Wednesday, April 29, 2015

TBT: Blue 1884 Traveling Gown (2006-2009)

It's about time I started working on posts of my wardrobe :3 It's not nearly as large as I'd like it to be (maybe this is a good thing), but there's still some good staples. Like most of my projects, a lot of them were finished at the last minute so there isn't a lot of in-progress pictures, or commentary written. I'll fill in what and where I can!

Blue 1884 Traveling Gown


The Phantom of the Opera was coming to town, and I eagerly decided that I want to make a costume to go see it in. My mum, aunt, and three sisters all decided that they needed to dress up as well, so we went as an interesting mix of Civil War, Victorian, and Victorian-inspired menswear (my aunt had a delicious opera cape). I remember making the ruffled overlay for the bustle while watching a movie in which the main character needed to stick his hand up a bull's butt, and working on undergarments with my then-new serger (tiny rolled hems!) and rolled-hem foot of the sewing machine (less successful...)

My bustle when it was shiny and new.

I did give up on the bodice, however, and wore a modern dress shirt. I was trying to put the supportive boning in and it was being irritating, so I put it aside.

"Look wistful!" my sister said...

Photo of us minus sister behind the camera, inside the theatre post-show.

Myself, 3 of my 4 sisters, and my mum :3

The skirt is Truly Victorian 261 4-Gore Underskirt with bouffant. Undergarments are TV's combos and wire bustle with ruffled overlay.


The first year we went on Alberta Prairie Railway Excursion out of Stettler, AB, I again decided that I was going to wear a costume, I already had most of it ready! I pulled the bodice out and managed to finish it. Alas... nothing fit me very well. I had to lace the corset down to my many-lbs-lighter measurement because I didn't want to take the time and fuss with fitting it to my new figure, not to mention I didn't have time to get or make a new corset. It was fine for the first several hours, though I had somewhat sillily gotten dressed before my dad picked me up and then drove 2 hours in costume... By the time we started heading back to Stettler after our visit in Big Valley, I couldn't take it any longer and had to change back into my normal clothes. My mum was the only one who dressed up with me that year.

Mum and me!

The bodice is TV 462 French Vest bodice.

I wore the dress one other time, in 2010, again having to take it off early because I wasn't feeling very well and the compression from the corset was very unpleasant and wasn't helping. I've not worn it since. I should probably sell it, least of all because it just doesn't fit anymore.

One of my favourite photos, ever. Photo by B. Yoner.

Friday, April 24, 2015

HSM '15 #3: Stashbusting! The Sari Ballgown

Hi friends! It's been a long long time since I posted anything here, I'm sorry! This winter just kinda... happened. It seems to happen every winter, I turn around and two or three months have gone by, just like that. I didn't create anything for the 2nd challenge, Blue, and then I'd been wanting to get a hand-sewn curtain-along robe anglaise off of my sewing pile, plus the con I needed my Tauriel cosplay for was coming up really quickly, so I'd mostly just been letting myself work without the pressure of keeping up with posting. But I still reading my blogroll daily! I've been keeping on all of your fabulous creations, and y'all are just so inspiring :)

I had no idea what I was going to make for the third challenge, Stashbusting. My stash is relatively small but it's still pretty substantial. I'm wanting to get it organized, but that will have to wait for awhile yet. I need more space and/or different storage options to get through it.

Then I realized that I'd already made something that would work! Hooray! I'm sorry this post is so late, and that I don't have more pictures to go with it. I'll do a post on just the details in the future, promise :3

Nicole and myself at the ball. Photo by Janine Rose Photography.

There was a ball scheduled for February 28th. I had decided not to make anything new under pressure as I already had 2 gowns I'd made in 2013 that haven't even been worn yet. But then...


February 25th: See a lovely red gown that appears to have been made from a sari. Think, wait, I have a sari in my stash... Pull it out, work out a cutting layout, start cutting the sari into sections, cut the bodice, cut off one the bands from the skirt section. Pull out lining material to press it, run out of energy.

February 26th: run some errands, no sewing.

February 27th: Press lining fabric, cut out, start work on the bodice. Cut out sleeves. Go to bed.

February 28th: Wake up ridiculously early. 7-10am, work on bodice sleeves and bands, add buttonholes, prepare skirt. 10am-1pm, dance class. 1-2:30pm, make and attach skirt. 2:30-3pm, eat lunch. 3pm, go to Nicole's house to finish preparing. 3:30-7pm: attach buttons, make 3 reticules, get ready, leave for ball. 8pm: arrive really really late. Have a great night anyway.

It was a few weeks later, when I saw another participant's entry and the added "Stashed for?" line for this challenge that I realized that this dress COMPLETELY counts. I've had the sari for a long time, and the buttons used to close it are "vintage" (I've had them for 15 years, I have no idea how long they'd been stashed before that). Even though the lining fabric is relatively new, having been purchased in September, it was really my only option, as most of my stash is in various shades of blue or green, and I had purchased it without another project in mind.

