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Vintage-Inspired Star Wars First Order/General Hux Costume

Recently I went to a themed party wearing a General Hux First Order costume with vintage styling. I had a lot of fun putting together this outfit and pretending to be sinister. Want this look? I’ve got links to all the accessories and base dress in this post.YAFE4962

General Hux wears a tunic and greatcoat with First order emblems and armbands signifying his rank, as well as a funny little hat with a metal emblem.IMG_8926IMG_8927IMG_8928

I substituted a dress for his tunic and a cape for his greatcoat. My gloves are vintage kid leather with lots of little cut outs, and my shoes are the 1940s Nita ankle strap heels from Royal Vintage Shoes.IMG_9632

I didn’t have time to make it all from scratch (except the cape) so I purchased an “Audrey Hepburn” dress on Amazon (affiliate link). The dress has a keyhole neckline and some cute button details. It has some stretch, and I would definitely size down if you are between sizes. I had to exchange the first dress I bought for a smaller size. The sleeves were a little wide on me, but I have skinny arms, so you may not have to tailor them like I did.IMG_E8909

The dress comes with a matching fabric belt with a pleather backing. I flipped the belt around, cut off the buckle, and added this metal buckle blank (Amazon affiliate link) to make it look more like a leather First Order belt. You can also buy it at your local Tandy Leather store.
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I bought the medium sized (3″ wide) shoulder patch from Mirror Universe on Etsy.IMG_E8911

You can buy the arm bands online, but I made my own using white soutache trim (Amazon affiliate link). At first I tried to sew the soutache directly on the sleeve, but it was a little difficult getting everything to stay straight. In the end, I sewed the white soutache trim onto some matte black ribbon, put Misty Fuse on the back, and ironed the ribbon strips onto the sleeve. A few tips:

  • Misty Fuse is like Wonder Under or Stitch Witchery, except it’s black and very light. It doesn’t add bulk, and is dark so even if you mess up a little it won’t show up like white iron-on adhesive.
  • Use matte ribbon, not a shiny satin ribbon, to keep your ribbon backing from being too obvious.
  • Open up the sleeve seam so that you can tuck the raw ends of your ribbon and soutache inside before sewing it closed again for a clean finish.

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My “stewardess pillbox” hat was purchased from Amazon (affiliate link). I added some vintage veiling, and added a nice metal pin that I purchased from The Empires New Clothes on Etsy.

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Just for fun, I wore a “Thirst Order” pin from Dahlia Bunny on my dress.Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 9.28.44 PM

The cape is self-drafted, but not difficult to make. I used a soft, low-pile velvet that I draped on my dress form. Originally, I made it floor length and super full so I started with 4 yards of fabric that became significantly less in the end. A last minute addition was a red lining to make my dress stand out, which meant more last minute shopping online with Prime to get this faux dupioni (Amazon affiliate link).IMG_9619

A trick for when you have an item that is two colors (or you’re just lazy) and you can’t topstitch without the wrong color thread showing on one of the sides: sew some Misty Fuse or Stitch Witchery onto the wrong side of the fabric. When you flip it over and iron the edges your cape and lining will fuse together.IMG_9527.JPG

Since it is somewhat off the shoulder I added snaps to the dress and cape to hold them together. This was done right before the party, so it’s not lined up perfectly. Next time I think I will add more snaps or hooks and bar so the collar will hug my neck better.

Final project cost tally:

  • Dress: $29.99 from Amazon
  • Hat: $13.99 from Amazon
  • Patch: $11.74 ($7.99 + $3.75 shipping) from Etsy
  • Hat pin: $13.45 ($9.95 + $3.50 shipping) from Etsy
  • Dress pin: $9 from Etsy
  • Cape fabric: $30 from Facebook
  • Cape lining: $8.72 from Amazon
  • Belt buckle: $4.17 from Amazon
  • Soutach: $4.99 from Amazon
  • Thread and misc from stash: ~$3

Total: $129.05

The shoes, gloves, and seamed stockings are part of my regular vintage wardrobe.

