Monthly Archives: May 2011

MNSOC Chapter Awards ~ Costume Con 29

by Laura Ulak

The Minnesota Society of Costumers was proud to present our Chapter Award “The Hotdish” at Costume Con 29, held in Hasborough Heights, NJ.

The “Hotdish” Award is meant to represent that costume that fulfills our motto of “Go Big or Stay Home!”  Of “taking that costume to 11!”  We give this award to the entry that makes us say “WOW!”

The Award usually consists of a small Pyrex bowl and a gift certificate for tator tots from Sonic, on a stick.  However, this year we were unable to transport these items and instead all recipients of the award received a can of  Spam® Lite,  in honor of Austin, MN.  As such, it has become known as the “Spammy” award.  In the future we are going to stick with this plan, and award a can of Spam® (on a stick!) to all future recipients of our chapter award.

picture from here

The award was well received this year (at one point the entire audience started to chant “Spam, spam, spam, spam…”) and MNSOC received a hearty round of applause as the newest chapter of the ICG (International Costumer’s Guild).

The first award went to the “Showboat” entry in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Masquerade.

The second award went to the “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” entry in the Historical Masquerade.

The individuals in both entries seemed thrilled to win the award, and the “Bill and Ted”  folks even asked if we had a can for each of them!  Abraham Lincoln threw his hands in the air and yelled, “Woo!  We won the Spam!”

We had a great time giving out the award, and look forward to giving out this fun award to many deserving individuals in the future!


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Steampunk Fashion Show!

Written by Laura Ulak
Photos by Jenna Halek

Members of MNSOC recently participated in a Steampunk Fashion Show held in Minneapolis.  The show was for a local crafting group to help them better understand what Steampunk was all about, and how Steampunk can be done on a budget.  The following outfits were displayed:


Character:  Circus Ringleader
Blouse:  Thrifted (Savers)
Hat:  Vintage (hat band made by Chelsey)
Underbust corset:  Fabric from Joann Fabrics, 1890’s Victorian Corselets pattern by Truly Victorian
Overskirt:  Silk from Joann Fabrics, pattern by Chelsey
Petticoat:  Fabric from Joann Fabrics, pattern from Sugardale, made by Jenna Halek
Tights: Hot Topic (clearanced) – Another place you can find striped tights is at Sock Dreams
Shoes:  Thrifted
Jewelry:  Borrowed



Character: Steampunk Spy
Leather jacket:  Thrifted
Skirt: Forever 21
Blouse:  Thrifted and then dyed by Erin Schneider
Corset:  Fabric from Joann Fabrics, made by Chelsey Barnes, Simplicity pattern 2966 (Go Green Collection)
Shoes and necklace:  Her own
Weapon:  Modded by Erin Schneider



Character:  Steampunk Ragamuffin
Hat, blouse and boots:  Thrifted
Hat décor and hand warmers:  Designed by Carol Strand
Purse:  Purchased at CONVERGENCE
Jewelry:  Thrifted and personally owned
Underbust corset:  Fabric from Joann Fabrics, made by Carol Strand, Truly Victorian pattern
Bustled skirt:  Fabric from Joann Fabrics, designed and made by Laura Ulak



Character:  Steampunk Monster Fighter, recently returned from Asia
Kimono:  Estate Sale
Corset:  Charlotte Russe
Tights:  Target
Boots:  Borrowed
Jewelry:  Thrifted, purchased at Minnesota Renaissance Festival, made by Ashley Walton



Character: Alchemist, Mustache Elixir Creator, Black Widow
Goggles:  Military Surplus store
Blouse and skirt:  Borrowed (originally purchased and gifted)
Belt:  Thrifted
Boots:  Borrowed (originally thrifted)
Accessories:  Antique store finds
Vest:  Zoe from Firefly Vest made by Rae, The Dreamstitcher.  Bought at Rae’s costume sale.



Character:  Ginny the Pilot, on vacation
Jewelry:  Thrifted and purchased
Dress:  Vintage wedding dress, thrifted for $1.00.  Dyed with Rit dye and bustled in place.
Boots:  Skechers



Character:  Eve the Assassin and Finishing School Graduate
Hat:  Claire’s
Hat Décor:  Designed by Erin Schneider
Gloves:  Vintage
Pants:  Thrifted full length pants turned into knickers by Erin Schneider
Shoes:  Borrowed
Belt:  Target
Jewelry:  Thrifted or purchased
Gun pack:  Designed and made by Erin Schneider
Weapons:  Purchased at local stores and modded by Erin Schneider
Dress:  Thrifted and then dyed with Rit dye by Erin Schneider



