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Dragonfly Designs by Alisa

Costuming

Steampunk Photoshoot

Last weekend, I got to spend two days with photographer Tyson Vick.  Besides being amazing with a camera, he’s also a fabulous costumer!  I’m still in awe of his recreation (embroidery and all) of this historical outfit.  Tyson and I have been talking costuming and steampunk online for awhile now, so it was wonderful to finally meet him in person.

He had an idea for a steampunk photoshoot based around the Opium Wars, and wanted to use my costumes for the lady models.  We went to Fort Casey, WA for the first day, and used the WWII bunkers for our background.  Lovely Meilyn was our evil steampunk villain, and Christopher our hero-in-distress.

I can’t share any of the actual pictures Tyson took until they are published (which will be next summer) but I brought my camera and took a few to give you the idea of what we did.  Tyson’s will be MUCH better!  :)

It was quite odd to see my costumes on another woman; when her back was turned it was almost like I was standing next to myself!  An eerie-cool feeling!  This one is, of course, my Steampunk Geisha.  The wig was made by Tyson…another of his many talents!

Christopher was genuinely terrorized by Meilyn’s long metal fingertips!

I helped Tyson’s friend and assistant, Lizzie, with light reflection.

The other costume of mine we used on this day was my pirate coat (given a steampunk twist with the addition of a bustled skirt and modded shotgun.)

The models enjoyed the steampunk props.  Meilyn told me that this was the longest shoot she’d worked on…but the most fun!

Besides being fun, it was just slightly death-defying – at least to this height-phobic costumer!  ;)

This was my first photoshoot, and I had a blast.  Tyson’s a great guy, and easy to work with, and the models were high-energy and fun.

Sunday we went to Gasworks Park, in Seattle.

This was particularly fun for me, because while I’d driven past this park several times, I’d never actually been.  And it’s so STEAMPUNK!   It also has amazing views of the city, including the Space Needle.  (Why did they paint the top orange???  That’s just weird!)

This time model Christopher was joined by the heroine, Jadi.  Jadi wore my “Airship Pirate” pirate outfit.

Jadi is more blessed with curves than I am, so I had an opportunity to test-drive my corset, by lacing her in quite a bit harder than I normally would.  She actually had to hold onto the car, while Tyson and I yanked the laces!   And then, we made her jump, run, and climb.  Proving, once again, that it’s possible to do things like that in a corset!  ;)

Love this next shot…I don’t know what’s going on, but Christopher seems to be having a stare-down with Tyson!

Everyone loved playing with the guns!  I’m kinda surprised the police didn’t show up to arrest us, with all the guns, swords, and knives we were packin’.

I have a great fondness for that costume…it was the very first steampunk outfit I ever made!

Tyson, demonstrating how to climb the side of an airship while shooting.

After we finished the Great Pirate Battle at Gasworks, we went to another Seattle location, Kerry park.  It was very small, but it did have an interesting sculpture…and lots of milling tourists!

For this shoot, Jadi wore my Ottoman outfit.

The models shared some tender moments…. (lookit how pretty the beetlewing embroidery is on that jacket!!!)

….but this happened too!

That feathers on her turban were very unruly in the wind….as were the before-mentioned tourists!

Time out for feather-fixing…and a little key-wrangling.

Then I came home and unpacked the car and put everything away.  GAH.

 

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Steampunk NeoBedouin

Captain Robert (lead singer and lyric-writer) recently published his first novel, a fictionalized account of the band’s adventures in the past and future.  In his fictional world, there are people in the future who have abandoned life in the cities for a life of freedom.  He calls them “NeoBedouins” and has a few descriptions of how they dress.

Wool and leather vests, with ornate embroidery.

Baggy pants tucked into enormous boots.

Colorful cloaks.

Long knotted hair.

Headdresses of made of belts and odd pieces of machinery.

Henna tattoos.

Basically, in Robert’s world, technology exists and is used – but outside of the cities, mankind is reduced to a more natural/primal state as well, with attacks from wild beasts common, and people foraging or trading for what they need.  These NeoBedouins are not a particular race, but anyone who has chosen this lifestyle.

