Apr. 6th, 2010 05:21 pm
rhienelleth: (costuming)
 So, there was a whole lot of really scary weather this past weekend.  Rain, wind, tires rolling across the freeway and narrowly missing us.

But let's get down to the important bits, shall we?  Like the costumes I've sewed my hands bloody making.  (No really - you don't want to know how many times I drew blood with pins over the course of this; my fingers are still sore!)

Without further ado, since pictures from Norwescon are posting all over the flickr account already.  Just to be clear, I did not take these photos; as usual, we were too busy actually being in costume to get any good photos.  But M's friend G grabbed a couple with her cell, while about fifty million other people at the con got tons of us, many of the more talented among them posting to the flickr group, linked above.

[ profile] kistha 's friend M decided to come, and she wore a pretty gown and played Aurora for us, so we got to run all over the con on Saturday night trying to curse her evil with us.  (Because Maleficent took over all of fairy, you know, and joining her was the only way to survive.  Although Merryweather seemed a little too happy about this turn of events.  I, as Fauna, wasn't so sure...but how does that saying go?  If you can't beat 'em....)  

People kept calling us witches, but no, we were fairy godmothers. EVIL fairy godmothers. )
rhienelleth: (christmas_searchtheskies)
Can you believe it's already week 2 of December?? Me, either.

Thank you, thank you, everyone who sent me virtual snowflake cookies! Yummy. :D

So, I may have mentioned I'll be attending Norwescon this year. Well, the friends that visited us this past weekend are a couple Mark and I met at a writing convention, ironically, who have since become very good friends. He (the writer of the pair) is one of my crit partners, while his wife is one of my beta readers, a fellow costumer, and just really one of my BFFs. There are circumstances of irony around how and why we all met that I won't go into, but the point of this is to say that they are also going to Norweson, and a couple of weeks ago, we found out our third writer/crit partner is also going to come with her spouse, even though they have to travel a much, much greater distance!

Also, the partner-in-crime who got me into costuming in the first place is going to go, so she can experience all of the costuming-related things the con has to offer. This past weekend was largely about costume planning/strategy, because OMG April is so close! And we have between us six major costumes to complete! *freaks out a little*

But it will be okay. No problem. Definitely time to buckle down, though.

L, [ profile] kistha and I are costuming as a set. So, two sets of three. The first set all have to match pretty much exactly, except for color. Same fabric, etc. To that end, we decided to go with dupioni silk. It's lightweight, breathable, and looks fantastic. I ordered it from a wholesaler in two separate orders, the first of which is already here. I just got the notification of the second shipment shipping to me (yes, with those swatches we wanted included, [ profile] kistha), so I will shortly be swimming in approximately 42 yards of silk! Mmmmmm. Silk.

Our second set of costumes are going to be a little more challenging. While definitely a "set" that needs to be similar in style, they don't have to match exactly, and we've decided to go with Victorian bustle gowns. Not steampunk. I know that's all the rage right now, and that fact made us stop and consider if we want to go this route, largely because our costumes are not steampunk, and we don't want to create confusion. But with the gorgeous masks [ profile] kistha will be making for us, there shouldn't be any doubt of what we actually are. The first set of costumes, while fabulous, are the more "fun" group. This second set are supposed to be the "OMG SO AWESOME!" ones. We'll see how that goes as things come together. I am very excited at the prospect of bustle making, however. :D I may post construction pics as we go.

Costuming aside, I am very much looking forward to attending a big con like this for the first time (I have attended smaller writing cons, but nothing on the scale of Norwes). I'm looking forward to meeting crit partner #3 in person, and to being able to spend some time talking with both her and [ profile] dthon. Not to mention attending panels, meeting new people, etc. I'm not sure I'll be sleeping at all while there, but I'm told that's pretty normal.

My goal for December: finish the under/overskirts for costume set #1. Buy chiffon for the cloaks, and figure out how to give them a suitable shredded look.

But now, time to write!
rhienelleth: (beading)
Happy Thanksgiving late! Hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and stuffed themselves silly. Mine was pretty low key, with excellent food.

