Dragonfly Designs by Alisa



doctor who

Cardiff Doctor Who Experience

It’s fantastic, guys. If you’re a fan, and you’re ever in the UK, I highly recommend a trip here. I did a small write up about it on my other blog, here:

It was particularly great for a costumer, because none of the costumes were behind glass, and, while they didn’t allow you to actually touch any of them, you were free to stick your camera as close as you wanted, and in most cases, you could walk all the way around them.

All the pictures I took are here:

All the Doctors’ clothes where here, including Ten. Guys, you can’t imagine how difficult it was not to reach out and touch!!!!

And River.

And many of Clara’s costumes, including one of her Victorians.

Also Missy!

The Queen (which I was much more impressed by in person!)

And River. Who was sadly hard to photograph from the back, because of the way the lighting was.

Her dress, by the way, is a lightweight poly stretch.

My surprise favorite of the costumes, though, was the Red Dress worn by the cybermen’s queen.

It’s officially added to the list of Things I Want to Make Someday. Just look at the pretty!

One thing I found interesting about the whole Experience was how few kids where there. It was almost all adults, of all ages. I found that just cool. I love things like Doctor Who and Harry Potter that bring people of all ages together!

And there was something else I was going to tell you…but I forgot what it was…

All the Whos in Whoville

For Costume Con 30, a group of friends decided to enter the Masquerade.  I don’t remember exactly how it came about, but we stumbled upon the idea of doing all eleven Doctors as Femme Victorians (some with a steampunk edge, some Lolita, whatever each of us desired.)  And then, because one of our number is not a fan of Doctor Who, she came up with the inspiration of joining us as Cindy Lou Who.  And thus a new brand of crazy was born.

It was honestly SO MUCH FUN.  And we won Judges’ Choice for Presentation!  And four of our number won workmanship awards as well.

Sadly, the stress of waiting to hear if we’d won anything took its toll and we turned on one another….

…but in the end, it was Cindy Lou who had to die.  She can’t be allowed to be the Twelfth Doctor.  She’s too pink, and still not ginger.

I wish I could link a video to our performance…we realized the joke was going to work when our professional photographer couldn’t stop laughing long enough to take our official Con pictures…but no one’s uploaded one yet that I can find.

Ladies, you are awesome, and I hope to do this again with you one day!

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1 Comment

Reply Erin

10:08 PM on June 17, 2012
Tee hee!!! We had so much fun, no? Miss you!!!!

Doctor Who – Rose

Rose’s “Idiot Lantern” dress/ Femme!Ten

If I didn’t have enough geekiness going on, I’m also a huge Doctor Who fan, and I’m in the planning/buying stage of doing a repro of Rose’s dress.  There is already several entries in the “Current Projects” blog on this site, but I decided it’s time this dress had its page.  For my travails over choosing the perfect shoes, see the blog!

First, a reference shot:

Well, okay, two shots – just because David Tennant is in this one:

Okay, three, because here’s a pic of the shoes.  The infamous shoes!

An awesome dress…

I love this dress.  I may incorporate a few design elements from it into Rose’s dress, since we really can’t tell what’s going on under that bomber jacket!

In case you want to buy this dress yourself, here’s a link to the store: It comes in red!  And they have so many gorgeous things that my head just about exploded from sheer wonder and delight!

I have a pattern!

I’ll alter this a bit (raise the back a bit, leave off the buttons and give it a zipper in the back) but otherwise it’s near-perfect.

It’s a Vogue pattern, #V2960, and it’s an original 1954 design.

Shoes.  Third Pair.

I’ve bought two other pairs of possible shoes, but one was the wrong color (and really the wrong style as well), and the other was the wrong color (and my ferret chewed on one of them).

These are not “right” either, but at least they’re the correct color, and nothing’s chewed on them….yet.  Maybe I can add some little pink bows on the sides….?

Rose’s Jacket

Progress on this costume has been stopped, for several reasons.  My shoes were chewed by a ferret (and I can’t find the perfect pair anyway!), I can’t really buy pink silk for the dress until I have the shoes so I can match the color, and I can’t find a blue jacket like Rose’s anywhere.



And I may finally have found the shoes, too…really quite like these….

Who Shoes

And while we’re speaking of Dr Who shoes, I fell in love with these: 

River Song (surely the most intriguing character on Doctor Who besides the Doctor himself!) wears these fab shoes in a recent episode.You can see the shoes in action here (they come on screen at 00.40).

Can’t afford the real ones (they’re Louboutins), but I can afford these knock-offs.  Next time I have a little extra coinage, I’m totally getting them!  So pretty

Rose Jacket

I stumbled across this jacket (okay, who am I kidding? I was ransacking the internets like my life depended on it!) and I think it’s a darn good match for the Idiot’s Lantern jacket she wears.  The collar is off, but it’s the right “look” and the fit is perfect.  And the color seems spot-on.  And it was on sale for $22.  So, dear Reader, I bought it.

There was one that was an even CLOSER match (and cheaper) but it was all sold out and impossible to find.  GAH.

So I’m going to be happy with this one.  Once my shoes come, I’m going to have to start looking for matching fabric….

Rose Shoes – 6/13/10

Okay, so I found shoes I was really, really pleased with – the pink ones with the black bows pictured above.  I ordered them, waited four weeks, and then emailed the company twice with zero response. When I finally got through on the phone, I was told the shoes were no longer available, and they had canceled my order. Without TELLING me, which ticked me off big time!

So I went on a mad scrabble search through the internets for another pair, and came up empty, except for these really similar ones. The only problem with these is that they aren’t peep toes. But you know what? I’ve never been all that fond of peep toes, so I decided to buy them anyway.

They are so cute, peoples!    