I took that, and I ran with it.  I loved the idea of the tech combined with the primal.  A group/race of people who live in such close proximity to dangerous wild animals, would use parts of the animals in their dress.  Fur, skin, teeth and claws….if only to demonstrate that they survived an attack.  But since they also trade or scavenge for their needs, they would have cast-offs from the city.  Fancy fabrics and bits of jewelry or “odd bits of machinery”.  Something that might be too worn or impractical for a their outside lives would be torn apart and modified into something new.

Enough of the talking, let’s get to the pics!  Here’s what I have so far (it’s still pretty far from finished…)

One wool vest, with embroidery.

Notice the watch pocket!

I made a pair of baggy pants (which do not show to advantage in the pics because my dummy has no legs.)

I went with a MIddle Eastern-inspired coat, instead of a cloak.  It seemed more…right, to me.

Yes, there is only one sleeve. I’ll tell you the reason for that at the end!

For the embroidery, I went with a sort of almost Scandinavian look, because I wanted to pull it away from a complete “Middle Eastern” look.  I wanted it to look not completely racially homogeneous, but more like the outcasts from a city were jumbled together, and their styles started to merge as they borrowed designs and ideas off each other.  The center of the flowers are tiny mirrors – totally NOT a Scandinavian style of embroidery!  :P

These embroidered panels on the sides hang underneath pockets, and I think they will have some sort of secret/fun pocket on their undersides.  Possibly a place to hide a weapon?

The back of the coat is split, to enable riding on a motorbike or camel.

I also cut the back of the neck down, to show off the embroidery on the vest.  I think I’ll put some sort of fur trim on the shoulders of this.

The inside of the coat is lined in bright turquoise fabric.  This will show in flashes of color when I walk.  It matches nothing else on the costume, but I like that.  When you’re trading/scavenging  for fabric, you can’t always find those exact color matches!

For boots, I’m making a pair of leather spats.  This is my first time sewing with genuine leather, and I’m loving it.  I bought leather needles for my machine, and it’s as easy to work with as any fabric.

Still very much in progress:

There will be buckles, I think, and possibly fur.  Or some other kind of decoration.

And now…the reason for there being only one sleeve on the coat.  These people are fighers.  Stands to reason they would have some sort of armor.  On my “sword arm” I’ve taken off the sleeve (which would only get shredded by a leopard, should I be fighting one off) and am making a steampunk leather arm protector thing.  Cool name/function still to be determined.

Here’s what I have so far:

This will wrap around my upper arm, and lace and buckle in place.  And yes!  It lights up!!!  In the pic below, it’s “full on” (and not very bright because of the camera’s lighting needs.)  I can also make it flicker, which I think is the coolest effect.  In dim lighting, it’s awesome.  I used EL wire that came in about a two foot length.  It’s powered by a small battery pack.  I coiled it underneath the painted drain stoppers.  Once it’s finished, I’ll get a video for you guys…in dim light.

So there it is, so far.  Just wait until you see what I have planned for my head!!!!

It’s DONE.  I decided not to finish the spats…I just didn’t have the inspiration for how to finish them, so I’m leaving them for later.  In place of the spats, I’ll wear my big boots…which actually matches the book description better anyway.

On to the pictures!

The necklace is little glass “talon” vials filled with colored sand. And a Jay’s feather.

Hip pockets.

These fit my actual hips better!

Pockets, pockets, everywhere!  Inside….

…and outside…

Plus, I made two wrist bracers. This one:

And this one:

And then there’s my hair/headdress.  I made a turban and falls.  And antlers!

The black veil can either go across my lower face, as it is here, or just unclip and hang loosely to the side.

The antlers are made of Paperclay.

The hair falls are made of 1/2 fake burgundy hair, and 1/2 yarn.  The hair has braided sections with knotted bits of beads, shells, and bells attached.  The yarn is quite dread-like, and I was pleased to find it on clearance at Michael’s.  It’s called “Horizon Tweed” by a brand called Loops & Threads. I bought three different colors: blue, lavender, and red.

Here you are!  Pictures of me wearing it!