The Dickens dress is pretty much finished. All but the corset for it. I had to wear my black underbust corset, instead, as I just didn't want to kill myself getting the other one done. I'll have it finished before we go caroling (and oh, god, that is so going to suck! Our group does not sound, um, good. That's what happens when you don't practice!!) Anyway, they did wear underbust corsets over their skirts in the 1860's. They called them corselets, so it's still "period", just not as cool looking as the corset I have half finished.

Pics behind the cut! )

As a last note before I run off, don't forget, today and tomorrow are the last days of my 30% off sale for my Etsy store's entire stock! I already have seven names in the hat for the drawing to win a custom piece made by me. Those are pretty good odds!
rhienelleth: (Default)
I went a little crazy making ruffles last night, but I decided to deck out my jacket with them, both because it really makes it cute, and because ruffles were very period for the time.

My jacket is done except for one sleeve, and a bit of trim I'm going to add around the front. It is so adorable!

Here's another crappy cell phone pic, of the back:

Pic! )

I promise, better pics when the entire costume is done. I finished my skirt last night, and now it's down to the jacket sleeve, my corset, and a white shirt if I have time. By Friday night. No problem! I'll be working on the corset tonight, while watching NCIS and NCIS: LA.

Update on the Etsy sale: So far, there are only two entries to win the custom pendant or ring by me - one from a sale, and one from a blog mention. That's 50/50 odds for those entrants at the moment!


Nov. 23rd, 2009 10:34 am
rhienelleth: (christmas_searchtheskies)
I haven't talked about it at all, but I'm making an 1860's gown to go caroling in.

I haven't sung since high school. *tries not to panic*

Anyway. We're going to be in a Christmas parade the day after Thanksgiving, and then go caroling on December 12th. Charles Dickens era costume, about half done right now.

Same basic era as civil war, btw, just different fabric choices, for the most part.

So, big bell skirt, fitted jacket top, corset, etc.

My jacket is done except for trim. My skirt is three quarters done, and I have to make my corset yet. Yikes!

However, I finally figured out how to make quick and easy ruffles with my serger! Super fast, compared to gathering by hand. Especially when one is talking about over 30 yards of ruffle!

Pic )
rhienelleth: (beauty) the "avoid temptation" sense.

I love silk. In sewing, there is nothing quite so beautiful as a length of silk fabric in some vibrant color. That's 'juicy plum', very like the color they used for the famous "plum dress" Elizabeth Swann wore for most of the first Pirates. (One of the actual dresses used.)

Silk dupioni has characteristic "slubs", those little imperfections you see in the fabric - well, those imperfections IMO give it a great texture. The way this stuff shines, the texture just adds a great dimension to it.

The Silk Baron has the best prices for wholesale silk dupioni, in 54" width (Joann's carries the less useful 45", for a lot more $$ per yard). He has over 200 colors (Joann's carries black, white, and ivory or gold, with another color popping up every great once in awhile.)

I ordered two yards of the black cherry to make my pirate skirt with (paired with plain black, so the skirt will be two colors.) It is so beautiful, I'm sort of afraid to cut it.

When I make my next Ren gown, it's going to be from dupioni, though that won't be for awhile, sadly. Partly because I'm going to Pirate Fest again this year, and in an example of someone's poor planning, Portland's Pirate Festival is on the exact same weekend as Oregon's Ren Faire. Usually, they avoid that sort of conflict, since the same people tend to go to these things.

If I sell my old Ren gown, I'll get the silk sooner, but if not, it'll take me awhile to get that many yards, even at his fantastic prices.

A caveat - your computer monitor is never a reliable color matching device. ALWAYS order a swatch before committing to many yards of fabric. A friend and I split the cost of a complete dupioni swatch collection from him, so we will always be able to match whatever we're making before we order. I can hardly wait to get it, purely for the drooling and wishful thinking!

He also carries silk taffeta, and silk velvet, among lots of other silk products. But right now I'm just rolling-around-in-love with the dupioni. :D

Tea dyeing

Jun. 29th, 2009 01:49 pm
rhienelleth: (Default)
I'm making myself new pirate garb, and to that end I spent part of my weekend tea dying dyeing some fabric.

See, I got this wonderful bamboo fabric on clearance awhile back. Yep, bamboo. All of the "green" people want to get behind it because it's supposedly much "greener" than cotton, as an easily accessible, all natural renewable resource.

