Tag Archives: costume

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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What I Entered Into 2010 Costume Con

by Erin Schneider

A Brief Explanation, AKA What the heck was I thinking?

A few years ago, my friends and I developed an interest in costuming; primarily costumes appropriate to wear to our local Renaissance Festival.    While discussing noble or court gowns, my best friend (Laura Ulak) and I found ourselves standing in the printed cotton aisle at a discount fabric store.

Laura – “I should totally make an Elizabethan out of camo fabric (she had been in the Army).”

Me – “If you do, then I get one in Packer fabric.”

Laura – “I don’t think that would be a wise choice for a Minnesota Ren Fest.”

Me – “Damn the Vikings!  Whatever, I’d DO IT ANYWAY.”

Laura – “It’s your funeral…”

I might be paraphrasing, but that is essentially the scope of the conversation.  At that point, Laura and I, along with most of our costuming friends, decided we needed Twisted Historical costumes.  But where would we wear them?

Fortunately, Kirk Johnson of the Bristol Renaissance Faire told us about their Day of Wrong.  Laura and I immediately planned a trip to the Faire for the summer of ’09.  And I started work on my costume.  It debuted in August of 2009 to mostly positive reviews, except for a few bitter Bears fans.

I would like to dedicate this costume to my Grandma Schneider, a diehard Packer Backer, and Laura Ulak’s Grandma Grace, who taught her how to sew.

Title of Costume:

Green Bay Packer Elizabethan Court Gown

Name and address of the person responsible for the entry (or the spokesman for a group):

Never you mind.

Name(s) of designer(s) and maker(s):

Drawers – pattern by Simplicity, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Farthingale – pattern by Margo Anderson, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Partlett – pattern by Laura Ulak, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Corset – pattern by The Elizabethan Corset Generator, made by Erin Schneider

Bodice – pattern by Alter Years, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Underskirt – self patterned, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Overskirt – self patterned, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Sleeves – pattern by Laura Ulak, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Hat – purchased at Rybiki’s Cheese Shop at the Mall of America.  Decorated by Erin Schneider

Earrings – designed and made by Ashley Walton

Girdle – created from gold football-shaped beads, buttons, a bottle opener, and a shot glass by Erin Schneider

Brief identifying description of the costume’s historic period, geographic origin, social class and so forth. This description should include the historic basis for the costume:

The late 15th century, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First.  Country of origin is England, social class is Noble.  In short, this is an Elizabethan court dress made from modern, licensed sports team logo materials.

This would also be the point to notate any substitutions of historically accurate materials used:

I used 100% cotton, a natural fabric, for the construction of the garment, however, the pattern is not period appropriate.  I used plastic cable ties in the corset instead of metal.  I used hoop steel instead of reeds in the farthingale.  Accessories are completely made of artificial materials.

Bibliography of sources:

Janet Arnold, Patterns of Fashion

Jean Hunnisett, Period Costume for Stage and Screen

Juan de Alcega’s Tailor’s Pattern book of 1589

Herbert Norris, Tudor Costume and Fashion

Ninya Mikaila, The Tudor Tailor

Margo Anderson’s online List Serve

The Green Bay Packers and the State of Wisconsin

And the outcome?  I won Most Humorous Presentation.  Adding to the honor and GLORY of the Minnesota Society of Costumers.

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