Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tales of Costumes PAAAAST!: Suki from Avatar the Last Air Bender.

So I used to cosplay. Yes, to those mundane friends of mine who found this blog via Facebook, I was one of THOSE people. I was one of the ridiculous folk who dressed up as imaginary characters at conventions. Trust me, this IS as weird as it sounds when you've never been exposed to that universe. Hell, I wasn't really fully exposed to that universe until I turned 25. So imagine my surprise at the notion that it even existed!
In my defence, I have to say that cosplay was really a fantastic way for me to learn how to sew. And that's pretty much what it was; fodder for me to get my feet with with ye olde sewing machine. I had some epic failures in cosplay *cough* which I rather not put on view here at the moment. But get me drunk one night and I may post the "What was a thinking!? Seriously!?" entry just to remind myself that, well, I HAVE improved over time.
But that is for another day.
...and another bottle of tequila.
And luckily for me, every misstep also led to a learning experience and a project that turned out even better than my expectations could lead. Over the years my interest has waned from cosplay and into more historical recreation.(You can thank the SCA for that one). I tend to take more delight these days in creating my own designs. But that doesn't mean that I don't admire a good chunk of cosplayers out there that have technical skill out the Yin Yang! Trust me, there are tons...I'm looking at YOU, Besty.
I only dabbled a bit.

Suki from Avatar: The Last Air Bender cartoon is definitely one of my better cosplay adventures.  This was done back in 2007-ish at Anime Expo. Trishana, my partner in crime in the above photo, was the one who came up with the idea of doing this cosplay.  She was a huge fan of Avatar. I was just starting to get into the show. Honestly, even though I loved the show, The main reason I did this costume was because I REALLY wanted to build the armor.

Ah, my old apartment...
Anyways, the armor and wrist guards are made of craft foam. No fooling. There's an amazing tutorial online RIGHT here that gives you step by step instructions on how to do this. I pretty much followed it to the letter. the breast plate slats are sewn/glued onto a muslin base I built. Pretty much the same with the wrist guards. The medallion is sculpty.

Believe it or now, we dyed the fabrics all on our own. Definitely came out better than previous adventures into dye. In retrospect, I wish I documented my progress on this costume since I learned so many new techniques. Unfortunately I was so swept up with working on it, I didn't bother to take my camera out for this. Regardless,  it was an adventure making the Suki costume.
One that didn't end in tears and bottles of tequila, either.
Baby Steps.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Persian Coat from Reconstructing History Pattern

And now, a break from something truly amazing to look at my crap again. ;)

Here's the finished Persian coat I made from a Reconstructing History pattern. Overall its a nice pattern. My only warning would be to size UP when you're selecting your pattern size. The pattern that was made for my measurements turned out to be too small so I had to jump to the next size which fit much better. Other than that, this pattern is relatively simple. I have yet to make the other garments from the pattern though. Its on the ever growing list of projects
Note the gorilla sleeves. The wrists are tapered tightly so I can smoosh the sleeves up onto my arms, which I was told is a period fit for a coat like this. judging by the research I've seen, I'd say that's pretty accurate.

The fabric came from Home Fabrics which was closing its doors and had a HUGE sale. I believe this cotton was originally around $7 a yard. I got it for $2 a yard. TOTAL STEAL! But even though its cotton, its extremely heavy. I've pretty much regulated this to a outdoor coat. It came in handy during the very chilly Estrella War this year. The buttons I picked up at Estrella. The button hole technique was taught to me by Baroness Briana Je Nell which is a FAR more elegant manner to do button loops than the way I've been doing them. I really should document a step by step for it soon...because its a great technique.

I'd have to say my favorite part of the coat are the gores on the side. It give the whole garment fantastic movement, especially for belly dancing in cold weather.
I think next time I try this pattern out again I'll try it in a silk. I also am hoping to try my hand at the full outfit. Overall though its a useful coat, especially for someone who gets cold at the drop of a hat.

Also, my Regina Black costume overall is more or less done finally. Pictures to come soon!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pulp Fashion: The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave

I'm taking a quick break from posting about my antics to point out this amazing exhibition happening the the Legion of Honor Fine Art Museum in San Francisco.
Isabelle de Borchgrave has worked with several costume historians to recreate period garments....out of paper.
You can find information on the exhibition here.
You can also find detailed pictures of the exhibition at the T-Lo Blog.

I can honestly say that the photos are truly breath taking. I REALLY hope I can make a quick trek up to my home turf to see this.

This exhibition will be running until June 5th 2011 at the Legion of Honor Fine Art Museum in San Fransisco.

If anyone gets the opportunity to see this, please let me know what you thought!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Beginings of Regency Morning Gown

It starts.
Yes, I have started YET another new historical garment.  But this one is actually un SCA related. Who knew? I picked up a pattern from Reconstructing History. Its not bad  but keep in mind it seems to need a lot of tweaking to get it to fit properly. The sizing is a bit wonky in places, mainly the sleeves and arm syes. I had to tweak the pattern to make it lay right.  Luckily I bought plenty of fabric to use for a mock up and a finished piece.

Here is the mock up version I did. Behold! Sleeve-zilla! Yeah,I wasn't too fond of the sleeves there. I was going to do the long sleeve version at first but it just wasn't doing it for me. And the short sleeve/over sleeve was huge. More of a three quarter sleeve. Not overly thrilled with how sad it looked.

 And here is the current version after I narrowed the arm sye and widened the shoulder strap. Overall, a MUCH better fit. The sleeves were cut down considerably.  They hit just above the elbows now with a bit of a poof. MUCH happier sleeves.

The dress is a bib font style so a stomacher will be going over the front of the bodice. I was screwing around a bit with lace trim to see what I can do with it. I'm a ample bosumed gal, to put it lightly, so the stomacher is a titch too small. Nothing that can't be tweaked.

Roughly, its going to fit like this when its done. The skirt will be next. I'm also considering making a chemise to go under it, but I'm not completely sold yet.

A close up of the fabric I'm using. Just a regular cotton print from JoAnn Fabrics. I usually tend to avoid white when possible since it washes me out, but the print was adorable and the white was so warm that I went for it. I want to try to make this dress pretty feminine.

Hopefully my next post will have the skirt attached!