I was all set to buy pink taffeta to sew Rose’s dress, but my local Jo-Ann’s had baby pink and hot pink….and I need the shade between!  I guess it’s back to the internets!  If I finish this outfit by August, I think I’ll wear it to work.  We’re having a “Blast to the Past” dress-up day, and this could be my 50s outfit.  It would be fun to see if anyone recognizes me as “Rose”.

Rose Dress 7/31/10

I’d been wondering where to wear this dress, once it was done.  Then I remembered that my workplace is having a “Blast from the Past” fun day, where everyone is supposed to dress in a different era’s clothing. Naturally, I thought, what could be better? This is a 50s dress, after all!  I just need to sew it in two weeks.

Here’s the stuff I started with:

Shoes, sequins, and satin taffeta.

After two days of sewing, here’s the basic dress:

At this point, the shirt is still not sewn to the bodice, and there’s no zipper or hem.  I pinned on some sequins and added a denim jacket (my actual jacket is too heavy to wear inside in August!).  I decided to box pleat the skirt rather than gather it as Rose’s dress is.  I like the look better, and it’s totally a 50s style.  My fabric is also thicker than Rose’s, so it works really well.

Since then, I’ve completed the dress, except for ironing.  I made the earrings as well. All that’s left is the tulle underskirt and taking in the waist of the jacket a smidge to give it the proper fitted look.  I can’t wait to wear it!  It’s so pretty!

Tomorrow I’ll pick up more tulle after church, and then I can finish this outfit, and it will be done in time for Friday!!!

Rose Dress – 8/6/10

Wore the dress today at work, and had a fabulous “Blast from the Past”!  Here’s a pic of us together:

And here are a few shot of me in my garden.

Femme Tenth Doctor

First wearing – 10/26/11

It’s Television Characters Day at work, so I wore this.  It was slightly disappointing, because even though I *know* there are a bunch of library patrons who are huge Doctor Who fans, they all chose this day not to come.  So not one single person recognized me as the Doctor!  *Sighs*  But it was still fun to wear, and my wig completely fooled everyone.  Co-workers, patrons, my mother – they all thought it was my real hair!  🙂

I soniced the computer…..


Is this Dalek technology?

The coat turned out quite well, I think.  I’ll get more detailed pictures of it later.  But here’s the back:

I’m going to wear this coat as a real article of clothing, as well as costume.  Let’s see how many people on the street notice I’m the Doctor….!

Ten Suit Finished 9/24/11

The Ten suit is done, and here are pictures to prove it!  🙂

A sneak peak inside the hip pocket (yes the stripes do go the opposite way, just like in Tennant’s suit!)

The right inside breast has one pocket:

The inside left has two…and one is divided into just the right size for my sonic screwdriver.

The waistband of the skirt has cute buttons, and the skirt has pockets.

The next big job is the coat!

Insanity – 9/5/11

Although I do not *need* this costume done until Gallifrey One (in Feb) I decided I really want it done for Halloween.  So, taking into account all the stuff I still have to finish for Steamcon (in Oct), I figure I have a few weeks to make a suit and coat.  From scratch.

I pretty much had the suit pattern figured out, but I spent a day making tweaks.  Then I tackled the fabric dying.  I bought this fabric:

It looks more perfect than it actually is. The red stripe is surrounded on each side by a border of white.  However, it is the closest I have seen (other than the Magnoli fabric, which costs too much.)  It is also too light a blue, but after numerous tests, and some help from the internet, I figured out a RIT dye formula that darkened it, minimized the white stripes, and didn’t make it too purple.

I filled a large storage bin with just enough hot water to cover the fabric, than added 8 TBs Royal Blue, 4 TBs Pearl Grey, 4 TBs Teal, and 2 TBs Black.  Here are my results:

The one on the bottom is the undyed fabric. The top one is the dye mixture minus the black.  I decided the black was really needed to tone down the white.  The middle is my finished fabric – at least as well as my camera can capture it!   It is NOT that bright a blue!  It’s not the color of the partly finished suit either….but somewhere inbetween.  My camera is hopeless as rendering colors accurately!  😦

Then I started cutting.  I quickly discovered the interfacing I’d bought was too heavy.  I was in no mood for another trip to the store, so I decided to stay-stitch a heaver weight of fabric to each piece.  This took a bit longer, but it worked perfectly.

The next thing I did was work on the outside pockets.  There are three of them, one on each front hip, and one one the left breast.

The hip ones in particular took some figuring out.  I’m not familiar with tailoring, and these pockets are tricky little devils.  I’ve done a few welted pockets before, but these have the added difficulty of a flap…that doesn’t function.  Yes, the flap is purely for show, the pocket opening is behind the flap.  In comparison, the breast pocket was much simpler.   Here’s a picture (and the buttons are not the ones I’ll use, they are just for checking the placement.

When I stopped working today, all the front pockets were done, the collar is done except for attaching the lining, and I have one of the inside breast welted pockets done.  I’m feeling pretty good, because I think all the most difficult bits are done now.  Hopefully new weekend I’ll be ready to tackle the skirt!


Please excuse the REALLY BAD bathroom mirror picture, but here’s the wig I bought.

This is fresh out of the packaging, with no styling.  It’s the “Tova” wig by “It’s a Wig”.  It’s quite nice quality, and I think I’m going to be pleased with it!

Suit muslin progress 6/12/11

Started to work on a muslin of the suit.  It’s starting to look a *bit* like it should.

This is not the actual fabric, btw.  I’m making the blue suit.  This is my fabric.  It will need to be dyed, which will be an adventure in itself!

Coat Fabric

Fabric has been purchased, thanks to Memorial Day coupons at JoAnn Fabrics.  60% off, yay!

