Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Years Costume Resolutions

Hope everyone have a happy Chriskwanzukah Festivus holiday ;) I got some new costuming books and enough $$ to do a bulk chainmail order- yay! Because I'm blowing through these rings pretty fast. I already have the start of the front panel attached.

Anyway, this'll be my first time doing this here, every year I post an overly-ambitious costume resolution on what I plan to do in the coming year, and look back on what I did (or usually did not) accomplish from the previous years resolution. This is what I said I was going to do last year:

And here's what I actually did:

Sooo, one out of 5 plus added one... The Padme had a lot of layers... though it should be mentioned I did this corset for my steampunk but it had fit issues. well, anyway, on to next year... and technically I start constructing costumes for next year right after Dragon*Con in September, so I have a head start.

White Witch of Narnia- The Big One of the year, already have a good start on it. Only time will tell how fast I can chainmail that giant skirt.
Hobbit- I don't even technically need this until Dec 2012, though it'd be nice to wear to D*C. Probably half done with this, I might make a go at making feet but odds are I'll just go barefoot.
Edwardian Corset- From last post, doing the sew-along so I can fit one proper.

Alice Ribbon Dress- You see this got bumped from last year. It won't take long to make, but I'll only do it if I can squeeze it in my schedule before D*C
Padme Meadow Gown- This one is actually for next years list but I may start it right after D*C in September
Regency Corset- I've been wanting this one for a long time and the first one I made doesn't fit right. I want a Regency for next years list, but I may start fiddling with the corsettry if I run out of non-handwork and have nothing else to do.

So, those are my plans. At least this year I have a good chance of getting half my definites done in the next couple months, and that'll be an improvement over last year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

1911 Corset Sew Along!

I hadn't planned on getting to the Edwardian costume on my list for another couple years, but the blog Bridges on the Body is hosting a corset sew-along, and since I have such trouble with patterning and fitting corsets, and I have almost enough supplies on hand, I think I'll do this. Most of my work is hand-sewing at the moment anyway. I've found this blog to be an informative read. Here's a link to the sew-along if anyone's interested:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The REAL Queen of Narnia - WIP

I know I haven't posted much about this project yet because I didn't have much to show until now. I'm working on the White Witch's battle outfit from the first Chronicles of Narnia movie. Here's what I have so far, and info under the cut:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Regency Shoes!

American Duchess is at it again, this time they've come out with Regency pointed-toe shoes! They are white leather with a one-inch heel. I can tell you the pair of 18th Century shoes she did were extreeemely comfortable, and I can't even find comfy MODERN shoes... check these out:

"The "Pemberley" Regency shoes are closely based on extant footwear from the 1790s through 1810.  The smooth, dyable, hand-sewn leather upper is designed to be lovely enough formal occasions, and durable enough for walking in the countryside.  Particular attention was paid to the point of the toe, as well as the other hallmarks of Regency historical footwear, with the main goals being both historical accuracy and all-day comfort"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hobbit Skirt Done!

Nothing exciting, but finished my Hobbit skirt! Only took a day to make but a couple days of dyeing to get the color I wanted. My camera doesn't capture color very well, it's a dark moss green. I do want to look for better fabric though, maybe a blend because this doesn't really drape. It's all cotton, and sometimes it almost sticks to itself instead of hanging/draping. It will work for me until I find a nicer fabric in this same color.

Friday, November 4, 2011

More Hobbit news!!!

Peter Jackson released a new production video today!

I love how you can definetly tell what a few of the scenes are that they are filming, especcially from Mirkwood. Bilbo has a really neat crazy-quilted dressing gown, and at one point his voice is so like Ian Holm's that it gives me chills. I'm beyond excited (and we all know what costume I'll be working on today).

Also? Bombur running makes me giggle.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hobbit Progress / skirt woes

So I spent the day today in a real LOTR mood, so I popped in Fellowship (Extended edition) and whipped up the skirt. I had wanted a lightweight wool crepe in a moss green color, but couldn't find the perfect fabric online. I found the right color crepe at JoAnn's, but in a poly/wool blend. It was a bit heavier than I had wanted, but I wouldn't know what it would do until I put it together.

Here's all my fabrics together:

And I found these really cool LOTR-style dragon buttons for it! But the skirt... I'm worried because of the weight that it doesn't hang as finely as a lighter-weight fabric would. Here's a bunch of hobbit skirt pics from the movie:

I guess I'm going to try and find the right weight fabric at the store and attempt to dye it, and if I can't I'll have to try online again.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stash: River Boots

Wee, another item for The Stash!

