Saturday, January 31, 2015

30 Days of Cosplay - Day 8


Lord *eye roll* I hope you are ready. I am a freaky organiser, so try to plan super far ahead and we are just starting this year. Do keep in mind though, that as a woman I reserve the right to change my mind.

In order of making:
- 1850s sheer gown
- Diablo 3 Monk
- Game of Thrones, Margaery Tyrell, Mourning Gown
- 1790s Chemise A La Reine
- 1890s Suffragette ensemble - skirt, blouse, vest, jacket and hat
- Steampunk Belle
- Rapunzel
- Tinkerbell Fairy - Vidia
- Battlestar Galactica Duty Blues

Lots of costumes planned. It will be interesting to see if I live up to my plans and actually make these or not.

Friday, January 30, 2015

30 Days of Cosplay - Day 7


It has to be Princess Ariel. While I am no longer 16 and I don't recall ever rebelling against my parents, I am a romantic at heart and that is who Ariel is.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

30 Days of Cosplay - Day 6


A hard choice, since there have been so many, so I have cheated and picked three, a character, a historical ensemble and a steampunk.

Character: Saber Lion from Fate Tiger Colosseum

Historical: Golden Natural Form Bustle (late 1870s)

Steampunk: Safari Ensemble

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

30 Days of Cosplay - Day 5


This page is of course the forefront of all my costuming. I've been running it since 2007 and blogging is so ingrained in me that I am not going anywhere. That being said, I do have a facebook page:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

30 Days of Cosplay - Day 4


I don't have a lot of communities that I frequent to talk about cosplay, but there are a couple:

The Australian Costumers Guild
RIFF (Re-enacting Independently For Fun)

Mainly I speak to my close friends about my costumes and cosplays to get advice if I need it. I meet regularly with the members of my Re-enactment group to chat about our historical endeavours and the wonderful Diana Daring is always there for me to bounce my cosplay ideas off on.
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Monday, January 26, 2015

30 Days of Cosplay - Day 3


I'm going to take this as the newest costume that I have made, not worn. Mainly because I do try to re-wear a number of my costumes to various events that I attend.

As a matter of fact, there are two. I was working on both at the same time to attend Supanova Brisbane in November last year. I don't normally do two for a convention, but Uni had finished for the year and I was feeling inspired. The two are my pinup Elsa and Santa Miku.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

30 Days of Cosplay - Day 2


Too many to count. I have been doing this since 2006, so there have been a lot that have long since been retired (especially my early ones) and there have been a great number that I have made for my parents and my brother over the years.

So, to give you numbers, here's the numbers of costumes that I currently have to choose from when attending an event:

Characters: 19
Historical: 24
Steampunk: 3


There are a couple that I am looking at retiring soon, but they will probably get one more wear before I do so. But there are a lot more to come.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

30 Days of Cosplay - Day 1

There's been a cosplay meme floating around the internet of late, so I thought I too, might play: 30 days of cosplay. Keep in mind that I am a re-enactor as well as a cosplayer, so I am including all of my costumes in this little game.


Way back when, for my 21st Birthday, I decided to host a dress up party. This was really the beginning of what would be come a time consuming and at times expensive hobby.

I ummed and ahhhed for weeks over what I would make. The party was open theme, so there were so many choices. In the end though, I chose to be a cancan dancer. I bought the spectacular McCall's Costume pattern, some sale fabrics at Spotlight and created my first costume.

If you too want to play along, here is the meme that I am following:
1. Your first cosplay.
2. How many costumes have you done?
3. Your most recent cosplay.
4. Your cosplay communities, where do you go to talk about cosplay?
5. Blatant self plug! Link us to your cosplay page.
6. Your favourite cosplay
7. The character you have cosplayed that is most similar to you
8. Your cosplay plans for the rest of the year
9. The dream cosplay that might just happen
10. The dream cosplay that will never happen
11. Something cosplay-related that you will never do
12. Your cosplay idol
13. Your cosplay specialty
14. Your cosplay-making habits
15. Your least favourite thing about cosplay
16. Do you belong to any cosplay groups? If so, what are they?
17. What events have you cosplayed to?
18. What is your best cosplay memory?
19. What is your worst cosplay memory?
20. Have you won any cosplay awards?
21. Show us your best cosplay derp photo!
22. Have you worn cosplay in a regular situation?
23. Your most expensive cosplay
24. Your most comfortable cosplay and most uncomfortable cosplay
25. The cosplay you put the most effort into
26. Any unfinished costumes? Will you ever finish them?
27. How many wigs do you own? Which is your favourite?
28. Where do you work on your cosplays and where do you store them when they’re done?
29. What is your favourite cosplay item?