It’s a lovely soft microsuede, in a color that approximates Ten’s coat.

I cut out a partial muslin of Ten’s coat in this hideous plaid fabric I got for $1 a yard.  Plaid is perfect for muslins, because it’s like fabric graph paper.  It’s so easy to measure and adjust!

Ten Coat & Shoes

Vogue patterns were on sale today, so I picked up Vogue 1266.  View B seems to be the closest in tailoring to Tennant’s coat.  I should be able to remodel it, though all the heavy-duty tailoring of this coat scare me!

I think I’ve located the perfect fabric, and it’s at my local Jo-Ann’s.  Kind of pricey, though, so I’m waiting until they run a good sale, and I can get at least 60% off.  This may happen as soon as Memorial Day, even though I have no plans to start this until after Steamcom.  I’ve been plotting more plots, though, and I’m now thinking “Why stop with just Ten’s coat? Why not make a suit as well?”  I think I’ll make a complete Ten costume – only Ten as a girl.  The suit will be styled after his, only with a skirt.  Bonus – I’ll be able to wear this in real life, too!  And I’ve already found the perfect pair of shoes.

I was stressing over the shoes – to be ‘correct’ I should wear shoes like these:

But I just couldn’t see wearing them with a skirt.  Gack.  I thought, well, maybe red pumps?  But I couldn’t find a style that captured Ten’s quirkiness.

And then I found these:

Oh yeah. Quirky AND girly…and I love them.  I’ll be wearing these ALL the time in real life!

So now I just need some blue pinstripe fabric…preferably with a red stripe like in the photograph above….

Idris – Doctor Who

Gallifrey One 2012

For more pictures of me wearing this costume, please go to my Random Blog:

All Done!  2/9/12

And just in time for Gallifrey One!  Here are the pictures – I dared the rain to take these, so there are a lot of rain spots on the bows.

I also put together a matching purse, even though Idris doesn’t carry one in the episode.  I need something to carry my camera and cell phone in!

I used scraps of the dress fabric, and embroidered a quick little floral design on the front.

So that’s it for this one.  I’ll have pics of me wearing it after Gallifrey One!

Distressed Skirts – 12/29/11

I’ve been working on distressing the orange underskirt, and I think this skirt is now officially done!

Side view:

Front view:

Close up:

I also finished the velvet hip scarf, but I don’t have pictures yet.

Skirts – 12/12/11

I have been bad, and have not taken any in-progress shots of the skirts.  But here is where I right now.  Bear in mind that this is all “brand new” and needs a whole lotta aging, coloring, and distressing still.

The orange-y striped petticoat.  I found some striped orange fabric (there’s a link to it in an earlier post) and it was a very, VERY bright orange, but the stripes were basically perfect.  I test-dyed a bunch of swatches with various RIT dye baths to try to tone it done a bit.  What ended up working was a combination of tan and black – except that when I put the actual fabric in, I ended up with too much black, and the fabric was way too dark.  I ended up using bleach to leach some of the color out, and this worked brilliantly.  In the below pic, the one of the right is the too dark swatch; the one on the left is the original color.

Here’s a pic of the colored and then bleached fabric next to a photograph of the actual dress:  The dress in the pic is actually a bit brighter than it looks here, and the stripes are more obvious.

Here’s a pic of the finished skirt.  I just gathered the waistband, cut the hem of the skirt so that it is longer in back than in the front, and sewed on two bands of ruffles.  Like I said, this still needs major distressing!

And here’s the overskirt.  I had this dark grey silky fabric, so I used that as the base for the ruffles (doing another simple gathered waistband.)  The ruffles are silk taffeta, in two different shades of shot silk.  They are not a perfect match to Idris’ colors, but those colors are really hard to find…at least at a price I can afford.

The edges of the ruffles still need to be unraveled a bit more, so I have that teal blue fringe all the way around.

With bodice.  The lace sleeves have not been painted or distressed yet, so they are all new and clean…and not the right color!

The back…notice the bit of orange underskirt ruffle peeking out!


The front of the bodice.  Bows still not sewn on – or distressed.

After I took these pics, I worked on the lace overlay to the skirt.  I still need to put in some kind of waistband, but I had a lot of fun ripping the lace up and distressing it.  Distressing is FUN…once you get over the whole “oh no I’m destroying my fabric!” sensation.  I need to write up a tutorial on how to distress fabric, and make some videos about it.

Bodice  and Sleeves – 12/3/11

I decided to make the bodice in three sewn-together layers.  First, I made a lining out of super thin, stretchy fabric in grey:

It is inside out in the above pic, because of course the “finished” side lays against my skin.  Next I flat lined the bodice fabric with blue cotton duck.  It would have been better to use a grey duck, but I didn’t have any, and I was impatient to begin.  Here’s the back, with zipper partly installed, showing the three layers:

Since the grey stretchy sleeves were sewn to the lining, I sewed the lace over-sleeves between the layers of blue duck and bodice outer fabric.

I also the sewed the lace front between those same layers.  The front bows are just pinned there – the front isn’t finished yet.

On the shoulders, I cut an extra bit of lace, distressed the heck out of it and colored it with diluted brown fabric paint, and will sew them on like cap sleeves.  Haven’t done the sewing yet…the paint is still wet!  

I may well end up adding more paint to darken all of this.  I’ll do that last – it’s easier add paint then it is to try to lighten it!

What I still need to do on the bodice:

Add bows on the front and top of sleeves.  Bind the top and bottom edges (at least where it isn’t supposed to be all ragged.)   Sew the bottom edge of the innermost lining  into the bodice.

And then the biggest part of this costume will be done!  I also did complete most of the orange petticoat, but I don’t have pictures yet.

