Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FlatCon 2014: October 24-26

It's early, I have coffee, I have a cat in my lap, and I really don't feel like getting on my laundry yet. So let's blog!

FlatCon: "An annual gaming convention sponsored by Gamers for Life. Card games, board games, role-playing games, historical minis, Warhammer, anime, and more!"

Roundabout story, then photos!

My first experience at FlatCon was maybe 10 years ago? I can't remember exactly. I went with my friend Megan for a day. At the time it was held at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, and it has since been moved to the Interstate Banquet and Conference Center, still in Bloomington. I loved it. I poked around the vendors and enjoyed the showings of videos like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog harassing people in line for a Star Wars movie, and a hilarious short film of gamers and their characters and the worlds collide and the characters end up killing the gamers, but I can't remember enough to possibly find the film online, unfortunately. There was also a girl dressed up in Princess Leia's white robes from A New Hope and I thought it was really cool, and now I play dressup too!

At that FlatCon, Megan played a Stargate SG-1 game and really enjoyed it. This led to her joining gaming and anime clubs when she attended Eastern Illinois University, which led to meeting her now-husband, Ryan. Today, Megan is a work-at-home mom to two little boys and runs Meg's Crafty Creations (Facebook page / Etsy shop) "committed to creating the highest quality hand made video game & anime toys since 2009."

So, to shorten a story already too long, Megan and Ryan travel to various gaming and anime conventions selling knitted and crocheted items, and they came to FlatCon again this year. I hadn't seen them in a while, another friend was going to be vending her art (Ryn Reid Commissions Facebook page / website), and she told me there was going to be a costume contest at FlatCon, so naturally I had to go, even though I'm usually not a convention sort of person (social anxiety, and all that).

So I dropped way too much money on props and whatnot and sewed NOTHING. Because I am a failure seamstress. I am very disappointed in myself and keep making excuses like working full time, having iffy health, trying to save money for moving. But in the end, I threw together a couple neat ensembles for Friday and Saturday. I was too tired from attending Friday and Saturday and getting three hours of sleep before work both nights, so I stayed home Sunday and slept all day.

SO... picdump, backstories, and whatnot!

Megan's booth! I am completely in love with the shirt she made herself out of Star Wars print fabric! I'm pretty sure I need to make myself a 1950's style shirtdress out of it. I've also commissioned a crocheted TARDIS from her that I'm going to use as a keychain.

Crocheted Baby Groot in a "Come at me, bro" sort of pose!

I was holding Baby Groot while Megan readied the display pot (decorated by her 4-yr-old son!) and I was cupping the bottom like that, and Jeff, helper and friend at Ryn Reid Commissions, said I was hiding his groots, so Katie, artist of RRC, drew it because we are hilariously inspirational people!

Magikarp hat doing what a Magikarp hat does!

My throw-together costume for Friday was a character of my own creation but based on Doctor Who and Torchwood. She's with the Timekeepers Guild, Chicago Division. It's like the American version of Torchwood, only severely less funded and regulated, and consequently more roguish. It's a small group like Captain Jack Harkness's Torchwood team, and they travel around investigating unexplained phenomena and alien technology and making it work for them. The Timekeepers Guild has been around for over a century and used to have divisions all over the United States, but since the Roswell incident, which was never supposed to come to public knowledge, funding was cut and divisions were closed. The last division, Chicago Division, stubbornly refused to disband and continues the original mission through new members recruited over the years. Millie leads her team from their headquarters in the basement of a friendly bar. Other than the staff and higher-ups in the military and government, no one knows of their existence, and no one needs to know.

My Doctor Who/Torchwood vortex manipulator! I wish it actually enabled me to instantaneously travel, but it does make a cool vzhoop noise so I suppose that's something!

My Doctor Who sonic screwdriver (which also makes cool sound effects)! My favorite Doctors are 9 and 10. I love 9's snark (and leather jacket), and I feel David Tennant as 10 really brought depth and emotion to the character and we really got to know him.