It was a very comfortable costume to wear.  I had *some* worries that the weight of the headdress/falls would make it start to slip back too far on my head – especially with all the dancing and jumping, but it all stayed perfectly fine and didn’t even give me headache…which was my other worry, as I have a sensitive head and even a simple headband will sometimes hurt me after a few hours.  Around my eye is a fake “henna” design I freehand drew on with liquid eyeliner.  Someone at the concert thought it was real henna!  I bought waterproof eyeliner for this because I wanted it to stay put even if I forgot it was there and rubbed my eye.  I bought cheap Wet n’ Wild eyeliner, and by golly did it ever stay put!  I couldn’t get it off even with makeup remover!  I had to basically *scrub* it off…which wasn’t much fun since it was right around my eye.  Glad I didn’t use it actually for it’s purpose…I’d never have gotten it off!  :)  But next time I want a temporary design on my hands or feet (or anywhere else more friendly to scrubbing, I’m definitely using this brand.  It STICKS.

Oh, and I also met this guy.  No idea who he is, but he seemed kinda cool….  :D

*not-so-quiet SQUEE at getting a picture with the guy who inspired my costume, while WEARING my costume*

 

Edwardian Skirt

One of the costumes I wore to Costume Con 30 was a skirt I made from Butterick #4092.  It turned out to be a great pattern, very simple, and the only tweak I had to do was take in the seams at the hip just a squidge.

I love this pattern, and will be using it again in the future!  It’s out of print, but you can still find copies for sale on Etsy or Ebay for a decent price – I paid $5 for mine.

With friends Arte and Erin at Costume Con.  It’s a good thing someone was dressed as a responsible adult!

 

Corsets in Print

A couple of days ago, I picked up a book at my local used book store entitled “Support and Seduction: A History of Corsets and Bras”.    It’s a beautiful book, with lots of lovely illustrations.

But…I’m only into the first chapter, and I’m finding so many false statements!  It’s bad enough when fiction promotes the idea that corsets were torture instruments invented by men to demean and “control” women, and that women who wore corsets were unable to do anything but stand about for a short time and then faint in a decorative manner!  My friends who follow my book reviews on Goodreads know about my hissy fits whenever I read fiction with corset misinformation like that!  But when it comes to non-fiction, one expects a higher level of truth.

But take, for example, this quote from my new corset book:  “One wonders why, from the 16th to the 19th century, the corset was never challenged by the women of the aristocracy or the bourgeoisie.  The reason may have been that it served first and foremost as a sign of their superiority.  Those wearing it were barred from even the slightest useful exertion, thus reinforcing the prestige of the ruling class…..women of the aristocracy felt that to wear a corset was more vital than health itself, so imperative was the need to distinguist oneself from the common people.”

First of all, much like the battle over health vs smoking going on today, wearing a corset was once thought to be the healthy thing.  Men wore corsets.  Children wore corsets – for their health.  Just like there used to be ads saying smoking was good for your throat, there were ads telling you to wear corsets.

Corsts were never worn solely as a method for keeping those pesky poor folks in their place; they were worn by virtually everyone, for a multitude of reasons.  And they were worn while working, while riding horses, and while playing sports.  I’m sure a lot of it was pure vanity – just look at this vintage ad for male corsets:

Beats having to suck in your gut every time a pretty girl walks by!  :P  Also, if you didn’t wear a corset, you couldn’t wear any of the fashionable styles, which positively require the supporting base of a corset.  All those layers of undergarments and heavy bustled fabrics – can you wonder why women tended to pass out?  Imagine, you’re wearing one of those outfits in the heat of summer, pre-air conditioning, and you’re packed into a ballroom.  Even now, sans corset, it’s common for women to faint in places like church.  I think the fainting cannot be entirely blamed on corsets.

And how tightly were those corsets laced?  We all grew up with images like this:

That, folks, is called ‘tightlacing’, and it’s an entirely different animal than simply wearing a corset.

First off all, throughout most of corset-wearing history, the goal in wearing a corset was not a tiny waist.  You wore a corset to form your body into the right shape for your clothes, and to provide a supporting base for those clothes.

