Katherine Pierce – bodice progress

I slept most of the day today, but I did get up in the afternoon and make some good progress on my green gown’s bodice.

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The Borgias, take two – first photos

I don’t know why Halloween makes me long for Renaissance fashion.  I did a Borgias-inspired gown last year, and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with it – for one thing, it wasn’t very Halloween-y; it was pink and blue.  I tried really hard to resist temptation to even make a Halloween costume this year, because I’m really behind on other projects as it is, but I gave in and started on one this week.  Here are some preemptive pics of the almost-finished product.

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I’ll cover the construction in the next post, but it basically went the same as my costume from last year.  The first two pics are before the sleeves went on, and I threw on my Ever After chemise underneath just to see how it looked (it was a tight squeeze, too.)  I’ve got some finishing touches to get done tonight – more trim and more pearls on the sleeves – but it’s essentially finished!  Not bad for ~3 days of work.

blue taffeta round gown, part one

A few pictures to prove that the costume that I’ve mentioned twice now and have not yet posted about actually does exist!

I began this project earlier in the summer and was actually nearly finished with it before I got distracted with other things. my mum wanted to undertake her first 18th century gown and the best way I know to teach is to show, so I made one as well.



and a few mirror shots of the first fully-constructed fitting I did:

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the construction was a little peculiar because my mum wanted to be able to wear her gown without stays or all the underpinnings of that era… the solution to that is, build the stays into the gown, a la the previous century.  I did it in mine as well even though I have a few pairs of stays.  I’m actually really pleased with the fit and the way it looks.  it laces up the front and has a placket to hide the lacing.  you can see that the underneath peeks out a little; if adding the trim doesn’t help to cover that, I’ll have to put some hooks there.

the bodice is made of two layers of heavy canvas with partial boning; the outer layer is blue taffeta (polyester, but it was on sale for $1.50 a yard, what was I to do?!) and lined in cotton from my mum’s stash with the most adorable pattern of teacups and teapots.  not quite period but certainly cute!  the skirt is essentially a separate piece and is tacked into the bodice at the waistline to make it “round gown-ish” but I’m not sure exactly what this style of gown would properly be called.

in my next post I’ll cover the trimming, which I’m working on at this moment, and I’ll maybe have some more pictures of the construction because I’m certain I took a bunch, I just can’t figure out which of my devices they’re on.

Alois Trancy’s “maid” costume

So, you know that I am going to Anime Central as Ciel Phantomhive in his girl getup.  my little sis wanted to go as Alois Trancy in his girl getup.  I think it’s a cute idea, the both of us dressed up as boys dressing up as girls!

anyhow, I’m just about finished with her costume – just some hand-sewing finishing touches to put on.   this project took much longer than it should have.  I’ve been feeling crummy all week and I just did not have the motivation to get this done.  but I’ve got so much other stuff I need to start on, that I had no choice!


here he is in his lovely maid outfit.  there are not a lot of (reliable) good pictures of what this costume actually looks like, but it’s pretty simple.  I made my version a little more period-accurate, as I did with the Ciel gown.

the bodice and skirt are made of cotton sateen – the only thing I bought for this costume besides the pattern.  I used Simplicity 1558 for the bodice pattern, mainly because I won’t have a chance to fit this costume on my sis before the event and I didn’t want to fuss with drafting a pattern.  instead of making the gown one-piece, I did a bodice and a skirt, which has a more period look.

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I made a little petticoat so the skirt would have some volume.  yes, the petticoat is cockeyed – no, I don’t care much.  it doesn’t affect the look of the skirt so I’ll fix it if I have time, but otherwise, I’m not bothered.  it’s made from a thrifted sheet, and it’s actually really soft and luxurious, I think it’s Egyptian cotton.

(edit: while disassembling this outfit from my dress form, I discovered that I put the petticoat on sideways.  that’s why it’s cockeyed.  durh!)


bodice and skirt together.  I used some vintage lace from my stash on the cuffs and the collar.  I haven’t put the hooks on yet; it’s pinned up the front on my dress form.