Except it's not. As with nearly all fabric, the actual process of making fabric from bamboo requires the use of some pretty harsh chemicals. So, not as "green" as you think.

However, certainly no worse than cotton! Bamboo poplin (at least this stuff) looks like a high quality cotton, but feels much softer, and I got a bit over 3 yards of it for $2/yard (it started life as $13/yard fabric). Not bad!

Bamboo also has some really interesting qualities that I like quite a bit:

~ It is naturally very absorbent, and so wicks water away from the skin about five times better than cotton, which will be really handy on those hot festival days!

~ Natural, lightweight, and breathable!

~ machine washable, just like cotton.

~ seems to be more durable than cotton, but not quite as strong as silk, so an in-between fabric choice.

~ has anti-bacterial properties, so it will naturally not pick up body odors as easily as other fabrics.

~ is super soft - it has a naturally round fiber, so no roughness to catch at your skin.

~ naturally insulating, so your cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Sounds like pretty much the PERFECT shirt or chemise fabric to me! And I have just enough to make myself one. Except it's white, and me and white don't get along so well. I was pretty disappointed at having to either resign myself to white, or not use the fabric for my new pirate shirt.

And then I hit upon a brilliant plan. Tea! I would dye the poplin with tea, and this have a just-darker-than-white pirate shirt! Appropriately antiqued! Awesome. :) I've never dyed fabric with tea before, but it was really easy. Having a utility sink next to the washer and dryer was very helpful!

Here are the before and after pics:

Before, very white against my white washing machine.

And after, slightly no longer white against the white washing machine - perfect!

And as an added bonus, tea dyeing is a long standing practice that makes this more period than, say, a commercial dye. :)
rhienelleth: (costuming)
I cleaned out my closet this weekend, and I'm going to be clearing out some of my costuming stuff at below cost of materials prices. I only have so much room, and I've got waaaaay too much fabric stashed away not to be making myself some new things.

So. These are "used" in the sense that I've worn them at least twice for Ren Faires, or parades. They're also things I made early on in my sewing career, so while I was attempting things like corsetry at the time, I didn't have my serger yet, and I didn't know all the little things I do now. I'll write a little blurb about each outfit, so you know what the flaws as I see them are. :)

First is the very first Ren dress I made myself. It's made from embroidered and solid taffeta, with an overlay of embroidered chiffon. With an included modesty panel for the front lacing, it should fit from a sz 10-14. I'm a 10-12, and I was a 12 at the time of the pictures. It has an underskirt, and overskirt with attached fully boned bodice (with flat and spring steel bones). I made this like you would a real corset, so it really does pull in and support.

Pics )
It features detachable sleeves, and with the modesty panel, does not require an undershirt. I'm wearing a crinoline with it, like the kind often worn with wedding gowns, which is NOT included. But you can find one for a good deal on ebay, and it isn't required to wear the gown, although proper underthings really add a lot to any costume.

flaws: I didn't know what a placket was for on skirts yet, and I didn't use one when I may the underskirt. As a result, the back slit isn't quite as neat as I would like, but no one sees that anyway with the overdress on. I ran out of the bias tape I was using to finish the sleeve and shoulder edges at the last minute, and had to switch to a slightly shinier black ribbon for one of the sleeves in order to finish the dress, but no one has ever commented - if you don't tell anyone it's there, they won't notice. Seriously, the overall affect of this dress on, is gasps over how beautiful it is.

Although I didn't yet own a serger, all the edges are ziggzagged with my sewing machine, which finishes them and keeps them from unraveling. The boning is flat and spring steel, not plastic ridgeline from the fabric store. There are over 8 yards of taffeta in this dress, and another yard of the chiffon. That's about $65 of fabric, with an additional $25 or so in trim. When you include the boning, grommets, thread, and other notions, the materials for this dress cost easily over $100 - I'm offering it for $80, with free shipping.

At any Ren Faire, this would a noblewoman's gown, and if you've gone to Faire and priced garb, you know how expensive buying an outfit like this would be (probably in the $300 range - materials plus the seamstress's skill and time.) $80 MIGHT get you a basic peasant's costume - chemise, skirts, bodice - but even that would be a lucky find. So if you know anyone who wants a new Ren dress in the sz 10-14 range, point them this way!