The Elizabethans wanted a nice cone shape with no breasts.  And to support the weight of those skirts, they needed a corset that would help disperse the weight evenly.  The corset didn’t give them a small waist, it gave them a smooth torso.

By the 18th century, they had discovered the appeal of breasts, but they were still using their corsets to support the weight of their skirts, and to provide shaping to the torso.  If you look at someone wearing a properly made 18th century corset, you’ll notice the waist appears smaller from the front, but it’s largely an illusion.  The torso is actually thicker through the side view – because that’s how the corset shapes it.  It doesn’t make your waist smaller, it just reshapes what you have.  Plus, ladies of all these corseted eras were big into hip and butt padding, and the Victorians and a few others were big into bust padding as well.  If you pad out your hips and bust enough, any waist will look tiny in comparison!

I will tell you, from studying extant 18th century gowns myself, that it’s somewhat rare to find a waist size smaller than about 25″.  My natural waist is 25″.  And these dress are proportionate in their size.  You can tell they aren’t tightlacing.

THIS is what tightlacing looks like:

This is a real photograph, of a real woman.  She wears a specially made corset day and night to achieve this.  This is a fetish, practiced by a small percentage of the modern day population, and this fetish is not limited to women:

Just like this fetish is only practiced by a small group of people today, I think it was simularly practiced by only a small percentage of people in the Victorian time as well.  We have a few photographs of ladies who are clearly tightlacers:

But considering how prevalent photo re-touching was during the Victorian era, many of these pictures may not even be genuine waist sizes.  In a survey of 1000 extant Victorian dresses, the smallest waist size was found to be 21 1/2″.   The average waist seems to have been againt around 25″ – 28″.  Considering the fact that women on average were a lot smaller than today, and the overall size of the dresses are very petite, I would say this shows they were almost certainly not tightlacing.  Probably, at most, they were lacing down to a couple of inches smaller than their natural waists – something easily done, without any harm.

But what about the whole Victorian frenzy over corsets and tightlacing?  If women weren’t, on average, tightlacing, then what was causing all all the excitement?

I tend to rule with author Bill Bryson on this one: “The tone of anti-corset literature for women was strikingly similar to the tone of anti-masturbation literature for men.”  Basically, the Victorian doctors had a grave concern that compressing the body so close to the reproductive organs could not only increase amorous desires, but could possibly cause involuntary “voluptuous spasms”.  One wouldn’t want one’s woman spasming, now would one?  Gradually, this fear moved on to other tight items of clothing, even tight shoes.  I don’t know about you, but when I wear tight shoes, I don’t get any voluptuous spams, involuntary or otherwise!

In any case, what does give me spasms (of a decidedly non-voluptuous kind) is when I constantly read articles and books that make claims such as “thirteen inch waists were common”.   It makes me wish it were mandatory for every writer who wishes to write about corsets, to be laced into a properly made and fitted one for a day.  I myself frequently wear corsets to various events.  I’ve worn them to work.  I can eat, I can sit, I can bend over, and I can do basically any thing I can without a corset.

Here is what I cannot do: I can’t slouch, I can’t slump, I can’t over eat (you do get full sooner while wearing corset!), and sometimes a really big sneeze is uncomfortable. I wouldn’t want to run a marathon wearing one, but I wouldn’t have to run a marathon at any time.   Basically, all wearing a corset means is that I have to carry myself like a lady, which is something our mothers always wanted us to do.   (And they do provide nice back support.  I know of one lady who got her doctor’s ok to wear her corset daily instead of the brace he was going to prescribe!)  I like wearing my corsets.  I wouldn’t want to have to wear one all the time, because I’m a blue jeans and sweats kind of girl, but one occasion…it feels really nice.  I feel special, in a corset.

So anyway, my first rant of the New Year!  I hope 2012 is filled with lots of costuming and yes…corsets!

 

How to Steampunk Anything

Before I get into today’s lecture, :P, I want to mention that Thanksgiving and the other holidays are totally messing with my time to costume….and also, my time to blog.  But I have gotten *some* stuff done on Idris, so I swear I will update that page soon!

