Friday, February 28, 2020

1840s is the order of the day

Not off to the best blogging start for the new year. Life's been crazy and I'm hoping things slow down a bit soon, but I'm certainly not holding my breath.

Late last year I was invited to attend a celebration event at Newstead House. It's been a while since I have done anything historical and a good portion of my historical clothing has shrunk in the wardrobe. So to combat that issue, I decided that it was time for a new outfit. I decided to revamp my 1850s silk ballgown, which I last wore in 2013 It no longer fits and I haven't been able to on-sell it, so it was something perfect to rework. But I didn't want to just make a new bodice and recreate the same outfit.

I've always had a love of the 1840s fashions and they're a perfect period for wearing at Newstead House, which was built in 1846. And I do have a whole set of 1840s undergarments which does still fit. My first step was to find some inspiration, and I came across this lovely tartan gown.


Inspiration chosen, I drafted up and mocked up a pattern before cutting out my fabric. I managed to cut the entire outfit out of the skirts from the previous gown, not even touching my extra fabric. The only thing I needed to purchase for the new gown was some white cotton for lining the bodice. All trimmings came from my stash.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Brisnova 2019

Then came Supanova.

This time, I’m not too far off on the backlog. We’re in the same month. Supanova is the biggest pop culture convention in Australia, and the Brisbane event, the last of the year is generally the most well attended of all the cons across the country. (There’s a lot of loyalty in Queensland). But it came around far too fast this year, or rather the year seems to have run far too fast and I wasn’t overly prepared for it all. But I did manage to put together two (yes two) new costumes.

It was a hard choice, deciding what I was going to wear. The con fell only two weeks after I had surgery to remove endometriosis. I was still recovering and healing from my surgery, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do my usual costumes which involve corsetry. The thought of compressing my tender belly for a few days was too horrific. So, I decided on costumes that aren’t in my usual wheelhouse. I should also mention, that while the con runs for three days, Friday was hideously hot and humid and there was no way I was putting on a costume, so I went along and shopped (a bit too much) in shorts and a t-shirt. Most of my cosplay friends had the same idea.

But that brings us to Saturday. I dressed as Supergirl from the DC cartoon Super Best Friends Forever. 

This costume is one that I have wanted to do for a long time, but I put it off because I was uncomfortable with my weight. Ironically, I ended up doing it when I was still bloated from surgery and a bit heavier than I have been in the past. But I reached a point where that seemed like a stupid reason for putting off this costume. It was actually a pretty easy to put together. I already had a pattern drafted and mockup cut out, so I whipped that up and made some necessary pattern adjustments. From there, it was just a matter of sewing it all together. The parts that I was most nervous about was sewing with spandex, the logo and boots. I don’t normally do a lot of stretch sewing so I was thrown a little out of my element on this, but my Bernina 570 machine is a blessing. With its fabulous stretch stitches, it all came together smoothly (I will admit that I put the zip in four times before I was happy with it). As for the logo, it came out beautifully. I fused the layers together and used a tearaway stabiliser to stop any stretching and it all worked so well. Then there were the boots. I watched a number of online tutorials on how to go about creating spandex boots using ballet flats. They seemed to turn out well. It’s just unfortunate that the shape of them means they don’t stay up on their own, but I just whip stitched the front points to my dance tights for the day and they held up really well.

As for Sunday, I decided to go for something more in my comfort zone. My vintage comfort zone. I designed my own version of a human form (or Gajinka) Pokemon. My favourite little pink thing, the Jigglypuff. I turned her into a classic vintage lounge singer, pulling together a pink evening gown, pink wig and retro microphone. The gown is one that I have made before, so it was a matter of simply finding a pink fabric that worked – I grabbed a great satin backed crepe from Thankfully it was the perfect shade of pink when it arrived. Of course, the weekend before the event I decided it would be a great idea to add some beading detail to the bodice. A rather silly last minute decision that saw me up to the wee hours each night beading my heart out. It was worth it in the end, but next time I’ll do my best to plan ahead a bit more. The best thing about this costume though, is that it doesn’t have to be a costume in the future. It’s just a lovely dress that I get to add to my wardrobe.


(Photos are all thanks to the fabulous cousin, Trinnyt).

Stay tuned though, there is more to come this year. (It feels like my sewing mojo may have returned after an extended break).

Monday, November 25, 2019

18th Century for a con?

It seems like I am always catching up on my blog rather than being pro-active about posting. Things have been a little bit crazy in my life of late, with work changes, some health issues, and car troubles that time just slips away. But onto it. Catchup.

Back in September, I dragged myself along to the Brisbane leg of Oz Comic Con. I say dragged because I was rather ill at the time, recovering from a headcold. I thankfully only went on the one day of the event, as I don’t think I could have handled much more. But for the occassion, I made my first costume in quite some time. I dressed as Bess from “The Duchess”, in her white chemise a la reine, which is worn a few times during the film. The main reason I chose this outfit was that Haley Atwell, the actress who played Bess would be in attendance at the con. Unfortunately, my photo with her is not the most flattering for me. Though a lovely photographer friend did take some photos of me before I got changed into comfortable sick person clothing.

