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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bits and pieces

I got a lot done today.  A lot.  In fact, I got a lot done this whole week, and I definitely feel like I busted my ass to do so.  But things are starting to kind of come together now.

What I accomplished today:

patterned, constructed, and finished pants for my Lucia cosplay

added lace and chiffon to my Black Lady dress

hemmed three yards of chiffon for a shawl

patterned, constructed, and finished an entirely new blouse for my Black Lady cosplay


Some photos:


I had forgotten that I bought this lace for this costume a while ago, until I was digging through my lace stash yesterday while working on the Celestia cosplay.


I added a panel of black chiffon to the inside of the dress.  In the official artwork that describes Black Lady’s outfit, Naoko Takeuchi says that the piece inside the dress and the shawl are made of the same material – but the shawl is pink, and the dress is blue-black-ish.  Perhaps she just meant they are both chiffon.  Anyway, I took my own liberties, and made the costume to the image I had in my head.  I’ll go more into that later, when I post the full pictures of this costume.

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I hemmed a buttload of chiffon.  I have a peculiar process for getting a perfect tiny rolled hem on chiffon (I really just love to use chiffon, so I’ve had a lot of practice with it) and that was what took the most time today.  It’s a step-by-step process that involves tearing, sealing, and hemming each edge one at a time.  Mostly it’s the sealing with Fray Away that takes up the most time.


This shawl is a gorgeous color, closer to the pink I used inside the dress than the other chiffon that I bought for a shawl. I picked some up a while ago that was a nice burgundy-red color, but I really didn’t get enough – I cut one yard in half and sewed it together to make a 2 x 1/2 yard piece, and it seemed so skimpy.  This time, I bought a full three yards and this shawl is lovely and big.

I also made a whole new blouse for the Black Lady costume, only because I happened across some organza at the fabric store that was much closer in color to the idea I originally had in my head – although the blouse, on the whole, is far from my favorite piece of this costume.  I was in the middle of attaching the gemstones on to the collar and cuffs when I ran out of hot glue, but this whole outfit is quite nearly done – hurray!


I’ll do proper posts for both this costume and my Lucia costume probably later this week, when I get around to taking pictures, but I don’t feel up to it tonight.  The Black Lady costume, at least, does not fit on my dress form – it’s kind of a squeeze on me, in fact, but I wanted it that way – so I have to work up the energy to put the whole thing on to take pictures.

blue satin round gown + hat

I wanted to continue my sewing streak from last week and get started on my convention costumes right away yesterday.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anywhere to begin underneath the piles of UFOs I’ve got laying around – so I devoted two days to finishing up some almost-done but for some reason not-done projects I had on the table.

Last time I posted about this gown, I mistakenly called it taffeta?  I’m not sure why I did that, but it is in fact satin.  And while normally I avoid satin like the plague (I have a dislike of shiny fabrics) I had picked this dark navy blue satin up because it was on super-clearance and honestly, the shine was not too bad.  That is, it doesn’t scream “costume satin!!” to me.

Anyhow, at last check, the gown was finished and just in need of trimming.  It also, I found upon examination now two months later, was in need of hemming and some minor alterations about the sleeves.  I whipped all that out yesterday.

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I bought a bunch of rolls of this blue organza ribbon at the same time as I bought my fabric – also on clearance; 50 cents a roll!  Unfortunately, I only got two rolls of the 2″ wide ribbon and have yet to be able to find more, and I used it all up on the neckline and front of the bodice.  I intended to have trim also on the sleeves and more on the bodice, but when I ran out of the 2″ and started using 1″, it just didn’t look right to me.  So I scrapped that and left the gown a little under trimmed – for now.

The lace is just tacked into the sleeve for effect; I intend to make some sleeve flounces also, since I have a good amount of the blue satin left.

There’s also…


A hat!  I spent this morning making the hat, which I meant to do (and think I posted about doing) ages ago.  It’s a straw hat from Michael’s with the crown cut down to a more shallow size.  It’s covered with blue satin and the brim is lined with black silk moire (which I picked up nearly a whole yard remnant of at Hobby Lobby a while back – I’m always surprised at what I stumble across at Hobby Lobby!)  The crown is trimmed with a strip of ruched and pinked blue satin, and I added a bow of ivory silk dupioni because I love bows.  I adored the big silk bow on the hat that went with my Ciel ball gown, so I went with it again!  I also had just enough of the ivory silk left to make a nice, long sash to tie around my waist, to bring the outfit together.

