Thursday, November 28, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I read all of the Little House books in elementary school and positively adored them.  I remember being really excited and happy when the library told me I could take more than one (!) book out at a time, and I promptly grabbed almost every single book in the series (and then, ya know, read them in like, a day, and had nothing to do for the next two weeks).

Since I loved the books so much, I really wanted to dress up like a pioneer for Purim.  The following outfit is, apparently, what the little 3rd/4th grade me thought a pioneer on the American frontier looked like in the 1840s-1860s.  Please note my halter-top-dress-turned-shirt-I-don't-even-know with cherries on it, my apron (borrowed from my grandma, maybe?), and my long skirt (definitely borrowed from Grandma).  Also please appreciate my adorable-as-hell braids and my how-do-I-even-have-this historically inaccurate  bonnet (pretty sure it was from my last trip to Colonial Williamsburg, which I was (and still am) enamored with).

Egads, the amount of what-even in this picture astounds me.  Please know that I value historical accuracy a lot more know and would never be caught dead in such an outfit ever. 


Throwback Thursday Sum-Up

Age at Time: I don't know if I was in third or fourth grade, so anywhere from aged 8 to 10.

Costume: Pioneer on the American frontier / Laura Ingalls / 1860s

Event: Purim 

Level of embarrassment (scale of 1-10, 10 being deathly embarrassing): 10.  Yup, this rates a 10.  Please see above note about historical accuracy. 

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that this is going to be the last post in a while.  See you in January!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo 2013

Two weeks ago, I attended Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo.  In a way, it marked the anniversary of when I got into costuming because I wore my very first thrifted, modded, and homemade Steampunk costumes to the same convention last year (even though the con was in September last year, but November this year). 

My sister took a lot of the pictures from Saturday below.  I missed most of the morning thanks to the SAT, but I gave the camera to her with instructions to TAKE PICTURES!

I'm getting spoiled by Comic Con.  Though this is a smaller con, it gets bigger every year.  Last year was a major improvement over the previous year, but this year didn't seem to have been as accommodating of the larger attendance.  I was disappointed with the variety of panels and shops (though the quality of the panels was still very good and I nevertheless managed to clear out my wallet).

A group of Deadpools on the stairs.  If a group of birds is a flock, a group of fish a school, I wonder what a group of Deadpools is called?

IT'S QUEEN AMIDALA!!!! Oh my goodness, the details!

"Engage!"
I'd just like to point out that my sister is wearing a shirt with Lt. Uhura as Communications Officer on the Enterprise on it, but siting in the captains chair on a model of the bridge of the Enterprise D.  Hah!  

I might be in the wrong "Star ____" universe.

With Han Solo in carbonite. 

Bustles are so much fun!

Oops.  Wrong universe, again.
With a wonderful Vader from the 501st guys.  He kept on calling me, "my lady," which of course will make any gal squeee!


With Steampunk Hana Solo and Luka Skywalker at the Costume Contest.

Costume Contest on Saturday night

This author was kind enough to let me take a picture of her corset.  The leather appliqués were really well done.

BEST Doctor with his TARDIS that I have ever seen and that I probably will ever see.

Halloween 2013 Sewing

This post was scheduled to go up over a week ago, but I probably messed up setting the date and time, so here it is now!

I don't have many pictures of the in-process construction of my Halloween costume because I finished it a mere six-ish hours before I had to wear it the next morning.  (Yeah, it was like that.)  "Finished it" is very relative in this sense.  The blouse is fully wearable, complete with closures, but the belt had to be safety-pinned closed.  As I learned from a friend at CoCo over the summer, you do not need closures for something to be "done."

This is what my costume looked like on the 26th, right before I started the mockup.

No pictures of the mockup, unfortunately, since the ever-wonderful sister that normally acts as my photographer was comfortably reading in bed and could not be moved.

Working on the lining to the tune of Doctor Who

I have discovered the secret to watching movies or television while working: the program has to be something I already know by heart, so that I do not spend more time watching than I do sewing.  I also finally got smart and raised the table using volumes of the OED (three under each leg -- it's a running joke with my sister that we use OEDs for everything but looking up words).


I'm really proud of the boning channels in the lining.  They're very neat.  That is all.