Okay, so there are some costumes that are just easy to steampunk.  Anything that hails from the Victorian time period, for example.  But what if you want to make something steampunk that isn’t Victorian?  Funny enough, I was already planning to write about this subject, and then I went to this year’s Steamcon, and one of the panels was on how to “Steampunk your Fandom”.  Of course I went, and the panelist pretty much said everything that I had floating around in my brain!  But, for those of you that couldn’t attend *that* panel, here’s my take on the subject.

I’ve been steampunking my fandoms (and everything else) every since I discovered I was a steampunk.  Two of my upcoming costumes (just given their own pages to the left) are my Steampunk Hufflepuff and my Steampunk 10th Doctor.   Right now, I’m going to talk about the 10th Doctor costume.

This is the 10th Doctor, in case you aren’t a Doctor Who fan.

Basically, he’s just a man in suit and a long coat.  A very gorgously wonderful man.  In a wonderfully gorgeous coat.

The back of his coat has this fabulous buttoned flap:

When you steampunk something that isn’t visually in the steampunk aesthetic, there are two things you need to do.  You need to make it steampunk (obviously!) and you need to express enough of the original design/character so that people won’t just think “Oh that’s a cool steampunk outfit” and fail to realize who you are meant to be.  In my case, I also want to make my steampunk’d 10th Doctor a woman as well.

My first idea was to make his suit as an Edwardian woman’s suit, because the lines are quite similar.  His suit is very straight and skinny, and so were those Edwardian suits:

And this would have worked fine.  But I’ve worn this type of skirt, and I know how you have to move when you wear one!  The 10th Doctor’s physical trademark is his love of running and other exhausting activity…and that sort of thing is NOT going to happen in this kind of skirt.  I also considered making a Victorian bustle skirt, but that had nothing whatever in common with the look of the Doctor’s suit, and I just couldn’t settle my mind around it.

And then, I remembered this Victorian oufit:

It’s a Victorian cycling uniform, from the Kyoto Costume Institute.  Here is a Victorian woman’s outfit that is made for activity!  And it has similiar lines to that of a modern suit.  Oh, yes, I can see a female Doctor wearing this!

I googled a ton of different cycling uniforms, and I discovered that women frequently wore spats or gaiters with them  Such as this pair:

My other problem had been what to do about Ten’s shoes.  He wears red canvas sneakers…not exactly Victorian OR steampunk!  But…imagine a pair of red canvas spats, worn over a pair of white Victorian boots.  Yes.  That works.

The 10th Doctor is active and physical.  We’ll put my Ten in a blue pinstriped cycling suit, with white boots and red canvas spats.

Now for the coat.  This is the single most recognizable thing about the 10th Doctor, and if we take it away, our Ten will be just a woman in a cute cycling uniform.  But neither can we leave it exactly as it is, if we want to stay at all true to the “look” of the Victorian era. The back of it, with the buttoned flap, is easily its most distinctive detail.  That has to stay.  But the front…we can play with the front!

What about doing a tailcoat? Victorians wore them all the time.

Since this is steampunk, and doesn’t have to be historically accurate, we’ll have our Ten wear a modified tailcoat over her cycling uniform.  We’ll crop the front of the 10th Doctor’s coat, and make it more fitted to a woman’s body.  But we’ll leave the buttoned back flap pretty much as-is, creating a steampunk-y version of a tailcoat.

Instead of a tie, we’ll have her wear a cravat.  The 10th Doctor has a fabulous bit of tech, his sonic screwdriver, and we’ll maybe play with that bit to add a more steampunk feeling.  The 10th Doctor loves various props, and in one episode, he wears a pair of 3D glasses.

What is the steampunk equivalent of 3D glasses?  Goggles with one red lens and one blue lens, of course!  Yay goggles!  I like having an excuse to add them to a costume; goggles are cool.

Here is my finished concept sketch (and forgive the fact that I cannot draw the back of a buttoned-flap tailcoat to save my life):

So here are my tips for how to steampunk anything:

1) Think about your character/thing/person.  What are her/his abilities, strengths, likes, and favorites?  What does s/he value in his/her costume? Comfort? Fashion? Does he have an item of clothing that he is never without?  Make a list of the things that he has to have in order to be “him”, and then modify those into Steampunk equivalents.