I've been wanting some really casual, comfortable "Sunday at the con" type costumes... a few people have told me I resemble Summer Glau, I don't really see it except a few similarities, but it's enough to convince me I could probably pull off a River costume. I love hers but they have weird knit/crocheted bits I can't replicate. And even though I'm not really a fan of pink, I've decided the easiest one for me to do is her costume from the Firefly episode "Safe".

I found a neat pair of boots at Charlotte Russe in the mall for $20! They're not perfect but close enough, and I can alter some things in the future. The only hard thing would be the sweater, which I believe is woven and not knit. I would probably end up making a small loom and making my own fabric. But this is a "when you have time" costume so no clue when I'll start, but I'm looking forward to having a comfy costume. Here's my boots next to the boots that are supposedly what she is wearing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

So I opened my mail today and I found a pair of severed ears...

I am so super excited. The color looks perfect, and it turns out my ears are the same size as Elijah Woods' ;) These are ears from the Weta NZ site, pulled from the same mold as Frodo's ears :D Now I have to find meself a good curly wig to go with these...

Friday, October 14, 2011

18th Century Jacket

Here's a pic of the finished 18th century jacket I made for pirate fest:

And a couple of event pics behind the cut!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hobbit Progress!

Remember the design I posted back in April?

I've been working on the chemise for this, and I've actually gathered all my fabrics and ordered Frodo hobbit ears from the Weta site (pulled from the actual mold and made by weta! Doesn't get more authentic than that!) The chemise I am making out of raw silk and I've just finished smocking the neckline of it. I smocked it along the selvage. My pattern process on this is a little unconventional and I'm not sure it'll work yet, but I'm going to document it just in case it turns out to be freaking awesome (as opposed to being completely fubar'ed). The other hobbits with smocking all had it done in about the color of the shirt, so I chose a sand color and mixed it with a shade darker that had a hint of green

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Space Ghost says it's time for Shameless Self Promotion!

Hey, I earned it *g*

Ever since I was an unremarkable, talentless little kid I've always wanted to win at something... and not just a game or by default, but to have actually earned it, and now I can cross a major item off my "Things I want to Achieve" list!

This year at Archon (A St. Louis based fan convention who's Masquerade is considered one of the best in the country... I've competed at the much much larger convention of Dragon*Con and the Archon Masq is very similar! It's like a combo of the workmanship judging of the Friday Night Costume Contest, and the Sunday Masquerade except they are still looking at the costumes and presentation and not the act so much) I competed with my Padme, and I won the "Best Tailoring". And then I got the surprise that I won Best In Show!!

Now I don't feel so bad about all the stuff I perceive wrong with it and want to fix ;) It's still going to hide in my closet for awhile, but... I'm extremely happy. And while were on that note...

At Dragon*Con this year I was also surprised that my fellow Rebel Legion members awarded me with Costumer of the Year

This is the best year ever :) And now we'll return you to your (ir)regularly scheduled blog of costume pics.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dragon*Con 2011 Costumes Update #2

I know I've been a bad girl about updating pictures but I haven't felt like toiling away at the computer lately. I do have a couple of great photos from Bryan Humphrey ( I don't have any of the back yet because, well, I'm not happy with the back yet (I have a LOT I need to fix on this, but I'm sick of looking at it for now). I am wearing it again at a local con called Archon, I'm going to make a point to get some plain background pictures from all angles of this so I can submit them for the Rebel Legion. I also will do a write-up on how I did the hairpiece!

Sorry in advance for the watermarks, I've had a few friends recently have their pictures stolen, so better safe than sorry I guess...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dragon*Con 2011 Costumes Update #1

I'm still gathering pictures from this latest Dragon*Con and I'll hopefully have some full Padme shots up soon. Here's something fun I was lucky enough to be a part of, there was a Harry Potter Final Battle photoshoot. Here's a preview shot you can actually make me out in (Ravenclaw for the win!)

Ravenclaw House

Here's a link to the photographer's Flickr (Photos by Christa Newman) of that shoot! I didn't want to bloody my whole outfit, it's hard to tell but I did get a little bit dirtied up for it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

18th Century Project

Sooo, yeeeeeeah, I'm an idiot. I gave myself another project. To be finished in a week.