Next is my regency day dress. I made this more recently, so all of the edges are serged. Approximately seven yards of cotton/cotton sateen. It laces up the back with grommets, and should fit a size 10-14 or so.

Pics )
This one was only worn once. It features a gathered bodice, and a fun and flirty ruffle on the hem. Materials into it, around $60 - I'm offering it for $35 shipped. For Jane Austen fans, there are lots and lots of regency events out there, hosted by groups like the Jane Austen Society and local Regency societies. Picnics, teas, and many other things. This would be the perfect daydress for joining in. :-)
rhienelleth: (costuming)
Had a total of seven hours of sleep all weekend, due to last minute sewing to finish regency day dress in time for today's event.  Pics behind the cut.  Too damn tired to post more details now.

Pics )
rhienelleth: (costuming)
Okay, so as you might imagine, this will be a pretty picture heavy post. Yes, I had to sew all day Friday, but I did finish both my costume and Mark's. The fabulous [ profile] kistha was literally my saving grace for styling the wig. I don't know what I would have done had she not been there. She also did my make up. Which turned out AWESOME.

And note the new "costuming" LJ icon. Probably the only icon I will ever use here that is actually me, and I'm only using it now because with the make up, and wig, and mask, well, it could be anyone under there.

Painted faces on parade... )
rhienelleth: (Default)
I don't like having my pic taken.  It's a thing I'm trying to get over.  My friend L took these, and I was like "Geez, how many are you taking??"  And she was all "About twenty, cause you'll only end up keeping maybe two of them.  I know you."

She was mostly right.  I only really kept three. 

Now, it's only mostly done.  The sleeves aren't attached, and I'm not done trimming them.  My wig isn't done, either.  But for the most part, my costume is finished.

Because [ profile] kistha asked:

Pics )
rhienelleth: (beauty)
I have achieved panniers!

For the costume-lingo unfamiliar among you, panniers are these things, and you wore them to achieve silhouettes like Marie Antoinette. My costume wouldn't look "quite right" without them, because while a bell shaped underskirt looks good with full, heavy skirts, it's not the right look for a gown based on the fashions of the 18th century.

My costume looks amazing with them! I am so, so pleased. And the emergency bodice surgery of the other evening has turned out really well. I got lucky, and now my costume is working as I'd hoped. It also couldn't be anymore distant from the original pattern I started with, but that's not a bad thing. When you work with costume patterns as much as we do, you start to spot them on other people. At the Pirate Fest, I saw this costume, and this costume, and even the pattern I started with. I'm not seeing them as great costumes, I'm seeing them as "Oh, I recognize that pattern!" When they're altered enough, I see the costume, not the pattern. Even knowing what i started with on mine, I see the costume now, not the pattern.

*is pleased*

Now, all I have left is Mark's costume, and my wig. I have a week. NO PROBLEM!

*panics a little*
rhienelleth: (beauty)
Today, I mean to finish the second chapter of Consort, and finish writing the synopsis for Nemesis, so it can get off to my lovely volunteer beta reader. Well, and so I can be done writing the thing and no longer feel the need to bang my head on my keyboard repeatedly.

I'm actually doing the synopsis first, because if I don't, I'll just work on Consort and it will never get done. And it needs to get done. Some agents want a synopsis with the initial query, and I've received another rejection, meaning it's time to send out more queries. Plus, I lucked out when the agent with the partial request didn't ask for a synopsis - in fact, expressly asked not to get one. Usually, it's standard to send one with your chapters. Meanwhile, the agent with the full manuscript has asked for one. Definitely time to get the synopsis finished!

In the meantime, I had to do some major surgery on my bodice this weekend. As in, I tried one thing to make it fit right in the neckline and that failed miserably, leaving me with very little room to do anything else. I was staring at it in the mirror, at a complete loss, and thought if only I could cut off these damned straps, all of my problems would go away. Wait a minute...why couldn't I??

