Thursday, May 12, 2016

Costume Con 34 in Madison, WI

*le flop*  We got back this evening from driving up to Madison, WI for Costume Con 34.  By far, one of the most fun Costume Cons I've been yet.  Major kudos to the team that put it together.  The overall con theme was "The Wonders of Nature," which I didn't personally find super inspirational, but meh.  I hardly had time to put together much of anything new this spring, so it worked out just fine.  I had a lot of costumes that were completed in time to wear to Costume College last summer, so that's mostly what I brought out here.

Friday morning I wore the 1950s Avengers wrap-around dress, minus a lot of the accessories.  I kept it simple and comfortable, since I was going to be spending the majority of my morning in ICG board meetings.  That afternoon, my costume bestie and I teamed up to present Practical Considerations for Costumers," which I thought worked quite well.  We're a good team, B and I, not the least of which because we are so damned different in the way that we go about things.  But it was funny and informative and the audience had good participation.

Friday evening was the social and Single Pattern competition.  I had picked up the pattern in time to use as a basis for my Chambord Fairy from the booze fairies group at CoCo last year, so the Honey and I worked on putting together a nicer set of wings to take along.  I brought a bottle of Chambord along to judging as my documentation.  And then found several nice people to help me drink it after the show.  

A better picture of the wings.  Each is a layer of silk gauze over habotai, spray painted in two
shades and sewn together to make a channel along the tops, through which the wires run.

Saturday was a busy day. I started in stage blacks to help with the run through for my costume bestie's entry for the Science Fiction and Fantasy masquerade that night. Tech rehearsal accomplished, I changed into the 1890s seamstress to wear for a spin around the vendor room. I picked up a hall costume award for this one, as well as a ton of compliments. People were really digging on the vintage sewing accessories I had dangling from my belt. Ooh! And there was a vendor selling vintage and damaged kimonos and kimono materials for $10/lb. That was a dangerous booth. I ended up with three little bolts of indigo and white cotton intended for yukata, as well as one damaged silk kimono with a small gold ivy leaf motif on a read background that I'm thinking of turning into an 18th century jacket of some sort. With my wallet lighter and luggage heavier, I hit a workshop on costume rendering.
I'll keep working on it.
Then it was up to the room to help the bestie paint herself black from the waist up.  A good time was had by all who got to witness her getting slathered in cold paint, and it paid off for her when her Lolth took an award for Best Group.

I'm totally in this picture.  Those are my feet as I stand in the back and hold up her giant spider butt!
See what I said about being the polar opposites of costuming?

Sunday was a fun day, with the theme for hall costuming being "peasants", I put together an 18th century costume from all the odd bits that I'd been working on over the last couple of years.  Several old Historical Sew Fortnightly challenges that hadn't really worked into anything, such as the petticoat made from poorly dyed linen and a shift with sleeves too long to fit under my other gowns.  I also got to wear the quilted waistcoat for the first time and it was SUPER COMFORTABLE!  Also, hella boosting for the bust, which was a bonus.  While packing, I realized that I couldn't find my simpler rough linen cap, so I ended up cobbling one together utilizing the extra bit of ruffle that I had cut out of the neckline of my chemise a la reine.  Since that bit was already hemmed, all I had to do was cut a crown and gather the two together, sewing them on the machine on the underside.  Quick and easy like that.  Then I realized that my only apron was the one I've been doing white work embroidery on, so probably a touch too dressy for a peasant.  I hacked up the skirt of a Regency petticoat that was made out of a bed sheet, so a super thin cotton apron was achieved.

