Sunday, September 20, 2020

What I Would've Worn to Costume College 2020

1830s Melisandre 1

So, 2020 has turned out, uh, not exactly as planned? Still, I did have plans for Costume College, and I did a photoshoot the weekend that Costume College was supposed to be with what I had done. For the gala this year, inspired by last year's gala dress, typos, and the fire fountain at Costume College, I was going to make an 1830s version of Melisandre. I still hope to--bringing in fantasy elements, beyond what 1830s fancy dress would've done--is something I'm looking forward to.

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For this costume I have 1830s underthings, shoes, a necklace, and an idea. Posing in my show version of the Melisandre dress worn as a wrapper seemed appropriate!

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And the 1930s Melisandre from the 2019 Costume College gala that inspired the 1830s dress. It's silk satin with I think close to 30,000 sequins at the hem. I planned to wear this on a trip to the Queen Mary too. Now, with more time, I'm planning on a matching sequined cape.

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The bodice is bias in the front and open in the back. I wasn't sure how it was going to work, but somehow it came together.

Cersei 1

This is the state of my latest Cersei dress was in when WonderCon was cancelled on March 12. At the rate I was sewing, it probably had two or three hours before it would be done. The main dress, anyway. I still had wig styling and an updated belt.

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I've since been adding more embroidery--Italian mesh ribbon and tiny beads--to the sleeves. This dress fairly perfectly captures my current mood.

Regency 1

I always like to include something that I just want to wear again. I picked this little cotton spencer and white dress at the last minute when I was taking pictures.

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The train on this dress was a victim of Jane Austen Festival mud. The stripes on the pleated back of the spencer were quite fun to pleat.

1840s 1

For the Young Victoria Dinner, hosted by my friend Robin, I was going to make an 1840s dress based on a dress in the Museum of London. The miles of bias ruffles on the skirt are done. Not much else.

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I do have accessories! Time was short so I bought a Timely Tresses straw bonnet, and I've had the black bonnet veil for years.

1930s 3

Before Costume College, a group of us were going to go to the Wizarding World theme park at Universal and wear vintage Hogwarts costumes. Mine was going to be 1930s Ravenclaw, as if I were dressing for a reunion. It's still going to be a great 1930s outfit, even if I'm not quite comfortable cosplaying Harry Potter right now. Rowling's stances on trans rights are so saddening and frustrating.

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I'm posing with the 1930s skirt and sweater I made to wear on the Queen Mary. That trip will still happen, and I imagine small trips like that will be possible before we can have events again.

I have a few more pictures of these on Instagram--taking these pictures the weekend of Costume College was very good for me--using #costumecollegethatwasnt. My sewing Instagram is linked in the navigation above. I have lots of progress pictures there--costuming is so much more than completed costume!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Melisandre's Glowing Necklace--For Those Who Know Nothing, A Tutorial

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I think half the reason I wanted to make a Melisandre cosplay was to make her necklace. Once my friend Loren of the Costumer's Closet--who's done a lot of interesting work with props--suggested that the necklace light up, I knew I had to make it work. I found a few other necklaces online that lit up, but none of the ideas quite worked for my necklace, so I had to come up with my own way of doing it. This is an entirely new area for me! I know nothing about electronics--especially making them so small!

And about the post title--clearly, my subconscious was at work. I didn't really mean to make the reference, but since I do know nothing about this, it was a logical title, which obviously needed to be kept. More details about my trials and false starts at the bottom of this post.

Monday, August 5, 2019

A Late 1790s Bird Print Dress with a Diamond Back

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My late 1790s dress is based on examples of cotton print dresses, and a remodeled 18th century dress from An Agreeable Tyrant at the DAR Museum. It's made of a cotton print from Colonial Williamsburg, lined with linen from Burnley and Trowbridge, and worn over stays, shift, and strapped petticoat.

I made the dress for the Jane Austen Festival in Kentucky, and it was as comfortable as a dress can be there. The pictures here were taken by my friend (in much better weather!), whose photography Instagram, @journeyofaphotog, can be seen here.

Construction for the dress can be seen here

A Late 1790s Dress with a Diamond Back--A Tutorial

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My late 1790s print dress worn at the Jane Austen Festival. It's made of bird print cotton from Colonial Williamsburg, lined with linen from Burnley and Trowbridge, and worn over short stays made with springs (here--other pictures I was wearing my cupped short stays), a linen shift, and petticoat on straps. The dress closes with drawstrings in the front over a pinned linen lining. More pictures of the dress, including how it closes, can be seen here.


In 2017, I was lucky to be able to see An Agreeable Tyrant at the DAR Museum. I already owned the catalog, which has scaled patterns for many of the dresses. I had been thinking of making a print dress when we saw a remodeled silk taffeta dress with just the sort of back I had been meaning to make for years, but never did. Seeing one in person made things click, and I knew that my new dress would finally have that back.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

1830s Day and Evening Hair

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For my friend Robin's Young Victoria Dinner, I knew I needed to give as much attention to my hair as my dress--the 1830s had some of the most distinctive hair in history. Hair is not my strong point as a costumer, but the architectural qualities of 1830s hair gave me some reassurance that I could do it. It looked extremely strange as it was coming together, but when all the pieces are in place--the side curls, bun, and sleeve, it's remarkably balanced.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A 1918 Plaid Silk Dress

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When my friend Lauren of Wearing History announced she was hosting the Great War Gallop to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I, I immediately wanted to go, and wanted a new dress. After a little searching, I found this plaid dress from Antique dress. I found the perfect pink and green small scale plaid from Pure Silks, and, less than a week before the dance, made the dress.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A Game of Thrones King's Landing/Handmaiden Dress

GoT Handmaiden 1

One of my favorite style dresses from Game of Thrones is the drapey, robe a la francaise/piemontaise type dresses popular in King's Landing--worn by women in town, handmaidens, Shae, and more. It's the perfect dress for the last day of Costume College (or any other convention) when you want to wear something, but be a little more relaxed!

Construction information for this dress, including a diagram, can be found here. The dress is very simple though--it's just a tube of washed silk taffeta from Renaissance Fabrics with drawstrings at the center back and center front, fastened at the center back with ribbons, and worn with a belt. Some construction can be seen on Instagram.