Character:  Laura the Explorer
Hat:  Royal Canadian Mountie Summer Campaign Hat
Hat décor:  Designed by Laura Ulak, supplies from Joann Fabrics and Ax-Man
Blouse:  Lane Bryant
Underbust corset:  Purchased at Teslacon
Vest:  Thrifted jacket modified by Laura Ulak
Leather gauntlets:  Designed and made by Jen Sather, supplies from Ax-Man and Tandy Leather
Jewelry:  Thrifted and personally owned
Accessories:  Thrifted, Antique Store Finds, TJ Maxx
Pants:  Thrifted and modified by Laura Ulak
Boots:  Ragstock


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MNSOC Sewing & Crafting Gathering

FREE for MNSOC Members

$5.00 for Non-MNSOC Members

(Pay at the door)

Mark your calendar and come join the Minnesota Society of Costumers for our monthly Sewing & Crafting Gathering at the Textile Center. Work on jewelry, stitch away on your machine, mod weapons, do leatherwork, or get help fitting and drafting patterns. Bring a snack to share if you wish.

Please park in back and enter through the back entrance.

Non-MNSOC members welcome.

Hope to see you there!

Sign up HERE!

Don’t forget about MNSOC’s First Annual Costume & Fabric Garage Sale this Saturday!

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Costume Inspiration: Complete(ish)

by Chelsey Barnes

I bet you’re just dying to know how that Steampunk Circus costume turned out, aren’t you?

Well, I would have to say that, despite some minor setbacks, it was an outstanding success.  Here’s how it went down (bear with me… I am not proud of how I photograph, and will share the goofy picture so it appears that I look dumb in pictures on purpose):

Let’s start with the stuff I didn’t make, shall we?  First, there is the totally rad black and white striped button up shirt, found at a thrift store by a friend, and immediately snatched up by me because it was perfect.  Then I found the black and white striped tights on clearance (I assume, since they are not on the website, and I don’t pay full price for anything) at my local neighborhood Hot Topic.  But really, you can get striped tights just about anywhere; though, unless they are in a sealed package, I’d recommend staying away from any at a thrift store.  Lastly, the shoes were another thrifted item, again found by a friend, and pretty much a staple of all of my steampunk costumes.  A bit of advice:  If you’re like me and lack the thrifting fu (or, perhaps, the thrifting patience), always go with a friend.  Luckily, my friends have amazing thrifting fu.

Moving on, I’ll show you something I didn’t make, but did alter.

I truly have the world’s greatest daddy.  I’m sure 30 years ago when my dad was–I kid you not–a chimney sweep, he wasn’t thinking, “Gee, I’d better hang onto this top hat because someday I’m going to have a daughter that’s into costuming,” but it’s sure come in handy.  I cut a piece of my corset fabric as long as the circumference of the hat and about an inch shorter.  It’s vinyl, so it doesn’t fray, so I didn’t hem the top and bottom.  I did fold the sides in about 3/4″ in order to give stability behind the grommets.  A few black grommets and a length of black satin ribbon, and the hat was all set.  I would also like to thank genetics for having the same freakishly small head as my dad, because no one can steal my hat.  *mwah ha ha ha ha ha ha*

Okay, so what kind of real sewing did I do?  Plenty.  And I managed to con a friend into helping, in order to keep my mental breakdown to a minimum.

The corselet is the “tall” version of this Truly Victorian pattern.  Honestly, it’s one of the easiest patterns I’ve ever used.  Ever.  I need to make like 900 more of these, because not only are the easy, they’re amazingly comfortable.  The fabric is a custom order “Signature” vinyl from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  It’s not on their website, sorry.  It’s lined with muslin and duck cloth.  The boning is the Wench Posse standard: cable ties.

The black sticking out is a petticoat roughly following these instructions at Sugardale.  My dearest friend in the whole wide world (who kept working on this even after I accidentally stole her fortune cookie) did 99% of the work on this, gathering up and layering 4 yard, 6 yard, and 8 yard lengths of polyester lining fabric.

The skirt is a decadent 100% silk that I got for some ridiculous clearance price like $2.50/yd.  Go ahead.  I’ll give you a moment to curse me for snatching up super-cheap silk before you could.  Better?  Let’s move on.  The skirt was not supposed to be that particular skirt.  That skirt was born at the 11th hour.  The, let’s say, 5th hour skirt was a red/black two-tone taffeta with black lace on top.  Problem 1: It was way too heavy.  It made this teapot (short and stout) look horrible.  Problem 2: the layers were a pain to work with, mostly by my own fault.  So I scrapped that, took my silk and cut two lengths selvedge to selvedge.  I sewed those together up one set of selvedges and gathered them onto a waistband.  An invisible zipper later, I was sewing up the other set of selvedges.  I did a rolled hem on my serger to get myself out of actually hemming.

The next step is to work on accessories.  Which is, admittedly, my weak spot.  I certainly welcome suggestions, but I do know I will be including a pocket watch and little photos of ferrets.

…to be continued…

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MNSOC 1st Annual Costume & Fabric Garage Sale!

Click on the poster for more details!

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