I had so much fun with this outfit! I am looking forward to wearing it again! (Sorry for the slightly blurry photos; the event had really dim lighting!)

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How to Make Your Own DIY Mermaid Tail Tutorial

Happy Mermay! I recently completed a shiny sequined mermaid tail, and decorated a shell bra bikini top to go with it. I am not sure yet where I will wear this, but it was fun being a mermaid for a little while!IMG_9098.JPG

The shell bra was purchased from Aliexpress, and then I added hot-fix rhinestones and sewed on faux pearls.pic13

I used the mermaid sequin scale fabric and power mesh lining from Fabric Wholesale Direct for the tail, which has a swim mono fin inside.pic12

This is actually a pretty easy project, and a simple pattern.pic2

The complete tutorial with a materials list and illustrated instructions can be found on the FWD website.  Thanks Fabric Wholesale Direct for the fabrics and the chance to play mermaid for a day!IMG_9048.JPG

(All the fabrics for this project were provided to me by FWD, but I was not paid for this post).

Victorian Bicycling Outfit at Roaring Camp Railroads

Last month I went to a wonderful steam train ride and BBQ, hosted by the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild at Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton, California. I wore a Victorian/Edwardian-inspired bicycling outfit with a boater hat.

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Photo by Chris Wiener

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Photo by Chris Wiener

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Photo by Chris Wiener

The blouse, skirt, and hat were made by me (with construction details at the end of this post), and the boots are Tavistocks from American Duchess.

Roaring Camp Railroads was very picturesque, with a charming little Western “town,” and a beautiful ride through the redwood forest on a real steam train. I highly recommend taking your family!

There were plenty of places to lounge around, like our cowgirl Elizabeth did.IMG_8232

Natalie had fun balancing on the tracks.IMG_8414.JPG

There were also couples, like Kim and David, enjoying the day out.IMG_8245.JPG

It was my first time on a steam train, so it was quite the adventure!IMG_8372

A covered wagon was available for photos.IMG_8369

We went deep into the woods . . .IMG_8309

. . . to commune with nature . . .IMG_8350

. . . and to have Elizabeth eaten by a tree.IMG_8326

After the filling BBQ I relaxed by doing some fence-sitting.IMG_8396 copy.JPG

There was quite the turn out of Victorians, steampunks, and cowboys!

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Photo by GBACG

In a previous post I described how I made my blouse, but upcycling an ugly 1990s dress to take it back 100 years! Before and after:

For my skirt, I used the Edwardian Bicycle Skirt pattern from Black Snail Patterns on Etsy. The skirt was made out of a navy wool-blend fabric. (I started with almost 4 yards of 60″ fabric, and had about 1.5 yards left over that I turned into a cape that was too warm to wear at Roaring Camp that day).  The front and back of the skirt was accented with decorative panels made from the same fabric of my blouse, as well as matching fabric-covered buttons.IMG_6299IMG_6296

The hem was stiffened a little by a self-facing that was top-stitched in place.IMG_6313

I made my boater hat by my usual refashion of removing extra layers of braid in a cheap hat, hot-gluing the brim back to the crown, hiding the joins with ribbon and lace, and then adding trimmings. FFGJ0368.JPG

Project costs:

  • 4 yards wool blend fabric: $45 including shipping from Facebook destash group
  • Skirt pattern PDF: $6.16 from Etsy (bought during a sale)
  • 1990s dress: $12 + $5 shipping from Facebook
  • Boater hat: $2.80 from eBay (with coupon)
  • Gimp braid, butterflies, ribbon, small & big covered button kits: $0 (leftovers from previous projects: Regency coat, Crimson Peak hat, a 20s dress, a Downton Abbey maid outfit, and a floral vest!)
  • Thread, glue, misc. from stash: ~$3

Total cost: $73.96

This was a comfortable outfit for a day of traveling; I didn’t even wear a corset. 😉

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Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo Costume DIY: Patterns and Materials For Your Cosplay

