Monday, December 30, 2013

Capitol City Couture

I was browsing around my local CVS when I stumbled on a big display of Cover Girl make up a la Capitol City in honor of the new Catching Fire movie.  There were nice (free!) little booklets with how to's and some pretty cool products I hadn't seen before.  The Cover Girl website has some beautiful pictures of far out make up looks from each district  - complete with video tutorials, before and after shots and lists of the products they used.  The Capitol Couture website has even more shots from the movie to inspire you.

I picked up some of the gold nail polish, which was really bright, and some nail decals and then ran across another line of nail decals I thought would be great for Capitol City costuming - Revlon's Marchesa 3D jewel nail appliques.  They would be a great addition to a fantasy costume!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A ship in the hair

After seeing photos of this amazing wig going around facebook I had visions of wigs-with-ships dancing in my head... 

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a lovely glass ornament ship - and 1/2 price too! They had them in blue or clear glass at my local Anthropologie and they're available online too!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Game of Thrones

Sorry it's been so long.  Not only have I been crazy busy with the holidays and my son's birthday but I also injured my wrist and have to wear a brace, which has made sewing and typing a little difficult.  I do have some Krampus Ball pictures I need to post, but in the meantime I thought I'd share this that Andrea Schewe is coming out with a perfect pattern to replicate those ladies Game of Thrones costumes. 

I used a slightly modified version of Andrea's LotR pattern for my Eowyn Green Gown and just loved how it fit me so I'm very excited for this new pattern - making that Cersei costume is going to be a lot easier now!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas presents for sewing cats!

Or cats owned by those who sew.  I got the cutest present for the kitties today: a pack of sewing themed kitty toys! Pin cushion, measuring tape, scissors, thread and ball of yarn as well as bows and a crinkle toy -all for $9.99 from Target.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sonic the Hedgehog's Shoes

I spend a frustrating last couple of days trying to mod some sneakers to look like Sonic's shoes for my younger son.  He's been Sonic obsessed for a while now and has long wanted Sonic's shoes.  Crafty mom that I am I'd thought I could just mod some shoes to look like them.  But despite lots of online research the project was just doomed.  The shoes I'd bought were all man-made materials and none of the paints I used would adhere.  I worried that spray paints would react with the plastics in the shoes (something I've had happen with other plastic products) so I didn't even try them.  So word to the wise - when modding shoes chose those that are leather or fabric!  But despite my failure at creating the shoes myself I did manage to stumble on something that might help others on a similar quest. 

It turns out that many major shoe manufacturers now have custom shoes that can be ordered online.  Vans, and Nike and Reebok all have custom shoe services.  But Reebok beat out the others because it was not only cheaper than Nike but also had design elements that most lent themselves to Sonic modding.  You can also save designs and share them with others, so on the off chance any of you too have a Sonic fan here's what I came up with.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly: #22 Masquerade - Krampus Ball Headdress

I was sad to miss the LA Day of the Dead this year but I'm excited to be going with my husband to the Krampus Ball in December!  Krampus is a strange folk figure found in many alpine  countries - mostly Austria and Germany, but also Hungary, the Czech Republic and a few others.  He's a devilish figure and servant of St. Nicholas, (there is no "Santa" in much of Europe) who whips the bad kids with willow wands.  There is a Krampusnacht where Krampuses, St. Nicholas and others parade down the street...and this year there will be all of the above in LA!  The people putting it on are going all out on their masks and are blogging about the process as they do it and that's what got me all psyched about it - I just love seeing that sort of creativity - seeing these crazy giant devilish costumes come to life.

The goal is to make some Krampus costumes of our own to wear to the Krampus Run and the Krampus Rumpus.  The Krampus Ball is sooner though.  So our thought was to have some bits of the Krampus costumes together for the ball and mix those with existing costumes.  To that end I purchased a few things... including these resin cast ram's horns from etsy seller SinergieDreads. I love them, they are so nice and light!

So this weekend I got to work on my headdress for the ball and here's how it turned out (work with a nice 2/3 wig fall of hair that matches my own.)

 frontside back

And here's how I constructed it - the base is a basic tear shaped form of the sort you see with many cocktail hats only bigger and with holes cut out to accommodate the horns.  The form is make out of wonderflex, which is similar to buckram but much stronger.  It's basically a thermoplastic impregnated buckram - when heated it becomes flexible and can adhere to itself.