Let me tell you, this is one costume I will be glad to have DONE.   I have done more seam-ripping (nice that it’s supposed to look ragged!) and more pinning and unpinning and pinning again.  Some costumes go together perfectly and the process of making them is a joy, and sometimes they are just contrary from the beginning!

But at least I think it’s going to turn out well, so that’s good!  🙂   Also, that lace?  After buying many, many samples (and a few yards of sight-unseen yardage) seeking for something I could live with, I decided I couldn’t live with ANY of it.  Frustration mounting, I happened to remember this lacy stuff I’d bought eons ago and had stuffed away at the back of my closet.  It’s still not perfect, but once I dyed it grey, I was much happier with it than anything I’d found anywhere else.  How weird is that?  It doesn’t have a floral motif at all, but the floral design doesn’t really show in the sleeves and bodice anyway, so that’s okay.  For the skirt, I will use a different lace that does have a floral motif – the peach Thunderlily lace (link a couple of posts below this one.)

Painting the bodice fabric – 10/28/11

I finished the muslin for the bodice, so it was time to cut and sew.  Because the fabric is slippery and slightly stretchy, I lined it with a layer of duck to keep everything secure.  I won’t be boning it, because I will wear a corset under it.  One of the major problems with many of the Idris cosplayers I’ve seen is their lack of proper undergarments.  You simply cannot get the right fit and look without a corset, or alternately, boning the bodice as if it were a corset!  Anyway, after I had the front and front sides sewn together and lined, it was time to paint.

I used blue fabric paint mixed with white, and then thinned down with water until it was almost the consistency of water.  I used a sponge to brush the paint over the entire fabric like a stain of very pale blue.  I’m going for this brownish look, so I wanted only enough blue to match the ribbons on the chest and shoulders.

After the blue wash was applied, I thinned and diluted some brown fabric paint in the same way.  I applied this first in a straight line down the seams with a brush, then feathered it out with the sponge onto the rest of the fabric, following the wavy lines in the fabric.

In the picture, it looks a bit lighter than it actually is, but I may go over it again later and make it even darker.  The blue in particular is more evident in person.  Here’s a close up:

Dyeing the Bodice Fabric – 10/26/11

One of the costumers I’ve recently discovered is MacBeemer.  She’s made the best reproduction of the Idris dress I’ve seen to date. Click her name above to be taken to her pictures and a step-by-step of how she did it.  I’m getting so much inspiration and help from this!  One thing she doesn’t discuss in detail though, is how she dyed the bodice fabric.  Since I’m virtually certain she got some of the same Australian fabric I did, I messaged her with questions, and she was kind enough to answer.  Here’s her tips for dyeing this fabric:

“Okay, I know people are dye snobs and I’m going to get pooh-poohed for this, but I use RIT dye. I love RIT. I’ll use Jacquard for silk if I’m feeling hoity-toity, but for the most part, RIT serves me just fine. I used a combo of evening blue and pearl gray with some tan/taupe to dull it down a bit. Be careful with taupe, because it’ll take the dye bath green in a hurry if you use too much.

It was still SUPER pale after two or three immersions, so that’s when I decided to paint it to even out the swirl colors. If we do have the same fabric, it’ll go REALLY dark when it’s wet, and the light/dark difference in the weave will look even more pronounced, so don’t panic. Wet the fabric down before you paint it to assure an even tone, then just use some watered down fabric paint. I think I used Jacquard’s “Neopaque” paint line for my wash, and I mixed blue, white, black and two different browns until I came up with a color I liked.

I did cut a lot of swatches out to play around with before doing the big piece of fabric, and would dye a piece, dry it with the hairdryer, and then decide what I needed to do to get a better result. Lather, rinse, repeat!”

After steamcon, I finally have time to devote time to this, so I started my own dye tests, basing them around the colors she recommended.  Eighteen swatch tests later, close up study of every Idris photograph I have, and some experimentation with fabric paint, here’s what I’m going with: test swatch #5.

First off, here’s the fabric as-is, before dyeing:

I used 1/2 RIT Tan and 1/2 RIT Pearl Grey in a small tub of hot water.  Just out of the dye and still wet, it looks like this:

This obviously too dark, but as MacBeemer warns, when dye it is much lighter.  I ironed one part of the fabric and draped it across the wet so you can see the contrast. The true color is the darker shade to the left of the photo – light was reflecting off the right side and making it seem lighter than it is!

MacBeemer went for a blue color in her dyeing, but after studying the pictures, I decided to go for the brownish-tan look.  Next, I will stain the lighter swirls a very pale blue with diluted fabric paint – this also alters the darker swirls to more of a blue.   Finally, I will paint more brown onto the edges/seams of the bodice as texture (as MacBeemer did).  Fingers crossed that it works in the real fabric as well as it did in the swatches!

Tomorrow, I’m working on the bodice muslin.  Once I have that finalized, I’ll cut out the real fabric pieces, sew them together and then start painting!

I also ordered my lace from ThunderLily.  They are an online fabric store I just discovered, but they have quick service and FREE swatches!  This lace is actually peach in color, but I experimented with my swatch and discovered if I dye it grey and then antique it a bit with brown paint, it looks quite well.  Better than any of my other possibles!

So pretty much I have all the fabric I need to do this outfit now.  I just need a good wig…

Bodice Fabric   7/25/11

I love my fellow costumers!  Thanks to the dedication and generosity of a woman who I’ve met only through this website and my facebook page, I now have a nearly *exact* match to that frustratingly impossible to find bodice fabric!