Here in St. Louis, we have a pirate fest for 3 weekends in September. I've never bothered to make anything specifically for it, mostly because I never budgetted for historical shoes nor have I figured out the hair. I've been wearing my crappy ren faire garb that's 7 years old and has freakin POLY BONING in it. It was in such bad shape I decided to at least whip up a new bodice. Then I started agonizing over the fact that it's still a horrible outfit. Then I remembered Maggie at Costumer's Guide managed to make an 18th century jacket out of one yard of fabric and thought, well hell! I can do that! (Thanks Maggie ;) )

I've made an 18th century gown previously:

It wasn't perfect, a little bright. I simply took the bodice pattern for the above dress and altered it a bit. I decided to make the jacket boned and will try to forgo a corset (the one I made is fully boned with steel bones. Yeah, I can't drive in that) The box pleated hem on the petticoat, which was pinked and took foreeeeeeeever to pleat, got completely shredded at D*Con 2009 and that year's pirate fest, plus I had to wear tennies. I'm going to re-pink the trim and raise it to ankle height to show off my gorgeous American Duchess shoes (which will hopefully stay clean). The jacket will have a button front stomacher with brass buttons. I don't know what if any trim I'll add. I have to trim out my hat a little, and make a cap so I don't have to fuss with hair. Hopefully it won't be too hard to do all that by Friday night :) Sorry for the rambling post, I do that when I post late at night ;) Here's what I have so far. Things are just pinned on now. I have NO clue if any of this is period accurate, but it's good enough for pirate fest.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back from Dragon*Con!

I returned from Dragon*Con safe and sound! It was a blast (though I missed bumping into a few people... argh!). The week leading up to D*C was hell, I caught a bad cold the weekend before, work was crazy, I was working every spare minute on my costume, and I was still beading on the Friday morning before I put it on. All in all, I got the Padme wearable and it got a very positive reaction. I'm not satisfied with how cutting out the beading from the poly georgette came out, and the hair I thought was rather fuzzy and not as neat as I'd have liked, but people kept asking if it was my real hair! So I guess it's good enough. I'll have pictures up of my 4 costumes as I get them in, edited and uploaded, but all in all it went well (except with my new Alice wig I kept getting mistaken for Claudia from Interview with the Vampire... which means I'd like to find a new one... and may one day make a Claudia costume *g*) Here's a quick pic of the finished product, here's me and Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano in the Clone Wars cartoon, and also the founder of, which makes Star Wars/SyFy gear exclusively for women :)

For the Padme, I now know what I have to fix. I need to do some tweaking on the hook closures, I'd like to add a petticoat layer or something to make the skirt larger, clean up the beading application, and do the drape and appliques proper since I just whipped up a temporary solution. I'm giving myself a week break from working on this costume as I'm sick of it for the moment, and I've started sample work on my Hobbit and White Witch costumes for this next year!

This is the smocking sample for the Hobbit chemise that will be made of raw silk, I have to stitch in the design to see if it will work, then I have to pattern it. The chainmaille is a sample of store bought rings and I will be ordering them in bulk online. I bought 5 yards of med-gray linen for the underdress for the White Witch from Narnia, which will be the only actual sewing required for this costume! Hopefully with the amount of hand work required for this costume I'll be able to throw in some active sewing projects such as my hobbit pieces and the Alice ribbon dress (and later, Padme meadow dress). Looking forward to a new costuming year :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Padme Progress

OK, I'm in full-on convention panic mode. I find I'm having to prioritize what is essential to be finished and what I can finish in the car on the 9 hour drive there. I don't doubt I can finish the overdress, what I'm in a panic about though is the beading, though I'm hopeful I'll have the collar portion done tomorrow night. The drape is what I'm going to have to really cheat on. I won't embroider it until after Dragon*Con, to be finished in time for Archon. The appliques I'll have to either fake or leave blank until then too. The hair, I gave temporarily coloring my strawberry blonde hair brown my best shot and I got it darker, but I found no matching extensions and my attempt to match a color with human hair extensions failed, so I'm going natural for this one until I come up with a better hair plan.