I used a heat gun to shape the wonderflex over a tinfoil covered fabric wig form and just cut and pleated it to shape.  Then when it was cool and stiff I wired the edges (but not the horn holes) with millinery wire and also attached a wire from the front point to the back.  I sewed a loop for the horn elastic to thread thru then painted the form black and dry brushed white stripes on it so that any gaps in the branches I hot glued on top of it would be less noticeable. Then hot glued TONS of "snow" and "ice" covered branches from Michaels onto the form.  It was important to use wired plastic floral stems vs natural branches because I needed to bend the wires and make them fit the curve of the base.  Straight natural branches/twigs would have just popped off.

I made small rings of fur from a ripped up fur stole I had to cover the joins between the horns and the horn holes.  I still want to monkey with these a bit, not exactly sure I like them how they are, may make them a bit more or less furry, and also need to attach them to the base.  So the horns just slip in and out of the holes and are completely separate from the headpiece.  I plan on doing something similar with the Krampus mask I'm making so the horns can be easily used with both costumes.

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ETA - and it's a bit late but I just realized this actually fits the "masquerade" HSF challege - woo hoo!

The Challenge: #22 Masquerade

Fabric: Wonderflex

Pattern: None

Year: Krampus has been around since at least the late 19th Century since I've seen photos depicting him from the 1890s but my headdress is a much more modern interpretation.
Notions: Thread, Millinery Wire, hot glue, paint, "ice" and "snow" covered floral stems.
How historically accurate is it?  Not very!

Hours to complete: 2 days

First worn:  Will be worn at the Krampus Ball

Total cost: Many of the materials were in my stash but I spent $25 on floral stems and $35 on horns.

Next up - hooves...

Accessory #2 Bags and Purses: Finn Backpack...aka it's ADVENTURE TIME!

I'm Accessorizing Head to Toe!This year the boys wanted to be Adventure Time characters for Halloween - my younger son was Finn,  my older was  Jake,  I was Princess Bubblegum (in her lab coat wearing incarnation since I already have a lab coat and a pink skirt and I'm all about reusing things) and my husband was the Earl of Lemongrab.

I made a Jake hat a while ago and got a sweatshirt and pants in almost the same color.  And we already had a Finn hat, shorts and t-shirt so all I really needed to do was make the lemon head for the Lemongrabs costume, a lemon belt, Finn's backpack and Princess Bubblegum's crown.

So for October's bags and purses accessories challenge I made the Finn Backpack!  For the backpack I used a simplified version of a pattern my friend Twila drafted and was kind enough to send me.  It's made of 2 layers of fleece with a decorative button and a velcro closure.  I wanted him to be able to put stuff in it but don't plan on having anything heavy or using it like a real backpack.

I made my husband's Lemongrabs head by modifiying the hood on this wolfman costume pattern to include a long pointed nose and a lemon-y shape.  I used two layers of felt for this and wired the nose tip with millinery wire.  I bought a fake lemon from Michaels and cut it in half then hot glued it to a wide ribbon for the lemongrabs belt.  The Princess Bubblegum crown was made by cutting and shaping a piece of wonderflex to look like the crown, wiring the part that sticks up with millinery wire, painting it and gluing a gem onto it.


Falling behind quickly here, sheesh, this year has been a whirlwind! Anyway we had a nice low key Halloween with friends.  Started off the day going to C's school for a teacher conference and got to check out the Dia de los Muertos altar the kids made.  At the 11th hour I finished decorating our house and got all the skulls set up on the side table (note the Princess Bubblegum me in the mirror, lol!)


We all wore our Adventure Time costumes again and got ready for our friends to arrive. Here are Festive Finn and Jake and Battle Finn and Jake killing a spider with the cardboard swords they made.


We had the boys' little cousins over as well as some of their friends and their parents for a little party. Construction boy, Ladybug, Jake, Finn, Sharknado and a creeper are ready for CANDY!