Sunday night was the Historical Masquerade.  I waffled about entering this right up until the last minute.  What sold it for me was that, in ten years together, the Honey and I have never entered a masquerade together, outside of large groups.  So I cobbled together  close enough for stage outfit for him that he then proceeded to distress the hell out of.  Not gonna lie, I got a little weepy when I first saw that waistcoat covered in black smudges.  I wrote up the documentation in the hotel room on Thursday night and away we went.  It must have been worth it, because we took home a Best in Show for Workmanship.  TOTALLY didn't see that coming.  I expected maybe a lesser award for presentation, since it was kinda funny and I thought we did a good job of showing off the costumes without feeling like we were just spinning in a circle on stage.  I tried to make fun of the ridiculous poses you see in some some fashion plates, but then only sorta serious presentation gets 'interrupted' by a zombie shambling across the stage.  I guess all of the meticulous hand-stitching on the bodice of the dress, as well as the cap and chemisette paid off.  I *cough*  did not take the Honey's outfit in for workmanship judging, not only because it was filthy, but because the shirt and waistcoat were made on the fly out of non-period-appropriate materials, sewn almost entirely by machine and with tons of short cuts, such as unfinished button holes, non-functional buttoned bits half-assed finishings throughout.  The trousers were an older pair that was made with the intent of serious wear, but that he hates the fit of.

*sigh*  How could I refuse that face anything?
Also, am totally digging on the red shoes with this outfit.

Emo zombie.  Only historically accurate in the impression,
but I'm still submitting it for the HSM April Challenge.

Monday's theme was pijamas, and I won a hall costume award for my 1930s Lounge PJs.  SO comfortable.  I think these are going to be the go to hall costume for every con from here on out.  I did a lecture on 18th century fashion terminology, which was surprisingly well-attended for first thing on Monday morning.  I promised the class that I'll put some of the information from those slides up here, and I'll do that just as soon as I figure out a somewhat easy way to get that info off of the power point slides and onto the blog. Then all of the sudden, con was over.  I picked up a video of the masquerade, then spent the afternoon being a tourist.  We hit up Gayfeather fabrics while she was unloading from the con, then the Mustard Museum, a chocolatier, a coffee house, and I got hooked up with some Laotian food hot enough to make me cry.  It was a good day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Regency Spencer, HSM March: Protection

HSM 3 Protection

I finished a spencer to go with my Regency day dress this spring.  The blue cotton pique was picked up at the scrap swap at Figments & Filaments last year.  I used the pattern from the dress for the bodice back and sleeves, and just extrapolated the rest.  The dress has a drop front bib, so I was able to work with the under bits which overlap underneath the bib.

Decorated with a total of twelve completely non-functional buttons, as well as a few
bits of folded fabric tubes sewn down over the back seams to add a bit of interest.

Ruffled collar holds its shape with two rows of piping along the edge.
Or perhaps a couched cord would be a better way to describe it, as it's not encased within a seam.

Detail of the non-functional false cuffs (and fabric texture).

I turned the sleeve inside out so I could show off how that nonsense was put together.  The seams at the armsyce and bottom of the sleeve puff are bound with cotton tape.  The puff is supported with a crescent of silk organza and the band is held up with two tapes, further assisting the poofing.
Sleeve head, inside out.

I can't decide if it's too much ruffle to wear the chemisette AND the spencer.
I suppose I could always sub out for a fichu if I want to tone it down a bit.

The flash really brings out the shiny in the dress fabric.  I haven't the foggiest what the secondary
content of the dress is, and have absolutely no fabric left to play with.  I guess the world will never know.

And for the Historical Sew Monthly Challenge:

What the item is: Regency Spencer
The Challenge: Protection
Fabric/Materials: blue cotton pique, linen, silk organza.
Pattern: heavily modified from the Laughing Moon Mercantile bib front dress pattern.
Year: 1810-ish
Notions: fabric covered buttons, hooks with hand stitched loop closures, cotton twill tape.
How historically accurate is it? 8/10
Hours to complete: maybe 20
First worn: in a 'done enough' state for a costumers' guild outing to see Pride + Prejudice + Zombies, but in the finished state, right there in the dining room.
Total cost: The fabric came from the scrap swap at a local costuming convention and the lining is from my own leftovers, so the only really cost was the button forms. All told, maybe $6.