This fabric has been in my stash for nearly 10 years, and has finally found it's purpose. And I am THRILLED, because it looked AWESOME. I cut the bodice with the crossed edge along the border, used one border from the skirt as the hem, and cut the other one off to use as bands for the bodice and sleeves. I am SO pleased with how this came out, and having a new dress for the ball was also excellent :D

The Challenge: #3: Stashbusting
Fabric: polyester sari (approx 5m long, still have the heavily decorated end and some short pieces), cotton sheeting for lining
Stashed for?: Sari 9.5 years, lining 6 months, buttons unknown (at least 15 years)
Pattern: La Mode Bagatelle cross-over dress, Sense and Sensibility sleeves
Year: 1810s-ish
Notions: 4 vintage buttons, thread
How historically accurate is it?: the overall look is pretty good, but that's about it lol
Hours to complete: 6-8
First worn: February 28th
Total cost: $4 (lining material purchased at $0.99/m)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Adventures in: Cosplay! (Part 3) Tauriel of Mirkwood (The Hobbit)

Hello friends! I have not been entirely idle while I've been quiet :3

Cosplay adventures! Part 3? Where are Parts 1 and 2, you might be asking. I haven't posted about either one yet... namely lacking pictures. Part 1 was started around this time last year, when I was watching an anime series and a friend and I decided to cosplay from it. I hope to have good pictures of that one soon. Part 2 was in April, when I made a Game of Thrones whore-I-mean-handmaiden dress to wear to the comic expo.

This year, after watching the third Hobbit movie for the second time, I was suddenly consumed with the desire to cosplay as Tauriel. It took me over a year to figure out how I felt about her as a character. At first I wasn't sure, knowing that she was not part of the original canon. I had to let the movie adaptations go, since extending it into 3 movies to start with was making them much longer than the book ever was (I think I could read the book in the same amount of time as it would take to watch the movies back to back, actually), and characters like Legolas never appeared in the text... I never really liked Legolas in the LOTR movies, but I really liked him in these ones. (I can already hear the shocked cries of "never liked Legolas? What??" Ladies, I would like to point your attention towards Aragorn.)

It hit me rather suddenly as we watched the movie that Tauriel is really an awesome character. In this day and age of rallying cries of equality, having a female character included was quite a nice thing for Jackson to do. Having a female character included who was not sexualized in any way, who had a role that is so very very often given to males, and she is darned good at that role too (are you going to mess with a woman who carries two knives and a bow? You're braver than I if you do). At the same time, she is allowed to be feminine and vulnerable and she is not shamed for this in any way by other characters. I actually fell in love with her when I realized that she got to wear sensible shoes. The only heel on her boots is one suitable for riding.

So. Refreshing.

I walked out of the theatre processing all I'd learned, determined to create a cosplay. I'd started analyzing the costume mid-way through, and already had a rough idea of what I wanted to look for and what I would do construction-wise. I spent several hours on the weekend staring at pictures and screencaps and flipping through the second movie frame by frame. I even went to the fabric store to scout out their stock, though I didn't buy anything (mid-day Sunday just is not the time to shop for me). I went back Tuesday night to take advantage of the current sale and pick up the fabrics I'd chosen. I even got fabric for making pants, which I hadn't intended to do. I couldn't find raw silk, of course, the one time I really wanted it I couldn't get it, but I have lots of time before I need it. I don't even REALLY need it, there are plenty of visuals of the costume without the outer robe.

Well, I picked up all of those fabrics in February, and then sat on the costume for most of two months. I wanted to have a perfectly fitted bodice, so I used a Truly Victorian pattern and cut off at the waist. For some reason these pieces all have removable skirts, which from a practical point of view makes zero sense (you aren't going to stop in the middle of a battle if your skirt starts to fall off...), and used some decorative stitching on my machine to recreate the look of the piped seams on the original costume. I used the sleeve of a modern pattern that fits closely but had to remove a couple of inches out of the head to get it to fit into the armholes properly. The skirt is a couple of trapezoids sewn for a few inches at the top and hemmed. I safety pinned it to the jacket upon wearing it to make sure it didn't slip down beyond the edge of the jacket.

I definitely need to make some changes. I sewed some pre-eyeleted tape to the front as closures but it gaped and wrinkled pretty bad. The skirt pulls away from my waist and flares down, when it should at least give the appearance of closing all the way down the front. I think I need to line it and weight them hem as well, but it's hard to say for sure. I didn't make the pants I wanted to and it was so cold the day I wore it that I had to wear a full-length cloak on top of it most of the day. I'd also forgotten a proper undershirt and made-do with a cream camisole... It was a bit of a disaster.

But. My wig is beautiful, and I got a photo with Graham McTavish, who plays Dwalin in the Hobbit movies and Dougal McKenzie in Outlander, and he is just a wonderful person. I also picked up an autograph for my aunt, who requested that I give him a kiss. I didn't expect anything when I told him that I was supposed to deliver said kiss, but he was so very very kind to allow me to kiss his cheek. My aunt was over the moon when I told her about it :)

And of course, I need to get to work on the rest of the pieces, including the props! I have plans to wear this again in September, but I should start soon :) I don't want to have any last-minute pre-event sewing this year!

This is literally the only photo I have of the outfit. I want the costume to be more ready for photographs before I take some proper ones.

Myself and Graham McTavish

Road to Costume College 2018

Gosh, where did the first half of the year go? (I know where, winter was unusually long and dark and cold, and it's effect lasted longer...