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:
http://geisha-girls.livejournal.com/269352.html

http://www.i-kimono.com/english/popup/size.html


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOoS7dMHMmg&index=43&list=PLZZKqbSQiNaBCUTu7gXK4vr98lxZjacBw&t=36s

http://seattletacomakimonoclub.blogspot.com/2012/06/so-you-want-to-make-kimono.html


Wish me luck!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I've been scanning...

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

No. Really?!?

Shut up.

Anyway...

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.)



Success.












Thursday, August 18, 2016

My friend says I'm crazy

Just thought I ought to catch you up on what I'm doing.

I'm knee-deep in costume sewing for WorldCon / Mid-America Con II. Now, I've never been to a Worldcon before. and given the steep price, I hadn't planned on going to this one even though it is in my home town of Kansas City for the first time since the 1970s. But......
Then I saw who the artist guest of honor was.

Kinuko Craft!! My favorite children's book illustrator!

Okay, I guess that means I'll go if I can get one of my books autographed. So I signed up for the installment plan and had a year to look forward to it.

Of course I started thinking about costumes.

Of course I should do a costume from one of her books. Hmmmm... which one?

I know! Cinderella! The most outrageous, over-the-top dress of all time!


But I have a year to do it in, right?  (rolls eyes)
So I started collecting fabric, since I knew this was going to be an expensive project.



 I found the perfect orange/gold iridescent organza on ebay for a very good price. And some lace from fabric.com.




Add some gold satin, light gold glitter tulle and a boat-load of lace trim and I was in business!


More in the next post...

Friday, August 12, 2016

Costume-Con recap (or Holy Crap! How late is this post?!)

So I actually competed in the historical competition at Costume Con. No workmanship awards, because I am fully aware that my workmanship on this one was crap. Seriously. Major crap.

I was more interested in getting it working than how it looked inside.

First of all, I have to say that I am bad at thinking up clever presentations. Very, very bad. So I was determined to win a performance award this time. I tried to think of something that I have never seen done at a costume convention. Aha! A quick-change!

Not the kind where you flip your cloak inside out or something. Those have been done. I mean the kind that magicians do where you can't figure out how they changed outfits completely in 2 seconds.

I wasn't sure if I could do it, but I started researching. I decided on the Edwardian era, because I figured that I could stuff a lot of fabric inside one of those pigeon-front dresses. ;-)





So here is what I came on stage in:



















Then I stepped behind a screen for 5 seconds and emerged wearing this:














I got so many gasps!!!
Later, when the judges were deliberating, the contestants went back out on stage two by two for the audience to take photos. This time I changed right in front of them instead of behind the screen and I still got gasps!

Then I spent the next hour switching back and forth so that people could see how it was done because it was apparently too fast for people to figure it out even when I did it in front of them.
And I won best presentation for a journeyman! Yay!

(All photos are by Real Time Portrait Studio. Thanks Scott!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Am I blue...take two

It seems I'm on a blue streak.
(Hmmm...is that what happens when you streak in winter...)

Anyway...

On the last episode of "As the Worlds Costumes" our heroine (Crafty Lady) was rushing frantically to make her first Regency. Did she finish on time? Did it fit? Was she eaten by zombies at the premier of the movie?

Tune in today for the answers to all these questions and more!

(Yes. Yes. and Don't be silly.)

In the end, I didn't have time time to make the gauze overdress, but that can wait. The dress turned out rather nicely for a first time I thought.
Here is the group photo at the movie:





And here's a closeup of me:



I got the professional shot at Cotume Con in Madison, WI. Scott from Realtime Portrait Studios  was there. He always does such a great job of taking our photo at Teslacon that I had shots of all my costumes done.

Funny...all of my costumes that I took were either blue or green. I didn't plan it that way, though.

On the next episode of "As the Worlds Costumes"...
How was Costume Con? Did our heroine compete? And how were all of her crazy costuming friends?
Tune in next week to find out!

Funnies!

The Pragmatic Costumer has just posted a hilarious timeline of fashion history from 1770 to 1920.
Check it out!
https://thepragmaticcostumer.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/the-genteel-fashionistas-dialogue-a-humorous-timeline-of-fashion/