"Always take a banana to a party, Rose, bananas are good." ~ 10th Doctor
(Also handy when I haven't eaten all day before going to FlatCon and my blood sugar drops to the eat-now-or-pass-out level.)

My Costume Contest inspiration: Donna Noble on her (first) wedding day (Doctor Who, Season 3, Episode "Runaway Bride")

Backstory: Donna Noble was employed as a temporary secretary at H.C. Clements, a security firm in London. She met coworker Lance Bennett when he offered to bring her a cup of coffee. He continued bringing her a cup of coffee every day. Little did she know, he was dosing her coffee with Huon particles at the order of the Empress of the Racnoss, an ancient alien species of spiders. Lance dated Donna and relented to her pressuring him to get married, in order to keep dosing her. At her wedding on Christmas Eve, while she was walking down the aisle, the Huon particles reacted with her elevated emotional state and teleported Donna into the TARDIS. Robot Santas prevented the Doctor returning her in time for her wedding, but he got her there for the reception and she found the wedding party and guests had started without her. When a robotic Christmas tree fired explosives at the wedding guests, Donna and the Doctor investigated H.C. Clements which led them to an abandoned secret Torchwood base under the Thames where Lance and the Empress of the Racnoss revealed their plans to bring up the Racnoss children from where they were hidden in the center of the Earth. Donna was heartbroken after learning Lance had been toying with her feelings, but still pitied his death when the Empress betrayed him and fed Lance to her children. Donna helped the Doctor defeat the Empress and pulled him away from the Empress' death, saving his life. However, she turned down his offer to travel with him, frightened by what he had done and could do. As a result of her encounter with the Doctor, Donna's eyes were opened to the universe, and she could not resume her old life. Donna tried to live without the Doctor. She went to Egypt for two weeks on holiday looking for some excitement. When this failed, she began investigating unexplained events, knowing the Doctor always ran into trouble and hoping that she would be able to encounter the Doctor again.

My costume contest entry photo. Wedding dress, floral tiara, veil, and coffee cup.

I had a really hard time channeling Donna's snarky personality for photos since I try to be a positive person and I was just so excited to be dressed up at FlatCon.

Dress: $34.34 on Ebay (incl. shipping)
Tiara: $12 at Wal-Mart
Veil: $4 at Wal-Mart
Body glitter to mimic the glow when the Huon particles were activated: $2.24 at Wal-Mart
Coffee cup, shoes, jewelry: already had them.

Mainly I wanted to get the v-neck and A-line skirt of Donna's dress. The beading and the fact that it fit perfectly were just a bonus!

Cosplaying Donna on her wedding day is honestly the only time I'll ever wear a wedding dress, so why not!

I didn't even think until after FlatCon that Amy (Amelia) Pond also gets married in the series and my name is Amelia and I didn't even consider cosplaying her.

This shows how short I am: I'm wearing high heels, and the dress still drags! I kinda procrastinated and got screwed out of another legitimately-won dress on Ebay which took up time, so I didn't have enough time to hem the dress or install a bustle. I didn't do a whole lot of walking around, so wearing high heels and holding the dress up to walk didn't bother me.


I think this is the best Donna-snark photo we got!

I asked my friend Lauren (and photographer for the Donna cosplay) if she could help with the body glitter spray. I told her to go nuts with it... and she did! I loved the look, and it came off a lot better than I thought it would!

"I'm fabulous!"

"Well, that fiance didn't work out. Let's go get a new one!"

All in all, I had a fantastic weekend catching up with old friends, making new friends, and running around in costume. Maybe I'll have better time management skills if I plan on going and dressing up next year.

Crafty Wench Costumes page on Facebook, with more!

