Weekend of Corsets

After I had completed the skirt for my Ariel costume, reality set in.

I knew I didn’t want to wimp out and not make a corset, and by this point I had already bought the fabric and the pattern and denim for the muslin. I used Laughing Moon’s 100 Victorian Underwear Dore Corset pattern, which I got from Truly Victorian here. This post by Truly Victorian helped me choose what size to start with and which corset to start with.

So here is the story of my weekend of corsets (embellished due to the fact that it was about 3 months ago and for artistic liberties):

other-side-frontThe Friday before DragonCon I grabbed the cut out pieces of the corset pattern(I had clipped them a few days before when I was in the mood to cut, but not carefully), and I carefully traced out a size, and cut it out of the denim. Did I not figure out that I should alternate directions of the pattern pieces so each side of the corset was one color? No I did not. Do I care very much? Nope! Gotta love underwear for that reason…

front-sideI sewed it up with one layer, and at first used a zipper in place of the busk at the front. It ended up being taken in a lot for the denim version, and I think this was mostly a combo because I am rather squishy around the tummy, so it was able to compress/move rather easily, and because the denim has some give. Not a lot, mind you, but a bit more wiggle room than I’d thought. And realistically I’m happier to “remove” fabric later than need more of it there. It is a heavy weight 100% cotton denim from Joann Fabrics, with a surprising amount of drape post-wash, but it’s pretty stable and thick.

I hadn’t yet finished the denim corset yet, since I didn’t have the grommet setting kit by that point, but I was able to alter the pattern for the Ariel corset.

asidefrontThen Saturday rolled around and I cut out the fabric for Ariel. I had gotten a yard of Yaya Han’s corset fabric from her line at Joann’s… By this point I was in Joann’s every other day or so. It’s a nice enough fabric. Lightweight but still strong and stable. Thin, though, very thin feeling. In the future I wouldn’t use it for corsets, since it did strain a bit under the pressure, causing some extra rippling in the already slight ripple sections, but it would be good as a tough non-stretch layer for support.

I had raised the top of the corset by two inches, and aimed for that round sweetheart shape, and I cut away some of the extra fabric from the bottom to give it a soft point at the bottom. Then I ended up altering this more once I had tested with just one layer of fabric, so I could try to get less of the stomach-fat-that-is-now-hip-fat look. (Spoiler alert: It only kinda worked.) I then sewed the second layers together for both corsets (each of self fabric), and inserted the busk to Ariel’s (I had forgotten to purchase another for Susan) and inserted a zipper for Susan’s.

side

The boning was tricky, and the next step. I got all the boning from Bias Bespoke’s etsy shop, as well as my busks. I used spiral steel in the sides, and spring steel in the straighter front and back areas. To “cap” the ends, I dipped the bones in Plasti-Dip I got from Lowes. I should’ve done an extra dip on the end of all of them, but I got lazy and frantic about finishing.

I cut all the boning for both corsets at once, using bolt cutters and wire cutters. And then I’m pretty sure my friend conned me into going line dancing (**shivers**). So when I got home that night I was exhausted and crashed. On Sunday, I inserted the boning, and stitched the bindings on by hand. I threaded a length of Sugar and Cream yarn through the top of Susan’s so I could draw it more closed if necessary.

alacing

The grommet setting tool had been delivered by this point, but I had forgotten to buy grommets with it, so when they arrived on Monday I inserted them into both corsets, after practicing on an old underbust corset that I used for my TARDIS costume.

back-side

Oh, I definitely bought and inserted a busk into Susan after the con, which is why its there in the pictures. The zipper I used split every time I’d wear the costume, with only the tie and hook and eyes to hold it in, so I knew that a real busk was in order.

And that was my weekend of corsets! I don’t intend to have another such weekend, but they were pretty quick once I got rolling!

Ever take on two intimidating things in a weekend?

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Second Blue Skirt of the Summer

This skirt was produced in August, in the heat of my “Crap I’m not ready for DragonCon” frenzy, but in July I had raided the Hancock going out of business sale and gotten some blue seersucker…

It became a skirt, but really, it’s never going to be worn out of the house. Cute, mostly comfy, way too clingy.

This skirt unfortunately shares a bit of those adjectives, but not the right ones.

But first the background.

ariel-skirt-side-2

The fabric is a rayon from Joann’s that’s pretty opaque, but can be a bit transparent in certain lights. The one thing I didn’t take into account is that it’s more of a shirt weight, and is too drapey to be flattering in a skirt this long.

