Saturday, July 28, 2012

Skirting the Issue

I threw these together for my sister in Steampunkery, Contessa Esselia, prior to Steampunk Industrial Revolution that we attended together.  Today, she was wonderful enough to provide a picture for me of her modeling them!

I cannot take credit for the blouse or the corset, but I happily take credit for the skirts that she is wearing.  They are separate pieces, designed to be comfortable when worn together.  The brown over-skirt has a simple, elastic waistband and then two channels down the front that can be drawn up to create the "pick-ups" in the front.  The underskirt is gathered into a waistband, which was then elastic-ed, so it wouldn't be so bulky when worn with the over-skirt.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Adventures in Decoupage

Not infrequently, my costuming pursuits require me to get into contact with my inner Girl Scout and subsequently get down and dirty with some Arts and Crafts.  Sometimes you need a mask for an ensemble, or a fan to keep yourself cool, or a crown, or an elaborate headpiece... you get the idea.  I desperately try to keep my prop-making at a minimum and outsource as much as possible, as I simply do not need *another* craft to eat my time and suck away at my soul, but sometimes there is just no getting around it.

For example...

While at Steampunk Industrial Revolution, my friend and sister-in-steampunkery, Contessa Esselia, and I decided that my duster-wearing-saloon-hall-girl needed a fan of playing cards as an accessory.  As it happened, I was able to find a deck of old-timey-looking playing cards at the con, but I hadn't a clue as to how I was going to turn them into a fan.  Fast forward a bit, and I find myself headed out to Omaha, Nebraska to visit my beau and to attend the Steampunk Society of Nebraska's Wild West Day.  Therefore, this fan needs to be done, pronto.

I had been floating around on Pintrest while looking for inspiration for this fan of mine, and I stumbled my way into decoupage.  My cards are made from paper, so it seemed logical that I could decoupage them onto a hand-fan shape of some kind or another.  Only, I have never decoupaged before.

So.  Here we go!

I bought Mod-Podge, because everyone says that you should use Mod-Podge.  I didn't want glossy, so I went with a matte finish, and thinking myself daring I chose the "Antique Matte".  I *almost* went with the crackle-effect stuff, but after reading the instructions, I decided it was too rich for my blood and kept it simple.

My trusty sponge-applicator-brush-thing.  Thinking that bigger would obviously be better, I picked a very wide brush.  It worked well enough, but it didn't really fit into the neck of my Mod-Podge bottle, so I had to risk ruining some tupperware by pouring the Mod-Podge into a separate container.  (No worries, everything survived.)

My Dad had the idea to make the fan-shaped-base out of balsa wood, which he then lovingly purchased and then cut to my pattern.  Pictured here is also the basic layout for the cards.  Obviously I'm not using all 52 cards in the deck.  But, those of you who know me personally, know me well enough to see the very clear and present pattern of the layout that my OCD demands.

And, here we are!  Decoupage is not at all the headache I thought it would be.  It is really "gluing for adults" when it gets down to it.  You slather the back of your cutout with glue, wait for it to dry, and then slather the top of the cutout with glue.  Sadly, the lighting available to me doesn't show how very nicely the "antique matte" has yellowed the cards to make them look extra-special, but maybe someone will catch it as I am trying to keep myself cool in Omaha.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blue Bodice

It is Renaissance Festival season here in Central New York, and a friend of mine asked me to put together a new bodice for her!  I was, of course, more than happy to comply, especially considering that she provided me with lovely fabric to work with.  However, there were some considerations for my friend.  She is asthmatic and we didn't want to stifle her with a typically tight-laced bodice.  Instead, we came up with this...

This is made from a pattern that was given to my Mother by a member of the SCA.  We have lovingly referred to it as the "Fishwife's Bodice" for many years.  I lengthened the original pattern, though, and was careful about the straps, as they always seem to be a bit wacky.

This is the back of the bodice, which *does* lace at the side-back seams.  This is an important feature for adjustability.  In this way, if my friend is having a bad-breathing day, she can loosen it up at the sides and not just the front.

While the idea was to make a soft-bodice, I will say that the entire thing is interfaced with duck canvas and boned at the grommets with nylon cable-ties.  This makes it impossible for those grommets to bunch and pucker, and it gives the bodice a "solid" look.

The shoulders of the pattern are also grommetted, which is another adjustability feature.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer King

With "Autumn Queen" completed, it was time to create her "Summer King".  My idea was to use shades of green and then tie the color choices back to the Autumn Queen, so that theoretically a person could look at the pair and see the progression of summer into fall.  Here's hoping!

A basic shirt out of muslin.

Now, add a doublet made from a sage green.  Instead of grommeting or affixing button loops, I opted to use button holes and lacing for my closures.  There are a total of 36 button holes in the doublet, and I would like to take this opportunity to gush about how awesome my sewing machine is and once again thank my beau's mother for purchasing it for me.

Then, add a surcoat of the "Autumn Queen's" green.

Finally, add pants!  I am particularly proud of these as it is the first time I have made pants from a pattern in *ages*.  The top is yoked with a fly and four-button closure and the legs are short, so they end up as breeches.

I am very excited to see the couple together, in their costumes!  Hopefully I will have pictures of the final result soon!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Autumn Queen

I've mentioned about my friends and how I make costumes for them.  What I haven't mentioned is that many of my friends are men and can't sew.  Many of my friends that *are* women *can* sew, which generally leaves me making pretty dresses for myself.  Most of the time I'm pretty ok with this, but I simply *dive* at the chance to make pretty dresses for other girls.

So, when a Canadian friend of mine decided to host a masquerade and then commissioned me to create a costume for him *and* his lady, I was more than pleased.  The theme for the masquerade is "Summer King and Autumn Queen", and my plan was to turn the pair into exactly that.

Here is the "Autumn Queen"...

The under-skirt really needed its own picture, given the applique on it.  I used a bundle of fat quarter batik fabric and some leaf shapes that I found online.  I *love* the outcome, and I hope "Queen" does too!

This is the dress without the pick-ups pulled up in front.  I opted for outside channels as a way to add in some more color (which will be seen again in "King's" outfit).

Finally, the dress as it is intended to be worn.  I have never met "Queen", so I am very nervous that this dress should fit correctly and look as good as I hope it does on her, and that she loves it.

Now, on to her "King"!