Monday, August 11, 2014


I am a bad, bad seamstress. In my attempt to not watch period film so I don't get more ideas and buy more fabric and not finish anything, I have actually fallen completely out of the mood to sew and run around in girly costumes. In my defense, I've been working a lot of overtime, we have had a death in the family, and I am planning to move and have a lot of prep work to do, but honestly I have no excuse. I don't want to drag a ton of stuff across the country, so there will be a lot of sorting fabric and garb I no longer need or want. This is a bonus for you, dear reader, because that may involve a sale and/or giveaway! Today is my Friday, so I think it's a good opportunity to start cleaning and sorting my sewing space. Oy. Not looking forward to it. It also doesn't help my motivation to see photos from Costume College of stuff that is way more spectacular than I will ever have the patience to produce. On the upside, Butterick just came out with a new historical pattern that seems quick and easy enough (version A) that it may get me back in the mood, despite being a forbidden new project. I've watched a little period film to try to get back in the mood but I just get snippy and nit-picky about the costuming. Sewing is definitely not high on my list of priorities, but I do want to get back to it.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I've Banned Myself :(

Since I have far too many pieces in progress and I have ADCD, I have banned myself from watching historical or fantasy movies or TV until I get stuff done. The only things I will allow have to be related to what I haven't finished yet. Jane Austen films are okay. The Borgias is okay. Gone With The Wind is allowed. Doctor Who is allowed because I've already started it and it's only KINDA historical, though it's a stretch to allow it! I've been dealing with some pet health issues lately and not sleeping a lot, so I haven't been sewing a lot.

But in the meantime, I'm watching "safe" movies and TV shows that won't give me more costume ideas to start and get distracted from later. I'm currently binge-watching one of my favorite shows, "Deadliest Catch", on Netflix. It's a reality/documentary show currently in their 10th season, about crab fishermen in the Bering Sea off of Alaska. It's a dangerous and exhausting job. I got into it a few years ago when I was having really bad health problems. I was ill and weak and all I could do was lay on the couch and watch TV. I would watch "A Haunting" on the Discovery Channel from noon until 2 pm every weekday (I love the paranormal!). Afterwards, they aired reruns of "Deadliest Catch". The TV didn't have a remote and I was too tired to get up and change the channel, so I watched it and eventually fell in love. I have no interest in crab, fishing, or Alaska, but I love my crabby guys!

But my tactic isn't entirely safe... I was talking to my best friend about watching "safe" stuff and she said she was surprised I hadn't made a set of rain gear for my cat, Tacocat (it's a palindrome!). Aaaaand suddenly I'm brainstorming, looking up free patterns for pet raincoats, and pricing waterproof fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics. My cat is going to hate me so bad.

But I digress. Yeah... not allowed to watch historical stuff until I finish work on what I have in progress. It's torture. But I'm hoping it gets me to work and to post, share pictures, inspiration, construction notes and photos, and maybe even photos of finished pieces! I want to make at least one post a week with in-progress photos. But I just had to grumble for a second.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

ADCD: Attention Deficit Crafting Disorder

I have ADCD: Attention Deficit Crafting Disorder.  Symptoms include working on multiple projects at once, starting a new project before previous projects are finished, researching multiple projects at once, accumulating supplies for multiple projects at once, and having multiple UFOs (unfinished objects) and PHDs (projects half done).  The condition is unfortunately unpreventable, untreatable, and possibly terminal.  I have suffered from ADCD for about ten years.

This current episode of ADCD is brought to you by The Borgias.  I started watching it on Netflix and quickly decided that I needed a go-big-or-go-home, fancy-ass Italian Renaissance gown.

In a subsequent post, I will detail inspiration from the show and historical sources, further informational resources, and my procedure, in addition to a review of the costuming.  But for now, let's do a quick recap of what I have in progress:

- Civil War day ensemble: unders, day dress, hat, accessories.
- Civil War ballgown ensemble: same unders, ballgown, headdress, accessories.
- Regency ensemble: unders, day dress and/or ballgown, shoes and accessories.
- Italian Renaissance ensemble: unders, gown, accessories.
- Redoing what I have named the Cloak of Fail for a friend: the bias trim pulled right off the fraying fabric.  This happened last week and nearly had me in tears because I couldn't meet the deadline then, so I need to focus on something else for a while.
- Medieval hooded short mantle for myself.