Anyway, this is my progress on the dress, I have one sleeve fully assembled and am working on the other one. Sorry for crappy phone pics ;)

I did a test sample of the drape out of leftover taffeta I had (fabric on right) and I like how it came out, I just need to make the panels wider and they are basically broomstick pleated rectangles. On the left I have the fabric I chose for the drape, I overdyed it tonight and I think I have a good color now

And that's the short version of where I'm at! I've also pretty much finalized my Dragon*Con costume schedule, so if you're going, here's what to look for:

Friday, All Day: Padme
Saturday Parade: Endor Leia (camo)
Saturday Night: Padme
Sunday Day: Hogwarts Uni
Sunday Night: Alice

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Padme Cut Senate - Headjewel

I finished the headjewel for my Padme, I left wome wire on the end though because I'm not entirely sure what kind of clip to attach it to. The attachment method isn't obvious at all on hers so I don't really have a clue how to go about it yet.

The original is flat-backed gems (couldn't find) put in pronged settings that have 4 eyes on them, which I also couldn't find, so I improvised with some beads and wire and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Hopefully I'll have a gown update this weekend, I didn't get much done the past few weeks because my machine can't handle velvet with piping without FUBARing it all to hell. But I found out last night my mother's expensive machine can! You can adjust the presser foot pressure on hers and I got tons done last night. Right now I'm working on putting the collar/lapel together! I also have the frames for the hairpiece almost finished, I am testing a temporary brown dye tomorrow and getting hairpieces to put it all together, plus I got all the make-up last weekend. I'll be doing a test on all of this before Dragon*Con.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stashing- Tonks Battle Costume

Time to start a new label called 'the stash' for any neat goodies I find.

I'm planning to do this Tonks costume from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

It's just a matter of waiting for that lovely snakeskin coat fabric to come along. But since the last movie came out, I don't know for how much longer they plan on selling replica wands, so I went ahead and bought one... Here are all three of my wands:

The bottom one is my first wand, when The Noble Collection only offered the three main wands, it is Hermione's. The middle is my wood wand I got from Alivans that I wield when I wear my Hogwarts robes. And the top is my new Nymphadora Tonks wand!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Padme weekend progress

Not much, just a quick progress pic

Lower sleeves are assembled, I'll add the closure and false buttons after I attach the upper sleeve, I made 16 yards of piping, and here's some of the symbols. The symbols are giving me problems, I'm having trouble getting all the color out even though I'm applying the paste evenly. It's been harder lately, I think due in part to the humidity in the air, but it's taking forever, and I can't begin assembling my coat until these are done. So for now I'm working on the upper sleeve pattern.

I'm considering after next year taking a break from the big, year-long insanity projects and just focusing on some smaller projects I've wanted to do. It's annoying not getting to complete something more than once a year. However, I already have big plans for next year that I already have materials for. I will be making the White Witch Battle costume from Narnia for my big project, my Hobbit costume for the end-of-year premiere (though this is a simpler project) and the Padme meadow dress which I will take my time on with no set deadline. Aaaaand, I'm going to shut up and get the hell to bed...

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Hobbit; Dwarf Photos!

Though I don't expect many women's costumes at all in the Hobbit, I'm still super excited, and Peter Jackson has started releasing official photos!

Here's Dori, Nori, and Ori:

And Oin and Gloin. I'm really glad that Gloin resembles his son Gimli enough, and that his axe is the same style if not THE same axe:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Padme Dress Progress

I've been dyeing for about a week and a half, and I finally got all my velvet dyed. I also got my sleeve/piping fabric dyed, and finally got a color I liked.

I finished my mock-up of the lower sleeves and I love the way it came out! It's a two-part undersleeve with a bias layer over that I just arranged and pressed in a random way. I don't see any evidence that the buttons down the actual gown are functional, so I made an opening just at the wrist, I'll put snap tape there and decorative cover buttons. This is just the mock up:

On the gown itself, I have the skirt half done. I have the back put together and roughly pleated, I have to take measurements and do it more precise, and one side of the front attached. I'm working on discharge printing the lapels. I had to thread-trace the whole thing so I know where to place the symbols. I had a stencil custom-cut. Each symbol I have to paint on the discharge paste, wait for it to dry, then steam it for 10 minutes. I didn't quite get all the purple out, but I'll try and touch it up after it's all done and I rinse the paste out...

I think one day I may make a bigger hoop skirt, but I wanna see what the finished thing looks like first.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hogwarts School Uniform: Ravenclaw

-Edit- Because I keep getting asked, on all my pages, despite multiple disclaimers, please note:
Thanks for the interest, but I do not have time to sew for other people and I get these emails constantly at Halloween!


