Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Otakon 2011: Mom's Costume, full dress rehearsal

On Wednesday evening, I did a full "dress rehearsal" for my Otakon costume. I did full makeup, all the accessories, and had Bob take pictures.

Here's the costume:


Oh, wait... That's not right. He had the camera set on "black and white" mode. Here's the REAL picture:


Yep, I'm going as a "black and white" housewife, complete with a plate of chocolate chip cookies.

Here's a closeup:


The makeup isn't perfect (which is why I did a dress rehearsal!). The chocolate chip cookies are real; I bought a package at the grocery store, put them in my dehydrator for a day to get most of the excess moisture out, then sealed them with Mod Podge and painted them in gray tones. They're glued to the plate -- except for the one I keep in my apron pocket to offer to passers by.

The makeup is actually very comfortable; it doesn't itch, and doesn't rub off on my dress. The true test will come on Friday, when Diana and I get up early and get into our full makeup before leaving for Baltimore at about 8 in the morning. Ugh.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Otakon 2011: Mom's Costume

Yay! My costume for Otakon is pretty much finished. I just have to add a few details to one of the accessories, and then I can focus on finishing Diana's.

Here's the dress by itself:


The style is very simple: just a fitted bodice and a full, gathered skirt. I've got the petticoat on under the dress, and it really does make the skirt stand out nicely.

This dress is incredibly comfortable; I will definitely be making more in this style. But I might change the sleeve; it either needs to be longer or shorter, so the cuff isn't in the way of my elbow.

Here's the dress with the apron:


So what, you ask, is my costume supposed to represent?

Hint #1: Look at the stockings.

Hint #2: Pleasantville.

I'll be doing a complete "dress rehearsal" tomorrow, and will post pictures of the full getup then!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Otakon 2011: Diana's vest, ready to embellish

It's been a productive few days in the workroom. Diana's vest for her Otakon costume is now constructed and ready for embellishment. I'm VERY happy with the fit, and so is she!


You can see the godets peeking out between the panels of the vest. Each one of them was sewn in by hand. Golly, I just love hand sewing. It took me the better part of a day to get all TEN of these godets inserted.


The godet fabric is a polyester from Joanns, with silver lurex threads in the design. It really does look watery, and it's perfect.

We had a lot of discussions about the "wave" she wanted for the back. Finally I figured out how to get the effect she wanted.


The wave is attached just below the shoulder points on the vest back, and fastened around her wrists with snapped cuffs. It provides for a really fluid motion, and complements the vest very nicely.

Tomorrow we'll make more progress on embellishing the outfit and putting some final touches on it before she heads back to her internship. Then it's up to me to get it finished by Thursday, when we'll head to Baltimore to pick up our badges for Otakon.

Friday, July 22, 2011

We interrupt this blog for a commercial message

This is so totally not sewing, but it's so totally cool!

Most of you know that I live in an old house called Redwall. Old houses have tiny kitchens; after all, back in the day the kitchen was for fixing food, not for socializing. When we bought our house in 1997 the kitchen was in terrible shape, and we did a complete gut and rebuild at that time.

A few weeks ago I saw that Apartment Therapy was holding its "Small Cool Kitchens" contest, so I submitted our kitchen. And it's been accepted for the contest!


Of course, these contests are all about garnering the most votes, so please click on the picture and go vote for my kitchen!! Thanks!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Otakon 2011: What about Mom?

With all the work I'm doing on Diana's costume, I also had to keep in mind that I would need my own costume for this event as well. I'm actually a little more hesitant to give too many details on what I'm doing, as I don't want to tip my hand, but I can share a few elements of the costume with you.

First off is the main part of the costume: the dress. This is a simple shirtwaist dress, drafted with PatternMaster Boutique (of course). It has side/waist darts, a gathered skirt, and a convertible collar. Pretty simple. But for some reason I've been making some pretty stupid mistakes.


Here's the dress as it stands right now. See those stand-out cuffs? I sewed one of them in wrong THREE TIMES IN A ROW. Talk about frustrating. But finally I did get the positioning correct and they went in perfectly. Now the only thing left to do is the hem and buttons/buttonholes.
It doesn't really show in this picture, but the dots on the dress are NOT white; they are light gray. And the white collar and cuffs are actually dyed a very light gray as well. There's a reason for this, which will be clear once the whole costume is done.

(By the way, it looks terrible on this dress form because the form is too small. I don't have a dress form even close to my size; I was given a Dritz My Double plus-size form and was delighted to find out that it's much too large for me. One of my dress forms is almost exactly Diana's size, which helps a lot. But I really want one that's my size.)

Now, I needed a petticoat under this dress. Fortunately, the June/July 2011 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine happened to have instructions on making a petticoat. So I drowned myself in a sea of netting to make one.


A true petticoat should be able to stand up on its own. This one certainly does!! I have to say it was NOT fun to make; gathering all that netting is tedious. I haven't covered the seams with the ribbon as indicated in the article; I may or may not go back and do that. I'm also not terribly fond of the grosgrain ribbon as waistband, but it will do.

The last bit of costume that's done is the apron. This was made without a pattern; I just eyeballed everything. I did make a quick template for cutting out the pockets so they would be symmetrical. The ruffles were gathered using the ruffling foot on my Bernina. The pocket embellishments are made of felt.


I've got a week to get everything finished; I'm shooting for doing a "dress rehearsal" early next week to identify any weaknesses in the costume in time to fix them. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Otakon 2011: Plan B... and C... and D...

It's been a while since I posted, but that surely doesn't mean I haven't been busy.

Diana's initial sketch for her Otakon costume just wasn't inspiring either of us to envision a truly epic creation. It was too much like simply a "nice dress," rather than a great costume, so we sat down one evening and hashed out the issues, endured a fair number of false starts and spirited discussions, and ended up with yet another concept sketch.

This concept calls for a laced vest with long skirt panels and sheer godets between each panel. The back will feature a chiffon cape embellished with cattail sequins and a fringe of gathered tulle to resemble the ocean froth.

To add to the pressure, she has picked a piece of shot dupioni silk from my stash, which is 45 inches wide and less than 3 yards long, and it's all I have, and she insists that has to be the vest.

So, back to the drawing board... or rather, back to the computer to draft a muslin. I double-checked her chart in PatternMaster Boutique to make sure the numbers were still current (they were), and drafted a sheath using the panel styleline and a front zipper. A little while later the muslin was ready to try on.


I really can't say often enough how much I adore this program. Can you believe the fit? Here's the back view.


Yes, I know there are wrinkles across the back. She wants this vest to fit more like a corset, which means the final version will be boned and interfaced, so will lie smoothly.

Once she headed back to the eastern shore for her internship, I got to work on the final version. It doesn't look like much in the picture, and there's still a fair amount of embellishment to be done, but here it is so far.


This is the front view, which will have eyelets installed for the lacing. I still have to add to godets; until last night I wasn't sure what shape they would take but the wonderful ladies of my ASG group were again instrumental in helping me figure out the details.

I hope to get the bulk of the costume done by this weekend so I can work on my own costume; more on that in the next post!

P.S. I am so proud of my daughter... She was part of the team that caught the snakefish in the Rhode River last week, and got interviewed for TV!