Dragoncon 2012 Part Deux

So, where were we? Dragoncon. Costumes. Geekery.

I pretty much had a plan for what costumes I was making for DC this year before last year’s con ended. And, as usual, that plan went right out the window. Blah blah blah procrastinationcakes. That wasn’t the only reason, but let’s run with it instead of getting bogged down with all the other boring crizzap.

You might have noticed that I’m kind of a big fan of Urban Threads. When the site unveiled its amazing Mechanica Aquatica designs a couple of months ago, I just knew I had to incorporate them into a DC costume. And thus the “Steampunk Mermaid” was born.

OK, she’s really not a mermaid but I wanted something that was very mermaid-y in feel. My character (if you will) is married to a man who runs aquatic adventures. Unfortunately, he’s been lost at sea since heading off on an expedition to find the lost city of Atlantis but I continue to dress as something of a walking advertisement for his business.

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Yes, another crummy phone pic. Some day I will get decent photos of this costume. Preferably a day when it’s not 92 freaking degrees outside with 80 percent humidity. Until then, we’ll all just have to deal.

There’s about six or seven hours of embroidery in this costume. Some of that was spent on designs that didn’t turn out so well. I’m still counting them. In addition to what you can see here, there also are two of the fish borders on the back of the skirt and an “embossed” compass rose on the purse. I’m also wearing a free-standing lace choker. Yep, all of it’s from UT.

The corset is a pattern by Truly Victorian and I love it beyond all reason. The printed fabric is an Asian quilting fabric by Quilt Gate. They’re actually fans but I flipped them upside down to look more like scales. Cool, eh? The shiny fabric is from a piece in my stash that I bought at Fabric World. I’m 100 percent certain it’s 100 percent synthetic but it was perfect for this costume. Because I omitted the busk in the corset, I used something like 8 or 10 yards of lacing in the back. It’s still a bit of a struggle to pull on and off but I really like the centered design on the front.

The skirt is a modified version of Butterick 4954. I added some fin-like details on the sides, a peplum in back and — my favorite touch — metallic copper pintucks on the lower portion of the skirt to mimic fish tails. Without all the embroideries and extras, I probably could have made the skirt in an hour or two. As is? Yeah, a lot longer.

To top it all off, I made a leather pirate hat fascinator. It’s my first time working with leather and I’m so lucky to have a friend who makes leather armor (among other things). Totally tapped into that wealth of knowledge, let me tell ya. (Thanks again, Stephen!)

I put together a Flea Market Purse from The New Handmade to go with, made with purple no-whale corduroy and lined with the same shiny fabric from the corset. Normally, I’d add pockets to the skirt but the design didn’t really lend itself to on-seam pockets so a purse it was.

 


Dance, Ballerina, Dance

Can it really be that another year of ballet lessons is coming to a close?

Miss L’s annual ballet recital is upon us. This year I see more little girl than baby, another one of those bittersweet changes.

I decided last week that I would shoot her recital portraits myself this year. There’s nothing wrong with the ones done through the studio; I just wanted something more “me” this year. After the dress rehearsal, we had a little photo shoot on the grounds of the performing arts center. It wasn’t all roses, tulle and smiles; copious amounts of pleading and bribing took place, in addition to abandoning one location in favor of another that wasn’t housing a colony of chiggers. (I’ve been itching and scratching ever since; I’m hoping it’s psychosomatic.)

It was certainly worth it.


Not a Pumpkin

Miss L has been rather insistent that she’s going to be a princess for Halloween. I have tried over and over again to convince her to be something else (namely, Little Red Riding Hood since I still have the Kinsale Cloak I made her last Halloween) but there’s been no swaying her. Princess, she’d insist. A pink princess.

She really liked the princess from Happily N’Ever After, so I sketched this dress, which I thought was a little more appropriate for a four year old. The foundation of the costume is Burda 9702 but mostly I just used the bodice and drafted the skirts myself. (The underskirt is very similar in construction to the inset ruffled panel tutorial I have here on my blog, although I did not turn under the top edge since they are obscured by the ruffle on top of each.)

Of course, in the middle of constructing this taffeta masterpiece, Liesl came home from preschool and announced that she was going to be a pumpkin for Halloween. That daughter of mine can be such a comedienne! As you can see, she didn’t get her way — not that she seems too put out by having to be a princess.

I added a beautiful lace trim to the sleeves, as well as a contrasting panel of fabric edge with pearly ribbon to the bodice. I do wish that I’d cut the contrast panel a little wider at the top; I miscalculated when making allowances for the seam at the neckline.

Those who follow my Twitter feed know that I had a small construction disaster yesterday: I attached the bodice with the right side facing in. Lucky me discovered this after completely finishing the waist seam, too, serging and all. Perhaps you heard the cussing? I have no idea why I deviated from my usual routine, which is to check that I’ve put the pieces together after I’ve pinned but before I sew; however, I can guarantee I won’t make that mistake again. The taffeta is so fine and I don’t think it would have held up to having the seam ripped open, so I just got out my scissors and literally cut the bodice from the skirt. I lost about a half an inch in length and it made for a bulkier seam at the waist, but I don’t think it’s too noticeable.

Her highness certainly isn’t complaining.