I think I need to ban myself from historical film watching until I've finished stuff.  It makes my ADCD worse.  I get too many ideas.  Ideas about costuming...  Ideas about taking the costuming off good-looking actors...  Wait, what?  Nothing... ;)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Regency Costume: Period Inspiration

Here are a few images I've collected here and there for inspiration. Neoclassical and Regency fashions were pretty simple, so there's not a whole lot of detail I'm focused on. I generally don't go 100% accurate on things anyway. I like to get a good idea of the time period, then make reasonable modifications to suit my personality.

Afternoon dress, 1794
This is almost exactly the overgown I am making. Even though it is early, I have no problem with making a form of it for 1810's.

Leipzig fashion plate, 1796
A similar overgown, with what looks like a brooch clasp. I also like the detail at the bottom of the skirt.

Painting of a family playing checkers by Louis-LĂ©opold Boilly, c. 1803
Simplicity of early 19th century gowns. The young lady in the foreground has a plain dress with a drawstring neckline, while the woman in the background has a crossover front dress. The pattern I've selected has both options.

Painting by Marguerite Gerard, 1804
Very similar to what I want to make, with an open overgown over a simple dress.

French stays, 1809
I found an earlier example of long stays being worn!

Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis, Massachusetts, USA, 1809
Period example of a sheer dress over white underpinnings.

Dance dress, 1811
Noted for neckline and hem lace details.

Neoclassical dresses, 1812
Noted for detail on the back of the dresses, in the seams and the pleating, and the hem detail.

Outerwear, c. 1813
Noted for the detail down the front opening of the pelisse.

Stays at the Kyoto Costume Institute, 1819
Both short and long stays shown.

I've selected the Sense & Sensibility "The Elegant Lady's Closet" pattern. I got it in e-pattern form and spent yesterday taping it together. I have an idea of the colors I want to use, but I'm not 100% sure which styles, fabrics, or personal modifications yet. I have some time to think, since I'm still working on a chemise and long stays. I get SO impatient when I have to make underpinnings when I want to make the pretties.

This is pretty much the least fun blog post I've made so far, since period research is so tedious when I already have an idea of what I want to do and want to get to it.

To Do:
— finish taping pattern together
— finish chemise (super easy as soon as I get on it)
— continue long stays
— work on hat
— stop being distracted by Netflix


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Regency Costume Inspiration: Sense and Sensibility (1995)

I've managed to reduce over 800 screencaps from Longbourn's Jane Austen screencaps down to ten that best represent the look I'm going for. My main idea is for a summer picnic ensemble, hopefully to wear to the Time Travelers Picnic I want to host this summer (historical or futuristic garb encouraged but not required!). In this post, I'll share the photos and notes. In a subsequent post, I'll share period inspiration.

Sisters, amirite?
This is a good shot of pretty much the main idea. Marianne (right) is wearing a sheer 3/4-sleeve dress that I would like to recreate. Elinor (left) is wearing a similar sheer dress with an overgown that is open in the front and fastens under the bust. You can see that it is fitted in the back down to underbust level. Both ladies wear simple straw hats (Marianne's is more like a bonnet) with ribbon decoration. I like the idea of decorating mine with feathers. I already have a crappy, long-hated straw hat I'm going to repurpose into something I can hopefully wear with joy.

This is a good view of the fronts of both underdress and overgown. I noted this screencap for the even pleating detail on the shoulders and bodice of Elinor's overgown.

I love me some Colonel Brandon.
This is a good view of the dress in motion. It looks like Marianne has blue unders on beneath the sheer gown. I haven't decided on a color for my ensemble yet and the contrary side of me wants to keep it a surprise until the picnic, only posting in-progress photos in black and white!

Pretty sure Colonel Brandon was my first crush.
A full-length view of the dress. You can tell she's wearing a couple petticoats. I will be making a bodiced petticoat with possibly two skirt layers. A bodiced petticoat is essentially a high-waisted sleeveless garmet with straps that provides coverage and modesty over the chemise and stays on top and bottom, under the dress.