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My last post showed pictures of me having a fun time dressed as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo from Star Wars the Last Jedi, at Silicon Valley Comic Con. As promised, here’s a compilation of my research and some tips and tricks to help you with your own costume. This is a long post; it covers fabric and colors, pattern, shoes, wig, jewelry, makeup, and more. (Please note, this is how I personally made my own Admiral Holdo cosplay; I can’t guarantee yours will be Rebel-Legion approvable).9N6A30909N6A3096

There are a lot of reference photos online, especially now that the DVD of the movie is out. I have a few important ones here in this post, but Google is your friend! The Official Rebel Legion has an excellent list of Holdo’s costume elements, so even if you are not going for RL approval, take a look at the list and the descriptions. To summarize:

  • Dress made of puce jersey or stretch fabric that drapes well
  • Fitted neck with draped front and exposed collarbones
  • Dramatic draped hood
  • Long, floor-length fabric on left shoulder
  • Long, fitted sleeves
  • Round-toe boots with chunky heel
  • Purple curly hair
  • Silver tiara
  • 2 silver cuff bracelets
  • Earrings with purple stones
  • Cluster ring
  • Ring with marbled stone

Yes, it looks like a lot, but is doable and I’ll tell you in this post where to buy all the materials you need.

FABRIC AND COLORS

Keep in mind, the Vanity Fair photo of Holdo’s costume released before the movie does a wonderful job of showing the draping, but this was styled for a photo shoot and it does not show screen accurate color or hair.IMG_6163

On screen, you can see that her hair has much looser waves in the front, and the color of the dress is much less purple. Depending on the scene and lighting, it appears to change color, ranging from brown to mauve. The director has said that the dress is puce, and you’ll see on the Admirals in Purple Facebook group a lot of discussion on what the color actually is and what fabrics would work. I recommend checking out that FB group regardless; it’s got a lot of great posts and advice, including a pinned post with shopping links.amilyn-holdo

My advice is to get some fabric swatches and see what looks good on your skin. If you want to be screen accurate, go puce, but not everyone can carry it off. This is my swatch card from Stylish Fabrics.  IMG_7986

My personal opinion is that “mauve pale” looks the most like the dress on screen, “mauve DK” looks most like the Vanity Fair photo, and “mauve 2017” is a compromise between the two. I looked like death in mauve pale so I used mauve 2017 for my own costume, and you can see that depending on the light it looks very different.

The fabric I bought is a rayon jersey, which is soft and stretchy, and has a nice drape. You do not need to buy rayon jersey, but your fabric cannot be stiff. It must be soft enough to give the waterfall effect on the back of the dress. The Stylish Fabrics rayon comes in several weights. I got swatches of the #406 (200 GSM), #409 (180 GSM), and #13390 (160 GSM). I purchased the 200 GSM, which is the thickest, for my entire dress and lining. Some other cosplayers have bought a thicker fabric for the main dress, and a thinner one for the hood to keep it lighter.

How much fabric to buy? I bought 11 yards, and had 2 full yards and some huge scraps left over, so 9 yards is plenty. I also self-lined the body of the dress, so if you skip that you can save a few yards.  I am 5’6″ and if you are shorter than me you can also use the width, instead of the length of the fabric and save even more. So depending on your height and whether you want a lining, you will use 6-10 yards of a 55″ fabric.

DRESS PATTERN

Given the nature of the construction of this dress, you will have to drape it, either on yourself or a dress form. This is not a project I recommend for a beginner because there’s no ready made pattern, and knits sometimes stretch and sag in unexpected ways. I having enough sewing experience to drape mine on a dress form, but if you need help getting started, Simplicity 1716 is a cowl-neck dress pattern that you can adapt by lengthening. (I haven’t used it so I can’t vouch for it, but it appears to me to be a decent base).