Decorating the hat -- $15 fake flowers from JoAnns, hat from the dollar store.

Over this five day long sewing marathon, I watched: HerculesMulan (1 and 2), Lilo & StitchKronk's New GrooveDoctor Horrible's Sing Along Blog (twice), 11 episodes of Doctor Who, many episodes of Teen Titans, and a couple episodes of Downton Abbey (to get me in the Edwardian mood).  I broke two sewing needles and bent almost all of my pins (especially one yellow pin that's not even usable any more -- pics to come once I track it down).  I poked myself with pins several times (but only needed a band-aid twice), and got one bloodstain (my own) on the belt.  My mom poked herself and drew blood twice (don't know about the band-aids for her, though).  I got a blister on my thumb from hand sewing (even though I didn't do that much) and ripped a gazillion seams a gazillion times.

Gah.

I'm very impressed with the pattern.  I used the (fairly) recently released Butterick 5970, which was historically accurate enough for my needs.  I haven't found any evidence of the weird elbow poofs, but then again, my elbow poofs came out a lot larger than what the pattern called for.  (I was running low on time, so I didn't add the upper sleeve piece that would have covered most of the puff.)  I did get the opportunity to chat online with a friend of the pattern maker, who said that the pattern was based off an extant dress in the pattern maker's personal collection.


Got this brooch at CoCo and I love it -- have no idea if the placement is period, though

I'm still impressed with how the ruched collar came out 

Close up of trim above elbow poofs -- the trim is actually covering the raw edge of the lace 

Grr.  The collar stitching broke when I tried to undress alone -- always have someone on hand to help you get a back-closing bodice off.  Always.  Unless you are a contortionist.

Such tiny stitches (on the outside, at least)!  This is at the wrist, and will at some point be covered with lace trim.

Sacrifices must be made to get a fitted sleeve at the wrist.

Why are you taking pictures when you can be petting me?

One fault with the pattern: it's unclear what to do with the raw edges of the fashion fabric of the bodice, so I did my best to cover it with the trim.

I need to move the buttons at the top near the collar to adjust for my poor posture. (And I have yet to fit Louisa to my own measurements.)

A friend of mine saw that I bought a new parasol at CoCo and offered to teach my how to recover it.  We got together to recover our parasols just before the school year started, but I unfortunately had to head home before I could finish, so the pieces have been cut out since August.  I was really glad that I'd gotten extra fabric for the parasol, because I ended up making the belt with the same fabric!

Temporary fix to keep the parasol closed = ribbon

I have a thing for scallops.  The discoloration is due to Fray Block.  I should have tested it on the fabric first, because I found a bit too late that it doesn't scratch off easily like it does with most fabrics.

My hat is also not perfect -- I didn't get the flowers to lay perfectly, like I wanted them to, but I'm very happy with the overall look.  My classmate took a cell phone picture of me in AP Art History when I got up to write on the board.  We were having a fun review day with crossword puzzles.  You can see the back of my hat fairly well.

Thanks, Katie!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday

World-shattering announcement:  Throwback Thursdays are becoming an every-other-week kinda thing.  This is half to draw out the number of old pictures I have and half to allow myself enough time in between posts to give you something more interesting.

This is my interpretation of a pirate in 3rd grade.  I have a bandana and a neckerchief.  Wow.  I think my sister at least got a stuffed parrot on her shoulder when she dressed up as a pirate.



Throwback Thursday Sum-Up

Age at Time: almost 9

Costume: Pirate!

Event: Pirate Day at school maybe?

Level of embarrassment (scale of 1-10, 10 being deathly embarrassing): 8

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween 2013

All those "Edwardian Hair Attempt" posts were not in vain!  I finished my Halloween costume on time and enjoyed very much wearing it to school for Pumpkin Day.

Prepare yourself for pictures.  Lots of 'em.  And most of them are silly.

Baseball with a parasol.

Golfing with a parasol.

Fencing with a parasol.

Tusken Raidering with a parasol.

Oh, how scandalous!

Attempting my best "Dreamstress" pose...

... which quickly devolved into the "Egyptian walk"

Look, I can fly! -- I have no idea what's going on here.

Finally!  A serious picture.

