thing-a-day four: finished!

And here’s the finished project… a Regency dress!

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I had the fabric in my collection, though only about a yard of each, which wasn’t going to be quite enough for a skirt.  I was able to work through the long underskirt by making the hidden part underneath the blue overskirt from another fabric.  I’m loving the accents of the front bow, pink sleeve cuffs, and the rose pearl buttons on the back!

A Costumed Christmas

My five-year-old nephew is on a serious cowboy kick lately, and I was asked by my mother (his grandma!) to make a ‘real cowboy vest’ as a gift.  However, as I am completely tapped out on funds by this point (thanks student teaching =p), I wanted to see if I could manage to fanangle this out of nothing and air.  And maybe spit.image

I raided the fabric stash and got really lucky finding a great faux leather pillow cover (from the pillow project earlier this summer) that provided JUST enough base material for this mini-sized vest.  I copied and shrank a vintage vest pattern that I’ve been saving for making Sarah from Labyrinth, and I had all the supplies I needed, already on hand!  No worries there!

Because the leather-like material was such good quality, I decided to do a really authentic look and lapped seams instead of doing a regular seam.  I stitched each one twice for durability as well as for a more authentic rustic look.  That made construction really easy and really attractive.  Finally, I top stitched all around the outside and the sleeve openings of the vest for a finishing touch.

I’m delighted with the finished product, and I hope my nephew will be as well!  This is a sturdy little garment that should last for years… at least until he outgrows it!

What’s your favorite handmade Christmas costume?

Cosplay Friday!

I REALIZE that I need to put a little more focus on costuming because, hello, that’s a thing I do.  Crafts are so distracting, augh!  So on Fridays I will try to focus on some aspect of cosplay or costuming.  I am sewing, after all!  I didn’t buy that awesome new machine for nothing!

imageToday I want to focus on one of my favorite cosplay places on the internet: the AC Paradise Network!  With places for every kind of cosplayer, from the ladies, to the gentlemen, to the photographers who capture them all, ACP has organized and carved out a space for every cosplayer on the internet.

One of the neat things about this website is the cross-referencing features that can help you find photos of your costumes.  By searching by tags of your name, the convention you attended, the character or series your costume is from, or any combination thereof, there’s a good chance you’ll find a photo you haven’t seen yet.  I love to use this to reminisce about fun cons of years gone past, like in this photo from Anime Central 2007 with some of my favorite peoples!  “What’s that over there?!”  Ha!

There are also several levels of membership that you can purchase for yourself or others can choose as gifts.  Really love someone’s stuff and want to encourage them more?  Pick up a Celestial Membership for them!  Believe me, it’ll really make their day!

ACP has grown and evolved alongside the cosplay community since their creation in 2000, making good on their motto of “A Site for Cosplayers, by Cosplayers."  With them as a supporter of the community, the last decade of cosplay has proven to be a great one for everyone!  Thanks for all the great memories, Wayne and Genjitsu!  We love ya!

Quick and Easy Day of the Dead Costumes

deaddaySo my attempt at Han Solo and Princess Leia costumes failed with an overwhelming week prior to Halloween.  We didn’t even make it to the main party we usually attend, and we missed our friends bunches!   We did make it out for a short trip to another party on Saturday, but I struggled to come up with a last minute costume for each of us.

Climbing into the costume closet, I returned with all the pieces of black clothing we owned and proposed a fitting Dia de los Muertos theme!  I printed out these decorated skull images (or calaveras) and mounted them on cardstock and construction paper to create handheld masks for each of us.  With a little coloring, they really popped!  A few flowers borrowed from Ophelia completed our costumes.

The outfits were a big hit (and they go really well with the black and white floor at my friend’s house!  Heehee!).  I’ve seen a lot of similar costumes created with makeup and really incredible styling, so that’s another option you could go for!  I liked this option for us because we didn’t have the makeup available, and we didn’t run the risk of scaring the host’s 8-month-old daughter.  It’s also interesting to learn more about Dia de los Muertos!

How was your Halloween?

Dressing Ophelia – Complete!

She’s done!  In fact, she’s been done for a week, but I wanted to get a few nice photos.  I had a lot of fun at Mile Hi Con, too, and took home 1st place in the adult category!  Nick and I took these photos yesterday – so Happy Halloween, too!

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I did all the beading in about 12 hours total, using about a dozen types of stones and glass: pearls, rose & crystal quartz, aventurine, amazonite, jade, jasper, garnet, labradorite, and others.  I even got to use a friend’s great embroidery machine to add some much needed detail. I still have a little beading to do; my tiny pearls for the sleeves just got in this week.  But overall I’m really thrilled with the outcome and I can’t wait to wear it again!

Obscure Costume Sources

As a cosplayer, this is certainly not a foreign idea to me, as I’ve mentioned before.  Cosplay costumes don’t make good Halloween costumes, of course, but I’ve found myself picking out even more obscure designs for creation among books – especially children’s books.  I blame it all on the teaching thing.  Here are some ideas I’d love to go after:

imageThe pretty maiden from East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Mercer Mayer.

I’m working on an author study of Mr. Mayer for graduate school, and this is one of the main reasons I chose him: his beautiful illustrations and tales. East of the Sun, West of the Moon is one of my favorite fairy tales (linked with Psyche and Cupid, the Frog Prince, etc), and I adore the detailed dresses and lush fabrics in Mayer’s illustrations.  I’d love to create one of the pretty dresses from this story someday.

imageThe Beloved from the Twelve Days of Christmas Golden Book.

This little book was such a surprise!  I got it in a collection of free kids books that were donated to my future classroom,  and this was indeed a treasure.  Filled with beautiful illustrations of a girl and her holiday sweetheart, I fell in love with the medieval inspired dresses the girl changes throughout the twelve days.  Also I HAVE A THING FOR PRETTY DRESSES.

Now that I think about it, I actually have done a slightly obscure book character: Arha, the Eaten One from the Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin.

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And of course Ophelia, in her Waterhouse incarnation… that’ll be finished up soon.  What sort of obscure projects are you dreaming of?