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Friday, 27 November 2015

Rosemary's Baby

As part of my research for college - we're doing a fashion project based on the psychedelic years 1966-70 - we were given a list of films to watch and review. Thankfully Rosemary's Baby was on this list, as I've been meaning to watch it for a long time now.

Pregnant Rosemary is expecting her first child, and along with the usual worries of bearing a child, she comes to suspect her neighbours and husband of being a witches' coven; at first she is paranoid that they want to use the blood and flesh of her first child in a ritual, but it is soon revealed that the child belongs to Satan. Naturally she is horrified at the ordeal, though towards the end her horror begins to wane as she rocks the child.

Despite being rated an 18, I didn't really find this film scary or obscene in any way; I suppose in the mid-sixties a theme of Satan worship would have been rather controversial and frightening for people (I assume), but today it seems rather dated, with far more disturbing films available. Perhaps the scariest part was when the camera briefly zooms in on a woman that committed suicide, showing blood. Despite this, I enjoyed it, as the character Rosemary Woodhouse had me constantly on the edge of my seat.

My favourite parts were how the music added suspense - I particularly liked the opening song/main theme music as it reminds me of the creepier Ennio Morricone songs with Edda Dell'Orso (my kind of music from the 60s and 70s) - and the slow build up to her hysteria.
However, I would have liked to have seen what Rosemary's Baby looked like, being half-Satan and all. The inverted cross hanging above the baby's crib was a nice touch for adding further creepiness, as well as the crowd yelling "hail Satan" and "God is dead" amidst Rosemary's cries of "oh God".

I also liked the constant imagery of medicinal/ritualistic herbs throughout, like the foul-smelling herbs in hers and the woman that committed suicide's necklace, which was claimed to bring good luck, the herb gardens that keep getting mentioned and promised by the husband, the medicinal drinks that her Satan-hailing neighbour makes her take, as well as Rosemary's own name. These herbal references hint at witchcraft from the beginning, perhaps foreshadowing what the family-to-be would get into by moving to the old deceased woman's apartment.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Good News and a Poem

This Sunday I have finished writing 40 chapters of When the Summer Ends, marking the end of my book! I’ve had so much fun writing this book lately, though at the same time I’m very happy it’s done. Now all I need to do is edit 35 chapters and then I can publish… Wish me luck!

For now, please enjoy this poem I’ve written:

When the Summer Ends

When the summer ends, and the leaves fall from the trees like embers,
I miss that sultry, blazing sun and the secrets we whispered mouth-to-ear on cloudless days.
Those summer evenings seemed an endless eternity, and yet autumn came all too soon.
The autumnal days brought us closer together as we made memories,
sharing school and heart.
Then winter came and autumn crumpled and died,
bringing with it a bitter curse sent to tear us apart.
And spring never came…
Not for many seasons to come.

Crossposted at Ellie Morris Books

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Christmas Market Meet at Manchester with CLAM

It feels like a while since I've posted here for some reason, but I've been very busy with college projects. Today I went to my first ever Lolita meetup with CLAM (Chester, Liverpool and Manchester)! Some people were surprised that I was in the fashion for five+ years and only recently went to a meet-up, and so am I!
I was really nervous about going to a meetup, which was silly as everyone there was so lovely and welcoming. I had a wonderful time, met some amazing Lolitas with gorgeous coordinates, and would love to go again sometime.

First we walked from the trainstation to the Christmas Market, where most of us got hot chocolate, and then we ate in Wagamama's, another first for me. I had the beef curry, which was so nice, but a red hot chilly hiding in there just about set my mouth on fire!

Here's what the girls were wearing, and also a bonus photo of my own coordinate. If anybody doesn't want their picture on my blog, please feel free to message me and I'll take it down.

My cheesy smile, taken with Mo and Abbey at Wagamama's. Photo taken by May.

Group shot from Nadina from Nadina O. You can see me, the shortest one wearing Innocent World in the centre of the photo, haha. 

