Monday, April 28, 2014

Motivation for fighting Mundane Mondays

Week of April 28th, 2014

Mondays can often be downers. It’s the beginning of yet another work week. That’s 5 whole days before you’re free, be it to craft and create or to attend the next event. But instead of letting the weight of a new week stifle my creativity or energy I've collected some links to use as inspiration. I’m sharing them here to give you a little Motivation for fighting Mundane Mondays.

1. A Cosplay I want to undertake for my husband and myself is The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess versions of Link and Zelda. I am still a little intimitdated by the armor aspect of Zelda's outfit though. Up until now I have just collected tutorials and ideas for when I do the costumes myself. We were able to acquire a Master Shield at Wonder Con, so these have been bumped higher on the to do list. I found The Legend of Zelda cosplay tumbler feed this week and even though it may still be a year out I am getting excited to take on the challenge of these costumes.

2.  Star Wars fashion magazine, What?!?!?!?! That would be so cool to have.

3. I was saddened to hear Your Wardrobe Unlock'd and their sister site Foundations Revealed were at risk of closing down. I hadn't subscribed before this, but have used their free articles. It was always something I meant to do but it kept slipping my mind and I just assumed they would always be around. I would hate to loose this great resource!

4. LBCC Historical: Cosmetics and Apothecary has another new product I am excited to try, coming out soon. I want to know who put it in the Mother Nature's rule book that when you turn 30 the wrinkles just pop up.

5. I have never been very fond of the fashions between 1830 and 1840s. At least not in fashion plates. When I see them on a body its a completely different story. The gal over at Fresh Frippery posted about a group The Hopeless Romantics, at the Gaskell Ball. They all dressed in 1830s and I found myself ohhh and ahhhing over several of them, despite my earlier claims of disliking this time period's fashion.

6. Katherine posted a tid-bit of info about hemstitching and how it was used in the 1920's for the hems on some dresses. I am intrigued and would like to do a bit more research myself. If I find anything interesting I promise to share.

7. More Game of Thrones Costume Goodies. All about the Purple Wedding Looks.

8. I thought this cosplay mash up of Jack Frost and Elsa was rather cute.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Motivation for fighting Mundane Mondays

Week of April 21, 2014

Mondays can often be downers. It’s the beginning of yet another work week. That’s 5 whole days before you’re free, be it to craft and create or to attend the next event. But instead of letting the weight of a new week stifle my creativity or energy I’ve collected some links to use as inspiration. I’m sharing them here to give you a little Motivation for fighting Mundane Mondays.

1. Katherine from The Fashionable Past posted another new tutorial. This time on hemming without help. I have tried many methods of doing it myself and this one seems the easiest by far. It makes me wonder why I never thought of it before!!

2. This one is a little older but I just recently found it. Klaire over at Klaire de lys makes some extremely creative face masks. I found her through her Ice Queen mask tutorial. Can you believe its primarily hot glue!?!?!?! She has several others. She's also an extremely gifted make up artist. Here's a link to her Snow Fairy make up tutorial.

3. Isabella from Isabella's Project Diary explained how she took a pair of thrifted shoes and turned them into passable late 16th early 17th century shoes. I will have to keep it in mind for the times I don't want my pretties to get dirty.

4. Speaking of pretties, American Duchess promoting her next Signature series shoe, the an Edwardian version to be named Seabury. She has a vote going on right now to determine the top 2 color options.

5. A how to for Elsa Hair. It comes with instructions, pictures and even a video.

6. My big event this week was Wonder Con in Anaheim. My favorite part, by far is getting to see all the different costumes. Whenever I get tired of walking the floor I find a shady spot to sit and just watch. Next year the hubby is not allowed to carry the camera. I missed so many awesome costumes simply because he had the camera. Here are the ones we were able to get.

Here is a Flickr link to even more WonderCon Pictures. If you have some time to kill and want to be inspired, then browse through those.