Excepting the fact that doing alterations to - much less cutting up - a completely finished bodice, is complete and utter lunacy. You're much better off just starting completely over. Of course, I don't have time to start over. So I packed up my dress and took it all over to my friend L's house. And together we fit and measured and cut until I think I have something that will work. It no longer laces up totally straight in the back - without the shoulder straps, the top grommets pull closer together than they used to, making the lacing an inverted V shape. In fact, we had to cut off the top three grommets on each side because they flat out overlapped. This required removing boning and putting in shorter lengths. The entire operation took about an hour, and now I am left sewing up the new edges and re-hand sewing on all the trim...and then we shall see. If it doesn't work, I will cry. It was painful enough cutting up my pretty bodice, taking off all of my beautiful hand sewn trim - but no matter how pretty it looks, if it doesn't fit/lay right when fully laced on, all of your efforts are for naught anyway.

But still, cutting it up was one of the hardest sewing things I've ever had to do. The neckline will no longer be precisely 18th century, either, but with the sleeves on it still looks good enough to suit me.

And...hmm. There was something else I was going to post about, and now with going over the whole affair of my bodice, I've forgotten.


Oct. 3rd, 2008 09:53 am
rhienelleth: (Supernatural Carry On)
Things I am happy about:

~ Today is payday as well as being Friday! Whoo-hoo!

~ The Marie gown moves forward, but I still felt it was missing something. Gowns from that time tend to be extravagant with an emphasis on "extra". My trim just wasn't working for me all that fantastically. So this morning, I ordered some of this:

and these:

Now, I know sequins aren't exactly period. Nor is bullion embroidery and beading of this kind. But if it had been available, the fashionistas of the time totally would've used it! I got my inspiration for this after seeing the hella amazing costumes in Phantom - which were absolutely full of non-period sequins and the like. This is my rationale for putting this totally non-period trim on my dress, when really, I don't need a rationale. I'm not a purist anyway. I just want the look, and I want my dress to be fabulous, and gorgeous silver trim is way harder to find than gorgeous gold, for some reason.

~ SPN last night was more awesome than I can even say! Within the first ten minutes I was pausing it so I could gasp in delight and clap my hands - no, really. I was so not expecting (spoilers) )

~ Oh, yes. And yesterday saw a partial request for Nemesis from one of the agents I queried. This means the first thirty pages get sent in. The really amazing part is it came from one of the agents I assume will be rejections - one of the well established agents with a pretty full client list. I actually gasped in shock when I opened the e-mail, because I was so certain it would be a form rejection. I guess my query works. :)
rhienelleth: (beauty)
Good morning LJ!

I'm in a good mood today, because I'm feeling better/healthier than I was yesterday. Or all weekend, really. I haven't been super sick, but just sick's odd, actually. I've had this cold that has manifested as: scratchy throat, sinus headache, some stuffiness in sinuses, and "cotton head" feeling. For days, now. Then yesterday morning I woke up with a migraine (my own fault for choosing to sew for umpteen hours on Saturday) and that just seemed to make everything worse, even after the actual pain was gone. The kind of odd, floaty feeling my migraines often leave me with combined with the cold symptoms to give me dizzy spells! Not fun! Especially while driving. I went to the grocery store, then came home and basically laid around watching old X-files episodes and hand stitching some things.

Then, around 9:00pm last night, the dizzy spells and tired-sick feeling vanished. All of the sudden I was feeling okay and wide awake. Very, very strange. The cold appears to be hanging on my its teeth, but for the most part, I'm feeling much better.

In other news, I accomplished a lot on my costume this weekend. Specifically, on my bodice.

Clicky )

Once I finish the bodice completely, I'll be feeling a lot better about my overall progress. My wig came, but I won't try to do anything with it until my costume is finished.


Sep. 22nd, 2008 09:18 am
rhienelleth: (Captain Jack - araestel)
Okay, so talk like a pirate day was last week, but I also attended the third annual Portland Pirate Festival this past weekend, and have, as promised, pictures. Many, many pictures. In case it needs to be said, don't click on the cut if you're on dial up. (Is anyone still on dial up these days?)

Arrrrrgh!!! )

A fun time was had by all. As you can see, my sister was great at sneering. Me, less so. Of the three of us, I was definitely the most girly pirate - note the lace on my shirt and hat. We made all the costumes, except for L's bodice and shirt. Our machines don't do leather well, so she bought her bodice, and she hasn't gotten around to making her pirate shirt yet. But she found a hat this year, and my sis found a bodice gun that is fantastic. I bought most of my booty last year, and thus spent very little coin.