It was so nice meeting you all!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Inspiration: Black Historical Gowns

On Pinterest I've seen a lot of black gowns recently, and with winter ahead of us I think these historical garments would look fabulous for the party season - especially those 1920s dresses!
Here are some examples that I found particularly beautiful.

Here are three examples of a 1920s robe de style, which someday I am hoping to make in black taffeta or silk.

Edwardian women in black.

1930s gown with an inset of cream lace.

I haven't seen a date for this dress, but I think it is from the 1950s? Isn't it gorgeous!

Another two Edwardian ladies wearing black, curvaceous gowns.

Princess Dagmar of Denmark in 1866. I love the sleeves and hair!

And finally, another example from the late Victorian and early Edwardian period. The stripes are divine, and that hat is drool-worthy; I think it has white bird or angel wings on it!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Elizabethan-Costume's Stay Diary: Part 2 - Finished

I recently just tried on my stays and am happy to say that they function rather well! Even though they don't look pretty, I'm rather pleased with the flattened silhouette they give me, which looks very period.

I have to say that I'm not too fond of how they look, though. The fabrics I used (faux suede and a velvety pile fabric) could be more 18th Century, such as linen and silky taffeta, and the overall look appears very rushed and untidy - i.e. there are still lines where the tension was wrong, giving the thread a bobby effect, on show, and I haven't tried too hard to get rid of my basting stitches, as they're hidden in the rather sloppy bias binding...
But still, I managed my second period garment! The fichu is my first item, as I like to start with the undergarments of an outfit first.

For the boning I gave up on spiral steel as the little caps that go with them got stuck in my stay channels, as I didn't have the correct equipment to do it properly; getting those little, um, things out broke all my nails. Very annoying, but it had to be done. So instead I used plastic cable ties, which work like miracles in corsetry - I was so pleasantly surprised with the results!
Then I very messily added bias binding from the corner shop (I'm very lucky to have a sewing shop just one field away from my home, and the ladies that run the shop can't get rid of me!), which went wrong as the cable ties got in the way and wrecked havoc with my sewing machine.
The grommets were stitched by hand with embroidery thread, I'm pleased to say. I love stitching by hand as I can put music or Jeeves and Wooster on and just sit on my bed, sewing away. However, I'm not sure which stitch I used, as buttonhole looked too advanced for me, so I just made something up as I went along, which turned out okay in the end - I think it was satin stitch.

Next time, I'd like to have a go with the spiral boning that I purchased, and adapt my pattern that I drafted from Elizabethan-Costumes, making it longer with a busk, metal grommets, and prettier fabrics. I'd also take more care to make it neat and well-presented - but for now I'll just call them peasant stays.

Sunday, 1 November 2015


Yesterday evening my Mum took me out to see Suffragette, and it probably has to be the best film I've watched this year! It's so well done and so important to watch that I recommend everybody to see it, regardless of whether historical matters interest you or not!

Instead of following the stories of Emmeline Pankhurst or Emily Davison as you'd expect, Suffragette is about Maud Watts, a young woman who unwillingly at first becomes involved with the Suffragette movement and loses everything, leading to her to fight for her rights with the rest of the women. Of course, the infamous scene where Emily Davison throws herself in front of the horse is also shown, and I could barely watch, and I felt so sorry for poor Maud who had to watch that happen.

As for the actors, I thought they were brilliant, especially Helena Bonham Carter (one of my favourite actors) who played the chemist and Suffragette, Edith Ellyn, and Carey Mulligan (Maud Watts).

This movie is an emotional rollercoaster filled with tragedy, and in places I very nearly cried, especially where her son was taken away from her. The men in the film absolutely fill me with disgust, especially the owner of the factory that preys on young working girls (though he gets his just desserts soon enough, which serves him right), the random jeering men that believe women will never get the vote, and even Maud's completely ignorant husband.

Maud's life seems terrible, and still she keeps going to work and even manages to laugh and smile once in a while! She was a great fictional character addition to the Suffragette story, and even though she didn't exist in real life, I think the story is very believable.

I love this film and it makes me want to make a Suffragette-themed Edwardian costume at some point!