A few pictures and highlights of the weekend for me are:
Getting to meet and talk with Yaya Han. I've followed her since the early 2000s, so it was really really cool to meet her at last.
- The best part of wearing my Sleeping Beauty costume is having all the little girls come up and ask to have a picture with me. I had a close to 5 mins conversation with one little girl. Makes all the effort of wearing that one worth it!

-I started something with this Con that I plan to continue at future ones, and that was trying to get pictures with any and all Captain America related costumers. My favorite from this year's Con was this Captain America made by a fellow Veteran. His costume is made from different Camo patterns to create the iconic Captain America uniform.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Motivation for fighting Mundane Mondays

Week of April 14, 2014

Mondays can often be downers. It's the beginning of yet another work week. That's 5 whole days before you're free, be it to craft and create or to attend the next event. But instead of letting the weight of a new week stifle my creativity or energy I've collected some links to use as inspiration. I'm sharing them here to give you a little Motivation for fighting Mundane Mondays.

1. The Southern California Pleasure Faire started April 5. This was my first Renaissance faire over 17 years ago, and what first started me in costuming. I look forward to faire time every year and this year is no different. I only have plans to add one new piece to my faire garb this year so I wasn't looking for the best of the best costumes. You know the ones that are simply awe inspiring. But rather the Fun ones that made me smile. I have a soft spot for the wee ones. And here are even more photos from opening weekend.

2. By far the one thing that got the wheels going in my head the most, was getting my Limited Classes Registration Packet in the mail from Costume College. Costume College is what my whole costuming world revolves around. As soon as I wrap up from the current event, planning begins for the next year. Getting the packet in the mail made me realize I have just under 4 months left! Here are some photos from last year's Costume College.

3. Remember what I said about my addiction to pretty historical shoes? The last of my birthday money has been spent.
When American Duchess released this tutorial on painting your own 1920s flapper shoes, I filed it away as 'pretty cool' but I couldn't bring myself to spend that much money on shoes I was going to alter.  Then I read about Aurora from Dramatic Threads altering hers, and doing a BEAUTIFUL job. After that I started researching jeweled heels from the 1920s.
 Jeweled heels ca. 1925 via The Kyoto Costume Institute 
I found a lot more, all of various degrees of complexity. But several that seemed doable. If only there wasn't the cost of the original shoes. I still couldn't justify paying that much just to alter them. And then American Duchess put a pair into her imperfect pile. :) I am beyond excited for this project, that has been brewing for a LONG time, all because of the above picture.

4. It always amuses me how one thing leads to another and then another when searching online. Having recently mastered the basics of knitting I was looking up new techniques. Somehow I got to knitting with your cat's fur, which then led to crafting with cat's fur. I know some people think this type of thing is gross but I don't. For me it falls in the same category as wool and I wear enough of my Little Man's fur already I don't see a difference in doing it on purpose.
I found this book and got it in the mail last week. Despite the obvious crafty type projects that I assume only kids and crazy old cat ladies may like, there are a few really cute projects. I was drawn to the needle felting projects especially the scarf with a kitty figure on the ends, done in your own kitty's fur.

5. Once again Loren from The Costumer's Closet has been making my attempt to resist a Game of Thrones' costume harder.  She began by showing how she is recreating a fabric from Cersei's gown with a stencil and fabric paint. Part one and then two. She also shared a lot of fun Game of throne costume and craft links. I'm starting to think I am going to have to sleep less just so I can start getting more projects done.

6. When asked what are the top three things I would like to improve on the most in my costuming Hair and Make-up will always be in there. Because of that I am always looking for new tips and tricks. This week I found this tutorial for Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose from the blog Lisa Freemont Pages. My plan to use it this weekend at Wonder Con!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Motivation for fighting Mundane Mondays

Week of April 7, 2014

This is the first edition of what I hope becomes a reoccurring thing. Mondays can often be downers. It's the beginning of yet another work week. That's 5 whole days before you're free, be it to craft and create or to attend the next event. But instead of letting the weight of a new week stifle my creativity or energy I've collected some links to use as inspiration. I'm sharing them here to give you a little Motivation for fighting Mundane Mondays.