The hood is one giant trapezoid with pleated edges. These are the dimensions I used; if you are taller than me you will want to increase the width of the base. You can figure this out by having a friend hold a tape measure in a U shape on your back, with the ends on each shoulder and the bottom of the U just below your butt.  I am 5’6″ and a 60″ trapezoid base is perfect for me. (There’s no need to change the 12″ measurement; that creates the smallest U in the series of drapes on the hood).
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The easiest way to cut a large trapezoid is to fold your fabric in half like this and cut at the diagonal.IMG_E7594

Please note, this makes for a REALLY FULL and heavy hood, and A LOT OF PLEATING. I think if I remade the dress I would not use the full width of the fabric, and have shorter diagonals. The hood would still look fine. If you are shorter than 5’6″, definitely use smaller smaller measurements than what I have diagrammed above.

I cartridge-pleated my hood. I think this makes it look neater and more even than gathering. It is time-consuming, but a good way to get a lot of fabric into a small space.IMG_7603.JPG

Have I mentioned this hood is heavy? It will want to drag and dip in weird ways, so be sure to put a strip of boning across the top to keep a nice straight line. I used a plastic cable-tie, cut to size.

The other thing you’ll want to consider to keep the hood where it should be is to have some type of internal harness. I’ve seen a few options:

  • Backpack-style straps. Run a thick piece of elastic across the top of the hood (where you have your boning), and then make loops that will go across your armpits like a backpack (but is hidden inside the dress). This is the approach used by Anachronism in Action. (You can pad the straps to make them more comfortable).
  • A front harness that is hidden below the neck drape. I haven’t tried this myself, but this is explained on Jen Eyre’s blog.
  • My own approach was to build a harness based on a T-back racerback bra. That way the weight was not only around my arms, but distributed across my chest. I got a bra with a front closure, and reinforced the elastic with a thicker kind. I also had another strip of elastic with its own closure running along the bottom of the bra for extra security. Now you’ll have support from the elastic running along the top of the hood, the elastic straps that come over your shoulders, the elastic T strap that goes down your back, and the elastic that goes around your ribcage below your bust. (Don’t pick a sports bra or a bra with wide straps; they will show because of the exposed shoulder blades on the dress).

The floor-length drape on the left shoulder is just a long rectangle, also pleated with the hood. The length will depend on your height and how much of a train you want. My width was 24.”

The sleeves are long and fitted, with a seam down the inside of the arm. If you look at this photo you will see they are actually gathered on the lower halves. nGLN19F.jpg

I constructed mine by cutting extra long sleeves and putting elastic on the inside seam of the sleeves. Stretch the elastic as you stitch it onto the lower sleeves, and when you release the elastic the sleeves will be gathered. IMG_7543.JPG

For the neck of Holdo’s gown you have a gathered high-necked collar with a long draped portion in the front. The back of the neck has 2 flat areas that are not gathered. I used a long invisible zipper down the back of the collar. The zipper was extra long so that I could pull the collar over my head after I put the dress on, and the extra length is tucked into the dress. The bottom of the front drape is attached to the dress, but the bottom of the back collar is attached to the hood using heavy-duty hooks and eyes, which are the last thing you attach when putting on the dress. (The jersey of the dress is stretchy enough that you don’t need a zipper all the way down the back of the dress, although you should still have a center back seam if you want screen accuracy). Use more hooks than you think you need! I’m going to add more for the next time I wear it so it doesn’t shift off-center again.9N6A3121.JPG

I highly recommend looking at how Anachronism In Action did her collar so you can see what the pattern shapes are. You will need to bone and/or interface the collar so that it is stiff enough to stay up.

Some other tips:

  • When you sew together the long side seams of the dress, add some twill tape, ribbon, or other similar materials to help control the fabric from stretching too much. I used 6mm Mobilon tape, a semi-transparent elastic, because I wanted a bit of stretch to remain.
  • Jersey fabric stretches enough on the straight grain; don’t cut your dress on the bias.
  • Your jersey may have a subtle direction to the weave that looks like parallel lines. If you care about having everything in the same direction, that will use more fabric than if you don’t care. (My 9 yards did include keeping everything in the same direction).

SHOES

Holdo wears boots with a chunky heel and a round toe that are a similar color to her dress. This style is not hard to find, and can be painted or dyed to match. I used the “Refresh Footwear Women’s Closed Toe Chunky Stacked Block Heel Ankle Bootie” in mauve from Amazon (affiliate link), however, there are other similar boots you can find that will work just as well.