I created a pattern based off of the fabric I had (just over 2 yards), and made it as circle skirt-like as I possibly could. I drafted side seam pockets that also inserted into the waistband, which was magnificent foresight, since the fabric definitely would not have held side seam pockets on its own. And it has a side seam zipper as well, to add to the confusion.

arielskirt

Sewing it together was pretty quick, but the hem. I hemmed it by hand. which I think took 2.5 hours. I waited the requisite 2 ish days between sewing an hemming, but I still haven’t gotten it quite right…

Ankle length was what I was going for, because I wanted to show off my adorable heels, but I accidentally got it a little short, and now its a slightly awkward length…

The waistband is also a little too big, which currently is held together with a skirt hook and a safety pin, and the pockets ended up too low, in order to keep the skirt at a near ankle length…

So in short, it’s clingy, and comfy, but not terribly cute…

ariel-skirt-side-1

It definitely worked for DragonCon, with the corset over it (as shown in all these pictures), but when I wear it with normal shirts and stuff, I have to be careful not to show my lower stomach bump. It’s one of the reasons I don’t wear tight around the hips skirts much, and it shows a lot in this skirt.

So, now that I’ve regaled you with all the info on this skirt… I should tell you that I’m going to make this into something else. I’m thinking a shirt. I don’t think I can squeeze out an Archer, but I’m going to try!

ariel

I’m going to need to make another Ariel skirt, since I love this outfit in general, but I have to find a better fabric, and I’ll want to make as full a circle skirt as I can, for the floof factor.

Hope you all had a lovely Halloween/October!

My First DragonCon Recap

Why hello there, all you lovely readers!

It’s been a month since we last talked because… well…

dclink

First there was last minute DragonCon prep. And then DragonCon itself. And then the firm unwillingness to let it go.

But the time has come. Here is the overly detailed tale of my adventure with my two friends Ollie and Jo!

Wednesday:

I had everything packed ahead of time, except for the last minute stuff and snacks. That does not mean that I actually got out of my house on time, but that’s something I’m working on. The drive down was dull, but reasonably short, excepting the hour of traffic I had waiting to drive through Atlanta on the highway. 17 miles away from the airport for half an hour, and then another half hour to drive those 17 miles. But I finally got there and picked up my friends and we settled into our AirBnB outside the city.

Thursday:

We got up kinda late and did a bit of work on last minute costuming finishes, and then went downtown to pick up our passes. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and then took one of the DragonCon Newbie tours, which was awesome and a lovely help, since we realized that getting off the MARTA would not necessarily require heading out to the street before the hotel. The walkthroughs were fantastic! Then we headed back to the house to finish most of the costume stuff we hadn’t done before. Oh, and we got arepas from this awesome local place called Arepa Mia which were fantastic and I’d definitely suggest going if you’re in the area.

Friday:

ariel

This was our Disney day. My friend Ollie went as Belle, since she had a costume from a few years ago Halloween that she wanted to reuse. Jo went as Meg from Hercules, and I went as Ariel from the Little Mermaid. I’ll go into detail on my costumes later, and unfortunately we didn’t get any group photos on any of the days, except for this selfie that I forced us to take to prove that we were in fact there together. And for posterity, etc. (If any pop up online, I’ll show them). Both Ollie and Jo got a lot of shout outs and photos, and I met an Ursula (and I totally had no idea what was going on when she came over… Definitely a running theme of my weekend). Also I definitely had someone ask if I was Anna from Frozen. May I mention that Anna does not have the monopoly on black bodices and blue skirts?

This was at the end of the day, so we were overwhelmed, tired, and so so happy!
This was at the end of the day, so we were overwhelmed, tired, and so so happy!

The first panel that we saw that weekend was the Legends of Tomorrow panel with Falk Hentschel and Casper Crump who were adorable. No lines for this one, we just walked right in. We tried to catch another DC television panel, but the line was huge, so we skipped it. We went to the first room of exhibitors which was overwhelming and exhausting… Outside of it, though, I got to meet my favorite blogger Jen of EPBOT and her husband, which was quite exciting. We went home, shed our hair extensions, heels (for two of us) and makeup, and we went out for pizza. Yummy yummy pizza!

Saturday:

tardis

I termed this our British media day. I wore my TARDIS outfit, newly revamped for the summer con, Ollie went as Clara Oswald, and Jo went as a Gryffindor headgirl (or maybe Lily Potter… It oscillated). So this was my second day in heels, but we were determined to see as much as we could. We got in a long line for the Flash/Arrow panel. It was nice to be in the shade of a building, mostly, but it was still nearly an hour of waiting… I got a lot of oohs and ahs from across walkways and the like of my costume, but few people got it until I turned around… I’m thinking of adding in a fascinator with the top lantern to help the effect.