1. I decided to join Wearing History's 1910's Suit sew-a-long. She released the pattern for pre-order today. I know the pictures she shared in the blog are just her muslin but it makes the dress real to me now. With the pattern picture I liked it, with the muslin pictures I WANT it.

2. Sheer Madness Challenge 2 winners have been announced. I'm always inspired by the talented people who are apart of this group. I don't Envy any of the judges.

3. I have been fascinated by the Chemise a la reine since Sofia Coppola's Marie Anntoinette first came out. Sarah from Mode Historique has dedicated this month to the Chemise a la reine, in honor of the research she is doing/plans to do. - She does have a Indiegogo campaign going on to help fund further research on an extent Chemise a la reine. I jumped on one of the perks as soon as I saw it. A pattern of the Chemise a la reine she is studying made to MY measurements. MY MEASUREMENTS!

4. This feature about Disney at MegaCon is loaded with Cosplay pictures. Its always fun to see someone's take on an Iconic character. Or even their twists on them.
Shoe shot- Travistocks on top

5. Hi, my name is Amy Lee and I am addicted to pretty Historical shoes. American Duchess releases her latest two shoe styles for pre-order today. I already own the Travistocks, and have no future plans for any mid-Victorian costumes, so the Siren song isn't as strong with these. They are still pretty though.

6. I'm fairly certain that this photo is photoshopped but I have spent several hours this week daydreaming on how I could recreate it without the photoshop magic. Its a very beautifully done picture of a cosplayer doing Disney's Elsa as her dress changes.

7. My current topic for a speech in my Communications 101 class is on Vivandieres. While looking for a visual aid I found this picture. I enjoy pictures of smartly dressed men and women in uniform, though I admit I may have some bias. This one fits that bill perfectly. I may need to add one of these to my sewing list.

8. Katherine released the second part of her frilled veil tutorial on her blog The Fashionable Past. I am itching to try my hand at it. But I have no need for the veil until I make the dress, which is still pretty far down on my to-do list. I've made sure to bookmark it for later though!

9. LBCC Historical a shop that specializes in reproducing exact historical cosmetic and apothecary recipes has been releasing new products and the newest is their "Burnt cloves to Darken Eyebrows". I love that their products are all natural.

10. Loren shared her Game of Thrones dragon egg on her blog. The Costumer's Closet. I have seen many of them among Game of Throne cosplayers but have always been "meh" about them. Loren's is different. I like how realistic her looks. Hers is made from WonderFlex scraps, which makes me think I need to start exploring Wonderflex and other materials like it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Victorian Explorer

The idea for this gown was put into motion at Costume College 2012. Aubry from A Fractured Fairytale and Sara from Gilded Garb, had made Victorian Naturalist or Explorer outfits. I was inspired and over the next year or so the wheels in my head spun. I had so many ideas come out of their inspiration it was actually a bit hard to narrow them down and choose just one. I was torn between how historically accurate I wanted to get versus giving it a Steampunk flair. Even after choosing to be as historically accurate as I could, I had a hard time deciding on a specific decade in the late 19th century.
I eventually did choose one and this was the winner. 
Outdoor dress & hunting costume 1880, as seen originally in the magazine 'La Mode Illustree' in 1880 and reproduced in 1943 in a book titled 'Fashions and Fashion Plates 1800-1900 by James Laver (1899-1975)
I was drawn to the shorter skirts. I had a picture in my head that she could go out and hike and explore things easier then most because she wouldn't be tripping on her skirt. I also LOVED the pleated underskirt, and the turned back skirt of the polonaise. 
Finding a fashion plate I liked was the easy part. The hard part was figuring out how to reproduce it. The first step was trying to figure out what time period this fashion plate was from. I knew it was from the Victorian Bustle time frame, but fashions in those 20 or so years changed rather dramatically. Sometimes in just a span of one year. I also knew it was somewhere in the middle of the Bustle Era, commonly referred to as the the Natural Form Bustle. Unfortunately that was about where my knowledge ended. Luck was on my side and a matter of days after I choose my inspiration picture, Wearing History, a page I follow on Facebook posted a similar fashion plate. It was dated 1881, which helped me narrow down my search.
With a more focused search, I ordered both Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Fashions of the Gilded Age by Frances Grimble. I had seen it referenced by other costumers and it came highly recommended. I would also recommend adding these books to your sewing library if you are at all interested in the Natural Form era. I also went through my pattern stash and pulled out an underskirt pattern that I thought would work, which I will go into more detail in just a moment.
I didn't start this costume from scratch. I've wanted to make a Bustle-of-doom type gown for sometime and finished the undergarments despite never moving forward on the actual gown. It may not seem like much but already having the chemise and corset finished was extremely helpful. My next step was to finish my foundation garments. I choose the Muslin Petticoat from Fashions of the Gilded Age Vol 1. pg. 109. I wasn't sure if just the petticoat would be enough but continued under the assumption, if I needed more skirt support I could make it later.
muslin petticoat