It’s quite the story, too.  The wonderful Laura P. contacted me because she’d found a costumer in Australia who had blogged about finding this perfect fabric in some small store in Sidney without an online presence.  Laura ended up making a deal with the Australian to buy two additional meters of the fabric, and mail it to her home in Florida.  I paid half the Australia to U.S. postage (which sadly ended up being more than the price of the fabric!), and when it arrived in FL, Laura divided it up, and sent my half on to me.  I got it this morning, and it’s gorgeous!  I am so happy.  I only wish Laura and I were going to the same event, so we could admire each other’s Idris costumes in person!

I also wish I could pass on what exactly this fabric is, so that any of you other Idris costumers could be helped, but the Australian said the fabric was unmarked, and she bought the last of the bolt.  Here it is:

The color is wrong, being a tan/cream, but the Australian dyed it without difficulty, so I’ll be running some dye tests soon.

New Picture

The dress is on display at the Doctor Who Experience, and so far, I’ve found this pic. It shows Idris’s dress from a new angle.


Boots – 5/21/11

I’ve bought boots I think will work very well, and at $30, they are cheap for boots.  And I’ll happily wear these in real life, so all-in-all, this is a very practical purchase!  😀

Steampunk Tenth Doctor

Costume Con 30

Judges Choice in the Fantasy/Sci Fi Masquerade!  “All the Whos in Whoville”.  All eleven Doctors plus one extra….  For more info on this, see this blog post.

Oh, look!  It’s River!

With Suzette, the First Doctor.

And Arte, the Eleventh.

Gallifrey One 2012

For lots more pictures of me wearing this costume, go to my Random Blog:

Done, but for goggles  1/26/12

And YES.  I’m calling this one done – all that’s left is to put the strap on the goggles and add the red/blue lenses.  The lenses are being custom made for me by a lovely Etsy seller – and he’s only charging me $4 (including shipping!)  If you need anything made, contact him.

So here’s what you’re all waiting for – the pictures!

The blouse has its buttons finally!  Read more about the blouse, including pattern info n the post below this one.)

The back of the blouse is gathered.

For the cravat, I took a wide man’s tie, and took it apart and put it back together.

I’m absurdly pleased with it – and it was easy too!  Maybe (after Gallifrey One) I’ll do a tutorial for you guys?

It buttons at the side:

The buttonhole is all raggedly – I need to clip the loose threads!

Also, I finished the spats.  They are a deeper red than they appear.  Stupid camera that won’t capture color right!  Like all my spats, they have a hidden zipper under the buttons, and they lace up the back.

Here’s what the suit looks like, minus the coat.  The bloomers do not hang quite right on the dummy – since I can’t put them on her (her stand gets in the way of the legs holes.)  They are just pinned on in front.

Notice the pocket watch chain across the front?

And instead of doing blue plastic buttons as I did on my previous Tenth Doctor outfit, I decided to go steampunk with metal buttons.  Look – they sort of have gears on them!  I found them at Walmart, for super cheap, and they are so HEAVY and quality.  I’m very happy with them!

So there you are!  And I’ll post pictures of me wearing this very soon – this one is going to Gallifrey One with me, in mid-February! If you see me there, come up and say hello!!!  I’ll have ribbons!!!!!

Progress!   1/18/12

I was snowed from work today, so I worked on the bloomers.  They are done – except for putting in a waist band.  Instead of simply gathering the top with elastic (as they did on an extant pair of 1895 bloomers) I’m going to make a fitted waist, then put the gathering on at hip level.  There is a LOT of fabric to gather, and I’m afraid it will mess up the fit of the bodice/vest.   The bodice/vest is finished except for adding buttons.

Notice all the snow.  Gah!  I am so not a winter person!  But it does make for a difference in the making-of costume pics…and that’s the only reason I didn’t wait to take them until after the snow was gone.

I draped the bodice/vest without using a pattern, and the front of it is pretty much a copy of Tennat’s suit.  Only a little more fitted.  The blouse still needs buttons as well, and the pattern for that is the Truly Victorian #491.  I used the sleeve lining as the actual sleeves, because I didn’t want them to be too bulky under the coat.

I changed the back from Tennant’s suit – I put some gathering in the back, and changed the peplum to more a bustle-look.

And I lined everything in this awesome fabric!

Coat Finished!  1/14/12

Those sleeves were a PAIN.  I don’t like setting sleeves, period, and this fabric was thick enough to make gathering and sewing in these sleeves a difficult job.  Thank goodness for seam rippers!  But here it is, all done:

The upper part of the coat is made using Simplicity pattern #2525, with sleeves from Truly Victorian’s blouse pattern #491.  The back with the buttoned flap, I copied from pictures of David Tennant’s coat.

Glad this is done (even though it was largely fun to sew…other than those sleeves!) because I’m on a serious deadline here.  And I keep adding more costumes, so it’s totally my own fault.  And last night?  I was dreaming up a new steampunk costume to wear to the Abney Park concert Jon and I are going to this summer!  An early finish to this costume means I might actually get to make it (and heaven forbid!) not have to wear an old outfit!    Plus, I’m really excited to get to work on the stuff for Costume Con….this long weekend, I am going to try really hard to finish the bicycling outfit to wear under this Ten coat.

The Coat

First, a few pictures of the original coat:

And because it seems to be impossible for me to find a view of him from the back, here’s one of a replica costume.

I thought of making this outfit Victorian by turning this coat into a 1895 cycling cotume, like this extant example:

After a couple days of work, this is what I have…so far.  The sleeve is still only pinned in place, as is the collar.

Because I’d previously made a Tenth Doctor coat (See the page: Femme Ten), I already knew how the back slit works, and it was pretty simple to make another, tailcoat version.  The sleeves, however, are being the very devil.  I HATE setting sleeves even when they are ordinary sleeves, and these…well, there’s nothing ordinary about those puffy monstrosities!  Plus the fabric is quite thick for gathering, so it’s all unyielding and awkward.  But I’m soldering through, and the jacket will be done very soon.

