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.