We were much admired, and even invited to an "after hours" party by some young twenty-somethings who admired our bodices a great deal. Considering how often I don't get carded these days, it was flattering, though we had to decline. :)
rhienelleth: (Default)
I finished putting my sister's corset together last night, as far as I can until I've fit it to her tomorrow.

Pics behind the cut )

And that's it for today's sewing pr0n. I'll post more pics as I move forward after the fitting.
rhienelleth: (Default)
I'm trying to take this corrupted Word doc thing in stride.If it had to happen, better now than a few thousand words down the road, right? Except that's not exactly true, because a few thousand words down the road, I'd've grown a damn brain and backed it up.


Okay, I'm just going to move along to other topics now. I don't need to spend my Friday dwelling on the negative. *sigh* I'm going to attempt to start the book again today.

Last night I worked on my sister's corset for the Halloween masquerade we're going to. I can't remember if I've talked about it here or not (other than my costume, which I have quite a bit lately), but she's going as a dove. I'm making her an overbust Victorian corset out of this AMAZING jacquard - I stupidly did not take pictures, but it has a pattern in ivory and gold and white that looks a little bit like feathers. It's gorgeous and perfect, and we'll be adding white feathers around the top edge like trim, and her short little sassy skirt will also have feathers, and so will the cap she's getting for her head and the feather fan she'll be holding. I'm making her gauntlets like the ones I wore with my Fairy Fest costume (um, in the black and red), but in the same fabric as her corset with long, gauzy white sleeves that will serve as "wings". I think it will be awesome! And she's got this little waist and a, er, generous bosom - her corset will look stunning.

Anyway, I'm very excited to try it on her to make sure the sizing is right before finishing it. I wish I were not at work today, and could be home, sewing. I want to make my own bias tape for this one, which will be new territory for me. Alas, I am here, instead.

Also, that AAA white topaz I ordered came in. Here are several pic of it, gleaming in the sunlight:

gemstone pr0n )

[ profile] stephdub, I'll be sending you an e-mail shortly!
rhienelleth: (beauty)
So. After all that waffling earlier this week, I decided I'm just not happy with any of the wig options. Sure, I could spend $65 and get the one everyone voted for, it's the one I liked best of what was available.

But I think I could make something so much cooler! I've ordered a wig in white and some extra wefts (hair pieces) in the same color, just in case I need them. I know exactly how I'm going to do it. I'll get some batting and either netting or tulle, and sew myself a filler piece than I will then sew down to the wig cap. This will give the base that I can then draw other hair up and around, attaching either with pins or sewing, and utilizing the wefts if necessary to make sure it is full with no gaps. The wig comes with some nice banana curls already, but I can also curl the wefts if I need to. I'm also going to get some fake roses/flowers that match my gown and attach them, along with maybe some beaded applique or trim. Something sparkly! I'm very excited to try this, but probably won't be able to until the end of the month.

That's okay. It will give me plenty of time to work on my gown. I hope.

In other costume news, on our walk yesterday L and I stopped by this specialty/vintage/antique store that had some petticoats and underskirts. My sister's skirt is going to be short, and they had some squaredancing ones on display we think will work. Well, they also had all their jewelry 50% off, including costume jewelry. I found this ring:

...which matches my costume so perfectly, it's not even funny. Does that just not look all elaborate and obnoxiously ornate? I won't be able to wear it for long, as it's a base metal I'm allergic to. But for the hours I'm wearing the costume? Perfect!
rhienelleth: (Default)
Okay f-list, you have all convinced me to go the extra mile and spend the extra money to make my costume fabulous. So. I've narrowed it down (I think) to two wigs. One I can get for about $50, the other for about $65. Which one, just from looking at the pics, do you like better?

Wig choices )

If it matters or helps in any way, my costume will feature a high lace collar around my neck. If I can figure a good way of shaping and stiffening the lace, that is.

ETA: Edited to add, since people seem to be liking the second one better, it also comes in a honey blond color, which I COULD possibly use for other costumes (ie, dressing up like a doll, etc). Do you think the color is important? white being the traditional powdered wig look we all associate w/MA.

Here it is in honey blond )


rhienelleth: (Default)

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