Another good view of the overgown. I amazingly couldn't find a screencap of the fastenings, but in watching the movie again, it looks like it fastens in center front with buttons.

A 3/4 view of Marianne's nearly-identical overgown. Hers seems to fasten with hooks and eyes. The pleating on her shoulders looks narrower and concentrated farther out on the shoulder. I think I like that technique better. It seems less bulky that way. The fabric of Marianne's overgown seems thinner than Elinor's, so it probably lends itself well to smaller pleats, whereas Elinor's would need wider pleats sewn down at the edge as well to lay flat. We also see Marianne's other hat with floofy feathers. Usually I'm not a floofy person but I kinda like it!

Willoughby! Boo-hiss!
She wears her open overdress over a sheer dress as well, over white underpinnings. 

I included this to show her shoe(s). It's a slipper, like the Highbury slippers at American Duchess. (Yes, I plug other people's stuff! I have a pair of "Gettysburg" Civil War boots from American Duchess and my shopping experience was easy peasy, the boots are amazing, and I have heard nothing but good things of Lauren, so I will plug them for sure!) This scene may have been set up with slippers rather than boots (like the "Hartfield" boot) so it was easier for Willoughby to pull off her shoe and inspect Marianne's injured ankle, but I take it to mean that slippers are fine for a picnic and outdoor games. Especially if you are like me and very unladylike and prone to run barefoot.

It's hard to see in this screencap, but in the movie as the camera pans and Elinor moves slightly, it looks to me like she is wearing long stays. I am making long stays as well. I prefer them to short stays for posture and for back support. I have found several blogs with tutorials to draft your own Regency stays, but I have opted to use the 1820-1840 corset pattern from The Fashionable Past. It's a bit late, since Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811, but it fits the silhouette and the look and comfort I desire.

Marianne is wearing underpants in this shot, possibly to avoid a wardrobe malfunction while falling down the hill, since women didn't really start wearing them until early Victorian era, if I remember correctly. Feel free to set me straight! I plan on making underpants to wear too, because, well, unladylike behavior!

In Progress So Far:
— Short-sleeved chemise in white muslin, drafted and modified from the Elizabethan Smock Generator, since chemise form and construction didn't change very much, and the generator has never steered me wrong in the several times I've used it.
— Long stays in white twill and white muslin. So far I have resized the pattern and cut the mockup out of an old pillowcase.

(Work at a hotel or make friends with someone who does. Take thrown-out linens. I haven't bought fabric for mockups in almost three years, and as long as you're okay with poly/cotton, you can make beautiful "real" pieces too! I have garbage bags full of white poly/cotton sheets and duvet covers I can't wait to cannibalize and dye into lovely pieces.)

Onward, home to make more coffee and sew more! I found the S&S soundtrack on YouTube and I've been playing that until I can get the CD from Amazon as musical inspiration. The track "Miss Grey" is one of the songs from the ball and it makes me want to dance every time! I found a great website for Regency Dances and I REALLY want to try them!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

And Now For Something Completely Different!

Long story short, I eat my words.

Long story long, we begin further back than I would like to admit. My mother impressed on me, inadvertently, only through example, an intense love of literature. Her passions are the English classics: Austen, the Brontes, Wharton, the whole lot of 19th century novelists. Thus, I grew up with the film adaptations, and I have very, very fond memories of myself, my mother, and my sister watching them, and Dad falling asleep shortly into them and yet somehow later doing a perfect imitation of a character.

Fast forward many years to Monday, and I'm lying in bed with a chronically busted knee and Netflix. I found and watched the 1995 Ang Lee adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, my all-time favorite Jane Austen film. I laughed, I cried, I remembered inside jokes my family and I made out of it. It was a great personal reminiscence. But I also watched it with my adult, costuming eyes. I noticed how easy the costuming looked, both in comfort and construction. It looked fun to wear! It seemed effortless with the lack of rigid underpinnings, flashy trims and materials, and weighty jewelry. Simple elegance, for sure. It was also easy to see the construction details in the costumes, and it was accurate to what little I know of Regency costuming from various costuming blogs and forums.

