much ado about… prom dresses!

Hello again!  I fear I’ve set another bad milestone – nearly four months without an update! Yikes!  Well, things have been hectic, and as ACen is now a terrifying three weeks away, I’m in full crunch mode to get the convention costumes done.  Unfortunately, I don’t have much more at this point to show than I did when I last blogged… double yikes!

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A fall coat from a vintage Burda pattern

Well, winter is coming upon us again – despite the fact that it’s averaging about 90 degrees here still, I can’t help but feel that cold weather is right around the corner.  I really hate the cold, and winter in general, so one thing I tend to do every year is buy myself a new, cute coat, so that there’s something for me to get excited about when winter hits – well, this year, I decided I’d make myself a new coat instead.

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the “Kiki” Dress

My sister and I are going to be hitting up Anime Central for three days this year – and since time is short, I figured I could make one new costume for each of us and we could reuse some of the ones from the last convention (my Black Lady cosplay is something I definitely want to wear again.)  However, since none of my other projects are going right at the moment, I was feeling frustrated today and I wanted to do something else, something easy to get me out of my funk.  Well, there’s a super-easy cosplay that I’ve always wanted to do – Kiki, from Kiki’s Delivery Service, one of my favorite movies.  So, I thought about what I wanted my cosplay to look like, made a run to the fabric store, and started and finished this cosplay today.

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Capes!

Seems like fall is the perfect time to think about capes.

I know I’ve been lax in updating lately; I haven’t had much going on.  I got kicked in the teeth by Real Life the past few weeks so costuming is on hold (which reeeeally pains me to say because the months are ticking away toward January so quickly!)  recently, I sold my first custom order through my Etsy store, which I feel is a big step!  I meant to dedicate a lot more time to beefing up my store over the summer, but what with one thing and another, it got put on the back burner.  I’d like to start putting more effort into it now that things have calmed down a (very) little bit.

anyhow, my first sale was an 18th century wool cloak, which turned out quite beautifully!  then, at a department store the other day, I was wandering around the accessories area when I happened upon racks and racks of capes for fall!  capes everywhere!  I tried on a bunch for fun, and remembered how much I love a good cape.  of course, when I checked the price tags, my enthusiasm popped like a balloon.  who’s gonna pay $150 for a fleece cape?!  and naturally, I thought: why not make my own?

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this was the cape I liked and used as my inspiration.  what was the price on this cape, you ask?  $120.  I headed over to the fabric store, grabbed some rolls of fleece and faux fur out of the remnants bin, and got to work.

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a fairly unflattering picture of me wearing the finished product.

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this thing took me maybe a whole hour to whip together, and only that long because I hand-finished the edges where the fur is attached.  It’s basically a circle cloak, slightly stretched and gathered at the back neckline (inspired by 18th century cloaks, just because I like the look of it.)  It’s made of thick gray fleece and some shaggy faux fur.  it closes with a hook at the neckline.  it’s sort of an oblong circle, I suppose, because the center front and back are longer than the sides.  if I did it again, I’d make the sides longer.

gray fleece remnant: $3

faux fur remnant: $4

total cost: $7

can you even beat that?  huh?

Ren faire again!

Hello again, welcome back! Oh, wait, I shouldn’t be the one saying that, should I? Seeing as I’ve neglected this blog for months again. I haven’t been doing much costuming, due to a lack of time and (more importantly) money. But I have done a little.

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I went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire this year! And, of course, dressed up, although my costume was pretty slapdash owing to the fact that we didn’t decide to go until two days before we went. I went with two of my sisters, neither of whom had ever been to ren faire.

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I’m wearing the green corded bodice from last year, which you may recognize. The orange skirt I whipped up the night before and it’s pretty rough. Underneath I’ve got my short sleeved shift (which as you can see needs to be reworked a little; the underarm gussets are too small, I think, and the sleeves won’t stay on my shoulders,) and my tan petticoat from last year as well. The sash at my waist was originally supposed to co around my head, but I tied it around my waist to hide the ugly back of my bodice.