2) Try to think of what a Victorian version of his work/job/hobby would be.  If he has a profession, what would his profession have worn in the Victorian age?  If it’s a profession that’s been around for a hundred + years, that’s a simple thing to google.  If it’s something new to our age, you’ll have to look for a more ancient equivalent.  A computer tech today might have been an engineer in the past.

3) Look at the cut and style of his costume and props/gear.  What does it LOOK like?  What does it do?  Could be made tooperate with steam?  If he does magic in his real world, could he do the exact same things using mad inventions and Victorian-age tech in a steampunk version?

4) Don’t fret about being too “historical”.  If there is no Victorian equivalent to what you want to do, then just do it anyway.  Steampunk is about having fun, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!

5) Don’t fret about it not being “steampunk” enough.  I cannot stress this enough.  For every steampunk costume I’ve made, there has been at least one person who commented that she doesn’t see what makes it steampunk.  Don’t get scared and start hot-gluing gears all over or stick a pair of goggles onto your hat just to “make it steampunk” – unless you want goggles on your hat and a lot of gears.  :)  Steampunk is one part aestetic, one part attitude, and a whole airship full of whimsy.  In a world that embraces mad invention and time travel, there is no way there isn’t justification for your vision of steampunk.   I don’t care how “big” a person is in the steampunk community, don’t let them convince you that they have the only legal definition of steampunk, and if you aren’t playing by their rules, you’re doing steampunk wrong.  I’ve heard one Really Big Name say that (among a bunch of other things) anything post-apocalyptic can’t be steampunk.  In my opinion that’s load of hooey.  We aren’t recreating the past, we’re imagining a new future for that past.  Who’s to say that  some evil inventor didn’t destroy most of the known world in my version of 1885?  Who’s to say that the world in 2085 wasn’t destroyed, and the only books that survived were a Victorian etiquette manuel and a textbook on steampowered technology?  What do you think the world the few surviving people created might be like?  My view on steampunk is, if you can figure out a story to go with it, and you’re having fun, you’re absolutely doing it right.

And with that, I’ve been meaning to say that, while I absolutely adore comments left on my blog, any of you can also feel free to email me as well, with suggestions, pleas for help (I don’t promise to actually be ABLE to help, mind you!) or whatever else you’d like to say.  Bear in mind that I don’t do costuming for people other than myself (although I plan to make a few pairs of spats to sell, and embroidered purses as well, so if you’re interested in either of those….)  Also, I’d love links to your own costuming blogs if you have one, or photos of what you’ve done – especially if something I did/said inspired you to make it!  Also, I am not one of those people who jealously guards my photos/designs, so if you want to post pictures of mine on your own blogs, have at it.  And I get a TON of people asking if I’ll sell my airship pirate jacket.  I don’t plan to, but feel free to copy the design for yourself, or find a professional to copy it for you.  I don’t mind, honest, and if the professional costumer says she won’t because copying someone else’s work would be unethical, tell her that isn’t true in my case, and refer her to this post!  :)  Anything cool I post or make is there to be shared with you – I just appreciate all the praise and enthusiasm for my costuming!

My email is MiddleEarthFan@yahoo.com

If you email me, please put something in the subject line so I will know you’re not a spammer.  I have a very active spam filter, and while I do check my spam folder for things that accidentally slipped into it, subject lines of just “hi” make me think you might be a ‘lonely sexy woman’ who wants to show me pictures I’d prefer not to see, or else some kind of Nigerian royalty!  *grin*

 

Chinese Steampunk

Here are a few pictures of the ‘quick and dirty’ Chinese-inspired outfit I put together when I realized I:

a) Had all the fabric I needed, and

b) Wanted something cool to wear to the cabaret at Steamcon.

It is three layers: a striped gold and brown corset, a mandarin style cropped coat with immensely long sleeves, and a kinda-more-Japanese belt/sash.  I have the ruffled pettipants I’m going to wear tucked under the corset in this picure.  I’ll wear it with over-the-knee stockings and Victorian boots.