I found the toes tight, and was able to stretch them out by putting in a shoe stretcher while using a hair dryer to warm up and soften the synthetic material. (If you get real leather shoes you don’t need to use the dryer trick to soften them before stretching).

I painted my shoes with a transparent spray paint called Tint It in plum (Amazon affiliate link). You can also get this at Michael’s, but my local store was sold out. It dries very quickly and a couple coats was good enough to turn my shoes from a pinky mauve color to a nice purple matching my fabric.IMG_8626

Use the Tint It in a well-ventilated area. Lay down newspaper and wear disposable gloves. Tape off the sole of your shoe using painter’s tape, and use a bristle brush or old toothbrush to brush the suede to distribute the color after spraying. Do this immediately, because Tint It dries fast!

WIG

I used the Arda Wigs Josephine in Dusty Rose. I’ve also seen other cosplayers use the Lavender color. Personally, I think Holdo’s hair is in between the two, and on my next wearing I might darken my wig. One way to do this is with “the Sharpie trick.” Put a purple Sharpie marker into some alcohol, let the ink dissolve, and spray it on.Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 6.37.46 PM

The Josephine wig is finger-waved with tighter curls than you need. I relaxed the hair (especially in the front) by using a garment steamer and combing through while the wig was hot. (If you are coloring your wig, do it on a cool wig after you’re done with the steaming!) IMG_7667

If you prefer a lacefront wig, I’ve also seen the Arda Wigs Bucky Classic used with a Holdo cosplay, but it is $68 vs. $30 for the Josephine. However, you won’t have to steam out the curls.

JEWELRY

Admiral Holdo wears a lot of space jewelry. This page from the Star Wars Visual Dictionary shows her tiara, cuffs, earrings, and rings. 25587749_669110460143724_3186790248120470175_o.jpg

SILVER CUFFS

Holdo’s silver cuffs can be purchased from various vendors on eBay and Aliexpress for a few dollars each. I bought a pair each from these 2 vendors and they were exactly the same. I would recommend sanding them a bit, or lining them with some extra dress material. At the end of the day, my dress sleeves looked fuzzy from all the rubbing of the sharp edges.IMG_6153.JPG

HALO

You have several options for a halo: buy a 3D printed one from Etsy, bribe a friend with metalworking skills, solder your own, or make a decent-looking one with $3, thirty minutes, some pliers, and wire! I picked the last option. I may upgrade to a soldered one later, to be a little more screen-accurate, but the wired ends of my halo are hidden inside my wig so it doesn’t matter much.IMG_7950

I originally planned to use 1/4 inch armature wire for a thicker halo, but my local store didn’t have any, so these are the materials I ended up using: 12 gauge floral wire, 26 gauge paddle wire, and a metal hair comb. I bought the wire at Michael’s and I used one of these combs from Amazon (affiliate link), cut in half with tin snips.IMG_7951

I can’t draw, so please don’t laugh too hard, but here’s a diagram of how it was done:IMG_8814.JPG

RINGS AND EARRINGS

Holdo has a silver ring with a cluster of stones, and a gold oval ring with a marbled stone. (I don’t know why one ring is gold when all of her other accessories are silver. If the non-matching bothers your OCD self, go silver for both like I did). I haven’t found anyone selling exact reproductions, but this Google Doc from the Admirals in Purple FB page has links to a number of Amazon and eBay rings that could work.

For the oval ring you can either purchase a cats’ eye stone ring, or paint a plain stone with nail polish. Mine is painted. A tip if your rings are too big: you can put some hot glue on the inside bottom. It’s not obvious when it’s worn and it keeps your ring from slipping off.IMG_7672.JPG

The earrings are a bit trickier to find. The Rebel Legion standard is a semi-circular silver earring with dangling purple stones. I haven’t found a super close match and people seem to be modding their own earrings by adding stones to silver findings. I am using these lever back earrings (custom ordered in silver) from Etsy, because they work for both Holdo and my 18th century costumes.

