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.

 


The Return of Dragoncon

You know how a three-day weekend can totally throw off your days? I’m having one of those weeks only it’s compounded by being at Dragoncon for four days. I *think* it’s Wednesday but I certainly wouldn’t swear to it. And don’t bother asking me the date. Clueless.

But, oh, it was worth it.

For those who don’t know: Dragoncon is a four-day pop culture convention. If you’ve ever heard of Comic Con, it’s kind of similar, only it takes place in Atlanta — which means it’s close enough for us to attend and get our geek on.

This year was my most ambitious to date in terms of costumes. Now, wearing costumes isn’t mandatory — but it sure is fun. Except for the sweating part. And the people stepping on my train part. But other than that…it really just kind of adds to the experience, in a random sort of geeking out way.

Anyway.

Costumes. I made two new costumes for Miss L: Supergirl (which I’ve shared previously) and a Steampunk Alice in Wonderland, which was part of a themed set I did that included a costume for me (Queen of Hearts), my son (White Rabbit) and my son’s girlfriend (Mad Hatter). (See what I mean about ambitious?) I also made a Steampunk aquatic traveler costume for myself (but more about that later).

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Now, a themed costume group can be pretty cool but it sort of requires that whole “group” thing. What you see here is evidence that the four of us were, in fact, in the same place, at the same time, for I think about five minutes. The big kids were off doing their thing (as young adults are wont to do), but they at least hunted us down so we could get this picture before they changed into more comfortable street clothes. Miss L and I, however, remained in costume all day.

The Mad Hatter is wearing a high-backed underbust corset made from a pattern by Harlots & Angels. If you are a very experienced corset maker, you might like this pattern. I found it problematic, especially the part about 1/2″ boning. The boning channels in the back are much longer than standard cut bones and finding the right size was a challenge. I ended up swapping out 1/4″ (I had spring steel I could cut to length) and then had to cut off about 3″ of the top back because she is so petite.The skirt is actually the apron-and-bustle portion of Simplicity 1819 as shown on the pattern cover and diagram. Unfortunately, the pattern instructions don’t actually tell you how to make the skirt this way so I had to come up with the steps on my own. I didn’t like how the apron drooped so I added contrasting straps to improve the look. The mini top hat fascinator is a pattern from The Quilted Fish and actually recycled from my 2011 DC costume.

The White Rabbit is wearing a cravat I drafted (just love the Steampunk-y fabric!) and a vest made from Simplicity 2895. I wish you could see the clock face buttons — they are the perfect touch. The ears are cut and shaped leather that I painted and then hot glued to a metal headband. I bought fabric to make pants but never got around to making them.

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My Queen of Hearts includes the Laughing Moon underbust corset made without a busk. I embroidered a steampunk heart design from Urban Threads on the front. The fabric is a beautiful quilter’s tweed by Robert Kaufman. I drafted an easy elastic-waist A-line skirt (red stretch poplin from Joann) with a ruffled hem and made two drawstring channels on the front to add a little interest. Plus I really wanted to show off my Fluevog Babycakes! The crown is lace that was stiffened (thank you, Stiffy, for giving me a giggle every time I looked at the label), spray painted and then hot glued with gears and “gems.” The button down shirt is from Kohls maybe two or three years ago. The gun was made for a costume last year. No, I don’t know why I’m holding it upside down.

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My favorite of the bunch is easily Alice. Big surprise, eh? The peasant top is from my book, although I sized way down and added length because I knew the jumper was going over it. It’s sort of similar to another pattern in the book but I drafted a completely new bodice and skirt piece. (I’m thinking of posting a tutorial — any interest?) On the peek-a-boo underskirt, I stitched a Cheshire Cat design (also from Urban Threads). Some lace from my stash, suspender clip straps and a few well-chosen accessories brought the whole look together.

Once the weather cools off, I plan to take the kids out for a proper photo shoot. (The iPhone is certainly handy but indoor con pics are bleh.) I’m thinking it’ll make a great big piece of art for one of the walls in my studio, don’t you?