I took some white ostrich feathers I had laying around and gave them a nice tea bath in my favorite Lady Gray to make them more ivory-colored, and they’re just drying now so that I can throw them on this hat.  And then it will be done!  Excepting the sleeve flounces, this project is finished!


I still have lots and lots to do, but it’s nice to get one UFO off my list, especially since my list keeps growing with more and more things I’m finding I need for the convention.  I want to try and go out this weekend to take some pictures in this costume, but we’ll see if there’s time.  Also, it’s hella cold out right now, so I might have to save the wearing of this gown for a warmer time of year.

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.

Three Musketeers: pictures (yes, finally!)

what a few weeks it’s been!! the show ended today (or rather, yesterday) and was a huge success!! everyone wore their costumes beautifully and they looked so good on stage. so, as I promised some long while ago, I have some pictures. they’re fairly crummy in quality, because I did them at the last minute as we were putting everything away, and of course because I took pictures at the end of the show, they’re all showing some wear and tear. but these were my favorites.




this was the “peacock” ball gown, one of my particular favorites. it consists of a pleated skirt (purple,) and the blue bodice with attached over skirt, and is made from a slubby sort of synthetic shantung. the last picture shows the back, which was grommetted for spiral lacing, and then, like everything else, laced incorrectly (I gave up after a few costumes and just went with standard spaced grommets after that.) the skirt ended up being about three inches too short for the actress, so someone added a ruffle at the hem, with some trim tacked on to hide the join – I wasn’t particularly happy with that. but the whole thing looked great on stage.


the king’s masquerade outfit. I made it gold to match the mask he was supposed to wear, which was a lion, but he ended up with something else. but I love this costume. you can’t see it very well in the pictures, but the fabric is a satiny cream color with the pattern in white and gold metallic (from a section in the store called “church fabric”.) the pattern I used for this one was Simplicity 4059, which I used, with some modifications, for most of the mens costumes that we had to make for this show. the pantaloons I made up myself, and are extremely not historically accurate, but dang did they look good!

of course, the king had to have matching shoes for his outfit. the director wanted it to be “outlandish and ridiculous”, so I came up with these. personally, I think they were the best part of the show. the king got asked about them by every single audience. lace, tassels, feathers, bows!


the king’s “everyday” outfit, complete with matching shoes. he was such a good sport; he never complained even though I put him in tights and high heels.


this was the queen’s bodice, which looks terrible on a hanger but really looked good on her. the matching skirt is simply a green pleated skirt. the stomacher, which you can’t see very well, is trimmed with gold, and the lace on the cuffs we actually kited from a gorgeous vintage wedding gown in the back room.


this was the queen’s masquerade outfit. her character was a white eagle, so I made the gown silver and white to match, and it’s also the same pattern as the king’s, so they’re kind of obviously a couple. the skirt is simply pleated with a silver panel in the front. the bodice is the same style as her other outfit, with the addition of two hanging panels over the back of the arms that served as “wings”. you can see this kind of in the last picture. also, in the background, you can see our “Cardinal’s guards” capes – we made seven of these, and five of the blue Musketeer ones.

I can’t decide between this gown and the king’s gold outfit which was my absolute favorite… I think I might have to go with the king’s, just because the shoes make it so complete. but all these costumes were fabulous! I’m extremely grateful I got to work on this show, even if I had to go without food, sleep, or rest for the last four weeks.

I’m trying to get my hands on some of the official pictures from the photo shoot, so I may have something to post when that comes out. these costumes look so much better on people than they do on hangers. plus, this is only a fraction of the ones I myself made, including the ones I’ve already posted! there were close to fifty costumes in this whole show! granted, they’re not all as extravagant as these, but I worked hard on them all. but now that it’s over, maybe I can get back to some of my own projects… 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, 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.

Simplicity pattern 2250

just a quick post.  I just spent five days working on a mother-of-the-groom gown for a wedding at the end of September and that’s pretty much all I’ve had the energy for lately.  but I finished this dress last month, theoretically to wear to the aforementioned wedding, and I’m still not sure I will, after seeing the finished product.  it’s cute, but I’m not sure it’s what I want.

I used Simplicity pattern 2250 by Cynthia Rowley, which was quite more complicated than I anticipated.  I got a whole bolt of this green silk dupioni on clearance at JoAnn and I just love this color.  I made a few adjustments – instead of straps I gave it a halter top (supports me better,) and I modified the bow in the back more to my taste.  my favorite part of this dress is the exposed zipper which is gold, though I don’t have a picture of it.  I like how the dress turned out, but it’s just not quite what I want to wear to a wedding.  so I may fiddle around with some other patterns I have and see what I come up with before the end of the month.