Here's another past costume, my Hogwarts School Uniform from Harry Potter. I probably made this sometime between 2006 and 2008. It took me a couple painstaking years to do this one, and I've redone the shirt and skirt of it. And, now that I've seen the exhibit, if I ever find the *perfect* fabrics, I wouldn't mind re-doing the shirt and robe, too. So here's a bit about my Ravenclaw Uni.

And oh look, I've learned how to use jump breaks... click the link for my explanation and all my pretty pictures:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Padme CSS- Collar Fitting

Quick lil post with crappy pics, threw on the whole thing to mark my zipper and try on the bodice/collar muslin, and it all fits very well! Not entirely sure if the collar is too big or just right, but I think once the sleeves and drape are attached it'll balance out.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Padme Cut Senate Gown - Velvet

I am now the proud owner of a velvet needle board! And if you've ever looked for one, you know they're hard to find. No one manufactures them anymore, so the stores online that carry them want between $100-200 for them, and when they crop up on eBay they can go for around $80. I managed to score one for $55. For those who don't know, a needle board is, well, a board full of little wire needles so you can press velvet with an iron without crushing the pile! So, in honor of getting my new toy in the mail, I decided to test out my discharge paste.Very Happy

According to the Dressing the Galaxy book, "I selected for Amidala's Senate Costume [p. 116] an inky blue velvet for the overdress, using a technique known as discharge printing (where areas of the original color are removed, forming a pattern, and another color painted in its place to highlight the design) to enhance the front panels with Naboo motifs."

I took a stencil and a stiff brush, and applied the discharge paste (which I got from Dharma Trading) to it, getting it in all the fibers. Then, it has to dry. Once dry, it needs to be steamed for 10 minutes, which gave me the opportunity to use my needleboard. This is how it came out:

I'm fairly excited, that went rather well! I just have to push the stencil down hard and take care on those thin lines, I think it bled over a little on those. This is the color it turned without me painting it. Question is, does this yellow work, or am I going to have to paint something in there...

I found a place that you can custom-order your own laser-cut stencils, so once I do my mock-up and get an exact scale, I'll send in my order for that

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Padme Cut Senate Gown

Aaaaand, the collar.

This is just draped out of duck cloth with a piece of jewelry wire in the back seam. I am thinking of two options, there's this fusible stiff pellon stuff which I'm going to make the mock-up with, and horsehair canvas with wire in the seams. I would have draped the sleeves while I was at it, but I don't have any netting on hand. I'm going to make a full undersleeve (though seamed at the elbow and plain fabric underneath) and make a poofy under-sleeve out of netting to support the velvet oversleeve.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Padme Update

Just a little update on where I'm at! Still at the beading. I over-dyed my drape fabric but it didn't turn out as dark as the sample so I have to do it again. Here's the beading.

And I've started draping the over-dress, its just the skirt and bodice at the moment. I'm not entirely sure about how it looks from the front, but it looks plenty full in the back at least.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The current state of my craziness

Alright, I've been thinking lately (I know, dangerous) that what I'm going to do about the corset is... I'm scratching Steampunk as an official project this year (crappy start to a new blog, but what can you do?) I think I'd be pushing it trying to finish it in time for Dragon*Con with my Padme since I probably have to rebuild a corset. I'm going to build a waist cincher, not as fancy, to get the right torso curves, and sew a softer, probably corded, unboned, and padded top to force that damn curvy shape I want! And I'll do it as a casual build-it-when-you-can project.

I wasted a bunch of time trying to make the steampunk work, but now I'm back to Padme. Hem and zipper and the underdress will be done, I should be draping the overdress by next week. And I've made some progress on the collar beading.

And that's all I'm up to, still in the tedious phase before having picture-worthy results!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Corset Silhouette Question

So, continuing on with my corsetry struggles. I always feel like I'm just one step shy of making my corsets right, and I think a big part of that is it's very hard to take a slight figure like mine and force it into some of these shapes, I don't have a lot to work with. I was having problems with the fit of my victorian corset I made, when I tried to drape a shirt I was getting this 'ridge' going on, and then it was empty up top, I don't think I have the chest shaped quite right. I added some cutlets inside my chemise to see if I could smooth out the shape, and this is what I got. The problem is, I'm not sure at all if I've really achieved a Victorian Silhouette, so I need some outside opinions. What do you guys think? Not the shirt I'm using, but I just threw one on to see how it looked.