Specifically, the scene where the Dashwood sisters were playing lawn bowls with the Sir John Middleton and Mrs. Jennings clan really made me stop and think, "I want to wear that to the Time Travelers Picnic that I want to host this summer! I want to play croquet in it!"

And it began, the seed was planted: the daydreaming, the plotting, the planning, the search for screencaps.

Now, mind you, despite my love of Jane Austen films, I have never had any particular love for Regency. In regards to the fashion, I have usually preferred more structured, corseted styles: Renaissance, Georgian, Victorian, skipping Regency, especially with the ridiculous masses of curled hair. I've also felt that the whole Jane Austen movement is over-hyped and over-romanticized in the modern world. I mean, really, not everyone can hope to land a Mr. Darcy nowadays, can she? (Personally I've always had a soft spot for Colonel Brandon.) Let's be realistic. People don't live like that. People don't act like that. People like that don't exist anymore. You're just setting yourself up for disappointment. BUT the Regency revival movement is made up of people who feel about that time period the way I feel about the Middle Ages and Renaissance, so I have no room to talk.

So the next day, I set up my sewing space in my Dad's house, where I am currently living, and I've been printing off patterns and tutorials all night at work. I usually have a character to play with and to make an outfit for, and I don't really have one in mind yet, but here we go!

(I also watched Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow and I have the following notes: I dislike her on every level. It was just poorly adapted with an unsettling amount of what I would consider modern behavior. I want to go back in time and burn down their costume shop. Ewan McGregor's hair is ridiculous. BUT when he sings, it redeems the whole mess.)

Deep breath.

I admit it. I'm a girl. I'm a romantic. I love Regency.

And I need a hat.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why the Weasel is My Personal Symbol

I've adopted the white weasel as my symbol, shown here on my banner:

Banner Stats:
30" wide, 58" long.
Red duck canvas.
Gold fabric paint trim, hand painted.
Weasel design hand-drawn, enlarged onto posterboard by hand, cut out and traced, then hand painted in white acrylic paint with black Sharpie details.
Black faceted glass bead eye.
Will have gold-painted canvas tabs at the top to hang from pavilion or pole.

Why the weasel?

Because I am always trying to weasel my way out of things, weasel other people into doing things for me, weaseling information out of people, etc.

Case in point, just last night, which reminded me of my symbol...

My guy was over, we were lounging around talking, and I started giving him a much-needed hand massage. He does medieval foam fighting and his hands and arms get sore. Within minutes he was very relaxed.

Him: "I think I've gone stupid."
Me: (joking) "So about that silk you said you'd buy me for my ballgown..."
Him: "How much do you need and how much is it?"
Me: (laughing) "I don't really need silk."

A few minutes later, still massaging his hands...

Him: "I adore you."
Me: "How much? Because I'm still thinking about that silk..."
Him: "How much do you need and how much is it?"
Me: "I do not need more fabric!"

A few more minutes pass, still massaging his hands and arms...

Him: "I think I died."
Me: "You died? How long until they lock out your credit card? Because... silk..."
Him: "How much do you need and how much is it?"
Me: (laughing) "Nooooo..."
Him: "I will buy you silk."

Weasel with massage superpowers: 1
My guy's willpower and possibly budget too: 0

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Guy's Medieval Tunic & Fancypants Gear

I recently made my guy a medieval tunic. Here's a quick rundown of the stats, followed by photos and additional notes:

Fabric: Linen/rayon blend. I dislike the rayon content, but it was the perfect color and I have yet to find any confidence in dyeing fabric.

Pattern: Custom drafted to his measurements from Drea Leed's Elizabethan Smock Pattern Generator

Year: Nonspecific, early medieval.

Notions: Thread.

How historically accurate is it? 50% perhaps. The pattern is accurate, but the fabric and thread have synthetic content, and it was machine-sewn.