30. Describe cosplay in three words. No more, no less.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fun with Fur

Back in November last year, I made a very weather inappropriate Santa Miku costume. It was a nightmare working with both cotton velveteen and fur in the heat of Brisbane summertime. 

But, since I was working with fur, I thought I would share with you the intricacies of how to sew it. Please note though, that I have only sewn with synthetic fur so these principles may not apply if you are using real fur.

The first thing is tools:
- Fur (obviously)
- fine felt tip pen (can be a water soluble fabric pen, or fading pen)
- small embroidery scissors with a fine point
- sticky lint roller and lots of sticky refills

The Fur:

How to cut your pieces:
Flip the fur over to the wrong side and trace around your pattern piece with the felt pen. Make sure that you have the pile running the correct way for your piece.

Use the fine point scissors to cut out the pieces by carefully sliding the scissors along the backing fabric without cutting the fur. Pull the pieces away from each other.

Trimming Fur for sewing:
To sew the fur pieces together so that the joins are invisible, you need to trim back the fur that will be in the seam from the backing fabric.

 Take the little pointy scissors and slide them along the backing fabric, making small snips. Scoop away the cut off fur. This is where the sticky lint roller comes in handy to stick up all the bits of fur that inevitably fly everywhere.

Sewing the fur:
When you sew the fur pieces together or to the other fabric piece, push the fur away from the seam and then sew. It may be easier to use a zipper foot on your sewing machine so that you can get close into where you cut the fur as the bulk of the fur can make it difficult to get in there.

 One sewn on, flip it over and comb down the fur so that it all sits in the same direction. It's also a good idea to run the sticky lint roller over this again to pick up any extra bits of fur so that when you wear your outfit you don't get fur falling off you.

There you have it. The basics of sewing with fur. If you have any questions, head to the comment section and I will definitely respond to you.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pinning Elsa

In November last year, I created a pin-up version of Disney's Elsa from the movie Frozen. The inspiration behind my outfit was to turn Elsa into the owner of a Soda Shop.

There were a couple of things that I saw as crucial to bringing Elsa into the 1950s. Firstly, her hair and makeup needed to stay the same, and the colour palate needed to stay within the bounds of the film. But I also needed to add the snowflake sparkle element. I brought this through in diamantes on the blouse collar, a snowflake charms in her hair and hat and the bra. This tutorial is going to look at how I modified a bra to give the desired look. I did a brief tutorial on covering a bra when I made my I Dream of Jeannie costume however, this one is a little more in depth and quite a bit different.

Please note that the bulk of the sewing for this project is done by hand. This is mainly because it is very difficult to get a domestic machine in around the spaces that you need to sew while dodging the wires. Some machines may also have trouble getting through the foam of the bust cup, so hand-sewing it is.

The first step is to choose a good bra base. I used one of my older bras that the straps had started to go on and had become uncomfortable. This one is a playboy bra. The main thing is to choose a bra that has cups that fit you nicely so that you can adapt it. It doesn't really matter what colour bra you choose, as it will be covered with enough layers to cover any colours.

Next, I took my bra and chopped off the shoulder straps and back strap.

I then took my lining fabric, which is just a scrap of cotton homespun and pinned it in place over the cup, creating darts to fit it around the shape.

I then stitched it all down, including the darts. As you can see, the red and black bra is pretty much covered.

I then took my scraps of teal taffeta and sewed the two pieces together to get a piece of fabric wide enough to fit completely over the bra cups, and added in a gathering thread either side of the seam. This is done by using a long stitch length and a loosening the tension on your sewing machine. You then pull the top thread of each piece to gather it up enough to fit to the centre width of the bra. I then stitched it in place.

Once the centre was sewn down, I smoothed the fabric across the cup and pinned it in place along the wire line.

I then stitched it in place along the wire, at the edges of the foam cup and the ends of the side band. I used a simple back stitch to hold it all. I then trimmed back the excess fabric so that the edges line up with the existing edge of the bra. This will later be covered by binding to finish the raw edges.

The next step was to add the decorative cobweb glitter fabric. I cut a strip long enough to cover the top edge of the bra and then hand pleated and pinned the fabric in place. There wasn't a lot of planning to this, I just went with what I thought looked good and then stitched it down in place at the centre and at the side of the bust cups.

