…she’ll be OK

Well, the little monster made it through the anaesthetic OK, but has been sore and grumpy for the last 36 hours or so. She had a bit of a rough time at the vet's – a chinchilla's mouth is *tiny*, and they use a dremel-type instrument to grind down (rather than clip) overgrown teeth. Since her molars needed work as well as those very obvious incisors she has at the front, it was a very tricky operation. Unsurprisingly, they caught the inside of her mouth with the tool somewhat, so she bled a fair bit, and they had to hold her poor little tongue out of the way with forceps, so it's bruised! So, a fair amount of trauma all round.

She refused to eat anything yesterday, though she ate fairly well on Monday night. I reckon the painkillers must have worn off. This morning, though, she ate a fair amount of 'recovery mush' and a lot of banana. J is under strict instructions to feed her whatever she wants (except cigarettes!) during the day, so she's on the way to recovery. Yayy!! And ain't she cute?? We love her. That's an old photo, by the way – she's looking rather skinnier right now.

She's on 'preventative antibiotics', too. They taste yucky and she doesn't like taking them. Must try and remember to get some live yoghurt for her – it's tried and tested. 😉

Keep your paws crossed…

Domino is going to have her teeth filed today; they are somewhat overgrown. This should be a routine procedure, but she needs to be put under a general anaesthetic for the purpose, and that's always risky with small animals. Especially one that's underweight – she's gone from 700g in April to 450g. 🙁 Poor wee beastie.

I think that of all the vets I've ever seen, though, I'd trust this one with my little ones under anaesthetic. They really seem to know about small animals and take them seriously. So paws crossed; I'm sure she'll be fine, but your thoughts won't hurt. 🙂

Well, I made it!

The dress got finished, worn and admired! The story from here on in is definitely retrospective, because I didn't have time to sew *and* write as I was finishing up. I ended up taking Friday off at short notice, and spent all of it sewing. I was finishing off the shift at about 7pm on Saturday, about half an hour before I put it on. I ended up sewing myself into the dress, as I hadn't made any other way to attach the robe to the stomacher, or the stomacher to the corset. Overall, I was really very pleased with the outcome, and it was certainly admired! There are lots of bits that could use neatening up (like binding the corset, for a start), and I'd love to finish off the stomacher properly, but I did it!! Pictures to follow.

I definitely learnt a lot during this project; details follow for anyone seriously interested:

Things I'd never attempted before starting this project:

  • Enlarging a pattern to fit me
  • Boning with cable ties
  • Making a custom tailor's dummy
  • Cartridge pleating
  • Draping a pattern
  • Making any kind of garment by completing the pieces individually then whipstitching them together

Things that didn't really work:

  • The cartridge pleating. Not my fault, but I went out and bought some nice strong cotton quilting thread for the purpose. Which proved itself unequal to the job as soon as I tried on the robe, and started snapping. Very nervewracking!! Also, it probably needed some support at the back, to help them stand out – a bumroll, or a small hoopcage might have worked better than the pocket hoops.
  • The pocket hoops. These worked better than anticipated, really, and were rather larger than I expected…
  • The stomacher. Sadly, I ran out of time here, and didn't have time to attach it to the corset or the robe properly, and just ended up sewing myself in. This is rather a shame, because it made the whole dress slightly too large for a couple of reasons:

    • The stomacher is designed to be overlapped by the dress slightly, and I sewed it to the edge (so as not to damage the brocade fabric). So it was bigger.
    • If not attached to the corset, the stomacher has a tendency to slip down slightly. Because it's an inverted triangle shape, this effectively makes the bodice slightly larger all the way down my body.
    • It's also possible that I drafted it slightly too large in the first place, because I did it on myself by tucking a piece of fabric down the front of my corset, pulling the robe on and drawing round the bit that showed. This was when the cartridge pleats started snapping, so I didn't pull the robe on as snugly as I would have liked.

Things that worked better than I expected:

  • Whipstitching the corset together. I had little faith in my handsewing at this point, and stitched every seam twice with doubled thread. This was possibly overkill, and didn't help the time budget, either. Worked, though.
  • Draping a pattern. Quicker, easier and far more exciting than I thought it would be.
  • Ruching sleeves made of curtain fabric. Whoooo.
  • The dress was very *comfortable*, and just warm enough for sitting around all evening (well, to 1 in the morning) outside in early June. Ha!

Things I'd like to finish off/do over:

  • The ends of all the waist ties!!
  • Bind the corset, and maybe make a nice cover for it
  • Sort the stomacher out properly
  • Add robings to the dress to hide the stomacher hooks…
  • Re-do the cartridge pleats so they will *hold*. Possibly with fishing twine! The original plan was to sell the gown, and I certainly can't if the pleats are snapping…
  • Maybe experiment with alternate undergarments for the hip area.
  • Yes, I'm mad, but I'd quite like to re-make the gown in the lightweight, shiny 'alternate' fabric that I didn't use in the end. Just to compare and contrast…
  • Tempted to make the hat/fan etc. Just so the whole costume is complete…

Anyway, that's all for now – there will be a full gallery of pics, as soon as I can garner them from those that took them at the party! I will also put the whole lot on again sometime soon for an official photo shoot!