How I came up with this idea

Concept: Female Steampunk Victorian Tenth Doctor

I’m going to do an entire blog entry on coming up with this idea, and how to “steampunk” characters that aren’t steampunk, so I’ll just put the finished concept sketch here.

This one will be done by early 2012.  I have the fabrics – all I need is time to sew it!

Steampunk River Song

Third Wearing – Gallifrey One 2013

And by photographer Scott Sebring:

Second wearing – Steamcon 2011

This was one of the outfits I wore to Steamcon this year.  You can read about my adventures here.

I love this outfit.   It was comfortable to wear, as well.   By its third wearing (at Gallifrey) I hope to have new goggles made (with the etched image of an angel in the lenses, and possibly a vortex manipulator.  I thought I’d get tired of carrying the journal around all day, but it was oddly handy for tucking business cards, etc inside the pages!

First wearing 10/12/11

I work at a library that has periodic “fun days” where the staff dresses up in various themes/costumes.  Today was our semi-annual “Steampunk Day”, and I wore River Song.

Whoops – someone shelved my TARDIS journal!  


Maybe the journal should be shelved on THIS side?  Now you can see my gun, lipsticks, and my most awesome tailcoat pockets.  🙂 I love those pockets!

It was very weird to have such bouncy hair!

And the back.

You can’t really see the red-dyed boots in these, so here’s a shot of me with a couple of co-workers:

Next wearing will be Friday at Steamcon III.  So excited!  Remember, if you’re attending also, find me and I’ll give you a special badge ribbon!  🙂

TARDIS journal completed! 10/3/11

 Last night I sewed/glued the pages into the leather cover, let it press over night to dry, and this is the result.

Even though it’s my first attempt and thus not perfect, I really couldn’t be more pleased.  I feel like carrying it around the house just so I keep on stroking its cover and sniffing its lovely new-leather scent.  I’m definitely making more journals!  This was fun!

And with that…this outfit is officially done – for now.  My friend Laura U. gave me some great suggestions re: the goggles and etching an angel design in the lens that I am totally going to try later on.  No time before Steamcon, though!   🙂

Journal Pages – 9/30/11

I decided to write in the first three pages as if I were River song – plus, I added a bunch more antiquing to the pages.

Here’s the flyleaf:

And here’s the two inside pages (don’t laugh at my horrible sketches!):

The next two pages are discolored and antiqued as well…but I thought I’d save those without drawings/writings.  Hopefully I’ll be able to collect a few famous signatures at Gallifrey when I go.  Too bad Alex Kingston can’t make it in 2012….how much would I love to have HER signature in this diary!!!!  Maybe some day….

Next, I attach the leather cover, and then it’s all done!

Journal pages, lipstick, & goggles  9/24/11

After searching the internet for ideas (and finding this completely awe-inspiring and envy-making example) I have decided to age and decorate the first few pages of my journal.

So far, I have tea-stained the pages, using this tutorial.

Next I need to get some brown ink in different shades, and I can start the fun stuff!

And I’ve added a lipstick holder onto my gun holster…as well as decorated the gun a little bit more.

Basically I just bought two lipsticks with plain cases, spray painted and Rub ‘n Buffed the cases to make them match the rest of the outfit, then riveted on a strap to hold them in place.

Plus, I finally finished decorating the goggles.  I really wanted the image of an angel in the lens, but the only thing I can think of to make that work is using glass etching, and I don’t have time to learn another skill right now! Maybe for Gallifrey I’ll have it figured out.

I basically just bought a cheap plastic pair of googles, switched the elastic strap for faux leather, painted the plastic, and glued on brass finding to each side.

TARDIS journal dye job 9/22/11

I tooled the back cover, and then dyed it, using Eco-Flo Cova Color in Royal Blue.  After two coats, I did a wash of black in the cuts for contrast.  Now I need to let the dye dry, and after that, I’ll put a sealer on, and attach the pages inside the cover – but here’s how it looks right now:

I’d say the color is a little darker in person than it appears in the photo.  The journal is not 100% perfect – but for my first ever attempt at tooling, I’m insanely pleased with how it turned out.  It was fun, too – I’ll definitely be doing more of this!

One awesome thing was how easily the leather adapted to ‘book shape’.  After I tooled it (when the leather was still slightly damp), I wrapped it around the book pages and pressed it underneath a heavy box.  The leather fitted perfectly to the pages, and now it holds its shape even when I take it off the pages.

TARDIS journal beginning 9/18/11

Today, I began my first foray into leather tooling.  This costume is turning out to be all about learning completely new things!  This is shot of River Song’s journal as seen on the television series:

So first of all, I bought a strip of 3/4 oz vegetable dyed leather, and two tools.

A special knife

and a simple beveler.  I could not find an image of the type of beveler I have, but it’s basically just a rounded bit of metal on a handle.  You use it add depth to your designs.

Here’s a shot of the leather with the design cut into it:

I didn’t get the cuts *exactly* square and perfect, but I wasn’t stressing over trying to. The actual journal doesn’t look perfect to me either!  🙂

Next I used the beveler against the cuts:

And, on the left side, you’ll notice I made an extra bit.  This will be folded to create the spine, like so:

I still need to cut and bevel the back, and then cut the excess leather off.  For a first attempt at leather tooling, I’m pleased.  I think by the time it’s dyed and distressed, it will look quite decent.  I might have to get some more leather and try my hand at a different kind of design sometime!  It definitely used muscles I’m not used to working so hard – my left arm hurt and I had a numb spot on my thumb when I was done.

