Friday, August 23, 2013

Kwakwaka'wakw Dress

Kwaka what?

When I first got the book The Worldwide History of Dress by Patricia Anawalt, I found a couple of pictures that really struck me as interesting. One was the black and red yelek that I talked about a few posts ago. Another was a potlach dress from the Kwakwaka'wakw tribe of the Pacific Northwest.
Here's a wikipedia article about them:

(However, as a librarian, I urge you to take anything wikipedia says with a grain of salt.)

The dress is canvas with hand-painted designs. According to the book, those are stylized wolves.
The back is the same as the front. The neck and wrist are edged with grey fox fur. (Recycled from a very old vintage coat that was given to me.) There are abalone shells around the neck. The fringe around the bottom is actually from cotton mop heads!

This is the last of my Costume Con 31 costumes that I'm going to post. I actually wore 1 more - I went as Ada Lovelace to the Friday Night Social. But I neglected to get photos. :-(

(Photo by Don Searle)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Super-Villain Wedding

Just wanted to let you guys know the fun project that I'm currently working on....a Harley Quinn wedding dress!!!

My nephew inherited (at least on a smaller scale) my love of costume. He's getting married to a nice girl in November and they decided to have a super-villain wedding. Isn't that a fun idea? He'll be wearing his favorite Joker outfit, they asked me to make the bride and maid-of-honor's dresses.

Here's what the bride wants:
Minus the funky hat, though. :-)
It's by deathtoll1912 on

I'm adapting Butterick 5662 for the top.
I've got the outfit made up in muslin right now for fitting.
Gonna work on the bride's maid's dress tonight, then have them both over for fittings.

By the way, the maid of honor is going as Poison Ivy. :-)
I'll use the same corset top pattern in green with appliqued leaves around the edges. Her skirt will be straight, with smaller swags than the bride's dress.

I'll post pictures of both as I go along.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Titanic Outfit....Big Hats are the Best!

This costume is one that I made last year for the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The traveling Titanic exhibit was in town at the time and there was an entire weekend full of lectures and events. (Including a 10-course recreation of the last dinner!)
This is the outfit that I made to attend the exhibit and lectures. 
I used Simplicity pattern #8640 (which has since been discontinued). It's their version of Rose's blue tea gown from the movie. I made the yellow version on the left, but made a few changes to the pattern.

 For one thing, I made the tunic a little longer because it seemed a bit short to me. And I used a LOT more lace. I love my lace, you know! ;-)
I made a little matching draw-string purse to go with it, and wore it with a pair of pink gloves that I inherited from my husband's grandmother.

You can't see the shoes in these pics (taken by the supremely nice Don Searle at Costume Con 2013) , but I wore a pair of nude-colored dance character shoes with louis heels like these:
Very comfortable, although not completely historically accurate.

But my favorite part of the outfit was the very big hat!
If you want a really impressive 1910-1915 day outfit, bigger is definitely better when it comes to hats.

I found the hat at Dillards. I took off the generic white bow and added my own stuff. I started with a silver wired lace ribbon. Then pleated a pink ribbon to add at the base of that. I curled white, light pink and dark pink ostrich feathers and added them next. Then I created rosettes from the ribbons and used them to hide the base of the ostrich feathers. One last little feather glued on to the front of the rosettes completed my hat.

I've gotten a lot of use out of this outfit. I made it for the Titanic exhibit in 2012, wore it to Costume Con in May of 2013 and then wore it again to the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, MO in June 2013.