I saw one of the cosplayers I admire, who I originally found through Peggy Carter cosplay research, KatarinaCosplay in her Captain Carter outfit (which is apparently from this game called Marvel Puzzle Quest, which I’m avoiding at all cost for fear of getting addicted…) and said hi briefly, but it was in the middle of the Marriott floor, so I didn’t stick around… And we were already late getting Ollie to the photo ops. The thing that was personally most squee-worthy for me on Saturday was going to the Walk of Fame and Allison Scagliotti’s line was almost completely empty, so I jumped in and got my Warehouse 13 Farnsworth signed… I’ve learned so much since I made it, but it’s still one of my first props and I would have always kept in a special place in my heart, but now even more!

osgood

Right outside an Osgood found me (which I totally didn’t realize she was Osgood, because I’m silly), and we took a couple of pictures! We had dinner at the food court, then headed home to change before going back to Atlanta for the Heroes and Villains Ball. At this point my feet really hated me, so I changed into my Kaylee. I think we were all glad we went and tried it out, but it wasn’t something that any of us really needed to stay too long at so we about-faced and headed back home.

Sunday:

susan

This was my third day in heels and also our most panel-intensive day. Jo went as a casual Barbara “Babs” Gordon, Ollie went as Arya from Game of Thrones, and I wore my Susan Pevensie costume. We started our day at the Torchwood panel where we sat next to this awesome steampunk Ood. It was entertaining to look to the side and see an Ood nearly bending in half laughing. Because we all spent nearly the entire time laughing! Then we got in line for the Pond Family Reunion panel, which had already wrapped nearly all the way around the building before we even got there almost an hour and a half early. This time we were on the sunny side of the building, which was not the most fun, but the panel was worth it! Jo split off before the PFR panel to go to a Welcome to Night Vale panel, and after our panel Ollie and I headed to the Warehouse 13 panel which was hilarious!

ood

During the course of the day, Ollie found a lovely Sansa to have a “reunion” with, and all of the GoT group she was with loved Ollie’s costume. I saw both a White Witch in full battle regalia from the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, and a Susan in her green dress from the same movie. It was great seeing the Narnia family representing! After the Warehouse panel I was feeling a bit panic-attacky and all of us were getting tired, so we headed home. One of my favorite moments, though, was on the MARTA platform, when I was in the middle of removing as much as I could without losing things or revealing anything untoward, a young girl that was part of a non-DragonCon-attending family taking the same train as us told me that she really liked my dress. It’s one thing to get compliments from other costumers and cosplayers and fans of the fandom, but another to get them from a young girl who might one day group up to be a fan of the same thing, or her own favorite things and perhaps get dressed up herself. Oh, and we got pizza again. Because it was fantastic. I’d definitely recomment Fellini’s Pizza in Decateur GA.

Monday:

nausicaa

Last day of the con, and very few people were dressed up, so we stuck out even more. Which was nice. We did our Miyazaki group cosplay that day. I went as a summer-ish appropriate Nausicaa (with Teto!), Jo as Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ollie as Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service. Jo and Ollie were both instantly recognized by almost everyone, and they got lots of pictures. One of the first people we met that day recognized me and that made my day, since I was happy to be in sandals instead of heels and not corseted, so I had made up my mind early in my designing process that I wouldn’t even care if I was recognized. I was going to be comfy. A lot of people asked for pictures in all sorts of configurations of the three of us, which was cool.

Jo and I attended the Everyday Steampunk panel, which was full of great ideas, then caught up with Ollie for the final Legends of Tomorrow Panel of the weekend. No lines for either and we even sat in the first row of the Legends panel, because the lady in charge of seating liked our costumes. We then toured the exhibitor’s hall again, and I picked up a wooden sword and a lovely prop dagger with a lion on the hilt.

We parted with Hollyn who headed to the airport, and then drove back to my place.

All in all, it was a fantastic first convention, and definitely one that I’d like to attend again. In fact, I’ve been debating whether to buy next year’s ticket now…

I’ll start posts soon on the costume elements that I haven’t shown you yet, and soon I should be working on Cinderella and some non-costume sewing!

derpface

But I will leave you, in the meantime, with a derpy picture of me in my Ariel costume… Because that’s how I roll!

Big Dragon Shaped News!

I teased this a few weeks, maybe months, ago, that I have very big news to share! It’s grown, and I’ve got some additional news as well!

So let’s start with the newest of news, and then work backwards, since I want to keep building up to the biggest stuff!

back featureAbout a week ago, I found out that I won an Indie Pattern Month prize on The Monthly Stitch for the Hack It competition! I was able to pick a few lovely patterns, which I’ll be sharing with you when they get to me! (Although realistically I probably will forget to share and you’ll find out once I make the actual garments). Congrats to all the other winners for all the challenges!

