Friday, August 26, 2011

Montgomery County Fair results

The Montgomery County Fair ended on August 20. All six items I entered received ribbons! Although I didn't do as well with some items as I would have liked, I'm still happy they all got something.

The Otakon dress was entered as a "day dress" rather than a costume (you're only allowed one entry per category). It received a fourth place ribbon.


The Smithson Gown was entered as a "formal ensemble" and got a third place ribbon.


Diana's "Ocean Goddess" Otakon costume got a third place ribbon.


The tie I made for Bob for his part of the Smithson gala outfit got a second place.


The vest I made for Bob got a first place ribbon!

And I am most proud of my entry in the Accessories department: the diaper bag I made for my neighbor. It took first place AND a Champion ribbon!


Next year I'm determined to enter more items. I had wanted to enter some of the things I made for Diana during the year but completely forgot to ask her to give them to me in time. Oh well! Just another excuse to make more stuff!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another t-shirt quilt

Earlier this summer, a friend of mine contacted me to ask if I would be interested in making a t-shirt quilt for her sister-in-law. Since the timeframe wasn't immediate and I could work it into the other projects littering my sewing room, I said sure.

Well, the quilt was given to its recipient today and I got a picture of the proud new owner.


I was sent a box of shirts from his running career and pieced them into a 60" x 60" blanket. The shirts were all stabilized with fusible knit from Rowley's, and the back was a fleece chosen by the sister-in-law. The quilt has a layer of medium-loft batting to give it some extra warmth, and the whole thing is bound with a brown knit fabric, double-folded and machine-stitched to the front, then the corners were mitered and the back hand-stitched in place. The layers were secured with knotted embroidery floss at the intersection of each block.

The mitered corners were actually interesting to figure out; I'm going to do a tutorial on how to mark and sew them because, really, once I wrapped my head around the topology of the folds, it was quite easy and quick to do.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Crabby scarves

My daughter is finishing up her summer internship with the Smithsonian this week. I suggested she give her supervisors a gift for putting up with her providing such a great experience, and offered to embroider something. She told me one of the "running gags" at SERC was that whenever someone saw a crab, someone else would say "I pinch!" I had no idea what this meant until she pointed me at the following commercial:



So, I suggested doing polar fleece scarves with a crab on one end and "I pinch!" on the other.


I finished them just in time for her to take back with her for her final week.

The crabs are from Embroidery Library, although I had to edit out all the background swirls because my hoop isn't big enough.


They stitched out at just a few millimeters under the legal eating size!\

I did the text with Embird's Font Engine:


The scarves were lined with some cotton remnants I had in my stash. I look forward to hearing how the recipients like them!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Otakon 2011: Back to Reality!

My first Otakon experience is now over, and I can honestly say it was one of the most interesting and fun things I've ever done! Being one of over 31,000 people swarming around the Baltimore Convention Center and Inner Harbor area was a real study in sensory overload. So many costumes!!!

My costume got some attention but not much; I had about two dozen picture requests. Compare that to some of the costumes where the wearer simply couldn't go anywhere because they were always surrounded by attendees asking to take their picture. Diana and I wore our costumes on Friday only; we went in street clothes on Saturday. Part of the reason was that the costumes weren't getting a lot of attention; the other part was that the makeup was time-consuming and inconvenient, especially when it came to eating or using the facilities! Lesson learned: no more body paint for me.

Anyway, I did take pictures of the other costumes, and will share some of them with you. I really have no idea who many of these characters are; I was just taking pictures of costumes I liked!

 Diana getting her picture taken by the professional photographer in the PhotoSuite.

 Not quite sure who this was supposed to be, but I loved the colors, and his makeup was great.

 We braved the 101-degree heat for some pictures at the fountain by the Inner Harbor.

 Spandex, corsets and skimpy costumes abounded.

 Men in Black observing the Green Arrow.

Recursive cosplay: Video game character costumes made out of video game cartridges.

I thought this gnome was cute!

 This Tron: Legacy costume was quite good, except he couldn't quite reach the disc on his back, and had to ask for help retrieving it!

 This woman couldn't get ten feet without hearing someone squeal, "Miss Frizzle!!!!"

A beautiful costume; she had someone with her to help her navigate the aisles because the headdress prevented her from seeing anything next to her.

Dr. Who was quite well represented this year, in many of his incarnations (I even saw a Tom Peters version). This Dalek wasn't motorized (I don't think), but appeared in various places throughout the convention center to pose with the many Doctors (as well as with the people dressed up as a Tardis).

I was impressed with the quality of this guy's body paint!

Here was one of the group shot sessions for the Doctors; you can see some of the Tardis costumes as well.


A collection of Sailor Moon costumes.

 Not sure who these two were supposed to be, but they couldn't see through their headdresses, so every time someone wanted a picture, they had to put the headdresses on.

I found Waldo! There were actually at least three of them wandering around; this one was the best.

 A full-body costume. I saw her later in the PhotoSuite without the shoes, tag and backpack; it was a much better look. But I guess having shoes was necessary for walking around!

 One of at least three "Tangled" princess costumes; this one had the best braid.

Again, not quite sure what this is a costume of, but it was incredibly detailed and frilly!


Commercial icons made for popular costumes!

 I'm not sure if the backpack is historically accurate, but this Samurai costume was very good!

 There were quite a few Disney Princesses, plus a prince or two.

 A Tetris game piece. Pretty much anything related to a video game was fair play for a costume. There was also a Rubiks Cube costume!

 The Fountain Atrium of the Convention Center was where many of the popular costumed attendees stayed to be photographed. Many of them were groups, or had awkward props that would be unmanageable in the crowded hallways.

 Another group in the Fountain Atrium. I can only imagine how sore the two front characters were after hours of dipping in and out of their poses.


 Another popular feature of Otakon is the Video Gaming Hall. This cavernous space was filled with oversize monitors and every video system imaginable, with every game imaginable being played. This was the one area with very few costumes in evidence; the people were here to play. This was a chance for them to indulge in hours of play, all included in the admission price. I loved the rules that were posted, especially about good personal hygiene.

 It was impossible to capture the room in just one shot. But you can see the size of the monitors... and there were dozens of them. The room was also kept quite chilly. I can't imagine what the electric bill was for just this one room!

 There weren't just video games in the hall, either. The area with the tables was devoted to a "Magic: The Gathering" card game tournament. There were people lined up for their turn to play; there were probably 30 tables with players, many with thick binders of cards and very serious expressions. These weren't casual gamers!

 Another group of costumed characters; I'm told they are from the webcomic "MS Paint Adventures".

Superman!! Again, there was more than one at the convention.

So how about Diana and me? Well, here are some of the pictures taken at the PhotoSuite.

 This picture really captures the flow of the dress! Too bad none of the pictures really captured the sparkle of the sequins scattered over the dress and the "wave" cape. Oh well.

 I love this one for its contrast!

We went back to the PhotoSuite at the end of the day at the invitation of the photographer. My makeup was really starting to wear off by this point, but I think it lends just the right amount of creepiness to the shot!

So there you have it... We had a great time, and I'm looking forward to going again next year. But I might not go in costume; instead, I'm tempted to volunteer to work at the PhotoSuite instead!