately.  In the first button photo, the seam is clearly visible.

Next up: Cuffs.  I really want to show more of these in this post, but am not wanting to come up against whatever limit on files there is.  So more photos will have to wait for the cuff page scheduled for Monday.  The bottom of the cuffs are gathered tulle with a gorgeous soft black lace.  It looks like silk, but no silk was used.  This Is probably rayon.  It’s too soft to be nylon.  All over this, following various parts of the design, is glued-on chunky black glitter and small black short bugle beads.  The beads are glued as well, but mixed in with the glitter and sprinkled on the glue.

The top of the cuffs are cut pieces of lace that wrap around, but don’t go around the back.  The method used on this lace will be shared in the section below about the back and lapels since it’s the same method.  Simple plastic buttons in shiny peacock colors are used.  The faceted mold is meant to look like crystal.

The third button is on the front.  Look below the cravat (as pointed out, it’s technically a jabot).  The coat covers left over right and closes at that button.  I’m going to speculate that the button is decorative and that it likely covers with concealed hooks and eyes.

The collar is a standing collar with a fold.

Now to the big part.  This is going to be a very quick overview since there are so many photos of this that I’d definitely hit the file cap.  On Wednesday and Thursday, these dozens of posts will be metered out.  Notice, at least quickly for now, that the sleeves are gathered in the caps, not tremendously so, but enough to help pad out the lace that falls over it.

The trick here is that hot glue is drizzled all over lace (it’ll stick better to the netting of lace than to velvet) with chunky black flutter, small sequins, small black faceted beads, opalescent round and oval beads, deep green and blue leads that look like broken pieces of glass (definitely aren’t, though!), 4mm faceted black beads, and shards of plastic beads that look like shattered mirror pieces scattered all over it.  Just go full ham on this.  You can’t overdo it.  No, the beads aren’t sewn.  Look at the shattered-mirror piece in this first photo.  You can see the hole, and there is nothing through it.   About halfway down, about two-thirds of the way to the right, is a black bead with a hole, and you can, again, see that there is no thread.  While the method is just about as cheap and quick as possible, it manages to work without looking cheap.  It’s perfectly Jareth, and reflects the concept of being shattered and broken, a sense of vulnerableness crossed with rocker glam.  To me, it feels like tis goblin king living a simple, yet complex existence, dug up whatever he could pull up in an attempt to seduce this young lady he’s fallen for.

Keep a watch here this next week for the rest of the posts.  As said, they are ready and waiting to auto-post.  I have the text all saved.  If there are any snafus, I’m ready to tackle them.

STEAM in Sewing

Starting the week of September 17th, you will be able to find articles weeklyish about the various ways all five factors of STEAM are in sewing. It’s time to dispel the myth that sewing is some nimby-pimby little craft for idiots who “can’t do anything worthwhile, like technology.” (Dears, I used to be an email security analyst and was a tech geek back when that still got you beaten up, and Bill Gates making geekery cool was years away, way back when it was still acceptable to literally tell a little girl, like me, “Why do you like science and math when that’s for boys?”…) Well, even if you think that sewing doesn’t involve anything “important,” knowing how to mend and properly launder clothing will save you a lot of money, and who doesn’t like to save money? Aside from that aspect, knowing how science, technology, engineering, art, and science are all a part of sewing can help that budding designer find relevance in school classes that seem irrelevant, and it’s just plain cool to learn stuff.

See you soon!