BLASTER

Holdo favors a classic blaster, the DDC Defender-5. There are some nice replicas for sale, but if you are on a budget, I would get a plastic replica of Princess Leia’s blaster, Dremel off the extra length in the barrel (the skinniest part), glue the ends back together, and paint it yourself. You can get one on Amazon for about $10 (affiliate link). It’s not exactly the same, but close enough.

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MAKEUP AND MISC

Holdo wears lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, shaped brows, and nail polish. The exact products will depend on your skin tone, but here’s a few tips.

  • She has dark purple polish. I used Essie’s Smokin’ hot (Amazon affiliate link).Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 2.23.43 PM
  • I can’t tell what color Holdo’s eyebrows are, so I’m not sure they match her hair. However, Laura Dern is a blonde with brown eyebrowns. My eyebrows are black, and I found them too stark compared to my purple wig, so I colored my brows purple. This is optional, but may be helpful to you if you are in the same situation. I covered my eyebrows with eyelid primer, filled in some spots with purple eye liner pencil, and covered the rest with purple eyeshadow. It’s subtle, but made a difference.IMG_7740.JPG

In the future, people don’t have to carry out money or keys, but in real life sometimes you need a way to carry your phone! I couldn’t add pockets to this clingy dress so I made a little drawstring bag to use at the convention. (Line yours with a non-stretchy material). I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve also heard of others using a ladies’ stretchy lace thigh holster to hold your stuff.IMG_7682

Let’s talk storage! There are a lot of pieces associated with this costume, and I didn’t want to go hunting for all of them right before a con. I’ve found that a 23″ long (28 quart Sterilite bin) is just the right size to hold the dress, boots, wig, bag, cuffs, backup cuffs, halo, earrings, and rings. The bins are about $5 at Target and absolutely worth it to keep your stuff together. IMG_E8838.JPG

HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST?

Depending on what you buy, where you get it from, and what you already have in your stash, your costs are going to vary. However, here is what I spent to give you a general idea. (I like coupons and bargains).

  • 11 yards rayon jersey + tax + shipping, with a coupon: $63.44 from Stylish Fabrics
  • Swatch card + tax + shipping: $8.32 from Stylish Fabrics
  • Purple thread + tax, with a coupon: $3.26 from Joann Fabrics
  • Invisible zipper + shipping: $5.50 from eBay (since I couldn’t find a color match at Joann)
  • 20 yards Mobilon tape: $6 from eBay (I have a lot left over!)
  • Elastic: ~$2, from stash
  • Racerback bra: ~$15 from Target
  • Wig + tax + shipping: $35.50 from Arda Wigs
  • Silver cluster ring + shipping: $13.29 from eBay
  • Metal oval ring + shipping: $1.99 from eBay
  • Earrings + shipping: $16.94 from Etsy
  • Bracers + shipping: $5.56 from eBay
  • Shoes: $14.46 from Amazon
  • Tint-It spray: $12.08 from Amazon
  • Aluminum floral wire + tax, with coupon: $3.92 from Michael’s (I have plenty left)
  • Silver paddle wire + tax, with coupon: $2.19 from Michael’s (this will last me forever)
  • Metal comb: $1.40 from Amazon ($6.99 for a 5-pack)
  • Purple nail polish, with coupon: $3.99 from Amazon

TOTAL COST: $214.84

The fabric is relatively inexpensive, but all the extra accessories do add up! The jewelry was a chunk of my cost (~$40) because I did get some better quality items I could wear with other outfits. If you are on a budget, you may be able to get some costume pieces for less money, or find things in your stash.

If you’ve managed to read all the way to the end, thank you and congratulations! This was a long post, but I hope it will be useful to you when making your own Admiral Holdo costume. Good luck and Godspeed Rebels!amilyn-holdo

(If you’re wondering what are these affiliate links, it means I get a small percentage of any purchase you make from Amazon through these links, which I have to disclose. I don’t get any of the money from the ads WordPress runs on this site, and I’m happy to provide all my tutorials for free. The affiliate fees go towards my domain registration and hosting. Thanks!)

Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo Cosplay at Silicon Valley Comic Con

Last weekend at Silicon Valley Comic Con I premiered my Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo cosplay. I had a great time wearing this costume from Star Wars: The Last Jedi!

Although I’ve been planning this since last year, I only had a few weeks to sew it because I was busy with other events. I will have a follow-up post with more information about the construction, materials, tips and tricks, and a materials list, but for now here are some pictures from the event!

This was taken in the lobby of the convention center, not long after arrival.CMEY9799

However, before SVCC, my friend Chris Weiner took a few photos in his back yard with his superior camera!9N6A3090

The back drape of this dress is what made me fall in love it when I first saw a photo of Lauren Dern as Amilyn Holdo in Vanity Fair Magazine.9N6A3096

There were so many great Star Wars cosplayers at SVCC! I met Praetorian Guards, Stormtroopers, and Darth Vader!IMG_7881IMG_7957IMG_7958

I also met Kylo Ren, who bowed to his Disney overlords.

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I was delighted to meet another Holdo. Double Holdo, double trouble!IMG_7858IMG_7860

I also encountered General Hux, and we had a stare-off.IMG_7930IMG_7931

Lego Obi-Wan was a delight!IMG_7822

I even found and ate a stormtrooper macaron cookie.IMG_7740

And it was an honor to be one of the cosplays featured on Business Insider!Business Insider

Business Insider Melia Robinson

Photo by Melia Robinson of Business Insider

My friend Adrienne took this video of me so you can see how the dress moves as I twirl.

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SVCC was a lot of fun; I’ll be sure to be back next year! See my Flickr album for more photos from the event.

A Regency Couple at a Winery Plus Costume Hack: How to Upcycle a Men’s Regency Outfit Using Thrift Store Items

My husband and I attended a Regency-themed event called “Wine and Peace,” hosted by the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild at Wente Vineyards. My husband is not a costumer, but agreed to dress up when lured by the prospect of wine tasting. Thus, although this post contains some nice photos of the both of us, the real point is to show how a panicked person can put together a passable men’s regency outfit when time is too limited to make one from scratch.

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He certainly looks like he enjoyed himself!IMG_7454

It was too cold for me to take off my pelisse, so you can read about the silk gown I wore underneath in my previous post. The pelisse and bonnet are not new, although I’ve only had the chance to wear them once before, and you can read about those items in an older post.

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My husband’s outfit consisted of a navy blue coat, a green waistcoat, a white shirt and neck tie, ivory trousers, and black boots.IMG_7375

It is not completely historically accurate, especially the back where I had to fudge it a bit, but it did just fine for a quick outfit!IMG_7370

The coat is up cycled from a double-breasted woman’s coat. (Women’s military-stye coats are longer than men’s).  I made a number of changes:

  1. I cut an upside-down U shape out of the front of the coat to mimic the high waist of a man’s regency garment.
  2. I used that extra fabric to make cuffs, thus lengthening the sleeves for my husband’s long arms.
  3. I also used that extra fabric to make false pocket flaps for the back of the coat.
  4. I split the bottom back of the coat open to mimic a tailcoat, and added some more of the extra fabric in between the split to hide a gap.
  5. I changed the plastic buttons on the front of coat to ones that matched my own coat.
  6. I added the same buttons to the back, next to the pocket flaps.
  7. I changed the plastic buttons on the sleeves to small gold-colored ones.

Before and after: IMG_7250MMUF8222

I recommend looking for a coat like this during the winter. When the weather warms up you may have to go shopping at several places to get one!

I also recommend making sure your subject isn’t slouching or looking down when you mark the cutting line in the front of the coat. When I sewed it up I realized it was cut a little higher than I intended. The look is accurate and fashionable for the time period, but I had planned on a little more coverage.

The waistcoat is an even easier upcycle. Modern vests have pointed fronts while Regency period waistcoats have flat fronts. If you can find a vest with a nice pattern in the fabric, just fold up the front points and tack them to the inside of the vest. (We already had a vest for my husband, made by our friend Kim for our wedding in 2010).

