Saturday, November 17, 2018

Guilds are GRRREAT!!

I think that title makes me sound like Tony the Tiger. Hmmm...


I thought I'd post some pics of what my costuming guild has been up to in the past several months. This spring we decided to have an April Promenade at a local arboretum. The weather was fabulous!
I wore my Titanic-era evening gown.

I know. An evening gown for a daytime promenade. How gauche!
But it was comfortable and I didn't have any pictures of it yet, so on it went.

This is the group we started out with:

Then more people joined us later.

A picture of me hamming it up theatrically and a photo-shopped version one of the guild members made.

Later in the summer, the guild had a booth at our local Maker Faire. We have had a booth there for as long as it has existed in Kansas City. In fact, that's how I found out about the guild in the first place.

We like to offer some interesting hands-on things for the kids, so we had coloring sheets to design your own superhero costume and a mask-decorating station to make superhero masks. We were totally wiped out of everything by the end of the second day!

For the adults, I bring in my dress form and 3 costumes. This year it was an 1885 bustle gown, a 1775 robe a la francaise and a kimono. I have a poster that says "What Underwear is Under There?" and I periodically undress and re-dress the dress form whenever anyone asks. Fun for me & educational for them.

 Then in July, we had a workshop to create steampunk accessories. This was in preparation for an August outing to our local Steamboat Arabia museum. We're doing a Steampunk Steamboat tour!

Things we made at the workshop:

Monday, August 13, 2018

I'm a very bad blogger...

I have been very lax about posting my latest costume adventures exploits work.
So I'll be doing a couple of posts to catch my subscribers (all 3 of you) up with what I've been doing lately costume-wise.

First, my last Costume-Con historical entry (talked about here) was the subject of an article in Virtual Costumer. Virtual Costumer is the newsletter put out by the Silicon Web Chapter of the International Costumers' Guild. They took my long-winded and rambling documentation that I submitted and edited it into something resembling an actual article! Kudos to the editor!

Here are the pics of the costume:

If you want to read the article, you can download it here.

You can read all of the prior issues of Virtual Costumer here. (Current issues are for Guild members only.)

Photo pics are from Scott Johnson of Realtime Portrait Studio.


Monday, August 6, 2018

Big Hair

Just thought I'd pop in and show you what I've been working on this week.

A group of us from my city are driving to St Louis to join the St. Louis Georgian Sewing Society for a francaise tea. That's a fancy tea party at the Ritz Carleton where we all wear our 18th century finery.

If you remember me posting pics of my 18th century "Marie Antoinette-style" dress, you'll remember that I had GIGANTIC hair. (No, really! It was freakin' huge!) When I cut my hair short, I used the inner wire support form to make a similar style wig. Well, that was very good for a stage presentations but very unwieldy for regular wear. So I decided to re-style the wig. I've spent the last week undoing, de-tangling and restyling it.

BTW - I used the book 18th Century Hair & Wig Styling by Kendra Van Cleave. I can't recommend it highly enough! I chose one of the designs from the late 1760s-early 1770s that was a medium height.

Here are the results -



Friday, September 8, 2017

More scans

Here's the latest installment of my ongoing scanning project of the old Good Housekeeping magazines that I own. This one is 1911.

If you get a weird error message about previewing the file, it just means that it is too big to open inside the browser. Just download it and you can see it just fine. :-)

January 1911

February 1911

March 1911
fashion pages:

handicraft pages:

April 1911

May 1911

June 1911
 There are a couple of pages missing from my copy. Sorry!

July 1911

August 1911

September 1911

October 1911

November 1911

December 1911

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In a Japanese state of mind

My next really big costume is going to be a geisha hikizuri kimono for the 2019 Costume Con in Boston. I don't normally go to conventions outside of the midwest, but I won a free membership to it with my Cinderella costume at WorldCon. (Yay!)

I normally win workmanship awards but not performance awards, so the last time that I competed at Costume Con I focused on my performance and didn't worry about workmanship. (My Edwardian quick-change) This time, I am determined to win awards for both!!!

So I'll be (hopefully) blowing the workmanship judges away by teaching myself the traditional technique of hand-dyeing and painting kimono called yuzen-zome. And I'll be recreating a real geisha performance from a YouTube video.

There's just one problem.

I've never actually made a kimono before.

So I've been immersing myself in research on kimono making and traditions. My first attempt is a summer cotton kimono called a yukata. It's super casual and worn to summer festivals the same way that we would wear shorts, a tank top and flip-flops. It's also a little easier to sew than a regular kimono because it's cotton, not lined, doesn't have as much structure and is frequently machine sewn. (High end silk kimono like those worn by geisha are always hand sewn.)

Traditionally, yukata are white and blue/indigo. Modern yukata are all sorts of colors and patterns. So here is a cotton fabric that I picked out for mine. It's colorful, but the colors are softer. I don't think you can tell from the pics, but there are subtle gold outlines around the shapes. To help you visualize it, each motif is about 1.5" (about 4cm) tall.

I found these resources extremely helpful:

Wish me luck!

Update: Here's a pic taken of me wearing the final yukata at my costume guild's MakerFaire booth. Please forgive my lousy kitsuke!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I've been scanning...

Being a librarian, I sometimes come into possession of books.

No. Really?!?

Shut up.


When my library decided to save space by getting rid of some of the very old back issues of magazines, I jumped at the chance to get some.

That's how I ended up with bound copies of Good Housekeeping from 1911 to 1920.

And since that time period puts them firmly in the public domain here in the US, I decided to scan them! (Well, the fashion pages, anyway.)

I then decided to share the fruits of my labors with my fellow costumers, since I have gotten so much from others over the years.
It will be a long process, but here are the first results -

Good Housekeeping fashion pages from 1915 in PDF format.

Jan 1915

Feb 1915

Mar 1915

April 1915

May 1915

June 1915

July 1915

Aug 1915

Sept 1915

Oct 1915

Nov 1915

Dec 1915

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I'm a pretty, pretty princess!

I left you in suspense after my last post talking about my recreation of Kinuko Craft's Cinderella costume...

And now, the big reveal!!

The original illustration:                                                     

 And my dress:

41 yards of fabric
3000 glass pearls
180" hoop skirt
50 yards of ribbon and lace trim
dozens of hand-sewn ribbon roses
13 pounds

I'm tired.

But it was all completely worth it when Kinuko Craft came backstage and saw me!
Look how she reacted!  I even managed to keep my dignity and not to act like a fangirl!

(Oh...and I also leveled up from Journeyman to Master with this dress and won a free entry to Costume Con 2019.)