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Here’s a picture of my concept, which was kind of a piratey theme. In the end, however, I didn’t have the hat and waistcoat done in time, so I gave it up. Who’d have thought it would be so hard to find a decent pirate hat at this time of year?! The waistcoat, actually, was finished, but I was two hooks short of being able to close it properly – so close!

Anyhow, it was a lot of fun. Maybe I’ll pull out the pirate idea again next year, with some proper planning. (But really, where’s the fun in that?)

civil war corset – finished up

 

just finished up the edge binding and have a few more pics.  I went digging through my drawer of bias tape and in the end went with plain white, under which I added a bit of crochet lace to the top of the corset.  I like the look overall.  I wish it wasn’t going into winter, because I’m itching to wear this with a cute summer skirt or something.  it’s an undergarment, but it’s so cute.

as you can see, it fits like bung on my dressform.  I had to completely unlace it to get it on and the front gaps.  also, that lumpiness at the top is where I stuffed some spare fabric bits behind the corset to fill it out.  you can see the shape of the corset pretty well, though.  I was feeling too slobby today to take pictures of myself wearing it, but it actually does look a lot better on a body than on the dressform.

anyhow, another project finished!  in less than two weeks, too!  I still have the shift and pantalettes to make, but I went to the fabric store yesterday to get some fabric and it was a madhouse, so I left without buying anything.  maybe next weekend.

 

on another subject, my mum just finally got a sewing machine of her own.  being, as I think I’ve mentioned, obsessed with Marie Antoinette, she wants to make a Marie Antoinette gown.  she doesn’t seem to understand what this really entails, although I tried to explain it to her, that it’s not just as simple as buying a pattern and sewing a dress.  in any case, we’ve decided to have our own little sew-along starting in the new year.

I have a few 18th century pieces made, but they’re not all that great, so I’m going to be starting from scratch, as will my mum, seeing that she has nothing.  we’re going to start with the undergarments and work our way up, and hopefully have the entire outfit finished in time for Halloween next year.  (I’m trying to explain to her that you can’t really just sit down over a weekend and whip out an entire 18th century outfit, but… well, I don’t think she’ll get it until we start working on this and she sees how much work it is. >_>)  I’d really like to hand-sew mine as much as I can, for accuracy.

we’re going to replicate gowns from the movie.  my mum wants to do the “letter” gown.  I haven’t 100% decided yet, but the one that really caught my eye is the “cards” gown (because naturally I have to incline towards one of the costumes that is only shown in a dismally short scene in the movie and of which there are virtually no good shots.)  I might change my mind, but for some reason that one really hooked me.

well, more on that later.  we begin in January (yay!)  to my reckoning, for the most basic 18th century outfit, we’ll each need a shift, stays, a petticoat, paniers, and the gown, which in itself will be a task.  I plan to have quite more than just those items, but my mum may not want to go the extra mile, so we’ll see.

dress for wedding.

the dress I ended up wearing to my brother’s wedding last month.  I whipped it up last minute as per usual, so it’s pretty simple.

 

 

I used the Gail dress pattern from Burdastyle.com, slightly modified.  I didn’t like how the high collar looked on me so I substituted a strap of braided fabric.  I also widened the skirt on the chiffon outer layer so that it has a nice swishy feel to it (I just love a swishy dress. :P)  I’m pleased with how it turned out overall.

the wedding went off fabulously, of course.

 

I’m now working on a set of Civil War era undergarments, which I will eventually get some pictures of.  I found a pretty decent Simplicity pattern for a 1863 shift, pantalettes, and stays.  the pattern is endorsed by the Museum Society, which works for me.  I’m halfway through building the corset, now I just have to wait for the rest of my supplies to arrive before I can finish it.  I hate being limited by the only fabric/sewing store around being the JoAnn fabrics on the other side of town.  the nearest specialty store, for corsets, boning and such, is two and a half hours away.  sigh.