I then cut two strips of my sheer blouse fabric leftovers and hemmed them with a fine hem on the sewing machine. These strips were about 20cm wide. I ran two rows of gathering stitches along the bottom on my sewing machine. I then gathered it up and pinned and stitched it in place along the bottom of the bra. I did need to make sure that I had the angle correct before stitching it on so that the fabric would curve nicely around the cup.

The next step was binding. I cut approximately 5cm strips of bias binding of the teal taffeta fabric. I folded and pressed them in half and then hand stitched the raw edges to the bra edges with the fold over the bra (as pictured below). I used a backstitch to secure this in place. I then folded the bias over to the inside of the bra and used a whip stitch to stitch it down on the inside. This step is to finish the edges of the bra. After doing the top, I proceeded to do the bottom of the bra (a bit more tricky as you will need to dodge the wire).

The next step was to make the side straps. I measured the height of the side fabric of the bra and my measurements around my back to draft up a strap. The bottom edge of the strap is straight, but the top edge angles down slightly. I cut this out in 4 layers of fabric, using two as an interlining layer. In this layer, I added a pice of boning to help keep the bra strap from bunching up. My boning is a cut piece of a plastic cable tie.

No photos, but I made the shoulder straps using a 6cm strip of taffeta and cotton to strengthen. I folded in the seam allowance and pressed the strip in half, before finishing off the edges with top stitching.

With right sides together and the interlining layer on the outside, I stitched the edges of the strap before turning out right-side and pressing. The shoulder strap was also stitched into place so that the raw edges would be encased. Make sure not to stitch all the way to the end of the edge that will be sewn to the bra.

Then I hand stitched the strap onto the remaining fabric of the bra piece with right sides together using a back stitch. I then flipped the bra and folded over the lining fabric to encase all raw edges and stitched it in place on the inside.

With some assistance, I then tried on the bra and marked out where my back closure hooks would need to be placed and pinned in the length of the shoulder straps and halter neck straps.

I then stitched in four hooks and matching thread eyes on the back of the bra.

I added two hooks and matching thread eyes on the end of the halter straps.

I cut the shoulder straps to the correct length and stitched them to the bra, making sure that I secured all layers. Any external stitches would be covered by the decorative halter straps.

Once the straps were secured, I draped the sheer fabric around the edge of the bra cup and up to the top of the bra where the straps are secured. I then stitched it in place.

 I finished the edges of the decorative halter straps by pleating the fabric up and encasing it in a small piece of the remaining bias cut taffeta. These edges I also stitched them to the halter straps about 10cm below the hooks so that it would sit neatly gathered in place.

These ends then tie decoratively behind the neck.

and the finished bra...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Undergarments on display

On Sunday 11th January, I headed to the Queensland Museum at South Bank to visit the Undergarments exhibition with the Australian Costumers Guild. It's an exhibition brought to Australia by the Victoria and Albert Museum, so it was quite the exciting event to attend. Of course, as I was in attendance with the ACG, we dressed up for the occasion. Many ladies in the group decided to wear vintage fashions, however we did have one Regency lady, two shameless ladies in bustle undergarments and two in full bustle kit. I was one in full bustle. I considered just wearing my undergarments with the other ladies for half a minute before I remembered that my victorian corset is mid-bust and there is a very great risk of accidental exposure. Plus, I do love my whole victorian outfit. I think it was lovely for the other visitors to the museum to see a couple of bustle gowns in full wear. To see how it all moves and the silhouette that you get from the undergarments on display.

The exhibition itself was fantastic. There was a really great range of period undergarments on display. I pretty much had my nose pressed to the glass trying to get a look at the stitching, seam lines and construction techniques. The only disappointment was that the book for the exhibition was simply the previously published Underwear Fashion In Detail book by V&A - which I bought on pre-order a couple of years ago. Don't get me wrong, it's a great book, but I always buy exhibition books, so it was sad not to get this one.

After viewing the exhibition, a number of us headed over to the cafe in the art gallery for lunch. We chatted more about what we had seen and discussed which ones we all want to try our hand at making. As it happens, I am currently drafting up a couple of period corsets, so it has given me a couple more ideas for how I would like to finish them.

Overall, it was a lovely outing. I didn't get a lot of photos (no photography inside the exhibition), but I will share the few that I did take, and of course the group photo from my cousin.