And the obligatory butt picture.
The next post will (hopefully) be a bit more serious.

A huge thank you to my wonderful friend who took these pictures for me!  I'm sorry I can't take serious pictures sometimes, but they came out beautifully.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Throwback Thursday

In honor of today being Halloween, I am sharing my very first Halloween costume.  I had never dressed up for Halloween until I went to high school.  My school can't actually celebrate Halloween as a holiday, so we instead celebrate Pumpkin Day on October 31st.  Pumpkin Day is really fun.  Everyone dresses up in costumes, both students and teachers.

Students' costumes range from pop culture figures to visual puns and everything in between.  Some of the more memorable costumes from the past years have been the royal wedding party from the year the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge married, zombie Disney princesses, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Snape, Harley Quinn, SWAT team members, and the characters from Moonrise Kingdom.  Of course, there is always a number of cats and pirates each year.  (I am guilty of the second.  My friend and I were Anne Bonny and Mary Read in 10th grade, but I don't think we ever decided who was who.)

The teachers usually have a theme for their department.  One year, the science department wore red t-shirts with Star Fleet insignias on the front like Star Fleet uniforms, but with "expendable" in the Star Trek title script on the back.  Some of the teachers even had their own tricorders or phasers.

Anyway, I got off-topic in the attempt to describe the wonder that is Pumpkin Day.


I designed this costume during one science class during 9th grade.  I don't remember what inspired me to do it, why I wanted to make it, or anything at all that would be helpful in helping me to understand what my thought process was at that time.

I am completely boggled.  I have no idea what the original costume was supposed to be of and I said various different things throughout the day: I drifted from being a coral reef to being the personification of a midsummer night's dream to being a seaweed forest to being the color green.

I didn't even make the costume myself -- I designed it and chose the fabrics, but my mom really did the grunt work.  I was afraid of using my sewing machine at that time.

Throwback Thursday Sum-Up

Age at Time: 14

Costume: I don't know

Event: Pumpkin Day/Halloween

Level of embarrassment (scale of 1-10, 10 being deathly embarrassing): 8

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Edwardian Hair Attempt #2

I bought some hair rats the other day at a beauty store nearby so I could experiment a bit more with Edwardian hair before Thursday.  

This first hair style is supported with two longish rats that are placed around the head with one in front and one in back. 


The second style I tried uses the same two longish  rats, but they are connected in a U-shape and placed towards the back of the head.  The forward poof is just from curling my hair back on itself and pinning it.


Frankly, I'm not impressed with either style just yet.  I don't think either looks natural or at all like anything from the period.  I keep reminding myself that I'm going to be wearing a hat all day, so it doesn't matter too much, but the perfectionist in me doesn't like the reminders.

As for actual sewing, I have quite a lot to do.  The bodice needs finishing; the sleeves need to be finished and attached; the collar isn't even fully cut out yet; the belt is cut out, but needs to be constructed; my old skirt needs a few new hooks; the parasol covering is cut out, but not sewn; and the reticule is just a figment of my imagination at the moment.  Oh, and the hat is only half-done.  I have a lot to do in only two nights!

I'm being very ambitious, but I hope that I can do enough tonight that I will only have to do hand sewing/finishing tomorrow.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I have 27 minutes to write this until it is no longer Thursday.

I had no idea what Throwback Thursday was until recently -- my only previous experience with Throwback Thursdays was during Spirit Week at school each year, when each day had a different theme that everyone dressed up for.  I just thought the student council that organized it had been creative about the name of the day so that it alliterated.  (Other "dress up" days have included fun ones like "Twin Day," where you coordinate outfits with another person or with other people, meaning that you could come to school in free dress and say that your "twin" was absent; "Dress Like a Boy Day," 'cause its an all-girls school and they didn't take into consideration when they planned the event that it would offend people; and "Would You Still Be Me Friend Day," which I can't even explain it's so wrong.)

Eeeek!  Only 18 minutes left!

Anyhoo, I like the idea behind the real Throwback Thursday, but I want to make it unique (and relevant to this blog) by posting old pictures of me in various costumes instead.  There is really no reason for this, other than that most of the costumes are terrible and extremely embarrassing because we all had to start somewhere.  (I'm not saying that I think what I do now is perfect.  I'm not even implying that.  What I do now is an improvement, nothing more.)  I will from now on be posting semi-regularly a picture of yours truly in an embarrassingly terrible costume that I thought was the bomb when I was younger.