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If the fellow doesn’t plan to take off his coat, very little of the shirt will show except the collar.  Find a nice dress shirt with a good stiff collar that will stand up. This will not work so well if you have a floppy collar that is not interfaced.IMG_7180.JPG

Flip the collar up, cut off the points, and hem nicely. The modern sleeves and buttons will be hidden by the coat.IMG_7270.JPG

The button at the throat will be covered by the neck tie, which is simply a long rectangular piece of cotton fabric. If you don’t have fabric around your home, you can cut up some textile from the thrift store. You will want the cotton to be thin, to make wrapping and knotting easy. In this case, a cheap bedsheet or semi-sheer curtain is better than a nice tablecloth that will be too thick. The neck tie I made for my husband is 2 yards long and 8 inches wide, made from cotton voile. IMG_7269

Hem the edges and taper the ends a little. IMG_7268

The trousers were a a tricky part of the outfit because of the fall-front, which is not seen in modern men’s fashions. I found a number of high-waisted sailor pants, but they were generally women’s pants in the wrong materials or cut. I then considered making them myself, but after pricing out a pattern from Laughing Moon and buying nice fabric and buttons, I realized it would cost me at least $50 to make and about $70 to buy them. Thus, the trousers were purchased from Historic Emporium. The lesson here is sometimes it’s worth buying and being done with it! (The pants come long enough for you to hem into breeches or keep as trousers).

007238_00The boots were Ovation rubber riding boots (affiliate link) purchased from Amazon for about $40. They weren’t real leather, but still looked pretty nice, and can be reused with other costumes in the future. If you are lucky, you may able to get some nice boots locally. Don’t forget to look in the women’s footwear section for larger boots! There’s a lot of “riding boot” style women’s boots sold during the fall and winter that could work with Regency.Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 8.19.26 AM.png

I hope this post was useful, and now you can keep an eye out for the right kind of coat and other items to upcycle into a Regency men’s outfit!QVLO1071.JPG

A “Quick” Regency Silk Gown

I’m calling this a quick regency dress because there wasn’t a lot of planning ahead or blogging during steps, fitting was easy because I’ve used the pattern before, and the event I’m wearing it to is next week!IMG_7216

The pattern is Butterick B6074 view B, with minor modifications. The fabric is a printed silk taffeta from my stash.IMG_7222

The bodice is gathered in the front, and the stiffness of the taffeta gives the bust more fullness than I have in real life. 😉IMG_7217

The pattern has drawstring closures at the neckline and waistline, which is period, but I prefer hooks and eyes when the fabric is not a soft cotton.IMG_7220

If you’re curious about how to put in hooks and eyes to minimize gapping, I have the hooks away from the edge, and the eyes sticking over the edge. (Some people also alternate hooks and eyes on each side. I am lazy, and also wanted to use up the last few inches of hook and eye tape that I had).

I serged the armscye and bottom of the bodice to keep them neat. The shoulder straps are sewn in by hand. Here’s an inside look at the dress.IMG_7228

I have a pelisse that I will be wearing over this if the weather is cold, so I admit to be a little sloppy in some of my construction, but eh, I find most people are too distracted by pretty fabric to care. =)

I also made a matching reticule, with my leftover fabric and lining. I made the tassel out of some thick thread.IMG_E7254.JPG

Project costs:

  • 5 yards printed silk taffeta: $38 including shipping from a destash group; I have about 2 yards left over
  • Pattern: $0, already used for another dress
  • Bodice lining: $0, scraps from another project
  • Skirt lining: 2 yards cotton voile: ~$13 with tax and shipping (purchased with other items from Dharma Trading Co.)
  • Thread, lace scrap, and hooks and eyes: ~$5 from stash
  • Silk ribbon: $0, left over from another project

Total: ~$56 (even less if I sell the leftover 2 yards of taffeta to recoup some costs). Not bad for a silk dress!

I plan to wear this dress with my Pemberly slippers from American Duchess, and some beautiful new grape earrings from The Lady Detalle.IMG_7106.JPG

I look forward to wearing this print! Simple, but cute. IMG_7115.JPG