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the whole shebang, front and back.  (ignore all my pins; tacking the trim on the bodice is one of the three things I still have to do on this costume.)  I took a little liberty with the apron for a more period look.  it’s also made from a thrifted sheet that’s quite soft and sleek.  I just love thrifty costumes!


and there it is!  a project that should have taken me less than a day somehow took me the better part of three, but it’s done now and I’m satisfied.  I have to make the little hat thingy, too, but that’s the last of the things that need to be finished.  the only thing I wish was different was I should have made the apron a little longer.  oh, in case anyone wonders, the total cost for this costume was less than $50, including the pattern that I bought not on sale.  of course, my Ciel costume cost a bit more than I projected, because I ran out of stuff, so it balances out.

spring green 1770s gown

aka the “why the heck did I start this project now” gown.

this is something I worked on a few months ago, early in the year.  the only real reason is because I got this lovely emerald green colored taffeta at a perishing $1.50 a yard on clearance, and I was itching to do something with it.  I had visions of a ball gown in my head.

This gown took me the better part of three weeks to complete, working on and off, and was sewn entirely by hand (mostly due to the fact that most of the time I spent working on it was in the middle of the night.)  it’s 1770’s-ish, but I didn’t use any particular pattern or go for a certain style.  I wanted to make “just your basic 18th century gown” – something really simple in style and construction.

these pictures were all taken back in February, when we had one chance nice day in the midst of a really long streak of crummy weather.  it was super windy that day, but it was the first clear day we’d had in months.  in fact, it was so clear that the sun blinded me and I ended up making derpface in most of the pictures.  (this outfit did have a hat, I should mention, but I had forgotten it at home that day.  in any case, the wind was so strong that I’m not sure it would have stayed on my head!)

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we went out to the DeKoven Center, which is a nice historic site in the area, for pictures.  I wanted to find an old historical house to take some indoor pictures, but unfortunately none of the ones around here are open this time of year.

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we didn’t really plan ahead to do photos that day, so my outfit was really thrown together.  the gown still needs a little more work.  like I said, I forgot my hat, and I don’t have any accessories, just a black ribbon I happened to have in my bag to tie around my neck.  how sorely underdressed I was!  my wig wasn’t helping either; it looked fine to me when we left the house, but it went flat rather quickly once I was out and about.  definitely needs more poof!

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I went a little ways into the woods for some pictures.  I quickly regretted that.  I am about shin-deep in show here; I put my boots on to go walking (you can see my laces in the second pic!) but that didn’t prevent my feet from getting soaked.


I’m doing major derpface in this pic, but it’s one where you can see my shoes.  these shoes are not at all appropriate for being outside where we were, but they matched the outfit, so I put them on for a few shots.  they’re mules that I scored at the thrift store and refashioned for this outfit, and they’re really quite cute; I want to get some pictures with them once this outfit is really finished.

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here are some shots where you can see the bodice of the gown.  you can see how bare I am under the cape – no jewelry, no engageantes, a fichu or anything.  it needs some work still – you can see the sleeve coming off my shoulder.  I’m not sure if that was because my stays were laced a bit tighter that day than they had been when I was fitting the bodice, because it was a little too loose at the waist, as well, and the center overlapped more than it should have.

now, for the construction:

sorry to say, I haven’t any pictures of the work I did on this gown.  as I said, this was kind of a project I whipped together in spare moments when I was bored, or couldn’t sleep, and just felt like sewing.

I didn’t use a pattern, just draped pieces on my dress form until I had a bodice pattern that resembled patterns of that era.  the gown itself was draped on my dress form, and is cut en forreau – with the back bodice and skirt in one piece.  it didn’t come out perfect – my pleats are a little skewed to one side.  the top skirt, you can see as well, is a bit shorter than the petticoat underneath.

the bodice closes at the front center with pins – I plan to go back and add hooks eventually, but I don’t mind closing it with pins.

the sleeves gave me some trouble.  the first sleeves I drafted were too tight; I couldn’t squeeze my arms into them (I have fat upper arms :O)  I removed those, and then drew up a sleeve pattern by studying the ones in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion I, and ended up with a much better fit.

I know I posted pictures of my cape some time ago, but I never covered the construction of it.  it’s so simple that there’s not much to say.  it’s basically a long rectangle, pleated at the neckline.  the fashion layer is red velvet; it’s inner-lined with flannel, and the lining is a soft maroon cotton.  the fur is thrifted from a faux-fur coat I found at a thrift store some time back.  tacking on the fur trim was the most time-consuming part of the whole piece, which I started and finished in two days.