At a certain point I will run out of pictures that I have on my computer and will be too lazy to look for other pictures.  When that happens, the series will probably end, except for the occasional "it is actually relevant to my life right now!" moment.

To start off this new series, I have something that is actually relevant to tomorrow--whoops--today.  Good morning.  It is no longer Throwback Thursday, so it's actually relevant to today.

Ahem, today is St. Crispin's Day, which I only know because my sister read Henry V in her Shakespeare class back when I was in 9th grade and memorized King Henry's famous St. Crispin's Day speech (preformed by Kenneth Branagh in the clip below).


She somehow convinced my mother to let us have a St. Crispin's Day feast on October 25th, complete with rented costumes and glass tumblers full of bubbly apple cider (yeah, we're classy).

Myself (note poet shirt, tunic-thing, and belt from H&M)

Guilty sister on the left, knightly Hobbit sister on the right 
None of my future Throwback Thursday posts will have this many pictures (as far as I know) because, for the most part, I only have one or two good pictures of each costume.

We're so pretty!
Throwback Thursday Sum-Up

Age at time: 14

Costume: vaguely-Medieval who-knows-what

Event: St. Crispin's Day Feast at home with family

Level of embarrassment (scale of 1 - 10, 10 is deathly embarrassing): 2

Monday, October 21, 2013

Edwardian Hair Attempt

I will start this post by disclaiming that it was really hard to sum up the nerve to post this.  I guess I'm still battling with being afraid of making mistakes (and then broadcasting those mistakes for the world to see.  That's really stressful).

Somehow my tumblr blog and this one have become totally unsynchronized.  Anyhoo, I'm in the middle fulfilling a request for a very brief series (I'm calling it a "micro-mini" series *teehee!*) on tutorials/resources for DIY costumes for Halloween (which might be my favorite secular holiday because YOU GET TO DRESS UP!).  I'm trying to inspire people to add to their existing costumes or to create a whole new one by providing them with resources that will enhance their overall look.  In doing this, I managed to inspire myself to make a new costume.  I was planning on wearing my Lady Vader to school (probably without the bustle, though.  I really didn't want to deal with fitting into desks), but managed to convince myself to make something that would use elements I already have.

It all started when I posted a link to a lovely Edwardian 'do on Locks of Elegance's blog, with the hope of introducing people obsessed with Downton Abbey to period-correct hairstyles.  I'd tried it before with less than stellar results, but decided to revisit Locks of Elegance's tutorials and give her Gibson Girl a go:

This was the result with my first attempt.  No poof at the top at all.  This doesn't look at all like Gibson Girl hair.

Playing around with the poof.  I'm really unhappy with this shape.
Time for another disclaimer: I don't "do" hair.  The most complex thing I can do with my hair is the Gibson Tuck, and that is only for special occasions.  Otherwise, my hair stays in a bun or a braid at all times.  The few times I've worn it down for special occasions have not gone well.

I played around with getting the poof right a few times, but couldn't get the volume or shape I wanted.  Finally I tried rolling my hair and pinning it, which gave me this:

This face is a very accurate description of how I feel about my hair.

What is going on up there?  (I had to photoshop away the giant bags under my eyes. You should be thanking me.) 

I was not impressed.  It looked crazy-big and uneven, and not at all the shape I wanted.  But hey, it looks good from the side!

This is my "attempting to exude elegance" face.

Then I realized that, if all goes well, I will be wearing a hat.  Enter stage left a random hat that was close at hand:

Hmm, meh.
I haven't actually decided yet how I will decorate the actual hat, if at all, which will depend on how I wear it, which will influence how I style my hair.  So, for the moment, the hair does not actually matter.

Of course, all the playing around with the hair made it voluminous (what I try to avoid), but it struck me as really '80s (1980s, that is -- you can never be too careful around historians!) so I know what I will do next time I'm invited to an '80s party.  Er, 1980s, that is.


Thanks for reading!  Any suggestions you may have on how to improve my Edwardian floofy-ness is appreciated.