Hours to complete: Too many. Underarm gussets are the bane of my existence.

First worn: Wolfpack Season Opener, February 2014.

Total cost: Don't remember. He paid for the fabric, and I rarely count thread in the cost unless it is purchased specifically for a piece.

Worn here with armor he made and painted himself (most of it). He's quite the talented gentleman.

The fabric lays nicely, irons nicely, and doesn't shift around much, so it was easy to cut. However, it frayed a lot, so in the future I will flat-fell the seams. I used Fray Check on the neckline until I put the trim on. There was a bit of a time-crunch before Season Opener since I was having issues with the underarm gussets. I'm not sure where I was going wrong, but they weren't fitting properly. The only thing I can think is that I wasn't using the correct seam allowance. I cut them according to pattern and followed the directions, but I still had to pull them out like four times. I hate underarm gussets, even though the pattern has them as two triangles to each gusset, which are much easier to put in rather than one diamond shape.

When we got the fabric, there was less than a yard left after what I guesstimated we needed, which would be sold as a remnant for 50% discount.
Clerk: "Would you like the rest as—"
Me: "Yes. Whoops, I should probably ask the guy who's paying for it."
My guy: "Go ahead. Whatever you want."
Me: "I'm keeping you."

All photos in this post were taken by myself.  Here's a few more of him in his full getup:

He made the pants himself. If I recall correctly, he made the tabard as well. He made his leather armor, mask, weapons, and shield and painted it all with his personal symbols.

I am quite jealous of his painting talent. For anyone who's wondering, he uses liquid pigment.

Better view of all his fancypants painted armor.

I've started a Wish List for his garb, in addition to a Wish List for my garb. His Wish List includes fancypants garb for feasts, which may or may not be the Eastern European garb he wants, inspired by Vlad the Impaler. Our garb arrangement is pretty much, "Here's a few ideas of what I want; go nuts." We'll see what I come up with... :)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday: the first piece I made!

The first piece I made was a full-circle skirt. A quick run-down using the HSF stat list:

Fabric: A gray synthetic knit purchased from Wal-Mart. I purchased probably four yards. This was obviously before I was concerned with historical accuracy, but it's so soft and drapes so nicely that I still love it and still wear it. Later I replaced the bias tape drawstring waistband with a fitted broadcloth waistband, wide enough so the skirt doesn't fall out the bottom of the bodice.

Pattern: Self-drafted from my own measurements. I would like to apologize to my high school geometry teacher for not paying attention in class, because I have certainly used a lot of geometry in sewing!

Year: Not meant to be any specific year or time period; I just wanted a full-circle skirt!

Notions: Black bias tape at first. Later, grommets and black shoelace for the fitted waistband. Thread.

How historically accurate is it? Not at all!

Hours to complete: I don't remember. Even now I'm terrible at keeping track.

First worn: To the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, WI, USA in 2007, I think.

Total cost: Couldn't even begin to guess, but not expensive by any means.

Despite being a completely novice attempt at Ren Faire garb, I still like it. I've worn it many times. It took me a while to draft the pattern using my measurements and geometry, but looking back I'm proud of myself for managing to do it all successfully on my first piece. I still love full-circle skirts, historically accurate or not, and have a few pieces planned based on the full-circle idea. Understanding the geometry has also helped me draft other pieces yet to be seen!

More photos: These photos were taken in January 2011 at my friend Susie's house. We and another friend like to have medieval-themed dinners.

The fabric drapes so beautifully. I'm wearing it here with a purchased blouse and bodice. The cap is actually a sunbonnet with the brim turned back halfway and the strings tied at the nape of my neck.

The apron is a quarter-circle panel of unbleached muslin. It was a test piece for the full-circle pattern, turned into an apron by hemming and adding two muslin strips. The curved waistline prevents it from fitting awkwardly.

The shawl is two yards of unhemmed plaid cotton flannel from Jo-Ann Fabrics.

After the addition of a fitted waistband so it doesn't slip from beneath the bodice. It is shown here over hoops on my dressform.