I’m not considering this gown finished yet – it needs some fitting work, and some accessories to really call it an outfit.  but I’m afraid I won’t have time to revisit it probably until summer.  I’ve got too much going on between now and June to do as much as I’d like… >_>

Ciel gown – finished product

I found my camera (hiding in a bag of sewing junk – what a surprise) so I actually have some good photos of a project for once!  at least, as good as they get considering I’ve got no talent for photography.  If I take a picture without getting my thumb in front of the lens that’s pretty good for me!

anyhow, here it is – the Ciel “roses” ball gown for Anime Central 2014!


(it sits crooked on my dress form, I don’t know why.  I fussed with every layer for a half hour and couldn’t get it to lay right.  perhaps because it fits my body, which is not a dress form, perfectly?)

there are several layers to this costume.


first is the under petticoat and my “bustle” – a bum pad that I found in a box, I can’t for the life of me remember what costume I wore it with before!  the petticoat is my Jasmine petticoat from way back when.  I recall saying at the time that I might wear this over a bustle someday… I probably wasn’t imagining something like this costume, though!

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the underskirt.  I draped the pattern for this on my dress form; it’s pretty simple, two panels and two gores, with a small train.  the back is just pleated where the bustle sits.  the pleats on this sucker drove me nuts, and I ran out of fabric and luckily was able to get a little more in the same color.


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the top skirt, also draped on top of the other two skirts to ensure that the shape and the gathers were just right.  it was a fussy process, and I’m less pleased with the end result than I’d like, but I think I did as much as I could with my choice of fabric.  I wanted two layers of pleats on this skirt, too, but I simply didn’t have enough fabric.  I put a giant bow and some frills on the back just because.  this is supposed to be a big, frilly, girly dress.  nothing says girly like an ass bow with roses, right?

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the whole ensemble.  it is a little crooked, but not so much on me as it is in these pictures.  the back does lace shut.


I made the little choker/neck frill thing from scraps of my ivory fabric.  then I went digging through my bags and bags of ribbon stash, only to find that I don’t have a single thin pink ribbon.  I did, however, have this frilly pink piece of trim, so I went with it.

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and last but not least, the hat.  I covered a straw hat from Michael’s with the pink fabric.  by this point, I was nearly out of the ivory – down to scraps and worrying about how I was going to finish my pleats – but luckily, I had some really lovely silk in a nearly identical color, so the hat is lined with that and the bow is from silk.  I feel like the cotton would have looked a little cheap; the silk brings a nice fancy touch to the hat.  the roses under the brim only go round the front of the hat, and I stuck some in the back just for fun.  I still have some roses left over from that bouquet I butchered; I may do a little more trimming before I call this project complete.


whew!  now that this beast is past me, I’ve got another costume to get cracking on right away – my sister’s!  I worked on it a little already, but I’ll save it as a surprise, and cover it in another post once I’ve made some real progress.

Ciel – sneak peak

I’m in the midst of tidying up my workspace (which is a shameful mess after three weeks of hardcore sewing) and hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to do all the proper pictures of my Ciel gown.  It’s just about finished; I had to make an emergency run to the craft store today for trim and black ribbon, which stopped me from finishing it today.

anyway, have a little sneak preview:



“Ciel takes a selfie in the bathroom (complete with retro filter)”

I ordered this wig off Ebay for pretty cheap.  I weighed the price of an ultra-cheap black wig against the hassle it would be to style it properly (I’m not shakes with hair, real or fake) and decided to just go with the Ciel cosplay wig, which I’m satisfied with.  although I thought it would be more of a gray-black, it’s pretty blueish in real life.

anyway, the wig came in the mail this week, so naturally I had to try it on.  then once I had it on, of course I had to do a make-up run to make sure I knew what I was doing.  and once I got that far, I figured I might as well try the hat on, too, in case it was going to fall right off my head.  and eventually, I ended up with the whole shebang on.

I’ll do the proper write-up of this costume tomorrow.  then, after that, I have another costume to start on right away!  keeping myself busy, yes?