With that complete I moved onto the underskirt. Truly Victorian carries a pattern for a 1878 Tie-back underskirt that reminded me of a couple of the patterns in the Fashions of the Gilded Age book. Using a pattern I already had on hand won vs. scaling up a new one. I used it as the base for my underskirt. Once I was sure the shape was what I wanted I added the knife pleated panel to it. There are over 6 1/2 yards of fabric in those pleats!
For the next step I went back to the patterns in the Fashion's of the Gilded Age book. I choose the Close-Fitting Polonaise on pg. 314, because of the quote provided on the page. "A polonaise is nothing but a princess dress shortened in front and lengthened in back. The back is pleated on the side and then sewn to the side piece." This sounded exactly like what I wanted!
I didn't fully comprehend the instructions for scaling up the pattern with the half bust rulers but it got me close enough. I only needed two tries before I had a well fitting mock up.
I choose a white wool twill for my fashion fabric. I wanted a natural fiber that would of been used in period and something that was lightweight because I was afraid of overheating. Since the green fabric I had already used was wool blend, I choose to stay with wool as my fabric choice. Surprisingly finding a white or cream wool was harder then I expected it to be. I interlined everything but the sleeves in cotton muslin, because it was what I had on hand. I basted them together and then just treated them as one piece of fabric. Before putting the lining in I added boning to each seam and dart. It was fabric covered plastic boning that I had in my stash. I wasn't concerned about the plastic not being strong enough, because it was to help smooth the dress not shape me.
I used a polished cotton for my lining. I didn't do a full lining because I didn't want the extra fabric changing the drape/weight of the fabric. I was afraid it would affect the look of the bustle.
This has taken over the 1st place slot for coolest thing I have done costuming wise.
While working on the dress it came up in discussion that the lining would have been treated the same as the other layers. Not as a separate layer and put together with the wrong sides facing each other, like I had done.

As soon as it came up I did remember seeing seams on insides of many extant bodice. Even so I choose to continue on, with my original plan, so I could complete the outfit on time.  I knew with how my brain works, wrapping my mind around a new plan of attack could take a few days. I didn't want to spare those days knowing I could be giving up something like completing the hat or trimming the gown. 
I think the sleeves were one of the hardest parts of the whole dress. I did 5 mock ups, alternating back and forth between to loose and to tight. Even on the first outing I was afraid my corrections to get rid of the bunching around the forearms had made them to tight. By the end of the day though, my wearing them had loosened them enough that they seemed pretty close to perfect. My favorite part of the sleeves are the cuffs. I drew inspiration from several fashion plates, but ultimately wanted something that tied the skirts pleats into the top.
The last piece I wanted to carry over from the inspiration fashion plate was all those buttons! I went the fabric covered buttons route. I was really unsure of the shape of them when I started but when all 20 of them are on the dress I didn't notice anymore.
Before I wear this again there are things I want to change/add. The main one would be adding the collar, I choose to leave off to save time.  I don't feel it was lacking anything on the first outing though. 
First worn at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas, NV, Mar. 2014