A few weeks before that I signed up for a sewing dare from Gillian at Crafting A Rainbow… I’m telling you guys this so I stay accountable. Since I’m pretty sure I haven’t yet made anything toward this dare yet. Soon though. Next week I’ll get back from my last summer trip and will have plenty of time to “to sew a head-to-toe Closet Case Files outfit!” Realistically I’m going to make a Nettie top and a Ginger bottom, but which of my planned Ginger’s (flared and a boot/skinny version), and sleeveless or sleeved Nettie? Decisions, decisions.

Okay, have we had enough build up yet?

Cool.

Because guys, I’m going to DragonCon!!!

To those who follow my blog for the sewing, not costumes, this may be the biggest comic/fantasy/TV/movie/[insert geeky thing here] convention on the East Coast of the US. And I’m going with the same friends that I was planning on going to San Diego Comic Con with two years ago. That’s right, it’s been two years and we’ve finally got our schedules correct and we’re all on the right side of the country!

We’ve got two group costumes planned out, and then we’ll be doing our own thing the other two days (costumes-wise at least!).

My costumes going with me that are already (mostly) complete are Susan from Prince Caspian, and the TARDIS. I say mostly because I’ve been adding trim to the skirt of the TARDIS, and I’m considering an alternate top because it’ll be Georgia in the summer. And therefore hot. And now that I’m thinking about it, I might have a Clara Oswald to go with the TARDIS. Wrong TARDIS, but hey, that’s okay!

nausicaalink/link

One of the costumes I have to make in the next month and a half are NausicaƤ from Miyazaki’s NausicaƤ in the Valley of the Wind for a Miyazaki group. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do her early outfit or her end of movie outfit. Both of them are blue, so I’ve started gathering fabric, but I need to design soon!

arielbluelink

For a Disney group, I’m also going to be making a Little Mermaid Ariel Day Dress. I’ll either be making a normal skirt, for which I’d need to get fabric, or culottes, in which case I might have some. I’ve got two options for the top as well, based on how well my corset patterning for my insane Cinderella project goes. I can either make a corset and wovenblouse to go with it, or I can make my Nettie hack corset top. Because easiness and knit are great things, and corsets and potentially driving home don’t really appeal to me. But the one I made before is from a lovely drapey knit. That has also been inconveniently becoming more translucent with every wash.

kaylee coveralllink

I’m also making a Kaylee costume as a backup for if it’s two wet or mucky for the TARDIS or Susan. I’ve had the jumpsuit for a few months now. I didn’t realize how comfy they were, but they’re great. I just need to alter it a smidge, and then find and add patches and make a Kaylee shirt. So a little more direction and a little less wiggle room. Because I really need it as backup. And maybe I’ll make a purse out of some cheap turquoise brocade. To pull it all together.

So that’s my news! I’ll be updating soon, once I get my sewjo back in swing. Last week was a hard week with all the tragedies around the US, and after a long 4th of July weekend spent with my friends sewing, I got a bit burnt. So hopefully writing this post will kick my butt into high gear!

Because I’m going to an insanely awesome con with my two bestest friends, and it’s going to be lovely, and awesome, and I’m going to stop before I ramble for another paragraph.

Halloween Week – 2015

If Halloween was an Olympic sport, I think I’d qualify to compete for the national team. I wouldn’t win, but I would probably be invited back for the next year!

That’s probably not how the Olympics works… Moving on!

I upped my Halloween game this year. For almost each day the week before, I subtle-cosplayed. I was so close to making it each of the 5 days, but that Tuesday was unseasonably cold, and the chosen outfit wasn’t finished and wasn’t warm enough. And I got out of bed too late. So there’s room for improvement, right?

Also, coincidentally, all of my outfits this were Disney princess themed. So next year I should try to diversify…

One of my fellow grad students figured out what I was doing on Wednesday, so for Thursday and Friday she made guesses, though my Belle outfit does have a dead giveaway component. I’m not sure if she knows about me making clothing, and if she knows about the blog I’d be very surprised (but hi, if so!), but its nice when something like this gets noticed.

Monday – Briar Rose

cuteShirt: RTW thrifted / Cardigan: Primark upcycled / Skirt: Me-Made

Tuesday – supposed to be Merida, with a second choice of Kaylee, and neither happened…

Wednesday – Ariel Day Dress

arielTop: Me-Made / Skirt: Me-Made

Thursday – Merida (Epilogue outfit) – More on this one soon

cuteTop: Me Made / Skirt: Me Made (and not yet blogged)

Friday – Belle

=back sideDress: Me-made / Cape: Me-made

And then Peggy Carter for real Halloween! But I’ll save that for another post… After the holidays. Stay tuned!