Five for Friday* – What I’ve been up to recently

What I’m working on:

Regency stuff!  Last night I scanned and re-sized the 1810-20s stays pattern from Percoco’s Regency Women’s Dress, the 1795 transitional stays from Salen’s Corsets, and did the (super easy) re-sizing of  J.S. Bernhardt’s  View  C 1810s stays on Kleidung um 1800.

And then realised that none of these is low enough to fit beneath my Recamier gown, so I decided to be super lazy and just draft a really simple pair of ca. 1800 transitional stays of the style beloved by reenactors, but not so common in extant examples or the visual records of the period.  I’m really trying to avoid reenactorisms, but this does seem like the best thing to wear beneath that dress in this case.

Maybe…it’s entirely possible that I’ll have changed my mind by the next time I blog, and be well progressed on one of the other ones!

1770s Masquerade Stays progress thedreamstress.com

What I’ve been reading:

I’ve just finished Terry Pratchett’s Dodger, set in Dickensian (literally, as Mr Charles himself is a major character in the book) London.  Not my favourite Pratchett, especially when compared to Nation, his other non-Diskworld late-life novel, but, like all of Pratchett’s writings, still pretty amazing.  And it features Angela Burdett-Coattes, one of my personal heroes (and also someone who upholds my pet theory that beekeepers are always reasonably decent people).

 What’s for dinner:

I’ve been making a lot of roast vegetable pastas.  Super easy – 10 minutes prep time, and the oven does the rest while I get to do more interesting things (aka, work on Scroop patterns)

To make: Chop vegetables (tomatoes, corgettes (zuchinni), capsicum (bell pepper), green beans, yellow squash, eggplant are all options), put on baking tray, drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Roast in oven for 45 minutes.  Make pasta.  Chop a big handful of basil or parsley.  Stir together vegetables, pasta, basil, and protein (parmesan cheese, chickpeas or pinenuts if I’m feeling really posh).

What else I’ve been up to:  

Lots of trying to get outdoors whenever the weather permits.  It’s been a really rubbish summer, with lots of cold, grey days, but we’ve still managed some nice walks on the not-too-terrible ones.  We even got out to Staglands (a petting zoo/nature reserve), and made friends with peacocks and donkeys and emus and trout.

Staglands nature reserve, thedreamstress.com

Staglands nature reserve, thedreamstress.com

Staglands nature reserve, thedreamstress.com

Staglands nature reserve, thedreamstress.com

What’s been exciting?

Well, finding this guy in the bathroom late at night was pretty exciting!  I was alerted to his presence by Felicity, who was VERY excited, and spent a lot of time telling me how much she wanted him.

Weta, thedreamstress.com

(no Felicity, trust me, you don’t want a weta!)

*It’s Friday somewhere! For another 6 hours in Hawaii!


  1. My cats love wetas. They eat the legs and then leave the bodies lying around in out-of-the-way places such as my slippers. Thankfully our current house seems to be in more of a mouse area than a weta area!

  2. Lorraine says

    I always your posts. Of course, I also am smitten with Felicity. Thank you for adding to my knowledge and cheering me up.

  3. I’m not sure what are the 1800 transitional stays you refer to?
    That recipe sounds like something I want to try.

  4. I’ve never seen wetas down here in Christchurch, used to be really big ones in Rotorua when I was a kid though, enormous!

  5. Wendy says

    I was cleaning a bathroom that didn’t have a door in the doorhole to the outside world and came across a weta about four inches long… Not fun.
    This was in Auckland in the 1980s.

  6. I know its not a Rate the Dress, but Angela Burdett Coutt’s late 1840s dress (I’d say c.1850 rather than 1840 with those sleeves) is seriously FABULOUS and would get a 10/10 from me!

    • Isn’t it gorgeous! It’s one of my favourites, and someday I hope to recreate it! (and I agree re: the dating)

  7. Sarah says

    Wetas are awesome, go you for rescuing one!
    I think you’ll find though, that Felicity’s guy was a girl – that’s an ovipositor at the back.
    I’ve never read any non Discworld Terry Pratchett novels, I’ll have to give it a go.

  8. When I lived in New Zealand, if I mentioned crocodiles, (After all, I did grow up in the Top End of the NT, where crocs are our pride and joy!) my kiwi friends would start talking about wetas, as if wetas were the NZ equivalent of our crocodiles. Sweet!

    I honestly thought I’d never seen one in the entire year and a half I lived there. But looking at that photo I could easily have seen one, assumed it was a cockroach, smacked it with the sole of the nearest shoe, and put the squished remains in the bin, never stopping to think that perhaps it might not be a cocky, as NZ didn’t seem to specialise in the tropical nasties I was used to here (back in Darwin in the Top End again!)

    What a pity, I probably missed out on a fascinating study into the wildlife of NZ that would have done David Attenborough proud.

    As an Aussie though, I’m like … you petted an emu and it didn’t try to peck you nastily or eat your lunch on you? Well-trained emu!

    Miss Felicity takes the cake though. She can drop wetas on my doorstep any time, sweet girl!

    • Hehe. It would NEVER occur to me to pretend a weta was crocodile league! Wetas are much rounder than cockroaches, and their spiky legs are much bigger and sharper and more brittle, so I’d be very surprised if you confused the two. We have champion league cockroaches in Hawaii (no crocs, and I can’t brag about sharks, because you have those too, but we do have lava! 😉 ) and a weta looks totally different. You’d be more likely to confuse them with a giant cricket.

      The emu wasn’t super thrilled about being petted, but it’s in a petting zoo, so it permitted it for a while before making it clear that I needed to stop. I’m well trained in the ‘stop petting me’ cues. Felicity has seen to that! 😉

  9. Keen says

    Just out of curiosity, which “reenactor type” stays we’re you considering? An existing pattern, or were/are you planning on drafting it yourself? Thank you! 🙂

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