Everyone had fun and looked great! Here's a few shots of Finn and his best friend as Sharknado and Finn and  my friend Alyxx's daughter as Marceline


I hope you had a happy Halloween!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Portal Test Subject

Even though I didn't quite have enough time to finish all the modifications I'd planned for it my son was thrilled with his Portal test subject costume. The jumpsuit was way too long for him so I cut the bottoms of the legs off. I'd like to add the white stripes on the sleeves and use the cut off bits from the pants to make the sleeves on the jumpsuit long like in the game. I'd also like to make him some of the long fall boots Chell wears.

But he was a very happy birthday boy!

And for those of you who know the game - cake was NOT a lie!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

And now for something completely different: Portal 2 costume

So today I modded stuff for the Portal 2 costume that I'm making my son's video game themed birthday. I used this guy's instrucable on how he made the jumpsuit and gun as my starting point as well as the source for the jumpsuit base. Just in case someone else wants to make this (or something similar) I thought I'd mention what I did and the supplies I used.

Fabric spray paint, fabric markers and quilting basting spray

First I went online and found a large image of the Aperture logo.  I enlarged it even more on the copier then made a stencil by tracing over the logo with an exacto blade on a transparency sheet.  I then sprayed the stencil with quilting basting spray so it wouldn't move then used spray fabric paint in white to paint the logo.  I hadn't used the stay fabric paint before but it worked really well, I did only two coats but got pretty complete coverage. The original jumpsuit has long sleeves with white stripes at the elbow and patches.  I may add the patches and other trim later (or not) and had the brilliant idea that I can use the bottom of the pants part of the jumpsuit (which is WAY too long for C) to make long sleeves - and if I join the two together with white fabric I've got my stripes!

Jumpsuit with logo added

 For the shirt I used this instructable as a jumping off point.  I used a plain white t-shirt for C instead of the sleeveless one Chell has, he never wears sleeveless shirts so I wasn't sure how comfortable he'd be in one.  I set up my handy portable Ott light under a glass topped table we have to create a makeshift light table.  Then I put a transparency on top of the logo and in between the layers of the shirt so I wouldn't get ink on the back and traced "Aperture Laboratories" and the logo with a black fabric pen.  While it's a little hurky jerky looking up close I think it looks fine from a short distance.

Aperture t-shirt

This was easy and cheap enough (I had everything save the jumpsuit) that I'm thinking I'd like to make one for myself!  I've already been pondering how to make the long fall boots and have a few ideas...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Off to see the wizard

Wow, long time no post!  First I was sick, then I was catching up from being sick and now I'm in the family Halloween costuming crush, so not much time for my historic costumes these days, that should be changing soon though.

In the meantime my husband and I got invited to a Halloween party for his triathlon club on Sunday and decided to go at rather the last minute.  He dug out his old Tinman costume as a sort of joke as in "it's the closest thing I'll get to an Iron Man."    And he looked so good!  He made this costume out of aluminum duct work pieces for Costume Con 14 in Seattle in 1996.  They had an Emerald City theme so he went as the Tinman and I went as Ozma.  We wore them again for the Fairy Tale Ball the Greater Bay Area Costumer's Guild had in 1996 - and his costume has been in a box in the the basement ever since!  He even made a special "Tin Man" medal to wear with it.  The club loved it.


My Ozma costume has long since disappeared so I got a cheesy Dorothy costume from the Halloween Store (for 40% off since the zipper was broken - woo hoo!)  In addition to putting in a new zipper I added some white eyelet lace at the bottom, got out a tiny little picnic basket for my purse and wore my red platform Jeffrey Campbell shoes.  Which meant we BOTH had a hard time walking, lol.  We both had a lot of fun and got a lot of compliments.  And for once HE wore the costume that was hard to drive in!


Monday, September 30, 2013

The Costume College haul

I just remembered I forgot one important part in the Coco wrap up - the haul! Actually there was much less shopping this year compared to past years, in large part because Mela wasn't selling hats this time. But I did manage to pick up some great buttons - little silver stars and other silver ones with a sort of pimpernel flower on them. I also got some fun rainbow-y trim.

The blond curl in the photo is from Judy and AJs hairpiece class, while it's my first attempt I can see many more pieces in my future. The pearl necklace and earrings are from the Cavalier necklace class I took, it's not perfect but at least I have the rudiments of knotting down now.

Best of all my friend Alyxx made me an amazing muff cover with a crow on it for my birthday and also gave me some very pretty black silk with white flowers, thanks again Alyxx!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

What's next?