I thought about making the interior pages myself too – I’ve done that sort of thing before – but I couldn’t find paper I liked, and in the end I just bought a “journal refill”.  The pages are rough-cut and look just like hers – all I need to do is tea stain them.

I have also finished River’s gun, her goggles, and her lipstick holder, but I didn’t get pics, so I’ll show you those another day!  Other than finishing up her journal, I’m done with this outfit!  Yay!

Boots 8/18/11

The red shoe polish came in the mail today, so I polished my boots.  Since I did not want to shell out another $8 for the special brush, I took the internet’s advice and used an old toothbrush!  Worked like a charm.  I used the toothbrush to apply the polish, then (after washing the brush) I used it to buff the polish off.

It was surprisingly hard work, and made me really glad I don’t have to do this on a regular basis!

But now the boots are SO PRETTY and I’m SO HAPPY with them!!!!  I just need to find some red laces now….

Boots 8/13/11

One of the more frightening things I had to do for this costume was take a pair of lovely, brand-new, not-cheap pairs of leather Victorian boots and re-dye them red.  I was nervous about it, but thanks to Mrleatherlegs’ wonderful step-by-step tutorial on youtube, I felt confident to attempt it.  So today, that is what I did.

Here are the boots, as they were:

Aw, they are so pretty I hated to mess with them!  But I bought the deglazer Mrleatherlegs used (Fiebling’s deglazer), and got to work.  I think I used way more of this deglazer than necessary, because on light colored boots like this, it did not have the visibly color-stripping effect that it did on the dark brown boots in the tutorial.  But, in the end, I got a pair of stripped boots that really did not look much different than the non-stripped boots.  A little less shiny, but it doesn’t show much in the photo.  They are still shiny!  At this point I was worried. Had the de-glazer worked?  Will the dye take?  Will it take evenly?  GAH!!!!! Help me!!!!

But no worries, the dye was *lovely*.  Again, I went with Mrleatherlegs’ choice of dye: Eco-Flo in Scarlet.  Even the first coat was nearly perfect.

Just to be sure, I added two more coats.

I let it dry, then applied three coats of Eco-Flo Satin Shene.  When I was done buffing, the boots looked like this:

Now that I know what color they turned out, I’ve ordered some shoe polish, and will buff these beauties up to a gorgeous shine!

I am so happy with how they turned out.  The color is just how I hoped it would be, and the entire process wasn’t difficult at all, but it was fairly time-consuming.

And, as I noticed when I looked down at my gloves (and my jeans!) this dye makes a nice blood stand-in.  I think I’ll experiment with using it as blood splatter on any future zombie/vampire/whatever outfits!

Sewing, Finished!  7/25/11

This costume is now done, except for the boots, journal, and goggles.  Here are some pictures:

Forgive the wrinkled state – I despise ironing, and as I know it’ll get crumpled in my luggage, there doesn’t seem much of a point to ironing it now! 

On the advice of my friend Sara B., I shortened the overshirt to allow the petticoat ruffles to show.  It might not be practical (as an archaeologist) but it’s so pretty!

Nearly *everything* on this costume, including the undergarments was made from trim, fabrics, and buttons that I already owned.  Pretty much the only thing I bought was thread, and the faux tooled leather for the combo waist cincher/belt.  When this picture was taken, I still hadn’t sewn the clasps on for the gun holster.  Notice the two pockets, one of which is for a pocket watch.

The jacket buttons onto the waist.

Without the jacket:

The waist cincher/belt has shoulder straps, and laces on both sides.

And here is a video tour, that includes the holster, gun, and sonic screwdriver!

Jacket 6/12/11

The jacket is DONE.  Yay!

Be warned: in all these shots the shape of the sleeves look a bit wonky because they really need an arm inside them to fill them out properly!

See?  Wonky sleeves – especially at the shoulder!  I swear, they fit gorgeously when they are on me!

I used Simplicity pattern #2525, but as always, I modified it quite a bit.  I changed the sleeves completely, I altered the fit of the back to allow for a bustle, and I made a small change to the waistline.  I also put pockets in the tails!  This has long been an ambition of mine, to possess a tailcoat with pockets in the tails, but it has never looked right with any tailcoat I’ve made up until now.  And I’m very, very glad they look well with this particular costume, because I really needed a couple of nice deep pockets to carry my cell phone, camera, and other modern gear in.  I always try to build that sort of carry room into every costume I make.  I dislike having to haul a purse or bag about with me at faires and conventions.

So what’s left on this one?  Well, I have to finish the blouse’s cuffs and install the buttons.  I have to finish the skirt hem and waistband.  I have to make a faux leather waistcoat/belt/vest thingee (exact design still in the works, but it will have a holster built in for River’s gun).  I have to dye the boots red, and make/steampunk up all her other accessories, including her journal.  And I have to sew a zillion ruffles on to the underskirt, finish the corset, and make some sort of chemise for under the corset.  Yeah, it looks sort of finished in the pictures, but there is still a lot to do!!!

Steampunk River Song

River Song is my favorite Doctor Who character (besides David Tennant’s Doctor!) so when I got to thinking about doing a cosplay of her, I wanted it to be something different, not just a recreation of her actual screen clothing.  Thinking of her being an archaeologist and a time traveler, led to the idea of a steampunk version of her.

My basic premise for how to dress her began when I started thinking about Victorian-era archaeologists.  I love how the females (and the males too, really!) would wear the most impractical outfits to digs… bustles, petticoats, corsets, ruffles, and long skirts.   I already possessed some lovely brown fabric.  I have no idea at all what it is, but it’s about the weight of twill, with a softness like moleskin.  It drapes wonderfully, and is just the right weight.  I used Simplicity pattern #8375 for the skirt, but I modified it considerably. I adore this skirt pattern; I’ve used it over and over.  It’s just very basic, and adapts well.