In the below pic, that dark line across the chest is a shadow.

The jacket buttons up the side front.

Since the fabric is all synthetics, I decided to burn the edges of the sleeves to ‘hem’ them, rather than sew.  It made a very nice edge, and was remarkably easy.  If you’re curious, I just put a candle in a sturdy base, then held the fabric stretched between my hands and ran the edge across the flame.  As long as I kept the fabric moving at a slow, steady speed, I had no problem with an even melt.  And as for the fabric accidentally catching fire – it didn’t seem to want to, even when I tested it.  So I felt  pretty secure – although I still did it over a non-carpeted floor.  :D

 

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!!!!

Blue Victorian

Note: This dress is actually for sale.

In the process of making a muslin for the “Steampunk Ghost” outfit, it became very possible that I would need a ‘regular’ Victorian outfit in March.  So I decided to turn my muslin into an actual gown.  I dug through my boxes and came up with some blue and gold fabric and trim that I’d bought without definite plans for its use.

Right now, I’ve completed the vest, with attached overskirt.  It is an ice blue and pale gold brocade, and will have a double line of buttons down the front (as soon as my mail-order buttons arrive.) The skirt is lined in antique gold taffeta, and can be either bustled or left long as a train.

The gold taffeta skirt in the photo will actually be the underskirt’s lining.  I did not have *quite* enough brocade to make the underskirt, so Sunday I’ll run by JoAnn’s and pick up more.  I’m fortunate that they still have it for sale!  And it’s currently 50% off. And JoAnn’s gave me a $20 gift card for being a good customer and spending tons of money there.

The brocade overskirt is just temporarily bustled in these pictures.

Almost all the edging and finishing is hand-sewn, and the taffeta gives it *such* a lovely feel and sound.  I’m totally in love with this outfit!

I also found a piece of antique lace at the thrift store that will gather up nicely for part of the collar.

I still have much of the jacket to sew, the overskirt needs to be finished, and I think instead of sewing a blouse for underneath, I’ll just make a dickie with a fancy lace collar.

I am SO OBSESSED with this costume at present…I’ve even taken it to work to sew trim during my dinner break!  Part of it is that it was supposed to be a quick, “test” costume, just to make the pattern for the Steampunk Ghost, and make sure everything fits well. (Plus use some fabric and trim I’ve had for ages and never used.)

I have to say, I absolutely LOVE how it is turning out!  The vest and jacket are now finished.  All that’s left is to make the blouse and lace collar, and finish the skirt.  The skirt still needs hemming and a waistband.  Oh – and the “bustled” part of the skirt also needs to be sewn; right now it’s just pinned.

I need to make a hat as well….

On to the pics:

With a few scraps of dress fabric, the one solitary leftover tassel from the dress trim, and the clasp purchased originally for something different, I made a purse for my Victorian.

It still needs a chain ‘strap’, and the color of the clasp is rather more antique gold than in the this pic, but look how well it turned out!  I’m so pleased,  This is my first ever attempt at this sort of ribbon rose, and also my first dragonfly, so I’m delighted they look so pretty.

The rose instructions came from this book, and the dragonfly from

Steampunk Vampire

I’m calling this one done…although I may make a few more tweaks before Steamcon (if I have time!).  I’ve worn it once already: to the first of five Halloween-themed dress-up days at my library workplace.  The first theme was…big surprise…vampires!

Here are three of us, at work, terrorizing a co-worker who wasn’t wise enough to wear fangs and take herself off the lunch menu!

When I got home, I had someone take a few quick snaps in the front yard.  I will hopefully get better ones next time I wear this….these are so bad I really don’t even want to post them – but since you’ve all been begging for more pics…here they are.

I have a pair of fingerless, over the elbow black leather gloves that I will wear to Steamcon with this; I wore ordinary fabric gloves to work because: 1) I didn’t want to risk injury to the gloves, and 2) It was quite warm inside the building. We’re having our second summer just now….   I did manage to wear the boots ALL SHIFT without experiencing an intolerable amount of pain!  Yay for comfortable 5″ heels!

 

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