So why the radio silence you may ask...part of the answer lies in the fact that I desperately need to clean the hobby room and until I day not much is going to get done.

As far as upcoming projects the next thing on the docket is a new gown or jacket out of this fabric:

IMG_9854 I made this gown back in 2008 and while I still love it I want something without long sleeves and maybe a slightly different look to add to my 18th C mix and match wardrobe. (Plus when paired with the flowered headdress I think it would be perfect fabric for the 18th C day of the dead costume I've been wanting to do!) Other than that I've been wanting to make a new Regency gown (or two) and have some more 18th C and Bustle ideas up my sleeve. And there are a few ufos like the Tissot gown I'd really like to finish. I'd also love to make something for the HSF Green color challenge but I'm not sure I can do it given the time constraints.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly #18: Re-make, Re-use & Re-fashion - Mid-Victorian headdress

As a mom of two boys going to two different schools September is always a bit scattered and my sewing and blogging often suffer as a result.  I've got lots of ideas and projects percolating but very little time to work on them as yet...but that should be changing soon as we get settled into the swing of school.

I did belatedly realize that the headband used to base the flowered head dress on in the bottom of this post qualifies for the HSF's challenge #18: Reduce, reuse, recycle since it's been something I've had around for ages.  So yay, another HSF done!

The Historical Sew Fortnightly at
With each post or photo be sure to tell us:
The Challenge: #18: Re-make, Re-use & Re-fashion
Fabric: None.  Materials were fabric flowers, an old hairband and a synthetic hair braid I had in the stash.

Pattern: none
Year: Mid Victorian

Notions: Hot glue!

How historically accurate is it?  Not very since I used hot glue!

Hours to complete: about an hour

First worn: not yet

Total cost: $5

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Accessories Challenge #1 Hats: Florabunda!

My first entry in the Accessories Challenge!

Not exactly what I'd thought I was going to do for this challenge but I've had flowers on the brain lately.  I've always envied the ladies at the LA Day of the Dead with amazing flowered headdresses, but have resisted buying one from the vendors there because I was pretty convinced it wouldn't be all that hard to make.  So, taking my inspiration from this group at Costume College,  the cool hairpiece tricks I learned in Judy and AJ's class at Coco, and this amazing vendor on Etsy, I went out to Michaels to buy some flowers...and spent the day making some flowered headdressess!

First I made a base out of wonderflex, using a heat gun to soften it and make pleats so it would curve around a head shape like an extra wide headband.  Then I popped my blooms them off their stems and ripped the fabric part of the leaves off their plastic veins and stems.  I hot glued some of the leaves onto the base to cover any white parts of the wonderflex that might show then hot glued the blossoms to the base and voila! 
I wanted the head dress to be flexible enough that it would fit on my head but could also be used with wigs, even huge 18th C ones plus it just goes with my current plan of trying to make all my costumes more mix and match.  So here it is on me with normal (slightly wet- eep!) hair and then on one of my 18th C wigs.

I also had a bunch of headbands I'd been meaning to cannibalize for hair accessories, as well as some braided synthetic hair, so I thought I'd make something a little more Victorian/Edwardian.  I hot glued the braid to the headband and wrapped the ends of the braid in hot glued leaves to cover them.  Then I hot glued on more blossoms, leaves and other greenery.

I thought this looked pretty Art Nouveau, kinda Ozma-eqsue, but that it could maybe work for a Mid-Victorian look if I added some more braids or sausage curls.  Or even a Ren Fest Fantasy or fairy look.  I even kind of like it on my 18th C wig!  Maybe for an 18th C masquerade if I clipped a few more flowers into the wig?

Costume College Finale - The Gala!

Finally, the part you've been waiting for - the Gala!

So many have blogged about it now I thought I'd just cut to the chase with what you really want to see, the costumes!

I wore my "Raven" fantasy Victorian
And found a like-minded lady at the Gala!

There were other gothy Victorians
And other fancy dress costumes

There were fantasy gowns...
And Historical ones...

And fantasy and historic all mixed together!

There was drinking...
and dancing

And near twins...

And big hair!

Some even had two costumes
for the Gala!

There were dashing gents
and sparkling tiaras
We had a ball!