I’ve made it front-opening, with a double set of buttons.  The waist is still unfinished, because I haven’t finished the corset I’m going to wear, and I haven’t hemmed the skirt.  I’m still deciding exactly how short I want to make it.

It does have a bustle underneath, which you can’t see from this angle.

For the blouse, I wanted something a bit feminine, yet at least a little practical-seeming.  I chose Simplicity pattern # 2447, and didn’t really modify it at all.  I did change the collar just a bit, but that’s because I accidentally threw out one of the pattern pieces I needed for that, and rather than buy a new one, I just made one up. It still needs buttons down the front…I’m thinking cream ones, so that they blend in.  The sleeves don’t have cuffs yet, because I’m still working on the jacket and I’m not sure yet if I want a bit of them to show beyond the jacket’s cuffs.

One of the most iconic bits of clothing for River Song (at least for me) are the red stilettos she wears in “Time of Angels”.  They even have their own facebook page!

Now obviously, there is nothing Victorian about these!  So I thought the nearest thing would be a pair of red leather Victorian boots.

Which are impossible to find…at least with my budget.  So I bought a pair of light tan leather ones, and will be attempting to dye them red myself.  *fingers crossed*  I did find a lovely youtube video with step by step directions, and it doesn’t look very difficult.

Other accessories will be River’s sonic screwdriver (I’ll buy the licensed one when it goes up for sale later this summer and steampunk it), her TARDIS journal (I will be making this myself), an Egyptian-inspired brooch for her blouse (a tip of the hat to the episode in which she masqueraded as Cleopatra), a pair of goggles with special Weeping Angel protective lenses, a steampunked gun similar to one of the screen weapons she carries, a tooled leather belt, and a very curly wig.

I have made pretty good progress on the jacket, so I’ll post more pictures by this weekend.

German Cranach TARDIS

Finished 2/22/13

I did not get making-of pics (I was sewing this frantically RIGHT up until I had to leave for Gally!)

It turned okay, although there are a hundred things I will do differently when I make my next cranach.  Most notably, I did not have nearly enough fabric to do the rolls on the skirt, so I just had pleats.  😦

But I do like how the painted lettering on the skirt turned out.  I made my own stencils, then used fabric paint.  The words are repeated three times around the skirt.

I entered this costume with several friends in the Masquerade: The Doctor Presents His Fall Collection.  The idea was that Doctor had created a fashion line that was available ‘anywhere and anytime’.  From left to right, we had: Arte as an Elizabethan Dalek, me as the TARDIS, Glynnis as an 18th century Fifth Doctor, Laura as a 1800s River Song, and Grace as a 1920s Weeping Angel.

And we won two Master class awards in the Masquerade!  The Project Gallifrey Award for Workmanship, and Best Interpretation.


My wonderful and talented friend Laura U. made me the perfect beaded collar to wear with this costume!  I’m going to make a small version of the “pull to open” instructions and wear it as a dangle from the collar.  Squee!


Concept Sketch 11/2/12

Warning: this sketch is likely to change and evolve, but here’s the idea as it stands.

I was having a terrible time getting the sleeves sketched – I am definitely no artist!  The top section is meant to look like the gold bumpy bits on the inside of the TARDIS.  The circle design on the lower part of the sleeve will be Gallifreyan writing.  The Brustfleck (band across the boobs) has the TARDIS windows  on it.  I’m still tweaking that.  Historically, the brustfleck should be all gold, but I can’t do that if I put the windows on it.  I could have something else on it…but what?  Oh, and there will be a gold underskirt.  And a hat.  The hat might well have the TARDIS instructions on it.

All in all, I’m not completely pleased with this design yet, but it’s getting close.

More reference pics 11/2/12

So this picture?  I had a comment on facebook that it looked like a Dalek dress.  And, you know, it totally does.  But it also says TARDIS to me, and until I went back and looked at interior pictures of Tennant’s TARDIS, that I suddenly realized why!  Just look!

I’m starting to see my design, here!

Reference  Pics 10/31/12

I need to come up with an actual plan of attack for this one…but in the meantime, here’s the idea.  This is my TARDIS dress.  I’m doing it as a German dress from the Renaissance period; specifically a cranach-style gown.  Like these:


Portrait of a Saxon noblewoman – Lucas Cranach the Elder

This will be for Gallifrey One, in February.  I have a ton of blue faux silk.  I just need to figure out how to turn this into the TARDIS…..

River Song Victorian

Finished 2/22/13

I was so busy sewing for the Gallifrey One that I didn’t get any in-progress pics like I normally would.  So here’s a bunch of me wearing it at Gally.  Note: I am not AT ALL happy with the silver underskirt…in fact, I was so displeased, that after I wore it, I gave it away to a friend.  It is stretch taffeta, which is the most evil fabric in existence, and it just will not behave like River’s skirt is supposed to behave.  I found the perfect non-stretch taffeta in LA, and before I wear this again, I will make a new skirt!


Reference Pics 10/31/12

This is the dress River Song wears during her date with the Doctor.  He takes her to the Frost Fair in 1814 for her birthday.  Which is kinda weird, because women did not wear this style of dress in 1814, but who cares really?  She’s with the Doctor!  It’s timey wimey fashion!


My gorgeous fabric fairy Laura U. found me the perfect striped fabric during her visit to New York.  All I need is the solid underskirt fabric, and the various trims.  This one will be completed by February’s Gallifrey One.  So excited!  I’ve been wanting to make this one for ages!

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