I thought that this would be a quick costume to whip up for me as it’s similar to another gown that I have made previously. In that all it required was for me to cut the gown out, add in a neck ruffle and sleeve ruffle and call it a day. Of course I then realised that my Georigan stays were now too small. Granted I made them back in 2013 and my shape has changed quite significantly since then. Suddenly my project turned into making a new set of stays as well as a gown. I dug some fabric out of my stash and whipped up a new set of stays (which I still need to finish the eyelets on). And of course, I added a bit too much into the stays and they lace closed, so another new pair of stays is now in my future. Frustrating, but that’s the way it goes I guess. I blame the fact that I squish too much.

As for the event itself, it was a fun day out and I’m glad that I pushed myself to make something new. Even if I’m not sure that I want to wear the gown again. I was a little disappointed in the lack of vendors in Artist’s Alley. It’s where I do most of my shopping but there wasn’t a whole lot of creators. Maybe next year it will be better, and I will plan a little more in advance when deciding on a new costume.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Minako Aino

I still haven’t gotten back into my good blogging habits.

A few weeks ago (in May) I decided to attend the Madman Anime Convention in Brisbane. Cancelled plans meant that I could actually go, and of course that meant that I wanted a new costume. Enter a frantic week of sewing, because yes I made this decision late on the Friday night a week out. I dug myself out of bed on Saturday and headed straight for my fabric stash. I had chosen to do an outfit of Sailor Venus (a casual one).


My fabric stash proved on point and I was able to pull out five pieces of fabric perfect for my plans. I needed to get together a t-shirt, a tank top, a skirt, a petticoat, necklace, hairbow and wig. I started by drafting up my patterns. Thankfully these were all simple pieces so didn’t require a whole lot of technical challenge. I started with the t-shirt and cut into my stash of white cotton lycra. Of course the first t-shirt I made has the wrong neckline, so I quickly fixed my pattern and cut out another one (to be later sewn on Monday evening after work).


I then stitched my skirt and petticoat. It wasn’t until I was almost done and I tried it on that I remembered the skirts might be too long, so I hacked off what wasn’t needed and rehemmed them, leaving the waistband hand-sewing and closures to later. I generally try to focus on getting my machine sewing done on the weekends. I then made the tank top (twice, because the first one didn’t fit right). I’m still not happy with the tank top and am planning to re-make it, but it just goes to prove that you really should spend the time doing a mock-up. The final piece to make was the hairbow. I cut up some pieces of red linen and made the pieces, adding some wadding into the top part of the bow to keep it structured.

Unfortunately I had to work on the Sunday, so it was a lost day for sewing. But in the end I managed to scrape it all together in time. And thankfully my wig was a previous cosplay wig restyled. I’m rather pleased with how the costume came together and it just proved to me that when I put my mind to it, I can get this stuff done in no time. (Doesn’t mean that I have started on the next project though).


As for the event, it was small but a vast improvement of the Brisbane anime conventions I attended years ago. There was a good range of sellers, and artists section where I spent most of my budget and entertainment. I went with my brother, and we were done after about 2 hours. I do think though that they are on the way to something great. We ended up grabbing Vietnamese for lunch afterwards before heading back to my brother’s apartment for an afternoon of gaming.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Comp Insanity

I may have rocks in my head.

Over the weekend I signed up to participate in the Bernina Cosplay Competition run through the Cosplay Collective. The comp opened in October last year and it’s only now that I am signing up? What is going in my head?! But I’ve put my hand up to commit to this thing and I’m certainly going to give it a crack.

As for what I am making… After a lot of back and forth, I finally narrowed it down to Padme’s Pre-Senate Kimono Gown from Star Wars Episode 1. Shocking movie, but the costumes are impressive.

When I first decided on this one I thought it might be too simple. But then once the research began I realised that I am biting off a lot more. So far I am in the collection phase. I started off doing all my research:
  • Finding reference images (screencaps, exhibition photographs)
  • Searching for other cosplayers who have made the costume (What did they do? What went wrong? What worked well?)

I then broke down the costume into its numerous components and made myself a shopping list. Hello bullet journal. Next up, I started hunting around my favourite fabric websites for supplies. There are a few elements that I will be able to use fabric from my stash for which does help bring down the costs. Next on the list though is ordering my notions, and decorative supplies (beads, embroidery threads, hooks, worbla, fabric dye). Then there are the purchased supplies such as makeup, wigs and wefts.

But while I am waiting for all of that to arrive, I need to make a start on drafting up my patterns. I’ve selected two from my pattern collection: one is a Kimono costume pattern and the other is a straight sleeve pattern. Come this weekend I really want to make a start on drafting my patterns and get my mockups cut out. From there I will be able to sew them up and make any adjustments. How the first mockup turns out will determine if I need to mockup a second time (or third etc). For me, it really depends on how close I am to the final version before I made any more changes.

Right now, online shopping it is…